Shipping and handling charges can be a huge annoyance. All the major shipping companies raise their rates every January without fail. Most store owners have to raise their retail prices to cover these costs.
But knowing a few simple things can help you keep these costs to a minimum. One of the most important things to know is exactly what factors are going to affect your shipping costs the most.
#1. COD Fee. For stores that choose COD as a payment method, you can expect an $11 COD fee ON TOP OF your regular shipping costs. This is just UPS’s fee for the service of taking your money and mailing it to your supplier. You can avoid this fee by using a credit card or Paypal. The savings stack up the more frequently you order.
#2. Size matters! As of 2007, all shipping companies now count size as more important than weight. They want you to pay for how much space your box takes up in their truck or airplane. The drawback is that if you order several large but light items, your shipping will seem outrageously out of proportion! The best way to save yourself some money is to make sure you are getting the most value you can out of the shipping costs on each order. If you need large light items like bottle incense burners, see if there are any smaller heavy items you can get at the same time. Incense is a great choice, since it can be used as cushioning for fragile items, and you can fit a lot of it in a small space.
For example: You could pay $20 in shipping for 6 bottle incense burners worth $66. But if you add $40 of incense to the same order, you would get $100 of merchandise and still pay only the same $20 shipping cost.
#3. Weight is of course the most basic and obvious consideration. For heavy orders, there’s not much you can do. But if your order is small and light, consider the Post Office instead of UPS. For orders 3 pounds or less, they are usually cheaper.
#4. Distance. The further the box goes, the more it costs. We’re located in
North Carolina, so unfortunately our customers on the West Coast will pay more. The only thing you can do about it is to place larger but less frequent orders. Each box starts off at a “base rate” and then the cost goes up a little with each pound. Fewer boxes means the fewer times you have to pay the base rate, which can be $9 or more for West Coast locations.
#5. Residential location. UPS charges more to deliver to any address that is rural or residential. This can mean a location that doesn’t have a sign and storefront, but sometimes it applies to locations that are just remote and take longer to get to. If you think this applies to you, check to see if you can have your boxes delivered somewhere that is zoned as Commercial. It will save you about $3 per box.
These are our best tips on how to keep shipping costs to a minimum. Hopefully it helps you in your business.