Shipping Method Options: Finding One that Works for You

shipping methodAs any business owner will tell you, it is important to find a shipping method that works with you efficiently and effectively so that you can spend more time running your business and less time worrying about shipping methods and costs. When I started my own toy manufacturing company in 2008, I was unsure about the best way to ship goods to my customers in a reliable and economically viable manner. I realized that I had a number of options when it came to choosing a shipping method that fit my business plan and budget, and while it’s standard practice for customers to pay the price of shipping on goods sold, it was important to me to keep costs down to maintain positive customer relationships and return sales. I frequently offer shipping discounts or free shipping because it helps maintain a strong client base and encourages transaction frequency.

I’ve found that as a regular online shopper, I generally aim to purchase products from companies that offer free or discounted shipping, and unless the purchase is an urgent one, I tend to shy away from companies that overcharge for shipping. A course like Matthew Ogborne Order and Dave Furness’  Order Management in Magento Plus Payment and Shipping Setup can help small business owners setup their eCommerce shops and offer tips and tricks for getting shipments sent reliably. For businesses that rely primarily on e-commerce, finding a reliable and well-organized shipping approach can help grow your business and save you time so that you can focus on building customer relationships and creating the best possible product for your clients.

The Postal Service

Perhaps one of the most popular methods of shipping goods, the United States Postal Service has been operating under the federal government since the late 1700s. With a number of shipping options, the USPS offers First Class shipping and Express Mail services. For businesses that utilize the United States Postal Service, a payment service like Paypal or eBay allows users to create and print shipping labels, pay for shipping, and create packing slips. Tracking numbers and delivery confirmation are also available through Paypal, eBay, and the USPS, making shipping through the Post Office easier than ever.

If your business doesn’t solely rely on Paypal or eBay, the United States Postal Service offers direct pickup during regular mail delivery hours for services like Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. This service offers fast shipping within just a few business days in most areas, and allows you to focus your energy on your product and customers instead of driving your packages to the post office and waiting in line in order to ship goods. As someone who has run her own business for a number of years, I frequently use the USPS pickup service to save myself the hassle of spending the afternoon at the post office. The USPS also offers reasonable rates for first class, priority, parcel post, and Express mail services, and is available in most areas including rural towns and large cities.

United Parcel Service

UPS as it’s known is one of the largest shipping companies in the world and has built its reputation on being a fast and reliable way to transport goods across the globe.  Started in the early 1900s by James E. Casey, UPS offers a number of dependable shipping options for individuals and businesses. Known for their front door delivery service, UPS provides reasonable worldwide service including same day shipping services, known as Express Critical Shipping as well as next business day services. UPS also offers Ground Shipping that offers 1-5 day shipping services and the ability for users to track their shipment locations and delivery times online.

Sebastian Sulinski’s Shipping Address and Shipping Cost for E-Commerce course offers an in-depth guide to creating the best possible shipping method and calculating costs for your business. Sebastian offers tips for using services like next day delivery and standard delivery too.

Federal Express

Federal Express, or FedEx, is a great shipping method to use to fulfill last-minute shipments and urgent orders. I’ve used the service myself multiple times when customers need something as soon as possible, and I have found the service to be both reliable and hassle-free. FedEx also allows customers to create shipping labels in-house. While often not available in extremely rural areas, FedEx does have a number of drop-off locations worldwide, and offers cross-city delivery for those very busy businesses. FedEx provides services like Priority Overnight and 2Day service as well and offers online tracking services.

Personal In-Town Delivery

If your business is particularly small, it is essential to maintain positive relationships with your customers. If I have a customer who is within a 30-minute drive of my workplace, I offer free in-town delivery. This service can make an enormous impact on your relationships with your clientele and helps to build your community and extend your customer reach. My husband, who has a number of small businesses himself, including a furniture company, often hand delivers custom made pieces within 250 miles of his studio. He often charges a small fee for these deliveries, but has had an enormous number of reorders and recommendations from these clients in particular. I believe this is because he has taken the time and energy to listen to his customers’ needs and provide them with the best possible shipping method and stellar customer service. It allows him to get to know his clients and become more than just a face-less brand. This personal touch can go a long way in the development and growth of your business. Webucator Training offers an excellent course on Customer Service Training that also offers a number of excellent strategies like this one to help you gain and maintain your customer base.

Finding the best shipping method for your business can help grow a small business and can help increase customer sales. Whether you’re just learning the ins and outs of running and starting a small business, or whether you’re just thinking about starting your own business, John Spence’s Small Business Success can push you toward the right methods, including the best shipping options for your company. Shipping methods like the USPS, UPS, and FedEx offer a number of excellent shipping options including Next Day services. For your small business, it is imperative that you utilize the best possible shipping method to fit your company’s needs.