Did you know that over 60% of shoppers abandon their online purchases? Concerns over shipping costs and options rank as the leading reason for this abandonment, second only to customers who were only looking in the first place.
Convert those lost sales into usable revenue with help from this article and learn our top eCommerce shipping solutions for your small business, whether you’re delivering within the UK or further afield. Discover:
- Shipping solutions for domestic and international deliveries
- Which shipping providers do your customers like?
- Ways to reduce your shipping costs
- Manage your accounting more efficiently with Countingup
Shipping solutions for domestic and international deliveries
If your small business operates a factory or production facility within the UK and you’d like to deliver domestically, you can enjoy a somewhat simplified solution. However, international delivery can be straightforward too depending on what you’re selling.
Some major delivery providers operating within the UK include (in no particular order) Royal Mail, DPD, Hermes, DLH, Parcelforce, and Yodel who each offer typical delivery services like guaranteed same or next day delivery, tracking services, parcel insurance and more. Fortunately, each provider also offers global shipping networks meaning that you can grow your business with international sales just as easily if they were down the road from you in the UK.
However, each provider offers slightly different shipping solutions for small business, with some catering to some businesses with infrequent or less intensive delivery needs better than others. In particular, each provider operates a different pricing structure for business deliveries and minimum weekly delivery requirements. This is a common problem for small businesses as you need to grow to a certain size in order to take advantage of business pricing but need to have the customer demand to access it in the first place.
For this reason, you’ll need to do some research in order to determine which provider is best suited to your business’ current stage and future growth. For example, you may opt for one provider, then grow to qualify for another’s business account and receive cheaper delivery or better pick-up offers. In which case, you may be better off switching providers.
Finally, if you’re shipping goods internationally, you may need to secure customs clearances or apply price increases to cover import tariffs. Find out more about international delivery from the UK government website.
If you run a dropshipping business or work with a fulfilment centre
Your shipping options will be slightly different if you operate a dropshipping business or work with a fulfilment centre (a type or warehouse operator that stocks and ships products for businesses operating in multiple locations). This is because your products are already set up within an established chain of logistics.
Whether you’re ordering wholesale from your dropshipping provider or stocking a fulfilment centre, these businesses will already likely have a shipping solution set up in their local area. Fortunately, as larger businesses, their pricing and logistics will likely already be favourable. And so, you’ll need to consider how your products are shipped before you begin working with these businesses, as you may not have much say afterwards once you sign up with them.
Which shipping providers do your customers like?
Even if you’ve found a cheap shipping supplier with favourable pick-up slots, parcel insurance, and fast delivery, what will your customers think about the delivery service?
Unless you’re driving to deliver your goods personally, working with another business to provide products to customers means your business’ brand is vulnerable to someone else’s actions. This is why it’s important to factor in customer perception and performance of your company on top of price and logistical considerations.
Consumer advocacy publisher Which? surveyed delivery company performance across three different metrics across 2020 and found that no one business performed consistently well across each measurement. While DPD was ranked best in offering flexibility to customers, Royal Mail was found to provide the best hiding spaces for parcels if customers weren’t available at the time of delivery. And so, as you’re researching a delivery company, make sure they work as well for you as they do your customers.
Ways to reduce your shipping costs
Consumers are very sensitive to delivery prices and in an age of free shipping offers, small businesses need to be savvy about how they offer delivery to customers. One way is to reduce your costs altogether so both you and your customers save. Below are some of our top tips:
- Reduce your weight: delivery prices are calculated based on parcel weight so consider using corrugated boxes or repurposed/recycled plastic padding to save on weight and custom packaging to cut down on wasted space.
- Change suppliers if one offers a better deal: you have options so make sure to regularly review your operations and expenses to save money.
- Take advantage of flat pricing rates: your main aim is to grow your business so, while you may slightly overpay on smaller orders, you’ll save on larger ones. As your business grows, this will become even less of a problem. Similarly, flat rates can help your budget become clearer since costs are fixed.
- Buy shipping suppliers in bulk: even though it might seem ridiculous to take your per-envelope cost down by one pence, it adds up. Find ways to order necessary business expenses in bulk and save over time.
Manage your accounting more efficiently with Countingup
Whether you’re looking to find a shipping company that works for you or handle the complicated task of customer returns, you’ll need time and effort at the ready to grow your business. Join the thousands of other UK business owners using the Countingup app to save time on their financial admin and focus on meeting your entrepreneurial challenges.
Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app: it automates time-consuming bookkeeping admin for self-employed people across the UK.
With automatic expense categorisation, receipt capture tools and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances and save yourself hours of accounting admin, so you can focus on doing what you do best. Find out more here.