Now is a great time to be in the e-commerce business. It’s estimated that total worldwide e-commerce sales will reach a record $3.3 trillion this year.

Making money online is easier than ever. With sites like Magneto and Shopify, anyone can run a thriving e-commerce business. Finding willing customs is simple. The tricky part comes when you need to get them what they ordered.

Shipping goods can become expensive and time-consuming if you aren’t careful. Luckily, we’re here to make sure you handle shipping the right way and keep your customers happy.

If you want to help your e-commerce business thrive through proper shipping, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn everything you need to know to ship the right way.

Shipping Goods 101: The Basics

Before we get into some tips and best practices, let’s spend some time on the basics. Before you start thinking about carriers and other important things, there are some basic shipping matters you need to figure out.

Product Weight

If you want to understand how much you can expect to pay in shipping cost, you need to understand how much your product weighs.

Take some time to measure and weigh each of the products you sell and keep all the information somewhere safe. Be sure to do this any time you change your product or add new products to your inventory.

Having important product information ahead of time will help you get a good sense of your total costs. Once you have an idea of how much shipping something will cost for you, it’s easier to figure out what shipping could cost customers.

Shipping Rates

There’s a reason why retailers are always looking for the cheapest way to ship: shipping goods can get expensive.

Some businesses may choose to pass the full cost of shipping on to customers to avoid high fees. This can save you money on shipping, but some customers may not like having to pay the full shipping price.

If you choose to do this, it’s a good idea to play up other important things your business offers like quality goods and customer service. When you point out all the benefits of doing business with you, it’s easy to justify the cost.

Others choose to offer free or flat rate shipping to absorb shipping costs. Doing this can be a sign of goodwill to your customers, but it could get expensive and may be difficult for newer e-commerce businesses to afford.

Preferred Packaging

If you think that shipping is all brown cardboard boxes and manila envelopes, it’s time to expand your mind.

There’s a lot of packaging options available to retailers. It’s important to remember that your packaging could play into your e-commerce business’ brand. You should determine the style, color, and design of shipping packages.

If you sell fragile products, envelopes with bubble wrap can be a good packaging choice so you can protect merchandise.

Shipping Companies

There’s no shortage of shipping companies for e-commerce retailers. Some always work with USPS and UPS, others prefer DHL or FedEx.

Working with a preferred shipping company has a variety of benefits. Aside from having a reliable shipping source, signing contracts with companies could save you money or get you special deals.

You may have your heart set on DHL, but it’s still a good idea to get a UPS shipping quote. Regardless of who you think you want to rely on, ask for shipping quotes from everyone. You never know who could offer you the best deal.

Three Important Shipping Tips To Know

Now that you know the basics of developing a shipping strategy, we can talk about things you can do to make shipping easy and affordable for you.

Whether you need to know how to handle protecting your packages or the best way to ship clothes, we’re here to help.

Insurance and Tracking Helps Businesses

When most people think about tracking numbers and package insurance, they assume it only benefits customers. But if you care about protecting your bottom line, you’ll want to consider these services for yourself.

Imagine if an expensive item you made got lost. Aside from having to deal with an upset customer, you’ve lost a lot of time and money in materials in labor.

If you’re selling valuable items, insurance and tracking can be well worth the cost. Some shipping services offer complimentary coverage for up to a certain amount.

Choose Envelopes Over Boxes For Clothes

Clothing is one of the easiest items to ship because it isn’t fragile or breakable.  They’re also usually pretty inexpensive to ship. Unless you’re shipping heavy material, clothes are typically very light.

Clothes are cheap to ship, but the boxes you pack them in won’t be.

If you want to know the best and cheapest way to ship clothes, go with envelopes over boxes. Padded envelopes may seem a little costly at first, but when you factor weight into shipping it makes more sense from a financial perspective.

Make Returning Simple

When you’re concerned about shipping items out, it can be easy to forget that you may have to deal with getting items back.

Making returning items easy benefits both you and your customers.

First, make your return policy easy to understand and very visible on your website. Don’t make people hunt for directions, and don’t have it written in “legalese”.

Next, consider sending return labels with packages. If you don’t want to take on the task of printing them out, give people a link they can use to download a return label so they can print it.

Build Your Business

Now that you know the important ins and outs of shipping goods, let’s think about other ways to improve and grow your business.

You have an online business, but do you know how to leverage the best digital marketing practices?

Digital marketing can help you grow your business and find new customers. Read our guide on digital marketing so you can grow and nurture your business the right way.