How to Reduce Shipping Costs for Your Online Business

Image by Sarah Dorweiler from Pixabay.

For most online businesses that sell products, the cost of shipping is a significant expense. Even if you sell small, lightweight products through your Etsy store, shipping costs can quickly add up. When you sell furniture or larger and heavier items, you may find yourself spending as much as the product value (if not more) to ship it to your customer. 

Luckily, there are solutions for eCommerce businesses, helping to make shipping more efficient and cost-effective than shipping products with FedEx, UPS or freight carriers. 

What Are the Available Shipping Carriers for eCommerce Products?

There are three primary carriers that eCommerce companies use for shipping their products: 

  1. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
  2. FedEx
  3. UPS

However, there are also other options, which you might want to consider especially if you ship furniture or heavy items. It’s not very cost-effective to ship bulky or weightier options with the carriers listed above, so LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) freight or more robust fulfilment services may be better. You can get an LTL freight shipping quote to help you determine the costs. 

When considering your shipping partner, you will want to ascertain some critical areas including: 

  • Reliability and on-time delivery
  • Availability for small or large orders
  • Cost based on the customer’s location, package weight, and dimensional weight (package size)

Why Is Shipping a Critical Aspect of Successful eCommerce?

It’s vital to offer convenient and affordable shipping options to your eCommerce customers. Many online shoppers expect free shipping, and even if you’re unable to provide no-cost delivery, your customers will expect a positive delivery experience. Here are the statistics: 

  • 64.3% of shoppers consider free shipping a decision-making factor when checking out.
  • 84% of customers will not return to a retailer following a negative delivery experience.
  • 56% of customers have abandoned a shopping cart because they weren’t satisfied with the shipping options or prices.

Reduce Your Freight Shipping Costs with LTL

When shipping large or heavy items, LTL freight can offer some significant advantages for eCommerce businesses and their customers. 

As a small online retailer, you probably don’t ship a full truckload of furniture to a customer. LTL freight combines smaller shipments from multiple retailers to fill a truck. Therefore, if you are shipping fewer than 12 pallets of products, LTL freight may be a more cost-effective form of shipping. 

LTL freight pricing is still based on the travel distance, type of destination location, package dimensions, and package freight class. You should always negotiate your rates with your LTL freight partner and shop around. There are still some ways you can reduce your freight shipping costs, such as:

  1. Pack your products densely. With LTL freight, you will be charged for package weight as well as space, so you can reduce your costs if your shipment takes up less space on the truck. 
  2. Pack products in regular, stackable boxes. Your LTL partner will consider the shape and stackability of your shipment so that you may be charged more for irregularly shaped packages. You will want to pack them to fit on a standard 4×4 pallet in standard-shaped boxes for easy stacking within the truck. 
  3. Group shipments, if possible. You might be able to reduce your costs if you can group your shipments into larger ones, instead of sending small shipments at different times. But bundled shipments are only possible if your products are not perishable and timing isn’t critical.