Use A Shipping Calculator and Other Great Tips for Online Sellers

Use a shipping calculator to get shipping estimates with multiple carriers all at once

If you own a small or mid-size ecommerce business your time is probably devoted to the development of your storefront, product management, and finding new customers. Chances are focusing on the complexities of shipping is not on your priority list.

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by Dan Allard

Oct 9, 2017

Key Points

  • Utilize online shipping calculators to get quotes from multiple carriers without the need for physical visits.
  • Consider factors beyond cost when choosing a carrier, such as insurance, tracking, delivery time, and pickup options.
  • Batch process your orders instead of handling them on an individual basis to save time and efficiently manage increased order volumes.
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Save Time and Money With These Quick Tips

If you own a small or mid-size ecommerce business your time is probably devoted to the development of your storefront, product management, and finding new customers. Chances are focusing on the complexities of shipping is not on your priority list. However, taking the time necessary to develop your shipping processes can have a big impact on your bottom line and would likely be well worth the time investment.

For the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume you’re strapped for time and are looking for some quick tips that will have a significant impact on your business. When you have more time we invite you back to our blog to explore all of our tips and techniques on creating and optimizing your shipping processes to set your business up for long-term success. But today we’ll give you some easy action items you can implement right away to save yourself both time and money, starting with the use of an online shipping calculator.

Use a Freight Shipping Calculator

Have you ever packaged up an item to ship and physically drove to multiple freight carriers’ locations in your area to get shipping quotes? Just about everyone who ships packages has done this at some point. The process of driving to multiple locations is time consuming, and when you figure out who the least expensive option is you have to drive back to their location. Chances are you’re only “saving” a few dollars and if you consider the time and fuel it takes you’re really not saving anything at all.

If you could save those few dollars every time you send out a package then you could have a significant impact on your bottom line. The problem is that while one carrier may be the least expensive option for one package delivery, they likely won’t be the least expensive option for every delivery.

Imagine if you could get quotes from multiple carriers without leaving your home or office. That’s the power of using online shipping calculators. Most carrier companies have online rate calculators you can use to get shipping quotes, all you need to know is the destination address, size and weight of the package, and if you’ll need any additional services like real-time tracking information, insurance, etc.

Here are links to the major shipping companies online calculators:

USPS Shipping Calculator
UPS Shipping Calculator
UPS Canada Shipping Calculator
FedEx Shipping Calculator
FedEx Canada Shipping Calculator
Canada Post Shipping Calculator
Purolator Shipping Calculator

Just as driving around to multiple carrier offices’ can be time-consuming, so can the process of visiting multiple websites to get shipping quotes. Instead, we invite you to use our online shipping calculator which allows you to receive quotes from multiple carriers all in one place. There are also other features built in, such as the ability to get your business discounts or our preferred partner discounts, whichever is greater.

Use our Multiple Carrier Shipping Calculator

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Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Carrier

It is important to mention that the cheapest option doesn’t always mean the best option for your shipment. There are other factors to consider when choosing a carrier company, such as:

  • Do they offer insurance, and what are their insurance rates?
  • Do they offer real-time tracking information?
  • What is the estimated delivery time?
  • Will the carrier pick up the package or do you need to bring it to their office?

We recommend considering your needs and expectations as well as your customers’ needs and expectations when choosing a carrier company for your delivery.

Batch Process As Much As Possible

A common problem online business owners experience when starting out is that the process of shipping and handling is too time consuming. Thiss is usually do to the fact that they take the time to package and ship an item with each order they receive. When you’re only receiving a handful of orders each week this is an easy trap to fall into. If this is something you’re currently doing, imagine if a new marketing tactic takes off and your orders double or triple overnight, will you be able to keep up?

Instead of taking the time to process individual orders, reserve time each week to process them all together. This could be done twice per week or every other day, or even daily if you are receiving enough orders. The point is to batch your processes together instead of doing them on an order-by-order basis.

Reduce Packaging Costs

When you’re looking to reduce your business expenses it’s easy to overlook your packaging costs as they are likely low already. However, if you send out enough packages even a five-cent savings per package can add up quickly. Here are a couple quick tips to help save you money:

Re-use packaging materials- if you receive packages you can save the bubble wrap, foam, and packing peanuts to use for your business. You also probably know someone from another business who receives a lot of packages daily and they would be happy to give you the packaging materials they receive so they can save on their monthly waste pickup bill. Re-using boxes and packaging material is a great way to cut costs. You do have to be careful with this option when shipping items that require insurance or need solid protection from damage during transport.  Used boxes can lose up to 60% of their strength. It’s for this reason that some carriers will require you to use a new box and packaging material for each shipment or you forfeit any insurance coverage.

Find the best prices- Are you purchasing your packaging materials at a local store for the convenience? Do a search online for the materials you use, you can probably save a lot by ordering in bulk.

Use smaller boxes- Most shipping rates are determined by dimensional weight, which is a calculation of the package size and weight of the package. If you are shipping items in packages with too much extra space you are likely spending more money than you need to be. Find a box size that is large enough to meet the packaging requirements of your carrier company (and large enough to keep the contents safely packaged) but not larger than it needs to be.

By following these simple tips you can save yourself time and money and have an immediate impact on your business’s profitability. If you want to save even more money on your shipping costs, check out our online shipping service - Secureship.

About the author: Dan Allard

About the author

Dan Allard is a marketing specialist, guitar player, and father living in The Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In his free time he’s usually reading business and marketing blogs, watching Shark Tank, or pretending he’s Iron Man because he has an Amazon Echo. He also enjoys finding great deals online and finding ways to reduce shipping costs.
About Secureship

About Secureship

Secureship® offers an online service that helps businesses and organizations ship more efficiently and affordably.

Providing instant price shopping across multiple carriers, Secureship is the best choice for reduced rate shipping. In addition, Secureship offers benefits such as a consolidated shipping system regardless of the carrier you choose, built-in address book, convenient invoicing and shipment management.

Visit our shipping estimate tool to see how much you can reduce your shipping expenses.