The global shipping industry caters for about 90% of transportation in world trade. Business shipping is the backbone of the global economy. Without it, it wouldn’t be possible to have intercontinental trade.
Transporting the bulk of raw materials or importing and exporting affordable manufactured goods would also be curtailed.
As seaborne trade continues to grow, consumers across the world are benefiting from competitive freight costs. The growing efficiency in business shipping has led to economic liberalization. There are prospects that the industry will further continue to be strong.
What are the practices and guidelines that contribute to business shipping efficiency? Let’s have a more in-depth look.
Business Shipping Basics
There are basic factors that set the foundation for a shipping carrier. It can be difficult for clients to choose the best shipping carrier if they don’t know the basic shipping standards. A good place to start is by doing research to find out what reliable shipping companies offer.
Here are some factors to consider in relation to business shipping.
1. Shipping Volumes
Fully established business shipping companies handle hundreds of packages every week. Those starting out may only handle a few packages monthly. No matter the frequency of shipping by customers, companies should be able to provide a variety of business plans.
This will cater for regular clients, as well as those who ship their packages days or months apart.
Companies should know the average weight of the packages they ship. Unless they use a flat-rate box, the weight of packages largely affects the shipping prices. For small business shipping, it’s highly recommendable to have a standard postal scale.
This way, it’s easier to give cost estimates to your clients, without them having to weigh their packages elsewhere.
3. Shipping Rates and Methods
For companies to succeed in shipping products, they must create a pricing strategy. There are several options to consider. However, the choices must be informed by the underlying financial situation of your business.
One of the best ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment is to offer free shipping. Unfortunately, shipping can never be entirely free as someone has to pay for it. Companies that offer free shipping usually have a few options to cover the costs:
- They can increase the product prices to cover shipping
- They meet the cost out of their margins
- Cover partial shipping costs
- Offer discount codes to some customers for free shipping
Another approach is to offer free shipping on a minimum order amount. This strategy is effective in helping increase the average order size. However, the company still pays for the costs out of the margins.
Charging Real-Time Carrier Rates
Real-time carrier rates allow customers to choose the service they want and pay for it. The option generates live pricing rates from among the available carriers associated with the e-commerce platform.
Applying a Flat Rate
With this option, companies should strive not to under or overcharge their customers. The flat rate option works best for companies that handle a fairly standard product line. The products have almost similar sizes and weights.
It can be complicated to apply a flat rate for packages of varying sizes, with different destinations for delivery.
How to Calculate Shipping Costs
All shipping companies calculate their rates considering a number of factors. These include
- The weight of the package
- Package size
- Country of origin
- Destination country
- Tracking and insurance
Comparison of different service providers can be challenging since they all have slightly varying options. Each company wants to have unique variables that make it stand out of the competition.
Any shipping company in business is in it to make profits. Success calls for keeping an eye at the profit margins. Shipping is associated with significant expenses for e-commerce merchants. Failure to do research and proper calculations could lead to losses.
Before finalizing the pricing strategy, it’s crucial to consider all the costs incurred in delivering the product. The little costs can add up to huge figures in the long run.
4. Packaging and Marketing
The world of e-commerce is developing to meet the needs of online shoppers. In days gone, packaging and shipping were just part of the purchasing process. Today, the way a product is packaged and marketed influences a client’s buying decision.
This places a new demand for courier companies. For them to compete effectively, they must go above the expectations of their clients by providing excellent packaging. Customers want more than just a product delivered to them and look forward to having an experience.
Packaging and presentation are one of the ways that companies can use to set themselves apart. Sealed factory bags are standard packaging materials. Going beyond the norm to make an exceptional impression on customers is the way to go.
5. Insurance and Tracking
Customers ship valuable products through courier services. It’s only prudent that the companies have insurance and tracking for the packages. Insurance and tracking are relatively inexpensive, yet provides recourse should any of the packages get damaged.
Shipping companies know that they can’t risk handling big-ticket items without insurance. In the rare case that the packages get lost, the company is covered. The cost of insurance is usually covered in the shipping costs.
6. Customs Declaration and Forms
Packages shipped outside the country of origin must be accompanied by customs documentation. These are available at the local post office or shipping retail location. They indicate what’s in the package, its costs, and whether its merchandise or a gift.
The forms must be completed truthfully and clearly to avoid hitches in customs.
Other essential guidelines include
- Package labeling
- Business accounts
- Taxes, duties, and tariffs
For shipping companies to thrive, they must understand these variables. They also must evolve their shipping strategy.
Companies involved in business shipping must follow a set of guidelines to succeed. The process is more than just about receiving and delivering packages. A lot is involved in the process and companies must think about their overall strategy.
Specifically, they must consider their pricing strategy, insurance and tracking, packaging and marketing, and volumes. Shipping rates and volumes also determine how much their clients can trust them to handle.
Most importantly, it’s crucial to be registered and to comply with customs requirements. All these factors don’t come easy, and a company must plan keenly to compete effectively.