Whether you run an ecommerce business or a brick-and-mortar retail establishment, chances are you need to ship items to your customers regularly. But what do your shipping procedures currently look like?
If you're guessing what shipping rates to charge customers, estimating how much postage to use, and not purchasing insurance and tracking, then you're probably failing both your business and customers.
Save Money with a Postage Meter
Postage meters are well-known for their utility in sending professional-looking bulk mailings directly from your business. However, they are just as helpful in mailing packages as they are in printing metered envelopes.
Related: Quickly get competing quotes on postage meters
- Instead of guesstimating the weight of each package, use the attached scale to determine its weight down to the ounce and choose your preferred shipping method and rate. More accurate weighing equals more accurate postage, saving your business money one every package you send. You can pass those savings along to your customers by charging them a more accurate shipping rate, as well.
- Fire your third-party shipping company. Your packages are metered right in your office, and your postal carrier will pick them up whenever you're ready. Don't want to wait? Drop the metered package in any USPS mailbox (size permitting, of course) or at the local post office. There is no charge for this service, and the cost of shipping is automatically deducted from your credit card, bank account, or pre-paid postage account.
Provide Improved Shipment Tracking
Postage meters cut down drastically on the number of trips you have to make to the post office, even for special mailings like registered mail, mail tracking, and delivery confirmation. With the money you save on more accurate postage -- not to mention the gas savings of not having to make multiple trips to the post office -- you can provide your customers with package tracking directly through your postage meters.
- Shipment tracking is an excellent way to improve your customer service and the way your customers feel about your business. As soon as the package is metered, you can send customers an email or text message with the tracking code. They know when the package was shipped, where it is at any given moment, and when it is due to arrive on their doorstep.
Building positive customer service into everything your business does makes good financial sense. Two-thirds of consumers would be willing to spend more with a company -- 13% more, on average -- following an excellent customer service experience. In comparison, 55% of customers would cease buying from a company that provides poor customer service (The 2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer).
Offer Customers Free Shipping
If you regularly sell to customers online or through a catalog, offering free shipping can be an excellent way to attract and retain customers. When you and your competitor both offer a product for the same price, it's your free shipping policy that is going to turn customer opinion in your favor. Ecommerce necessitates shipping. When shopping online, customers can't walk into a retail establishment and walk out with their product in-hand -- it has to come to them. Low online prices can often be offset by high shipping rates, frustrating customers who are looking for a good deal.
- Consider your product prices when deciding on a limit for your free shipping policy. How easy is it for customers to take advantage of your free shipping limit? Remember that while many online retailers offer free shipping, most require shoppers to spend $50 to $100 before they qualify. Amazon sets that limit at $25, and $0 for Amazon Prime members.
In "The Loyalty Effect," Fred Reichheld claims that a 5% increase in customer retention can result in a 25 to 100% increase in profitability. A large element in generating high customer retention rates is positive customer experience. How you ship to your customers -- with package tracking, professional-looking postage, and lower or free shipping costs -- plays into that overall experience. Improve your shipping procedures and watch your customers' loyalty improve as well.