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Shipping is something every eCommerce business has to deal with irrespective of its size. Hence it is unavoidable, but what if you are charging high on your shipping? Your customers tend to drop shopping or abandon the cart immediately when shipping rates are displayed. So in order to retain your potential customer or not to lose the customers, you need to work on how to reduce the shipping cost for your store. Most of the store owners are worried about the methods of calculating accurate shipping rates.
How to Optimize Shipping Rates to Reduce the Shipping Cost?
Making the shipping experience better for your customers is an excellent marketing goal to earn more potential customers. Free shipping is indeed an ideal tool to attract customers. But free shipping is not feasible all the time. You can also go for flat-rate options where you can charge a minimum amount for domestic shipping. You need to derive proper shipping plans that are feasible for all kinds of customers.
Reasons for the increase in the shipping rates
There are several reasons why shipping rates are high. Few of them are because of the overhead expenses due to last-mile shipping, the pricing upon the packaging or it might be the insurance charged on the shipping. Here are some other factors, that cause a gradual increase in the shipping rates, they are :
- How quickly you want the orders to be delivered- Most of the shoppers want the orders to be delivered quickly. This is one such factor where the price increases predominantly. In order to provide faster delivery, the shop owners need to adapt to faster shipping, which is also of a higher price.
- Origin of the merchandise and the location to which it is shipped – A great deal of amount is levied upon the shipping due to distance.
- Weight and dimension of the package- When you want to efficiently pack your items, you end with higher costs. Even shipping them will cost you more. This is why most companies are resorting to packing as per utility and not adding up the cost with unnecessary packing.
- Special handling and other charges like insurance etc.– You might end up in additional charges for pickup, insurance, etc. The pickup costs incurred will be upon the charges for picking the package from the warehouse etc, which is also unavoidable in certain circumstances. Insurance is also yet another charge incurred which is inescapable. Some third-party insurance costs you a lot while shipping.
- The choice of shipping carriers- Even though there are several shipping carriers available to ship your products, choosing the right one that suits your need, your delivery expanse, the cost, etc. should be chosen.
When the shipping prices are shown higher than what the customers expect, they tend to abandon the cart. This leads to lower conversion rates and loss of revenue. This is why most of the store owners are thinking up their own smart strategies to work on their shipping rates and to reduce the same.
Strategies to Reduce Shipping Cost
Here are a few strategies to work on, which will give you a gradual success in reducing the shipping cost-effectively.
#1. Choose the best and reliable career to the location which you do business with.
Distance is a significant factor that causes an increase in the shipping cost. When you calculate the distance from the origin to the destination of the product, you might see that the cost varies exponentially. In order to reduce the shipping cost incurred upon shipping due to distance, you can choose relatively lower cost shipping carriers like USPS, which can ship the products to larger areas across the US at a cheaper cost. Like when you use the FedEx Smart Post and UPS Sure Post, you can, not only efficiently use the FedEx and UPS services but also entail the USPS post services to make the last mile delivery at a lower cost. You can also separate the locations zone-wise to chart the prices. The further the zone, the higher will be the price, which can be even reduced to a minimum rate by making use of multiple fulfillment options using other shipping carriers like USPS.
#2. Instead of depending on Flat rates, rely on real-time rates directly from the carrier using their APIs and present it to the customer.
WooCommerce offers certain shipping options like flat rate, local pickup, and Free shipping. But it need not be a feasible option all the time. Offering rates upon some random calculation is not a good option all the time when you are shipping. The shipping rates need to be calculated accurately on the basis of the package weight and dimension, the destination, as well as the packaging material. To calculate shipping precisely, and to make the selling of the products easier, it is better to offer live shipping rates from various popular shipping carriers. In order to do the same, you can make use of the shipping carrier API to integrate on your WooCommerce store. To facilitate the same, you can make use of the popular shipping plugins that will ease the job. With the integration, you can show live shipping rates on your cart and checkout page and present the same to customers.
#3. Give multiple eligible shipping options to customers and let them choose the normal and express deliveries fit for them.
Whenever you choose the shipping options provided, you are listed with a variety of options which are domestic and international, as well as express delivery options and normal delivery options. When you are in an urgency, then you can choose for quicker delivery options offered by the shipping carriers. Like the USPS Priority Express delivery, UPS Express Critical, FedEx First Overnight, etc. let you ship the products and reach the destination overnight or on the same day itself.
Making use of one single carrier for shipping is not a feasible solution. It might lead to unnecessary surcharges when it comes to last-mile delivery, which is again an added cost to the shipping. You can make use of the local delivery units or USPS, which covers a large expanse in the US. When you have to deliver to small unit areas, you can use the local shipping carriers, who are mostly limited to ship to the smaller areas. By partnering with them you can reduce the cost of shipping, as they offer the same kind of service like popular shipping carriers, limited to a smaller geographical region. FedEx SmartPost and UPS SurePost etc make use of USPS for their last-mile delivery to save the extra costs that are incurred for the same.
#4. Present Estimated Delivery Date to make Customers understand how these shipping options benefit them.
Leaving your customers at the point of anxiety while shipping is concerned is not an ideal way to entertain your customers. Providing the ideal estimated delivery date while the customers are placing the order is important to reduce the dismay in customers. Most of the shipping carriers are offering the ideal way to enable the display of estimated delivery dates which can be easily configured using the WooCommerce shipping plugins.
Once you enable the same in the plugin, you can see the estimated delivery date on the cart and checkout pages.
#5. Let customers pay the exact amount at the time of checkout
Most of the shopping sites sometimes do not provide the exact amount while checkout, like at times they do not display the shipping charges which will be included in the final amount. Using the WordPress Shipping plugins like the ELEX Shipping plugins you can easily provide the accurate shipping charges on the cart and the checkout pages without much hassle. Moreover, if you want to apply certain price discounts upon the shipping using the pricing plugin, you can do the same accurately.Like for example using the ELEX Dynamic pricing plugin, you can simply apply discounts on shipping methods, not only the WooCommerce basic methods but also the external third party shipping methods easily.
You can use this kind of shipping method based discount to let the customers choose the best shipping options that are economical.
#6. Automatically pack the items in the cart using various packaging algorithms to optimize shipping costs.
Packing is an important factor to consider while shipping. If you are not careful while packing you might incur double charges. You can also make use of the free flat-rate boxes from USPS or other shipping carriers to pack efficiently in a cost-effective manner. You can also make use of the proper algorithms like volume-based packing or stack-based algorithms to facilitate efficient packing. In this way, you can ensure you provide an economical way of packing to reduce the shipping costs.
To incorporate the same in your store, either you can manually calculate the packing methods or even make use of shipping plugins, that will help to derive a rightful packing method for shipping. These plugins not only help to incorporate the shipping carrier to your store but also helps you generate shipping labels, as well as provide an easy order tracking solution right from your store.
In the WooCommerce shipping plugins, you can consider choosing what kind of packing can be implemented. In the ELEX shipping plugins, you get to choose basically three types of packaging options.
For example, while using ELEX plugins, you can either choose to pack the items individually or pack based on the weight and dimensions in which you can even provide custom boxes and even go for packing the heavier items first. You can choose the packing algorithm that suits your business needs.
#7. Eliminate chances of returns because of incorrect address by proper address validation.
Nowadays businesses are under serious pressure to offer prompt deliveries and also manage returns and payments effectively. In order to ensure that the customers provide an accurate address while entering, you can make use of the address validation plugin for WooCommerce. Using the plugin, you can help the customers validate the address entered. In this way, you eliminate the chances of returns or order delivery because of incorrect addresses. The plugin also lets you auto-populate the address using the Google Autocomplete option.
#8. Eliminate the chances of manual work by Automatically fetching the address & order details from the Order page and Printing the Label
In order to fulfill the order, the main step is to get the labels printed. Most of the shop owners need to login to the shipping carrier’s website and then get the details filled in to generate the label and then get it printed. Using the WooCommerce shipping plugins, you can eliminate the chances of manual effort, by automatically fetching the address and other order details from the order page and then printing the label.
The plugin lets you print the label directly from the dashboard and also provide the tracking details from the corresponding shipping carrier.
#9. Print the label with postage and schedule pickup with few clicks to save time and money
Shipping labels are an important factor in shipping. To generate the same without any errors, you can integrate the WooCommerce shipping plugins, to your store and then obtain the labels from the order page itself. If you are keen to schedule a pickup request then, you can do the same from your WooCommerce store, itself using the plugin. Most of the shipping carriers like DHL, UPS, etc allow scheduling a pickup from a pickup joint on a certain date for ease of the store owner.
The plugin allows you to place a parcel pickup request to the shipping carriers while creating shipments. You can specify the desired pickup day, time, and contact details on doing the same. After successfully placing the pickup request, the store owner will get a unique booking number which can be used while picking up the order.
Upon generating a pickup, you get a confirmation number with the next possible pickup date.
#10. Generate return labels and send them to the customer to eliminate any possibility of errors.
In order to ensure your package returns are done rightly, you need to make sure that you receive the orders back safely. What needs to be done, is you need to provide the right shipping address, even when it is a return shipment. Popular eCommerce like Amazon offers to pick up from the destination and then ensure that they label it right to reach the original sender without any damage. You can do the same by ensuring you let the customer place the return label with the right amount of quantity of items to be returned on the package. This also can be done without any errors using the WooCommerce shipping plugin add-ons which lets you generate return labels and then affix the same on the orders.
Using the plugin, the return label can be easily printed from the order page itself, hence eliminating the errors occurring due to the address fetching. The plugin will automatically fetch the addresses and then facilitate printing labels efficiently.
#11. Track the shipment in detail within the admin and customer order page itself to reduce multiple calls from Customers on the status of the shipment.
Tracking plays a vital role in enhancing customer satisfaction. Whenever a customer is provided the details of the order in transit, the shop owner gains much more confidence from the customer for being transparent. Using the WooCommerce shipping plugins, you can simply track the order while in transit both from the admin side as well as the customer order page. This not only enhances customer relations but also reduces the numerous calls that the customer had to make to get the updates on the order status.
#12. Eliminate recurring charges and time delays while syncing by using SaaS solutions. Obtain more control over your shipping data.
You can always opt for SaaS-based solutions or non-SaaS based solutions for your store, When you are using the SaaS-based solutions, then you are going to incur recurring charges as well as time delays when you are syncing your store with the SaaS application. You can eliminate the same, by using non-SaaS based WooCommerce shipping plugins on your store.
#13. Insure with Third parties
The best way to reduce shipping costs is by cutting away unwanted costs incurred on the shipping. Shipping insurance is one such cost that is incurred for most of the shipping. To save the same, you can opt for third party insurance like Shipsurance, which can offer you shipping insurance at a feasible rate and is easy to claim. The charges may differ a lot when considering using third-party insurance compared to the individual insurance offered by the shipping carriers.
To Wrap up
Finding out ways to reduce the shipping cost, will in turn increase your profit and keep your customers happy and satisfied. In the above article, we have browsed through some of the major reasons as well as solutions for the same.