3 Shipping Hacks Every Small Business Owner Should Know

Here’s the thing about shipping: there’s no easy way out of the process. It’s a logistical aspect of your business that will forever be transforming based on your operations and factors outside of your control.

A perfect example of this is currently taking shape worldwide with clogged shipping ports, labour shortages, and other supply chain issues causing delays. It’s why many experts are urging holiday shoppers to start placing orders sooner rather than later.

As a small business owner though, size is on your side. You can be flexible and nimble with your shipping approach, especially when proactively planning for potential hurdles. These hacks are a must for simplifying shipping processes and improving customer experience.

Take a Multi-Carrier Approach

While smaller businesses may naturally prove more agile, they often have to be because of one major obstacle: cost. To make money, you usually have to invest money. But you can also be smarter with your money, especially when it comes to shipping.

One way to do this is through a multi-carrier approach. As we’re seeing right now, shipping times and rates are ever-changing. So rather than locking yourself in with one carrier, why not explore your options?

Because of time? Convenience?

That’s where Staples has you covered. Solutionshop Shipping Services bring the expertise of Canada’s top shipping centres under one roof, making it easy to align carrier choice with timing and budgeting requirements. Not to mention, there are 300+ drop-off locations open 7 days a week.

Buy Shipping Supplies in Bulk

Another no-brainer for cost-efficient shipping is to buy your shipping supplies in bulk. Mitigate those last-minute runs to the store for an extra pack of mailers or roll of packing tape.

In the moment — when you need something fast — you’re less likely to be mindful of pricing. Instead, review operations data for shipping supply needs. What is the projected order volume over the next month or quarter? What packaging do you need to fulfill it?

With the bulk packing and shipping materials offered at Staples, frantic restock trips are sure to become a thing of the past. You can stock up on all of the packaging and shipping supplies for your small business and set up a schedule for reordering that ebbs and flows with your team’s needs.

Have a Tight Return Policy in Place

Efficiently managing returned items is just as important as managing the ones to ship. If not for the sake of your own sanity, consider returns to be a crucial element of the overall customer experience.

First, think through what you can control. This includes things like the ease of the return process, cost (or no cost) to the customer, and how you package products to align with customer values or avoid damage during transit.

Call out key shipping and return features that may impact purchase decision-making on your product pages. This might translate to something like, “Free shipping and returns!” or “We ship with recyclable materials!” You’ll want to make the full policy accessible to customers on your website.

Also, think through how your policy will integrate with customer support. In other words, when will you be willing to make exceptions to the rules in order to keep a customer happy and encourage future buying?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but the more you think about how to handle returns before they happen, the better prepared you’ll be to handle them with care when they do.

By Staples Canada

November 10, 2021

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