Typically, a higher order volume is a very good thing. But sometimes, the additional business strains a shipping system, and as a result, orders get delayed and the uptick in business may be detrimental in the long term.
To better manage volume and be ready for sudden spikes, it’s best to streamline global shipping with a global trade management software. With just one program, business owners can automate the entire process and avoid over-reliance on just one shipping company or method. Almost any program can interface with a shipping website and print labels, but your business needs much more than that.
Most all companies offer volume discounts, but they are not all created equal and it’s important to read the fine print.
Different companies have different price cutoffs in terms of volume. Some companies consider twenty parcels a month to be a “high volume,” while others may designate fifty shipments a month. As another example, the USPS Commercial Plus Pricing discount cutoffs are 5,000 Express or 50,000 Priority shipments in the prior year.
There is also something of a tradeoff, because most shippers require a weekly account to take advantage of the savings. However, the discount is usually enough to pay for the account fee. Of course, it all depends on actual volume.
Finally, some discounts come with strings attached, such as a monthly shipping minimum. That could be a significant issue for seasonal businesses, so it may be best for these firms to avoid such plans.
All that being said, here are some of the leading discount programs for volume shippers:
- USPS Business Discount: Savings range from 18 percent (maximum) off international shipping to 56 percent off Priority Express. As an added bonus, subscribers get their own meter and postage stations.
- FedEx Advantage: This discount program, which saves shippers up to 20 or 25 percent on most packages, is available only to some Ship Station users, but once again, the savings usually pays for the membership fee.
- UPS Connect: Program benefits include a 10 percent ground discount, 20 percent air discount, and a year of free pickups.
Organizational discounts, such as eBay shipping, may be available as well, so be sure and ask around. Always remember that almost everything is negotiable, and if FedEx knows that you are thinking about moving your business to UPS, the company may offer a higher discount.
One Company or Several?
There’s a difference between reliance and over-reliance. While it is usually best to diversify shipping companies, if such diversification means that your business falls below the volume discount minimum, that’s obviously a bad outcome.
A good shipping software program can accurately forecast both volume and prices, so you can make better decisions.
Your customers expect free or low-cost shipping, so if you want to avoid eating some or all of your shipment costs, finding a reliable low-cost vendor is essential. Taking advantage of all available discounts is the best way to make it happen, and a software program can process all this information.