Are you overpaying for shipping?

Figuring out how to decrease shipping errors and cost is a very real concern for many ecommerce retailers.  In a recent article on Practical Ecommerce, John Haber, founder and CEO of Spend Management Experts, a shipping and logistics consulting firm, discussed some significant ways that ecommerce websites can reduce their shipping costs.

While the full article is definitely worth a read, some major points in the article worth mentioning include:

Use the right services – Just because it is called 2-Day Air doesn’t mean that is the only way to get shipment to customers in 2 days.  Being aware of the time frame to ship a package from one location to another and selecting methods accordingly can be a powerful method for slashing shipping costs.

Many customers may order from locations that are close enough to ship via ground in less time than it might take to ship priority or 2-day air.  For example, a ground shipment from Madison, WI will arrive in Chicago, IL in one to two business days via UPS Ground. Retailers can often avoid additional service charges and still deliver packages on time by choosing your shipping method smartly.  UPS and FedEx both display maps that let you know time frames to ship from your particular location:

UPS Transit Map

FedEx Ground Service Map

Audit your invoices – It seems like a relative no-brainer to check invoices for accuracy, but as any ecommerce store owner knows, shipping can be surprisingly complicated.

According to Haber, “Generally we see billing errors occur on every invoice. Our clients experience anywhere from 1 percent to 3 percent of their overall net spends as due to incorrect billing adjustments.”

That kind of statistic is as surprising as it is fixable.  Staying on top of your invoices will ensure that you don’t lose money due to simple clerical errors or miscalculations.

Maintain a multi carrier platform – Most ecommerce retailers ship with common carriers, such as FedEx, UPS and the USPS.  However, each carrier maintains its own rules for determining the cost of shipping.  Depending on the size, weight, destination and shipping time of any package, the expense likely varies from one carrier to another.  To get the best shipping prices it’s a good idea to work with multiple carriers.

To most ecommerce retailers, obtaining multiple shipping quotes for each package you prepare sounds like a very time consuming, frustrating process.  However, with Upshot Commerce, it doesn’t have to be.

Using the Upshot Commerce Shipping Platform, retailers can select a number of carriers to for integration, including FedEx, UPS and USPS, all of which are integrated with the Core Platform.  Retailers can work with one carrier exclusively, or set up a multi carrier platform that will automatically obtain shipping quotes from multiple carriers for each package to be shipped.

The user simply enters in the vital shipment information (size, weight, zip codes, etc) and the system returns quotes from multiple carriers based on that information.   Retailers select whichever company offers the best value for their shipments.  Information can be entered manually, or with a barcode system to speed up the process.

You can view the full John Haber article here: How to Reduce Ecommerce Shipping Costs

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