From selling online via platforms or your own e-commerce site, there is always online shipping fees involved and a need to reduce online  shipping costs so your profits stay strong and your sales stay steady.

Whether you use a general purpose auction and selling site like eBay or something more specialized, like Shopify, posting your unwanted items or your inventory online and opening them up to the world is the best way to get a fair price.

When your only goal is to sell your outdated clothes and clear out the toys your kids no longer play with, shipping costs may not be much of a concern. You can simply pass the shipping costs on to the buyers and enjoy a clutter-free home and a fatter wallet. But if you hope to transform your online selling into a business, you will need to think a bit more strategically to reduce your shipping costs.

Whether its products you sell via platforms, or Fulfillment by Amazon, or a self hosted solution – like WooCommerce – to satisfy your customers reducing shipping is paramount.

Keeping shipping costs low is a vital part of running a successful online selling enterprise. It does not matter if your online company is large or small – modern buyers expect low cost and even free shipping.

When you want to attract the most customers, offering free shipping is a smart move, but keep in mind that the shipping costs you incur will be coming directly out of your profits.

If you want to make money online and build a successful selling business, you need to look for ways to lower your shipping costs. Whether you are offering free shipping or passing the costs on to your buyers, keeping shipping costs as low as possible is good for business.

Here are five smart ways to reduce online shipping costs and better serve your customers:

1. Lighten up your packing materials

You need to protect your delicate items in transit, but not all protective materials are the same.

To reduce online shipping costs, look for lightweight protective materials like air pillows and bubble wrap; the less your package weighs, the less it will cost to ship. It always to pays to choose the right product packaging to fit your brand, which includes the packing material.

2. Make the most of flat-rate online shipping

All major logistics businesses now offer some form of flat-rate shipping for companies, and that can save you a lot of money.

Shipping your heavier items using the flat-rate option could save you a lot, so research your options and make the economical choice that fits with your quoted shipping speed remains one of the smarter ways to reduce your online shipping cost the most.

3. Do not be afraid to negotiate

shipping negotiations

Even if your store parcel volume is on the low side, you may be able to negotiate terms and rates with your shipper to reduce shipping costs for your ecommerce order fulfillment.

Competition between shipping vendors has never been greater, and that is good news for you and your negotiating power. With that said, not all shippers are created equal, so make sure the fulfillment company you choose to work with can meet the customer service expectations you require as you save on shipping.

4. Buy your supplies in bulk

If you do any kind of volume, you will go through tons of air pillows, boxes and other online shipping items.

Buying those items in bulk could save you a lot of money, so take advantage of volume discounts to reduce your shipping costs.

5. Recycle and reuse your own online shipping supplies

Chances are you are an online buyer as well as a seller, so use that double status to save money.

Keep the boxes and packing materials you receive and repurpose them for your own packages.

Be sure to remove the old shipping labels first or cover them with your own – this will speed the delivery and help you avoid any unnecessary delays. Saving on packaging makes for more eco-friendly shipping.

Bonus: Top Tips to Reduce Your International Online Shipping Costs [Video]

Wrapping Up: Reduce Your Shipping Costs

shipping cost

Whether you are running a small business or just selling the occasional yard sale find on eBay, keeping your online shipping costs low is good for your bottom line.

‘What is the cheapest way to ship for a small business?’ may not be the most effective question to focus on; while looking at all the costs involved in shipping may give your ecommerce site the competitive edge you seek.

When you offer free shipping to attract more customers, every dollar you spend on boxes, packing materials and postage is one less dollar of profit.

If you pass your shipping costs on to your customers, you can bet buyers are weighing the cost of shipping when deciding whether or not to buy. Reducing shipping costs will have a domino effect across your company.

Any way you slice it, lower shipping costs is good for business, and the ways to reduce shipping rates detailed above will help you trim those expenses and make the most of your business without the parcel shipping costs of your ecommerce shipping getting in the way of your success. 

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