Though we may not want to think about it quite yet, the holidays are nearly upon us. This means that, very soon, we will have to move on from back-to-school to the holiday shopping season, cyber Monday, Black Friday, and more. This can lead to some challenging shipping, warehousing, fulfillment, etc. issues. Fortunately, using shipping best practices (or a reliable logistics company) can make these challenges more manageable.
Here are a handful of tips to handling the seasonal rush.
Define Your Shipping Process
Part of this process of definition is to actually write things down. This will help to inform and assist volunteers and team members, during even the busiest periods, with fulfilling orders.
How is this done? For the next few orders you ship, pay close attention. If you have a fulfillment handling team, check with them. Write down each step and how long it takes to execute.
When all is written down, examine it closely. What can you do to create a more efficient process – cut back on time spent? Are there any bottlenecks?
Saving More Time
Once you’ve reviewed your process and cut wasted or unnecessary time, you can save time in other areas as well. For example, buy labels ahead of time and keep them in storage. Printing labels ahead of time is also doable if you know what the demand will be for specifically printed labels. Both printed and non-printed labels can be kept in bulk for future use.
Other Shipping Supplies
Of course, shipping supplies consist of more than just labels. So, when it comes to other supplies needed for shipping and order fulfilling, stock up on those as well to save time. Be sure to keep an accurate inventory of your shipping supplies. Not running out of something will help to eliminate costly, unnecessary delays.
Items here could pertain to printer ink, the aforementioned labels, express flat rate and priority mail packaging, and more. Do you have enough credit on your postage meter?
Setting Up a Strategy
You stocked up on supplies. You got your process all in place and defined. Now, what will your shipping charges consist of?
Below are some shipping/charge options. Determine which one, or combination, will best suit your needs:
- International shipping – This can be tricky. Just because you’re not involved in it now, doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future. As your business grows, your shipping demands may increase.
- Exact cost shipping – Whatever it’s going to cost you to ship the item, your customers will see it. That’s what they pay. If you get discounts, they’ll get discounts.
- Flat rate shipping – Here you will need to decide on a standard shipping rate that will do two things: a) cover most of your shipping costs and b) cover them most of the time. That is the rate you will charge everyone for everything.
- Free shipping – This is, of course, the most attractive shipping method for your customers. But is right for you? It can be pricey even with Shopify, Canada Post, DHL, UPS, and USPS discounts. You have to take a moment and make a very careful examination of long-distance shipping, shipping heavy items, rates, and profit margins before you offer this.
Of course, all of the above can be very nearly eliminated by partnering with STC Logistics. Even during the busiest of seasons, we can take the worry out of things like warehousing, inventory management, fulfillment, shipping, and so much more. You have enough to do, with manufacturing and running your company. Let us help you with the rest. Contact us today to find out more.