WRJC 2011
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How to Reduce Shipping Cost when Running an Online Store

Shipping may be difficult and costly for any product-based business. In the never-ending quest for higher profit margins, shipping is often neglected as a way to cut expenses and increase revenues. Listed below are a few basic strategies to lower overall transportation expenses.


Survey Multiple Carrier Rates

It’s best to shop around and negotiate quotes with multiple shipping service providers to find the best rates. Most shipping businesses base their rates on cargo volume, and the discount increases with volume. Hence, if you have a large volume of shipments, a shipping business that deals with bulk orders would be wise to work with. 

Checking the shipping prices supplied by the e-commerce platform where you sell is also a good idea. Shoplazza and Shopify allow you set up different shipment fees for various destinations. Bulk orders often get free shipping in e-commerce marketplaces. They also provide helpful features like shipping apps and fulfillment software integrations, so you can pick the ones that give you the best pricing and services.


Package Weights

The heavier the package, the more it weighs. This is true unless you choose a flat-rate shipping option. If you run a small business, a postage scale is a sensible investment to print and mail your labels from home. So you can weigh your packages ahead of time and anticipate your costs.

Aside from weight, the size of your packages affects shipping prices. Check that you aren’t using large boxes for tiny products. Larger packs have a higher dimensional weight, which raises transportation costs.

Changing the packaging material can lower the weight and size of your boxes. Corrugated boxes are widely used for shipping. These boxes have microscopic air channels between the inner and outer layers, whereas normal cardboard boxes do not. They are lighter and stronger than cardboard crates.

Use lightweight packing materials like bubble wrap, air pillows, and foam inserts to reduce package weight. These materials assist in packing fragile products tightly together, minimizing box size.

Some businesses employ custom-made boxes for specific items. This saves packing material because the package should match the goods. If you ship a lot, the cost of custom packaging boxes may offset your shipping charges.


Prepaid Shipping

Prepaid shipping is a good alternative if you frequently ship purchases of the same weight and size. Prepaid shipping involves pre-purchasing several shipping labels from carriers like UPS or FedEx and applying them to boxes as needed. These firms offer a discount for paying in advance. This saves money over buying new labels for each shipment.

Prepaid shipping might save you up to 20% on ordinary shipping expenses in the US.


Using Carrier Packaging

Using your carrier’s packaging can help you save money on shipping. Shipping companies like FedEx and DHL offer small and medium businesses cheap or free packaging. Other carriers, like USPS, provide complimentary packaging with certain letter classes.

Some of these carriers also offer reduced bubble wrap and air cushions. Using your own company’s packaging to promote your brand has a cost. Using your own boxes is charged by carriers like UPS. This money, especially for small enterprises, could be better spent elsewhere.


3rd-Party Insurance

Shipping insurance is an extra expense that can eat into e-commerce profitability. This is especially true for valuables. Most e-commerce businesses choose their carrier’s insurance. Using a third-party insurance provider is often cheaper. In rare circumstances, the difference is up to 50%.

Customer support is usually proactive, so you may expect a quick response to any questions or concerns.



The truth is that when it comes to reducing shipping costs when running an online store, multiple strategies need to be implemented. Today, we have mentioned the five simple ways to reduce shipping costs when running an online store. Now that you’re aware of what needs to be done, employ these basic strategies to ensure higher profitability!


(Contributed by Ibrahim Imran & Hermes Fang)