With the role of e-commerce gaining more and more significance as a means to do business in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, shipping has become its most valuable partner. These tips will help you reduce shipping costs so you can convert more leads into paying customers.


In the United Kingdom, according to Nosto (2021), fashion and clothing hold 55% or the number one spot in terms of purchased goods next to food deliveries at 32%. The top reason why customers prefer buying these items in the e-commerce market is the attractive offer of free shipping. Saleh(2021) revealed how free shipping actually influences online buying decisions. He mentioned that 61% of customers are somewhat likely to abandon their carts if free shipping is not offered by the merchant, 93% are encouraged to buy more products unplanned if a free shipping option is available, 58% add items to their carts just to qualify for the promo while only a few at 28% shop at the physical store instead. With these trivial statistics, not only does it highlight the vital role of shipping but how it makes shopping more convenient for people. Its presence also meant that shopping can be achieved at a relatively cheaper price since you do not have to go to the store anymore, spend money for meals (as most consumers have the habit of dining out after shopping), and save time to do it. 

However, with the emergence of the pandemic, shipping rates have surged and are slowly becoming a burden on the side of small business owners. Known to any business principle, the best time to gain profit is when there is such a high demand for the service. Naturally, everyone will strike and will always mean business while it is hot. Regrettably, not all small businesses can cover free shipping options for their customers. However, there are fun and creative ways to reduce shipping costs to still keep patrons in line. With SMART goals and a few ideas, you can continue to run the business competitively. Here are few ways you can try that are as equally convincing as free shipping:

Wipers on opening a door while holding parcels for deliver

4 Tips for reducing shipping costs

This will take you about an hour all up

  • Negotiate with your shipping partner
  • Yes, you actually can because like any other business, they can offer you bulk or reduced prices too. Make scouting a habit, be it for your supplies or your products for shipping. Compare the rates they offer and once you have finalized your plans, negotiate. If the shipping company values businesses of all forms and sizes, they will need your business as much as you need them.

  • Check your packaging
  • After you calculate shipping costs, ensure you’re packing your products for shipping properly to minimize broken returns and potential bad reviews towards your brand. (If products get broken while they’re in transit, most couriers do not hold liability and you will be asked to sign a waiver for that. As a result, any breakage costs will be on top of your shipping expenses as waste, so to spare yourself from this trouble, pack properly.)

    Use courier-prescribed boxes, packaging tapes, and fillers. Not only do these protect your products but it is also a good representation of your brand. Prevent any loss or damage to your products by packing tightly as possible to avoid extra space and movement while in transit.

    You can also reduce a few bucks if you can work on different packaging materials. For example with toys, since they are all not in the same shape, perhaps you can do away with boxing and just make use of parcel packaging so no hollow spaces are left in between. This saves you space and can reduce the overall package dimensions, which can strip off a few bucks in the total shipping cost.

  • Find shipping coupons and discounts for your customers
  • This is the most personalized way you can assist them in checking out their carts. Shipping discounts are everywhere. This is because they are more reasonable to give out considering that businesses have overheads to pay. Offering this kind of discount provides your consumer another reason why they should buy your products. Not only do discounts help your online shoppers but they also help you in terms of sales, reputation, and brand recognition.

  • Make use of flat rate shipping
  • Flat rate shipping only means that the shipping cost is not attributed to the weight, shape, and size of the shipped item. It is always based on how much you can put into the box provided by the shipping company. This is cost-efficient as you don’t have to buy boxes anymore or go to the post office since shipping companies come to you personally to collect all of them and, usually, these shipments are automatically scheduled online

    Supply:

    • Your products
    • Packaging supplies (boxes/satchels, packing tape, soft fill etc.)

    Tools:

    • Ingenuity
    • Patience
    • Research skills

    Shipping costs are truly unavoidable in e-commerce. Hopefully, these ideas help you come up with more ways to reduce shipping costs taking into account that many customers often want to pay as little as possible. Focus on the creation of cost-effective and customer-centered marketing and delivering strategies. Don’t look at it as if shipping companies are a cost center for your business, look at them as a strong group that backs up your business by connecting you and your products to your paying customers and there will always be a price for that.

    About the author: Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He is currently finishing his Doctor of Education degree in Miriam College. On the side, he writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated into his works.

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    Dr Kelly Wade

    Hi! I’m a full-funnel marketing specialist and my mission is to build a better tomorrow by helping organisations that solve crucial problems, efficiently generate sustainable growth with strategic marketing assets that attract, nurture, convert and retain the target market.

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