ShipRush: Ecommerce Shipping Tips for Beginners

The Basics:

  • Always use weight and dimensions to get accurate cost estimates
  • Use minimal packaging
  • Whenever possible use padded envelops or Mylar bags
  • Always use First Class mail if one pound or less
  • Don’t insure packages that are valued at less than $150
  • Calculate shipping costs as part of your cost of goods
  • Avoid loss: use self-adhesive labels and include a packing slip
  • Use the right method of delivery for your needs: air vs. ground, overnight vs. 3-day, etc.
  • Offer customers free or flat rate shipping to mitigate shopping cart abandonment by up to 60 percent

    Advanced Tips:

    Use a USB digital postal shipping scale

    The best scale for ecommerce shipping is a USB digital postal shipping scale. More accurate and specifically designed for package and parcel shipping, a USB digital postal scale allows you to directly connect to industry-specific programs and software (e.g., a shipping platform) to eliminate the extra steps of reading and entering into your computer weight outputs from your scale. The result: faster, easier, more accurate weight measurements.

    Purchase and print postage online

    Printing postage saves time by allowing SMB shippers to avoid the post office, yet still save money by taking advantage of different carriers and rates available based on the specific package to ship, for example flat rate boxes.

    Consider setting up business accounts with your carriers

    Once you have decided on the carriers you want to use, consider setting up business accounts with them. The carrier can’t love you if you don’t do business with them directly! Business accounts offer a variety of services including discounts, better expense tracking and a whole host of online tools to more efficiently manage the shipping aspects of your business. Business accounts make sense if you typically ship 10 or more shipments/week with a given carrier.

    Use a cloud-based shipping solution

    Cloud-based shipping services make the fulfillment process easier. You can manage your business from any device, any location. Another benefit of a paid, third party application is that more information is automatically entered, which means less typing on your end and greater accuracy. It also gives you a central place to compare shipping rates for each package, print shipping labels, send customer confirmations and track shipments. You should also receive better shipping rates working with your carriers because the shipping service negotiates rates similar to what you would get with a high-volume business, only with more carrier options.

    Compare total costs for every shipment

    Ecommerce companies can save money by comparing total rates and delivery times for every shipment. Between late December and early February each year, UPS, Fed Ex and USPS increase parcel rates. But these increases do not include the once-a-month changes in fuel surcharges or other annual rate changes, such as surcharges for residential or extended area delivery. These fees can increase the cost of a shipment by 10-30 percent. Using a shipping solution that enables you to automatically compare the total cost of each shipment across all your carriers will help control costs.

    Streamline your shipping operations with automation rules

    If you ship more than 20 shipments/month, using a best-in-class shipping service that enables you to pre-program shipping actions based on automation rules saves you time and ensures you ship the smartest way for each shipment. Examples include: “Rate shop these three carriers and ship using the cheapest service for delivery within 3 days” and “If SKU starts with WIDGET, set the weight to 4 pounds and box size to 12 x 8 x 10.”