Same-day and next-day deliveries are becoming the new norm for customers. About 88% of consumers are willing to pay for same-day delivery. Get this, about 51% of retailers are already offering same-day delivery, so the competition is fierce and getting so much so.
Small businesses need to reevaluate their shipping processes to meet these consumer expectations and keep up with the competition. If you own a small business, this is the best time to find what goes into improving shipping processes. The thing is, shipping is by far one of the most overlooked aspects of running a small business.
It can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post, we will discuss 7 tips on improving shipping processes so that you can save time and money.
1. Evaluate Your Packaging for Shipping
If you are using too much packaging, it’ll increase the shipping costs. On the other hand, if you are not using enough packaging, your items may get damaged during transit. The key is to find a happy medium.
Use recycled materials whenever possible and only use as much packaging as you need to protect your items. Here are some things to consider when evaluating your packaging:
- The size and weight of your items
- How fragile your items are
- The type of packaging that will best protect your items
Once you understand these factors, you can start looking for packaging supplies that will fit your needs.
2. Choose the Right Shipping Carrier
There are many shipping carriers to choose from, so it’s important to research and find the one that best suits your needs. Consider the following factors when choosing a shipping carrier:
- Shipping rates
- Delivery times
- Service areas
- Tracking options
Once you have considered all of these factors, you can start narrowing down your options for shipping and choose the most suitable one for you. Some of the best shipping companies for small businesses are USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
These shipping companies are a good option for small businesses because they offer competitive shipping rates and delivery times. They also have a wide service area and provide tracking options so you can keep an eye on your packages.
3. Use Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
One of the best things you can do is use the latest shipping technology and if you’re not using EDI, you are missing out on a lot of efficiencies.
EDI is an electronic data exchange between businesses. It allows businesses to electronically exchange documents, such as purchase orders and invoices.
Using EDI can save you a lot of time because you don’t have to manually enter data into your system. It also reduces the risk of human error. In addition, EDI can help you track your shipments and keep track of your inventory. This goes a long way in improving shipping processes.
4. Always be Ready for Customs Clearance
No matter how good you’re at packing and how well you label your products, there’s always the potential for delays at customs.
Make sure you have all the necessary shipping process documentation ready to go so that your shipment can be cleared as quickly as possible. This includes things like commercial invoices, packing lists, and any required permits or licenses.
If you’re shipping internationally, it’s also a good idea to be familiar with the customs regulations of both your home country and the destination country. The average time it takes to clear customs is 43 hours, so anything you can do to speed up the process will be beneficial.
By being prepared for customs clearance, you can minimize the potential for delays and get your products to your customers as quickly as possible.
5. Use Automation
Shipping automation can help with tasks like order tracking, sending shipping notifications, and generating labels. This can save you a lot of time and make your shipping process more efficient.
There are a few different options for automating your shipping process. You can use shipping software like Shipstation or Shipworks. You can also use a shipping plugin for your eCommerce platform.
If you use WordPress, plugins like WooCommerce Shipping can automate your shipping process.
6. Use a Shipping Management System
One way to automate your shipping process and make it more efficient is to use a shipping management system. A shipping management system can help you keep track of your inventory, create packing lists, and print labels.
There are many different shipping management systems available, so be sure to do some research to find one that will work best for your business. This is one of the top digital shipping solutions and a must-have for any business that is into shipping.
7. Use Third-Party Fulfillment Centers
One option that can save you time and money is to use a third-party fulfillment center.
Third party order fulfillment centers are warehouses that store your products and ship them out for you when an order comes in. This can be a great solution if you don’t have the space to store inventory yourself or if you want to outsource the shipping process.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using fulfillment centers, such as lead time and minimum order quantities, but overall they can be a great option for small businesses.
If you’re considering using a fulfillment center, here are a few tips:
- Research different options and compare pricing
- Make sure the fulfillment center is located in a good shipping location
- Check the minimum order quantities and lead times
- Find out what kind of customer service the fulfillment center offers
Using a fulfillment center can be a great way to improve your shipping process and save time and money. Just make sure to do your research before choosing one to find the best option for your business.
Improving Shipping Processes Made Easy!
Improving your shipping process can be a great way to save time and money. There are many different ways to improve your shipping process, so be sure to find the ones that work best for your business.
By automating your shipping process, using a shipping management system, and keeping your customers informed, you can make your shipping process more efficient and improve the overall experience for your customers. Did you find this article helpful? If you did, be sure to check out our other articles on our website today.