Do you think shipping a package is just sticking a packaging label with the delivery address on it and sending it for shipping? If you do, then you might have gone through several misdeliveries or perhaps lost some money for shipping. If you don’t know the right shipping protocol and depend on luck for correct shipping, you are bound to make some mistakes, maybe even some costly ones. Shipping packages are not free and, depending on the product or the destination, they can often cost a good chunk of your profit.
Knowing how to ship a package properly can provide you with three benefits- it will save money, ensure your products are being delivered safely on time, and increase the efficiency of your shipping strategy. And if you are intrigued to learn how you can reap these benefits, you need to learn a thing or two about how to prepare your packages for delivery and how to ship them. Read on to learn more.
Learn How to Label Properly
A shipping label is a key player in the product supply chain. One little error on the label means your package can get lost, misdelivered, or even returned back to you and you have to pay twice the price to ship it again. The shipping label has various information regarding the product’s origin, destination, date, weight, postal code, country code, and shipping method. That information helps the carrier to deliver it properly.
The shipping method also plays an important part in selecting your packaging label. For instance, if you need to ship something urgently you might opt for Click and Ship Labels. They are prepaid and only reserved for priority mail. While most shipping agencies have a template for the shipping label, you still can make your own shipping package online.
Know Your Packaging Options
When it comes to shipping you have various packaging options; you might opt for a box, an envelope, or a padded envelope. If you are shipping something fragile, you need to add a layer of padding to your package, such as biodegradable peanuts or crinkle shred.
Depending on your shipping item, you might also need several packaging options. For instance, if your product line ranges from small to large or even solid to fragile, you need different packaging strategies for each of these products. While choosing a packaging option always opt for recyclable and environment-friendly material.
Calculate Your Shipping Cost
Shipping cost greatly hinges on package size and weight; the smaller or lighter the package, the cheaper it will be to ship it. Sometimes, the packaging itself can add a few extra pounds that can be avoided just by changing the material. Downsizing the packaging or removing unnecessary weight or even choosing a lighter packaging option can help reduce shipping costs for you and your customers.
There are several strategies for determining who will pay the shipping charge:
- Free Shipping– even if the name suggests it, shipping is not free. While your customers enjoy free shipping, you have to bear the cost. Offering free shipping is a great way to incentivize customers to buy. To cover the shipping cost, you can either increase the product price or pay it from your profit margin or even divide it between you and the customers by raising the price just slightly.
- Real-Time Carrier Rate– real-time carrier rate allows the customer to choose what type of shipping or service they want to pay for.
- Flat Rate Shipping– flat rate shipping means you charge the same shipping rate for all of the shipping products. It is most effective when you have a similar product line that requires the same type of packaging. But if you have product diversity in scale or material, that method might not be the right one for you. This is because larger products require more shipping fees, and a flat rate allows the same fee for all products, regardless of their weight or size.
- Local Delivery– you can always deliver the product yourself if the location allows. You just have to set a delivery rate according to zip code radius and you can drop off the product.
Choose the Right Carrier for Shipping
There is no shortage of shipping carriers that are shipping products all over the world. While choosing a carrier, make sure that your product is within the list of their shipping items. For instance, some carriers might not be willing to ship an extremely fragile product. Check if the carrier delivers in your customers’ location. Also, make sure you know what tracking services they offer for you to track the delivery.
Insurance should also play an important part in choosing a carrier. The insurance scale depends on your product and it will definitely add an extra layer of security if your product is lost or damaged during the shipping process. Some carriers include the insurance price with the shipping charge, so consider this aspect when you are selecting a carrier.
Customs and Declaration
Customs are mandatory for international shipping. You can get the declaration forms online, at the post office, or from the carrier. The forms disclose what items you are sending, the price of that item, and for what purpose you are sending it. Be as upfront as you can with your information to avoid your package from being seized in customs.
Tariff and Taxes
Aside from the shipping charge, any additional customs fees should be borne by your customers. To avoid misinterpretation, make sure you include this information in your shipping policy. Also, make sure your customer is well aware of this clause so they aren’t confused by the extra charge.
Using a Fulfillment Warehouse
A fulfillment warehouse can take on all the loads of shipping responsibility for your business. They can help you automate and ship your product very efficiently. For ease of access, you have to store your inventory at their warehouse. Once an order is placed, they will be fully in charge of packing and delivering the product.
The Bottom Line
Efficient management of logistics is vital for the survival of your e-commerce business. From selecting a material for packaging to sticking a shipping label to filling out customs forms, each step has its own impact on the whole process. Before you start shipping your product, you must know about all these steps so you don’t face any hurdles along the way.