I’m sharing my top 5 tips that you can use right now to lower your shipping costs and save money on shipping your handmade products!
Hi, I’m Mei Pak and I help makers, artists and designers make a consistent income from selling their handmade products online.
Shipping is a big part of every physical product business.
It’s especially important for handmade shops to be able to get their products to the customer in excellent condition so that they are completely wowed and want to buy from you again.
The goal is to be able to give your customer that great experience at an affordable price so that you don’t have to
A.) hike up the price of your product
B.) charge an arm and a leg for shipping
It’s a real balancing act.
With companies like Amazon offering free shipping, it's getting even more challenging for small shops to stay competitive.
The bar is set so high.
Don’t count yourself out just yet, though, because today I’m sharing my top 5 tips that you can use right now to save money on shipping costs.
1. Commercial Shipping
You don't need to be a huge business to be able to take advantage of commercial pricing.
I just did a whole video on shipping where I share some great online shipping services that you can use, so check that out if you haven’t yet.
Some popular shipping services are:
These are services that will provide you with discounts on retail shipping rates.
Just like we have retail and wholesale prices for our customers, the USPS and other services offer retail and wholesale prices on their shipping.
Make sure that you're getting the best prices on your shipping rates as possible.
2. Accurate Cost
You want to make sure that you're charging your customers correctly for the packages and this usually involves charging by weight.
There is nothing worse than charging ALL of your customers a flat fee and then finding out that it's actually going to cost you twice as much to get this package to your customer and you lose money.
Make sure that you are charging the correct price.
This may mean that you need to use a weighing scale or machine and some software that weighs your products and charges variable rates.
Don't hesitate to add the cost of the box into your shipping cost.
This is all about charging what it costs you to actually ship.
So how can you ensure you’re charging properly for your packages?
By integrating your shopping cart with your shipping program.
This is called calculated shipping and it allows you to ship by weight and add in the cost of your shipping.
That includes the box, the tape that you use, and rolling all of that together to charge your customers an accurate cost.
This will help you to not lose money on any of the packages that go out your door.
You want to select boxes that actually fit the items that you're shipping.
I know when you're just getting started, it's really tempting to just buy one size of box and pile everything inside, whether it's one item or three items.
But it’s a huge waste of money to fill a giant heavy box with packing peanuts to only ship one small item!
Most box supply centers are selling box sizes in lots of 10 or 25.
It's not uncommon to buy a small, medium, and a large sized box that fit your different products.
If you can get a variety of boxes or mailers, then you are not going to be wasting money by the weight of a box that’s too large.
That’s what I do at Tiny Hands, my jewelry shop. We don’t go crazy buying twenty different sized boxes and mailers.
We know, based on our sales data, what the most common order sizes are. Most people buy one item, or two to three items and we have the appropriate bubble mailers that fit those different scenarios.
4. Buying in Bulk
You just read that most box retailers sell in sizes of 25 or 50, so you want to be buying your packaging in bulk.
I don’t know if you’ve done the price comparison, but buying a box or mailer at your local convenience or office supply store is way more expensive than buying in bulk.
If you buy a mailer one at a time from these places, you are paying two, three, or even four times as much as you would if you bought in bulk from a wholesale company.
The more you streamline your items, the better.
Going back to tip #3, you want to make sure you're looking at your products and doing a little bit of a detail analysis on what size items you need.
Then go ahead and double down and purchase those boxes and mailers in the sizes that you need to ship safely.
If you join my A Sale a Day Program, you're going to be having at least a sale a day! So if you buy 25 boxes, you're going to be through all of those in a month.
Don't hesitate buying 25 boxes in three different sizes. That's really the least of your worries.
This tip isn't literally about the packages, but it's super, super important.
You want to organize your shipping procedure to avoid costly mistakes.
This brings together two points in one.
You want to make sure that you are packaging to avoid breakage.
If you're just taking something and shipping it in a box and it breaks, this is an incredibly costly mistake.
You’d then have to coordinate with the customer and send a replacement product or issue a refund.
We want to avoid both of those issues!
Shipping isn't the place to skimp.
Make sure that your procedures involve packaging your items well.
Cost of Labor
The other component of organizing your shipping procedure is the labor cost.
When I used to do the shipping myself, I used to have a shipping station that had all of my stuff in one place.
Now, my shipping assistant has this.
It has all the boxes, heavy duty packing tape, scissors, the bubble wrap, business cards, everything you might possibly need.
When it's time to pack, it takes us the least amount of time possible because remember:
My time is money and that's a financial cost too!
Tip number six, because you stayed with me till the end.
Depending on what you sell, you may not need to use cardboard boxes.
Boxes are a lot more expensive and heavier to ship than bubble mailers or padded envelopes.
There’s definitely some opportunity here for you to get creative with how to give your product ample protection while being able to take advantage of using bubble mailers instead of boxes.
That, my friends, are my top five tips that will save you money on your shipping.
I hope you’ve found my shipping tips helpful.
If you enjoyed this post, or have any questions leave a comment below.
Don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel for more great tips!