Looking for the cheapest shipping costs is not just being frugal, it’s wise. Getting the same high-level quality at a lower price is possible with the proper research. 

To save you the trouble, we’ve compiled tips for small businesses to save on shipping costs, summarized into three suggestions for easy recall. 

Tip#1: Explore all corners of packing

The most common basis for shipping costs are the package’s weight and dimensions. Here are some ways to ensure your packing will not be costly. 

  • Compact product packaging: Have packaging that is not too bulky as it will cost you in shipping. You do not want to end up removing any precious packaging and compromise safety.
  • Be a packing master: Look for packing materials that are cheaper but offer the durability you need for your products’ safety. Optimize all your boxes, leaving little to no moving space for cheaper charges. 
  • Ship multiple products in one box: If customers order several products, ship them in one box instead of shipping separately regardless of the size difference. If you ship separately, you will be charged for each item because of a separate stock-keeping unit (SKU). 
  • Choose a freight consolidation service: This type of service allows sharing of different Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) users to complete a truckload. If your shipment weighs 150–15,000 lbs., you can maximize this shipping option. Just note that LTL has longer shipping times. 

Go for any option that will make your packing cheaper, but always consider safety. 

Tip#2: Know affordable shipping choices 

You’ll see tons of different shipping options with various package inclusions. Here are the basics that you should remember before you pick the best option for your business.

  • Flat rate shipping is an excellent option: Forgo the hassle of checking the weight and dimensions and calculate your shipping charges through flat-rate shipping. This shipping service allows you to fit as many items inside a flat-rate box to be charged with a fixed rate each time. 
  • Always go for standard shipping: Standard shipping usually takes 3–5 business days to ship or even as long as 7 days, depending on the package destination. Still, it is way cheaper than express shipping. 

The way to beat the long shipping time is to send your packages in advance according to a well-planned shipping calendar. You will not worry about late deliveries or running out of stock in this way. 

  • Ship via fulfillment companies: If your business has grown to the point that you need a bigger warehouse, fulfillment centers are a great option. Amazon offers multi-channel fulfillment if you are looking for a credible provider. 

Smaller companies can also handle the picking, packing, and shipping for your business. They can offer your online store integration to their shipping system for convenient shipping management.

Pick a few fulfillment centers where your clients are closest for lower costs and faster deliveries. 

If your orders are manageable, you can send them out on your own. Once your business grows big, being assisted by fulfillment services is more convenient for you and your customers. 

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Tip #3: Look for international shipping hacks 

You may consider yourself an expert in local shipping, but international shipping is a different ballgame. Here are the hacks to get you started with low-cost international shipping.

Ship via a U.S. address

If you are still beginning your expansion, maximize your U.S. connections. Contact reliable people to receive your products and ship them to your American buyers—many companies offer this service. Partner with one such service, and they will provide you with addresses that can run your shipping errands for you. 

Cross-border shippers over national couriers

This strategy is effective for small businesses who want to penetrate the U.S. market at a low cost. You’ll need to acquire U.S. postage and then send this package to a cross-border shipper. 

Cross-border shipping companies use out-of-home advertising—you’ve probably seen some of them around.

They will take care of customs clearance for items lower than $800 (USD) and hand your package to USPS for the last mile of the delivery. You can compare the costs you need to pay to see the difference yourself. 

Many cross-border shipping companies allow store integration, so you can conveniently export your goods to the U.S. in just a few clicks. 

Finally, note that as you grow your business, you’ll need to widen your knowledge on Customs and Borders Regulations regarding commercial goods and shipments exceeding USD800. 

Final Thoughts

As your product’s demand ascends, shipping to customers or fulfillment centers will become a more frequent occurrence. Consider these three tips to ensure smooth shipping at a low cost. It might be complicated at first, but as time passes you’ll be able to handle your shipping needs with your eyes closed. 

Diana Zheng leads the growth marketing initiatives at Stallion Express, Canada’s #1 eCommerce shipping company offering the best rates for US, domestic & international shipping. As a personal trainer turned digital marketer, Diana is obsessed with equipping online sellers with everything they need to scale their online businesses.

Shipping costs stock photo by Korawat photo shoot/Shutterstock