How to Plan Your Small Business Shipping Strategy [2022]

Small business shipping strategy

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You’ll love this guide if you want a profitable small business shipping strategy. 

A shipping strategy is essential for your eCommerce business’s long-term sustainability and efficiency. 

Below, you’ll find a quick roundup of the best shipping models, software, and carriers for small businesses. 

Let’s jump right in.

How to offer free shipping for small businesses

Free shipping is a great strategy to minimize cart abandonment rates and maximize sales. 

Consumer reports reveal that 66% of customers expect free shipping for online purchases, while 80% only expect free shipping for orders that reach a certain price.

Regardless of which group you cater to, offering free shipping is an effective way for small businesses to capture the interest of new customers and gain traction. 

However, free shipping isn’t designed to be a long-term strategy by itself.

Unless you’re willing to roll over the cost of shipping into the price of your products permanently, free shipping is only profitable under the following conditions. 

  • Clearing extra inventory. Free shipping is a great way to clear inventory fast. This is useful if you’re sitting on loads of unsold inventory and need additional warehouse space.
  • Minimum order value. Specifying a minimum order value for free shipping is a reasonable long-term strategy. This approach lets you offset the cost of shipping by increasing profits from a single sale.
  • First-time customers. Free shipping is an effective opt-in offer for generating subscribers to your mailing list. And with an optimized email marketing strategy, you’ll eventually get back the price you paid for shipping through repeat orders.  
  • Special promotions. Bundle free shipping with special offers on holidays like Cyber Monday, Christmas, and Black Friday. This lets you cash in on the consumer market’s buying spree during the shopping season.  

How to offer flat-rate shipping for small businesses

The benefits of flat-rate shipping include predictable shipping costs, more manageable free shipping promotions, and a more straightforward shipping process overall. It’s also easier to roll shipping costs into your product pricing using flat shipping rates. 

Flat-rate shipping also has its disadvantages.

You could miss out on more cost-effective options if you blindly opt for flat-rate shipping, as is often the case for short-distance deliveries.

All things considered, flat-rate shipping is generally disadvantageous to small businesses. But if you regularly ship packages that are similar in size and weight—and to the same destinations—flat-rate shipping can streamline your strategy and lead to substantial cost savings down the line.

Choose a carrier that supports the arrangement at a reasonable price to set up flat-rate shipments. 

Major carriers like UPS, FedEx, USPS, and DHL offer flat-rate shipping services. For lower costs, look for local, trustworthy couriers and shipping services. 

How to offer same-day shipping for small businesses

Offer same-day deliveries to woo more customers and secure more sales. 

Research indicates that 80% of customers want same-day deliveries for online purchases, and 25% would abandon their online carts if they couldn’t find an option for same-day shipping. 

Big-name carriers like FedEx, UPS, and DHL offer same-day delivery services even for international shipments. 

Third-party delivery platforms also offer same-day deliveries for small businesses and individual sellers, especially for short-distance locations. Some examples are Uber Direct, Roadie, and Point Pickup.

Most customers are willing to pay extra for same-day deliveries in exchange for the convenience of getting their order within hours. 

Important small business shipping tools

Building a strategy for your shipping process is easier with the right tools. 

Here are four useful small business tools to help you build a profitable and organized shipping strategy.

1. Veeqo

Veeqo is part of the Amazon family and is one of the best Shopify shipping apps for shipping management and automation. 

Veeqo simplifies the entire shipping workflow while ensuring you get the best rates for your deliveries.

It connects to your eCommerce stores, makes bulk shipping a breeze, automates package tracking emails, and more.  

You can also use Veeqo to manage other aspects of your eCommerce business, including inventory control and analytics. Our platform comes with a rule-based automation workflow builder to help you save time on label selection. 

2. Stamps.com

Stamps.com is a great tool for printing stamps and shipping labels on demand. It can also help you find the best rates for your shipments and send tracking alerts to your customers. 

For multi-channel eCommerce businesses, Stamps.com also lets you import orders directly from marketplaces like Shopify, Amazon, and Etsy. 

3. Label Resizer

Label Resizer is a handy tool for customizing shipping labels on various supported platforms, including Flipkart, eBay, Etsy, and Shopify. 

As the name suggests, Label Resizer can resize Amazon FBA labels (and other labels) into any size for your printer. The tool also features a cloud-based label editor that makes it easy to insert branding elements into your labels. 

Just be sure to test Amazon shipping label copies to avoid issues upon pickup and delayed deliveries. 

4. Lumi 

Lumi is all about building shipping supplier relationships at every stage. It replaces emails and spreadsheets for supplier management, communication, invoicing, and ongoing project management. 

Lumi’s built-in analytics tool also empowers your decision-making with detailed reports of your shipping spending, volumes, freight costs, tooling, and more. This will help you test new strategies and fine-tune the cost-efficiency of existing ones. 

Top shipping carriers for small businesses

Choosing a carrier is one of the most critical decisions in creating a shipping strategy, if not the most important. 

Before we wrap up this post, here’s a roundup of the most trusted shipping services in the market:

1. UPS 

Offers:

  • Standard delivery
  • Same-day delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • International delivery
  • Group shipping

UPS offers great value on its flat-rate shipping service, which starts at only $9.45 for small packages. They also offer discounts for small businesses and an online portal for managing shipments, tracking expenses, and more.  

2. USPS

Offers: 

  • Standard delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • International delivery

Small businesses use USPS for their discount offers and loyalty program. While they don’t offer the fastest delivery times, they’re reliable in fulfilling delivery timelines and keeping packages safe.

3. Sendle

Offers: 

  • Standard delivery
  • Subscription-based shipping

Sendle may not offer an express shipping service, but they can consistently complete shipments within four days or less. They offer subscription-based domestic shipping plans for small businesses, which cost only $3.62 with a minimum of 20 parcels per month. 

Get instant access to discounted shipping rates

Make more money from each sale using shipping discounts with reputable carriers like UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL. Veeqo is a free shipping management platform that provides instant access to discounted shipping rates—no negotiations and minimum volume required. Sign up for a free account here for a firsthand look at its features.

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