In the age of Amazon, Walmart, and other giant retailers, the quality and speed of your shipping can either make or break your small business. Today, customers demand cheap and fast shipping, and they certainly don’t care if you’re a small or big company. In addition to that, consumers are also looking for transparency in your shipping process, along with having the peace of mind that they can return their items without too much hassle. Getting your shipping process in order can be a daunting experience. The following list includes a couple of things you should take into consideration regarding shipping.

Delivery Options

There’s a reason why there are so many different options for delivery. This is because each carrier offers its clients unique perks. Some may have fixed prices that could keep your numbers accurate, while others may offer” A whatever fits the price.” So, what are your delivery options? The best way to approach this question is to determine the type or types of items you’re going to be shipping. For example, if you’re a company that sells a variety of products ranging from small to large, it is highly recommended for you to explore a mixed mag of delivery options. This is because, as stated above, each carrier provides different perks. It is best to choose your delivery option based on the needs and costs of your product.

Shipping Prices

As you may already be aware, Amazon and other big companies are offering their customers free shipping on most of their items. Understandably, a small business can’t often handle the high cost of offering free shipping to their customers. So, what can you do when shipping prices become an issue? One of the best ways to offer not lower shipping cost to yourself and your customers is to think about the packaging. Shipping prices are determined by the length, width, and height of your package. If it does not damage your product, consider shipping with large padded envelopes rather than large bulky boxes. Another route to take is to seek a flat rate shipping price. USPS offers a USPS Priority Flat Rate that can be utilized to not only set a flat rate but also allow you to keep this number consistent where it won’t mess around with your bottom line. If you offer overseas shipping, you’ll want to make sure you use reliable shipping methods that have a proven track record.

Make Your Mark

One of the biggest advantages you have against the giants of the world, such as Amazon, is that you are able to personalize each package. Most large retailer boxes and even the insides of those packages are rather plain. The name of the company is located on the top, and that’s pretty much it. Take advantage of this opportunity to gain brand loyalty amongst your customers. Write a quick note with your signature on it or add some colorful design to the outside of the box. These personalize packages can truly go a long way to growing your business.

Hiring a Truck Driver

Often times, when companies sell large products such as furniture or televisions, it might be more cost-effective if they hire their very own driver. This can be an incredible benefit for any company because not only are you shipping out on time; you are also in control of the quality of the shipping. However, before you go on hiring the first person that walks through your doors, keep this in mind. Always keep your mind open. Drivers come with all types of experiences and locations. Therefore, it is important to vet on the ability, not experience — the next thing you should understand is that these drivers must receive training. Make sure that the truck driver has the right type of CDL license before hiring them. Training will provide you with the peace of mind that they are driving well, following the rules, and getting your products to customers on time.

Shipping Software

Innovations in technology have allowed companies to cut costs and improve brand loyalty. How does this happen? Utilizing shipping software, you are always aware of the shipping prices and services multiple carriers are offering. In an instant, you know the best service to use in order to keep your customers happy. In addition, these software programs can also continuously update shipping rates in real-time on your website.

Return Shipping

Every company, both small and large, are going to experience returns. The reality is that it is an inevitable part of business. However, how you handle these returns can mean the difference between a strong or struggling business. Offering returns should not be negotiable. When customers purchase your product, they are taking a risk with their money. Having that return policy in place is a great way to provide them with peace of mind. However, it is this very same policy that can help you with returns. If your product is too expensive to return, you could simply offer to replace the item. This will allow you to only pay for one shipping method rather than two. Other items to place in your policy is the length of a return request. You may not want to offer returns after a 30-day period.

Understandably, shipping can be one of the biggest headaches for business leaders. Therefore, is it highly recommended to sit down and go over all the variables that play into your shipping process. Utilize the tips listed above to begin crafting a well-rounded and successful shipping process.

For more ways to improve your small business, read on here!