When shopping online, customers expect fast shipping — and options at different price points that best fit their needs. In a majority of cases, shipping costs can be a deciding factor for online orders. A recent study by Statista shows that 63% of consumers abandon their shopping carts when shipping rates are too high.
The eCommerce industry is experiencing explosive growth, with online shopping market size predicted to hit 4 trillion in 2020. Taking a closer look at the US, there’s expected to be 300 million online shoppers in 2021 — meaning that 91% of the country’s population will be shopping online. And it’s a two-way street. Merchants are providing more service than ever, with Big Box stores shipping to 116 different countries in 2019.
But among all this growth, there is one factor slowing it: The high cost of shipping. Luckily, there are ways that retailers can get discounted shipping rates, which is simply a win-win. In this article, we’ll explore the different ways retailers can offer discounted shipping rates, whether it’s through a discount courier service, negotiations with carriers, shipping partners or hybrid solutions. Of course, working with a consolidator like Easyship simplifies the process, as we’ll go to bat with couriers on your behalf to get you the best deals possible.
Shipping Discounts by Courier
When it comes to shipping, you may get sticker shock at the price — especially if you’re a small business owner scaling up and shipping multiple orders each month. But a commonly known trick of the trade is that many of the big-name carriers are willing to negotiate discounts with clients who do a great deal of business with them. Below, we’ll explore options from three commonly used carriers.
- UPS: UPS offers steep discounts through its Commercial Base prices. If you ship between 200-500 pieces a month, you could qualify for between 5-40% off of normal rates.
- DHL: DHL also caters to SMBs through the DHL Express program for small business solutions. They entice merchants with a a discount on their first shipment and 30% discounted shipping rates going forward.
- FedEx: The FedEx Advantage Program bases discounts on business’s activity over a 52 week period. Then, an annual discount is applied to the account. The discount can range from 5-32% off of the listed price.
Another option is to work with a consolidator to determine how to get cheaper shipping rates instead of going directly to the couriers. There are many benefits of working with a third-party consolidator, like Easyship. We will help you suss out discounted shipping rates that don’t compromise on speed or customer service. Here’s how it’s done.
- Find shipping partners: USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL are great and certainly get the job done. But in logistics, there’s no rule that you have to choose one carrier and stick with them. It’s all about mixing and matching. When considering what carriers to add to your arsenal, ask yourself some questions about your goods including: whether or not you typically send large or small packages, if you need to ship globally and how fast your packages need to be delivered. This will give you intel on what the right service is for you before you begin negotiations for discounted shipping rates.
- Get discounts: Discount shipping is the reason for the season. And the discounts can add up big time. So before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve explored all your options and gotten the best price possible. Consolidators, like Easyship, often have pre-negotiated rates with couriers for everyone’s ease.
- Prepaid Labels: Another way to save is by stocking up on prepaid packages and labels. While you’re at it, you should stock up on labels for returns, too — as they’re a natural part of the eCommerce life cycle. Small businesses can take advantage of automated shipping platforms and leverage the volume they ship to access discounted rates.
Choosing Shipping Partners
The shipping partners you choose play a significant role in the rates you pay. Here are a few factors to consider when you’re looking into how to get cheaper shipping rates.
You have two courier options to consider: express and postal. With postal couriers you solely pay for shipping costs. That said, the speed of their services are slow and the service quality is low. But express couriers provide faster with enhanced tracking services for a higher cost. These costs can be broken down into three subcategories:
- Shipping surcharges: It’s all about the fine print. There are additional surcharges related to the pickup location, the delivery destination, and the delivery hours. Express couriers will also charge a fuel surcharge, which is a percentage of the shipping costs and varies regularly depending on the country. There are also additional charges for off-hours delivery, weekend delivery and returns or missed deliveries.
- Parcel handling charges: This charge is related to the items themselves, the containers they’re in, their weight and the parcel’s dimension. The material a container is made of can also lead to additional charges. Additionally, ”dangerous goods,” like the lithium batteries in laptops, cost extra to ship.
- Taxes and duties: Shipping internationally means the sender or the recipient will have to pay for taxes and duties. There are two kinds of duties: DDU and DDP. With DDU Shipments (Delivery Duty Unpaid) the recipient is responsible for paying the taxes and the duties. If this is not communicated clearly by the seller and paid quickly by the recipient, their items can languish in customs. With DDP shipments (Delivery Duty Paid), the seller will pay the taxes and the duties. Typically, in this case, the seller will include these fees at checkout to prevent any holdup.
While some businesses build their reputations off of speedy two-day shipping, others find that standard, long-tail shipping works just as well. In this case it’s all about choice. Not everyone wants their packages to arrive overnight, despite what you might think. Instead, most consumers value choice — whether it’s the choice to pay extra for expedited shipping or save a few books for what feels like a discounted alternative by going standard. By giving the customer agency to decide the speedy and, in turn, the price, you just might be building a lasting, trusting relationship with them.
Your relationship with your customers does not end at checkout. The post-purchase experience is all abou meeting and exceeding expectations. When you look at couriers consider how they handle returns, lost packages, tracking and mistakes. You can see how they’ll handle similar issues in the future by seeing what they’ve done when faced with them in the past.
By using a third-party shipping partner, you may be able to access hybrid shipping solutions that are very cost-effective for international shipping. You can use a shipping partner, like Easyship, to get discounted shipping rates, global fulfillment solutions, shipping labels and integrated checkouts for eCommerce businesses of all sizes.
Shipping Discounts By Country
Easyship negotiates discounts with major couriers so you don’t have to. That way you can spend your valuable time working on business strategy and marketing instead of on the phone. With Easyship, you can also link your own discounted FedEx, DHL or UPS account
- Savings up to 13% with Priority Mail Express
- Savings up to 40% with Priority Mail
- Savings up to 40% with First Class Mail
- Up to 5% off International First Class, Priority Mail, and Priority Mail Express
- Savings up to 40% with DHL Express
- Save up to 20% off retail Hermes rates
- Save up to 40% off DPD rates
- Save up to 22% off Canada Post rates
How to Get Cheaper Shipping Rates for Your eCommerce Store
Shipping rates increase
Supply and demand applies here, too. As eCommerce continues to boom, there will be a greater need for shipping globally. Plus, as things like tariffs, taxes and embargos fluctuate, so, too, do shipping rates. Discounts will help to make these shipping rates easier to swallow.
Flat rate shipping no longer is top dog. As a lighter package takes up less space and, therefore, uses less fuel, it may not make sense to use a flat rate box, economically speaking.
Fees increase with service improvements
Innovation comes at a price. One way to get discounted shipping is to go with the bare bones service. But if you want to delight your customers and keep them informed about their order’s status with up-to-date tracking info, you'll have to pay a price. Other factors that are recommended when shipping high-cost goods, like package insurance and signature upon delivery, can up the cost of your delivery while also improving the customer experience.
Free shipping has been normalized
Customers have come to expect free shipping — which is a problem for SMBs, as it’s not cost sustainable. Don’t believe us? The proof is in the pudding. A recent BigCommerce survey of 3,000 people found that 80% of respondents had made a recent purchase because free shipping was offered. That’s why negotiating discount shipping rates is so essential to your business strategy as an eCommerce retailer. It gives smaller businesses a chance to compete with the giants, like Amazon.
How Easyship Helps Save eCommerce Stores Save Money on Shipping
Shipping is a critical function of your eCommerce strategy. But if you're not careful, the associated costs can eat into your budget quickly. Navigate the system wisely be negotiating deals and finding the best shipping partner for your needs. Using a third-party shipping platform like Easyship can help you by leveraging their shipping volume to access discount shipping rates. In addition to doing the heavy negotiating lifting for you, Easyship also provides extra touches like a customizable tracking page for your website, branded packing slips and labels for the best possible post-purchase experience.
Sign up for a free Easyship account today to get started.
If you found this article informative, you might enjoy the following: