As a nimble e-commerce retailer, getting through your to-do list each day can be quite the challenge. There’s no time to waste troubleshooting an issue or wading through clunky software integrations. Even as little as five minutes can make a big difference in you bottom line. The following time-saving small business shipping tips can help you optimize your e-commerce fulfillment process and get back to the work you enjoy most.
Schedule Carrier Pickups
One of the biggest small business shipping tips we hear all the time is to schedule a pick-up with your carrier. Stop piling your packages into your car and waiting in line at the Post Office. Instead, you can schedule a pickup with your carrier, so that your local mail person or carrier representative comes to your house, office, or warehouse to gather your packages and inputs them into the mailstream.
For USPS packages, you can submit your request online at www.usps.com/pickup and your letter carrier will pick up the packages during their normal delivery time. This service is free of charge, regardless of the number of packages you are sending. You can even plan your pickup schedule up to three months in the future.
And, if you’d like to specify a pickup window with any of the carriers, you can do so for an added fee.
Turn Your Shipping Into a Science
You should be able to recite your popular package dimensions, weights, and rates as if they were the ABCs. If you’ve gotten to this point, you can rest assured that you’ve simplified your shipping, avoided surprises, and ensured that you’re getting the best rate to ship your items.
Adrienne Fajen, managing partner of Wind-Blox, has clearly defined her shipping needs, “Our product itself [a bicycle wind noise blocker] is pretty small, so I put it in the smallest box I can find that still looks classy and it comes out to about two ounces.” Adrienne knows that when a domestic order comes in, she’s going to use Shippo to create a USPS shipping label and stick it on the package for delivery.
“It seems like we are beginning to be able to predict our volume based on advertising. We’ve found some great ways to grow our business. Knowing that I have Shippo on the ready makes a big difference in the flow of my business planning,” shared Adrienne.
If you’re just starting out, that’s okay. Start to look for patterns immediately and begin to establish rules for your operations as soon as possible.
Consider Outsourcing Your Shipping
If you’re unable to get your shipping down to a science and it feels constantly overwhelming, you may want to try to outsource some of the work involved with shipping.
There are many different services out there to help, depending on the type of support you’re looking for. For example, you could try dropshipping your packages, which means that the product manufacturer will send the items directly to your customers. This will save you time and prevent you from managing the shipping process, but you will also lose control of how items are shipped and delivered to your customers.
Another option is to use a 3PL (third-party logistics) provider. These will store your products, process your orders, and ship your packages to customers. There are many different types of 3PLs out there, so if this is something you’re interested in, take the time to find the right one for your shipping needs.
Use a Shipping Software
Shipping software helps you manage orders, negotiate rates with carriers, print shipping labels, track packages, and more. You’ll want to find a shipping software that integrates with your e-commerce platform of choice, like Shopify or BigCommerce, because then you can automatically pull in orders to fulfill and sync all of the information.
Shippo is an easy-to-use shipping solution that lets you streamline your shipping, so you can focus on growing your business. You can try Shippo for free via its Pay As You Go plan, with no monthly fee and only a $0.05 per label fee, or try the 30-day free trial of the Professional plan, with more customizable, professional options.
With these small business shipping tips, you’ll be able to save time on fulfillment so that you can embrace an uptick in orders. You’ll also be able to remove some of the friction from shipping, so that you can run your business hassle-free.
For more advice, check out our e-commerce shipping guide with everything you need to set up and streamline your shipping.