The cost of shipping can make or break your business, whether you’re brick and mortar or online. With the advent of online shopping, brick and mortar stores are forced to find new ways to retain their customers.
Shipping products is a big part of that. If your shipping costs are too high, customers are going to go elsewhere, especially if your competitors can offer lower shipping costs. Before your store opens, there are several things you need to take into account to ensure you and your customers get the best possible service.
It's well worth the time to do research before jumping into a shipping plan, believes
Sergiy Lishchuk, owner of Skokie, Illinois-based Ukrainochka. Before opening his business dealing in Ukrainian arts and crafts, he researched what successful retailers were doing with their shipping policies. "I looked at Amazon, overstock.com and lots of eBay stores and compared them to see what worked best," he explains.
All the major shipping vendors like USPS, FedEx, UPS and DSL publically provide a list of their services and rates on their sites. You should also check sites like www.iship.com and www.InterShipper.com, which ask for information like package size, weight and location information to work out the cheapest way to send packages.
Many of these vendors will have representatives that you can arrange to meet with to review their needs and explain options. "Arrange meetings with the reps and find out just what options are available. There may be things you didn't know about that will work well for your business," suggests
Ramon Ray, founder of a business and technology consulting firm in New York City named SmallBizTechnology.com
Who pays for shipping?
Keeping all this in mind, woothemes.com states that
“it might be a good idea to offer flat rate shipping or to absorb shipping (or at least part of it) as an expense on your end to keep customers on the path toward conversion.”
If you do the right thing by your customers and keep your costs low, you will build a loyal customer base. "In this competitive environment where there's very little customer loyalty, things like shipping matters," concludes
small-business consultant Steve Strauss. "Eat the shipping. It's a small cost to you, and customers will respond."
Weigh up your options before deciding, taking your customer base and reach into account. If you have international customers, it may not be feasible to offer a flat-rate or take the financial hit of paying for shipping yourself. Some of your customers will be more forgiving than others, so think carefully before embarking on either course.
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At Power Link Expedite, we know that the items we deliver hold great importance and/or value, and we strive to reach our customers’ expectations. Whether you’re shipping within the Greater Toronto Area, or to elsewhere in Canada or the US, Power Link Expedite will get the job done through state-of-the-art technology, experienced drivers, and high quality customer service.
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