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7 Tips For Choosing A Shipping Partner For Your Small Business

by Olufisayo
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Tips For Choosing A Shipping Partner

There are numerous things to consider when you’re a small business owner. Aside from the customer base and warehouse inventory, it would help if you focused on getting a shipment partner that best meets your business goals. Fast and seamless delivery is ideal. Any hitches in the delivery ruin the image of your business.

Shipping costs are the main reason people drop their online purchases. 84% of customers say the poor first delivery experience would make them avoid the brand. Here’s what you should look out for when considering shipping partners for your business.

Is their delivery suitable for special items?

Different items require different care during shipping, so you should look for a service to cater to all your goods. Factors to consider when goods are perishables are shipping time, packaging, pricing, and temperature. There’s a good chance your items will spoil if the journey is too long, and if there’s a refrigeration facility, you should speak to the service to set a temperature that’ll maintain your products. Ensure the service uses appropriate packaging for different products.

Depending on the item, items might need insulation or refrigeration, coolants like dry ice, or vacuum-sealed containers. The service should provide padding for fragile items like eggs and fruits. One thing you should take care of is the pricing for perishables. There’s a high shipping cost for perishables, so include this cost into your product pricing so you don’t go into loss. You should get a courier service with a long freight class 70 if you have perishables like food and small items. Such items range from disassembled furniture and medical equipment to automobile and machine parts.

Determining your freight class and confirming it with your shipping partner is crucial because the higher the freight class, the more expensive it is. You have to choose the NMFC description for your freight classification, but shippers often make mistakes when assigning freight class which incurs a high fee to reassign. So check if the service is competent and gets your freight class right the first time.

Research your product, customer base, and competitors

You need to properly understand your business requirements for your products, customers, and competitor businesses. Survey where your customers live, how quick the delivery should be, how much shipping cost they would pay, and the maximum delivery charges they’d be okay with paying until they’d rather cancel an order.

The type and quantity of your products matter very much in deliveries. Analyze how many products need to be shipped in each interval, the product dimensions, and weight, whether they are perishable or fragile, etc. Study your competitors’ shipment methods and figure out how you can outdo them. You can even order something from them to gain firsthand experience with their service.

How fast is the delivery?

Delivery speed is a major deciding factor for purchase for over 50% of shoppers worldwide. Many shoppers prefer free delivery, but some are willing to pay extra charges for same-day deliveries or order from a more expensive service simply because it delivers fast.

It might be too challenging for you to make your deliveries free of charge or promise to deliver them on the same day when the customer base is widespread. Instead, you can offer a special delivery price and a free delivery option if customers don’t mind waiting a few days. It would be best to consult shipping companies about their rates to get a better idea.

How far must the goods be delivered?

Local courier services are the perfect choice if deliveries need to be made in close areas across a short-range. They are less expensive for small businesses and would have more experience and knowledge about the destinations. There’s a smaller chance of a driver getting lost and extending the delivery time.

It would be better to partner with a courier service that has an international network if your customer base is widespread and your goods must be delivered to multiple countries.

Figure out the extent of tracking

If the delivery is international, the shipper sends the product to the export haulage to the origin warehouse and then sent via plane or ship to the destination where it’s sent to handling and import haulage. And then finally to the customer. It makes complete sense that customers want to know the exact location of their order, and that’s why many businesses have incorporated the relevant technology. The same applies to shipping companies, so you should always check the tracking capabilities of potential shipping partners.

Order tracking allows customers to see their order’s exact location and the estimated time of arrival. According to a survey, the average customer checks out their order tracking information four to five times. This shows customers like transparency, and it would be best to understand how tracking impacts customer experience and choose a shipment partner that provides it.

Settle for a provider with optimal delivery charges

A cheap service sounds appealing when considering your budget, but that might be because of other attributes of the service being poor. One way to set your budget range is something that’s cheap for your customers but still has enough of a margin to manage other business costs. The delivery service should be high-quality, have optimal time, and offer order tracking. It would be problematic to cut corners here because shipment impacts customer experience highly. If you need to cut the budget somewhere, you could remove excess materials used in packaging.

Free delivery is as enticing as it gets, but it’s too expensive for small businesses. You could offer free delivery for orders over a specific amount, for loyal customers, or on certain items.

How is their customer service?

Perfection is impossible, and there must be a protocol for mishaps like delivering the wrong order, items getting damaged during the delivery, or taking too long. Be sure to run a background check on potential shipping partners, read reviews on third-party review sites, and go through their websites to see their customer service information. You should call them about their insurance policies, support team, and availability to gauge their customer service.

Conclusion

Having an option for delivery is essential for all businesses, big and small. When looking for a shipping partner, you should consider the delivery speed, how much it costs, and whether customers can track their order. Understanding your products and how far they need to be delivered will tell you if you need local or international courier services. Ensure that your delivery charges aren’t too expensive for your customers but not too less that they don’t cover other business costs.

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