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Shipping Tips – Let’s Save Some Money!

If you’re ready to ship, you’ve made a sale (or a few!), so congratulations! Hopefully, you made a little profit as well. After all, that is the point. Here are a few helpful tips to help keep your shipping costs as low as possible. Benjamin Franklin said it best: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

Tip #1 – Invest In A Thermal Label Printer

Initially, you can get away with printing your labels on a standard inkjet/laser printer. But when the volume starts to pick up, you’ll quickly see your ink costs skyrocket! Although the upfront cost to buy a thermal label printer can be a little high, they don’t rely on ink, saving a lot of money in the long run. Plus, they print faster, and your time is valuable.

Dymo is a trendy brand. They have various models at various prices, and the print quality is excellent. It is also important to note that the standard label size is 4”x6”. This site is accepted by major carriers such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx.

Tip #2  Use Media Mail For Applicable Items

If you are shipping media items such as magazines, books, videotapes, CDs, or DVDs, you’ll save a lot of money with media mail. Media mail is an inexpensive way to ship specific items through USPS.

The maximum weight allowed for a package to be considered Media Mail is 70lbs. If your customer has ordered more than 70lbs of media items, it will save you money to split the shipment into two boxes (each weighing less than 70lbs) and continue forward with media mail.

Tip #3 – Collect FREE (or cheap) Boxes

Instead of spending a small fortune on fancy custom-made boxes, you can explore the option of using free or cheap packages. Some shipping services like UPS, FedEx, and USPS provide free packs to clients for certain types of shipping. You’ll want to check with your preferred carrier.

You can reuse boxes sent to you via online orders you’ve recently placed. And you can also collect free boxes from stores and dumpsters. Whatever you do, ensure that the packages you use are clean, strong enough, and corrugated.

Tip #4 – Plan Ahead, To The Best Of Your Ability

A successful business person is his/her ability to plan an important quality. Suppose you sell on a platform such as eBay or Amazon, where each order is typically a single item; prep each item for shipping before you even list it. This will enable you and the customer to know the exact shipping costs right up front. By the time the sale is made, all you will need to do is affix the shipping label and send it off. If you sell on a platform where each order could contain multiple items, you will want to weigh and measure each item upfront. It is also a good idea to have a list of your current box sizes and how much each of them weighs. Depending on the box size, the box alone could dramatically affect the total weight of the shipment.

Tip #5 – Cut Down Your Boxes

The bigger your box is, the more you’ll pay for shipping. We would always have the perfect size box in an ideal world. However, if you have no choice but to use a package much more significant than you need, it is best to cut it down to fit the item(s) you are shipping.

This is quickly done using a box-sizing tool. With this handy little helper, you can reduce the height of your boxes to fit the contents, thus saving you tons when it comes to dimensional weight. You’ll also save by using less paper and other supplies as filler. The box-sizing tool doesn’t usually come with clear directions. So, here is a video we found on YouTube to help you learn how to use it:

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Tip #6  Invest On a Shipping Scale, Don’t Guess

Unless all your orders are identical, you need to know the exact size and weight of each package you ship. And unless you possess one of those magical powers of guessing weights (like the people at carnivals), you need to invest in a scale. If you try to think, you’ll probably be off. Depending on how you shipped it, you could risk the customer being charged the difference or the package being returned to you. And worse, you might accidentally pay more than you have to. 

Tip #7 – Double Check Everything, Twice

No matter how busy you get, how urgent the order is, or how sure you think you are, it always pays to double-check your labels for errors. The last thing you need is to pay extra to reship a package that was sent to the wrong person or the wrong address. These are costly mistakes and can easily be avoided by simply double-checking the label before shipping. It probably wouldn’t hurt to double-check the contents as well. You don’t want to risk having to ship the 2nd box because an item(s) got left out of the 1st one by mistake.

Tip #8  Appearance Is Important

In ecommerce, our customers’ only visual image of our brand is through our online presence and packaging. Give a good impression by making sure your packaging is neat and clean. And remember to include some Thank You note when shipping your orders. The extra thought will go a long way toward enticing your customer to order from you again.