We love hearing from online retailers to learn about the challenges they face each day. If you’re diving into a new business this year, or just dipping your toes in on a side hustle project, you likely have some questions when it comes to shipping your products. Those questions may be like the ones we received from a new small business owner via email recently. So we decided to address each question in this article!
“I am starting a small, online clothing boutique and plan to use USPS for sending packages. I am interested in ShippingEasy, but have a few questions.”
Let’s break down each question this boutique owner has.
Should I weigh my packages?
Absolutely! Weighing your packages lets you choose the most optimized method of shipping. Without noting how much your package weighs, you could be vastly overpaying to ship items. Here’s an example:
- An 8 oz package, shipping from Houston, TX to Miami, FL (Zone 5) would cost $6.98 using Priority Mail, but could actually ship with First Class package service for only $3.18 regardless of zone. That’s a whopping savings of $3.80 on a single package!
Knowing and tracking your package weights also lets you set up time-saving automation to optimize your shipping processes. Using an app like ShippingEasy even lets you create shipping rules to automate the process based on package weights so you can set and forget your shipping methods.
All that being said, it’s a good idea to invest in a digital scale to get the most accurate weight for your packages. You can even take it one step further and grab a USB scale that will import the weight directly into your computer and shipping software, cutting out one more step where human error could be a factor.
How would I go about getting envelopes/boxes for use delivered to me? Or would I have to pick them up?
The answer to this question surprises many online retailers: all the major carriers will actually ship materials to you, absolutely FREE. We’ve compiled details and the links to grab materials in this article, so head there and bookmark it for future reference.
If you’re not worried about having your own custom packaging or branding on the shipping box (and actually the generic nature of carrier-branded boxes can help avoid package theft), you can save a substantial amount of money using carrier-provided packaging. Aside from not paying for the materials themselves, the box sizes are already set up to work well with each carrier, making the shipping setup process much simpler and more cost-efficient.
How do I get my packages picked up for delivery?
FedEx and UPS charge varying fees to schedule a pickup. In the email we received from this seller, USPS was pointed out as the preferred method, so here’s some great news. USPS will pick up your packages from your office, warehouse, or home, at no charge to you!
It’s as easy as scheduling a pickup, either on USPS.com or through shipping software like ShippingEasy. The carrier will then come to the door to pick up packages during the typical mail delivery time. Even easier, you can print off a SCAN form which contains a single barcode that lets a carrier simply scan one form for all of the packages being picked up. They’ll love you for it, and your life will be exponentially easier, too.
I am also wondering what I can look at for estimated average cost to ship, though I am sure that depends on the weight. I’m likely shipping from and to my local area.
The answer to this is a definitive “it depends.” The package weights are a key factor, but so is distance, depending on how you ship. If you ship heavier packages, but not typically very far, you can use Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes (pictured above) to save money.
Ship heavier packages (1 lb.+) to varying geographic areas? You could take advantage of Priority Mail Flat Rate, which follows an “if it fits, it ships” scheme. This shipping method has a more set cost, which could then allow you to predict an average shipping cost ahead of time. You’ll always want to check to see if there is a cheaper method, however, as this may not always be your best bet.
This post simply scratches the surface when it comes to answering questions about shipping for e-commerce. We’re always happy to answer more questions and help you optimize your shipping processes. Want to see a live demo of how we do it? Click or tap the button below and set up a time that works for you! Here’s to making 2018 the year to really make things happen for your business.