5 Shipping Hacks and Tips for Small Businesses


If your business sells physical products online, one of the more time-consuming and expensive aspects of business operations is shipping. If you aren’t careful, it can eat up all of your time and revenue. Thankfully, there are some simple hacks that will allow you to save in both of these areas.

Give These 5 Shipping Hacks a Shot

 Packing and shipping are one of those necessary evils that come with running a business. It’s not something you feel particularly passionate about, but it comes with the territory. When you make a sale, you have to ensure it gets to the customer in a timely and efficient manner – without significant damage or delay. Unfortunately, doing so can sometimes cost an arm and a leg.

Here are a few tips that will give you a better chance of experiencing success in this area of your business:

  1.  Try Flat Rate Shipping

 Are you familiar with flat rate shipping from the USPS? If you have a product that fits into one of their standard flat rate boxes and weighs less than 70 pounds, you can get a flat rate priority mail price and never have to worry about buying boxes or going to the post office.

When ordered online, USPS flat rate boxes come in packages of 10 and 25, while flat rate envelopes come in sets of 10 and 100. Once you’re ready for a pickup, simply schedule it online, and your local post office will have someone come by and pick up your order (either during standard mail delivery or at a time of your preference).

2.Cut Down on Size and Weight

 “It should go without saying that large, heavy packages cost more to ship than smaller alternatives,” ecommerce entrepreneur Liz Hull notes. “However, did you know that a large pillow can cost more to ship than a 25-pound dumbbell?”

With UPS, FedEx, and other private carriers now using dimensional weight to calculate shipping rates, you have to pay careful attention to both weight and size. Keep your packaging as small as possible (without putting the product at risk). This will save you on material costs, as well as with shipping.

 3.Negotiate Better Rates

 Speak with any experienced business owner who does lots of shipping, and they’ll probably tell you that they use multiple carriers for different purposes and functions.

 “While USPS is my first recommendation for many merchants, it is by no means the only shipping carrier you should use,” Hull explains. “Although USPS works well for small packages, pricing dramatically increases for larger shipments. What’s more, the USPS does not provide the best tracking methods or delivery speeds.”

Another advantage to using different carriers is that you can negotiate pricing and get better rates when you do lots of business.

 4.Buy Shipping Supplies in Bulk

 Stop buying shipping supplies on an as-needed basis. These are items you’ll need indefinitely, so you might as well bite the bullet and load up on as much as you can.

Buying shipping supplies in bulk – such as boxes, tape, bubble wrap, labels, and ink – will allow you to enjoy savings of up to 25 or 30 percent off standard prices. When you’re moving a bunch of inventory, this can really impact your bottom line.

 5.Standardize Processes

 The more you can streamline your picking, packing, and shipping processes, the faster you’ll be able to get your product out the door and into your customers’ hands. Standardize as many processes as possible and establish consistency across each touch point.

 Adding it All Up

 Shipping is the final stage of your business operations. You’ve already closed the sale and processed the transaction – now you just have to deliver on the promise and move your product from point A to point B.

With the aforementioned tips and hacks, you should be able to do it cheaper and more efficiently. Give them a try and see what you think.