It’s only October, but many retailers are already gearing up for the Christmas shopping season. Americans enjoy the benefits of both in-store and online deals to get through the stress of holiday shopping.
While big holiday sales are typically an effective way to drum up business, online retailers who want to lure customers to shop in their offerings would do well to expand their shipping options. Poor or no planning can result in owners overpaying, as well as losing sales if the company can’t provide consistent and cost-effective delivery to customers. This holiday season, consumers can expect to be able to choose their shipping preference. More retailers are getting wise to the fact that offering diverse options—whether for shopping channel, shipping and return methods or even promotional offers—will help attract consumers.
Choose the Most Budget-Friendly Shipping Options
You already know, the speediest and feature-packed shipping options are never the cheapest. The shipping price will increase with more added features, including tracking numbers, receipt confirmation, insurance and other conveniences. Your best option is to choose the slowest shipping options and consider which additional services are necessary and therefore worth the expense, and remember that added features and services will ramp up the cost pretty quickly. Before you do anything, take stock of what you have to ship. If you can, weigh and measure the item, and the box you plan to ship it in. If you don’t have packing materials, know you’ll get charged for them when you take it to be shipped, so factor that into the shipping fee.
The US Postal Service
When it comes to everyday shipping within the U.S., it’s pretty tough to beat the U.S. Postal Service for price, convenience, and ease of use. Yes, they’ve weathered some tough press and difficult times, but don’t dismiss the fact that they have more locations in more places than most private shipping companies, and more cost-effective options for people who don’t have accounts or regular shipping needs. The USPS isn’t always the fastest way to get your packages to their destination, but they’re the most consistently affordable and accessible for the average person.
Even if you’re running a small business out of your house, like an Amazon store or selling on eBay, shipping items via USPS is your best option to get them out of your house and to their destination without spending a ton of money just to ship them. Considering you can do so much of the packing and shipping at home, drop those packages off at your mail carrier, instead of standing in line at the post office, or find a location with a self-serve kiosk near you. You can simply walk up, weigh your item, print a label, stick it to your item, put it in the slot, and walk away. No kidding. USPS also offers over-the-phone advice as well as Shipping Assistant; a downloadable tool that allows customers to standardize addresses, compare rates, calculate estimated delivery times, and verify deliveries.
UPS and FedEx
If you anticipate having bundles of packages to ship for naughty and nice family and friends both nationally and internationally, consider multiple price tiers offered by both UPS or FedEx.
They both have low-cost shipping options and you get helpful, budget-friendly options, such as creating your own account, printing your own labels, ordering supplies, and then scheduling a pickup.