All fulfillment operations use parcel carriers, making it hard to maintain strict control over shipping costs for eCommerce. When capacity is low and demand high, carriers raise prices per market trends.
Unfortunately, there’s very little shippers can do when parcel carriers decide to raise their rates, making it challenging to keep the shipping budget reasonable while still meeting consumer demands for fast and efficient delivery.
eCommerce fulfillment operations must focus on the factors within their control to offset uncontrollable carrier rate hikes. Read on to learn more about what you can do on the warehouse side to offset rising shipping costs for eCommerce.
Right-size Your Shipping Boxes
Most of us have bought something small online, only for the product to show up two days later, rattling around in a shipping box that was far too large and mostly full of air or packing material. Because of dimensional (DIM) weight pricing used by parcel carriers, failing to right-size your shipping boxes has a substantial impact on shipping costs for eCommerce fulfillment centers. While your warehouse should buy boxes in bulk to keep costs down, it’s essential to purchase a broad selection to ensure a close fit for every product that requires one.
Think Outside the Box
Not every item sold needs to ship in a box. Using polybags instead of boxes can generate six-figure savings, helping to offset rising shipping costs for eCommerce. As long as the shipped item is strong enough on its own or has durable enough retail packaging to tolerate rough handling during transit, a polybag offers an excellent way for shippers to trim parcel shipping costs.
Ship the Shortest Possible Distance
The further you ship a parcel, the more the carrier will charge to get it there. The logistics sector relies on several strategies to mitigate the costs associated with long-distance shipping, such as:
- Multiple fulfillment centers. Establishing multiple eCommerce fulfillment locations near your primary markets will help to reduce your shipping distances dramatically.
- Use ALL your inventory. For omnichannel operations, consider shipping from stores when you have inventory available close to the customer to minimize the shipping costs for eCommerce orders.
- Take advantage of flat rate shipping. The USPS provides flat rate boxes under an “if it fits, it ships” policy. If your order fits in one of these boxes, it may save you money on a long-distance shipment. As a bonus, USPS provides the physical flat rate boxes for free.
Don’t Be an Accessory to Your High Shipping Bills
Those extra service fees that show up on your parcel carrier invoices are called accessorial fees. Accessorial fees get charged when the carrier feels it had to do something above and beyond the original scope of the parcel shipping fee, such as delivering on the weekend or making multiple delivery attempts for one parcel. Most parcel carriers have a list of more than 100 potential accessorial charges, making them difficult to plan for when trying to stay within a shipping budget.
While fulfillment operations will never completely rid themselves of accessorial fees, it’s possible to minimize them through careful practices. Here are some tips for avoiding unexpected accessorial charges:
- Employ technology to make sure you pay for proper package weight/DIM weight upfront
- Be sure to print labels, barcodes, and addresses clearly
- Audit invoices regularly to verify the accuracy of any acquired accessorial charges
- Keep good digital shipment records to help you challenge unexpected service fees
- Monitor your shipping history for frequent incidences of the same accessorial charges so you can take steps to mitigate them
Reduce Your Shipping Costs for eCommerce With Amware Fulfillment
Amware Fulfillment leverages high shipping volumes with parcel carriers, allowing us to negotiate lower eCommerce shipping rates on behalf of our customers. Using our national network of fulfillment centers and highly trained order fulfillment associates, we will employ measures to lower shipping expenses at every step of your order fulfillment process. Please contact us to see how we can help you get your eCommerce shipping costs under control.