Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Pitney Bowes | Brand Spotlight Partner What is this?

7 Steps to Saving Time and Money With a Smarter Shipping Strategy

Expand your shipping strategy to build customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

Rising costs in shipping and just about every area of doing business are putting pressure on small-business owners. A lot of times, they don't have the scale necessary to negotiate large volume discounts, so any price increase will put pressure on presumably what is already a tight margin business — especially when it comes to e-commerce.


Businesses impacted by increased shipping prices are left with few options. They can absorb the cost, in which case their margins shrink even more, or they can pass those costs along to their customers in the form of price increases or charging more for shipping, which can negatively impact their overall customer experience and long-term revenue growth.

Small businesses can streamline their shipping practices and save time and money with a few simple tips.

1. Diversify your carrier choice.

A diversified carrier strategy can help mitigate risk and secure your capacity to ensure orders arrive on time. "A lot of businesses think it makes sense to use one carrier because if they're generating enough volume on that carrier, they may be able to access increased discounts. Which in some cases makes sense, but then you're opening yourself up to risk," explains Mike Botti, Sr. Director Product Marketing at Pitney Bowes, a technology company specializing in shipping, ecommerce, mailing and financial services. "If your only carrier experiences capacity issues, you're scrambling to find other carriers to fulfill your orders. So it makes sense to have a diversified approach."

Carriers also tend to excel in different services. Some are better at next-day delivery, some have aptitudes in pricing and reliability. Identify your needs as a business and rate shop across carriers to find the best experience and pricing.

2. Use shipping software.

Third-party software providers can aggregate all orders that go through their system, so they can unlock greater discounts, even if you don't have the volume with a particular carrier. Because companies like Pitney Bowes act as an aggregator, they unlock discounts regardless of your shipping volume because of the sheer number of packages that go through their system for each carrier.

3. Standardize packaging.

Companies that don't standardize their packaging run into expensive challenges when they don't know the correct postage for the given size, shape, and weight of a box, Botti says. Something shipped with the wrong postage will be returned and delay the delivery — negatively impacting the customer experience. Standardized packaging can give you the confidence that you're paying the appropriate postage every time.

4. Schedule package pickups.

Time spent dropping packages off at carriers is time that could be spent on growing other areas of your business. Scheduling package pickups through shipping software like Pitney Bowes or with the individual carriers is key. It saves you time and ultimately allows you to be more efficient.

5. Leverage what the carriers offer for supplies.

Businesses should take advantage of what carriers are willing to offer regarding shipping supplies. Many carriers allow orders of boxes, labels, and priority mail starter kits at no cost. This helps save money by standardizing the shipping process and improving efficiency, Botti says.

6. Invest in a label printer.

Printing shipping labels with your office printer can be expensive and time-consuming. Between taping the labels and paying for ink replacements, your business can save time and money by investing in a thermal printer. They don't use ink, and the labels have an adhesive sticker, so no taping necessary.

7. Don't forget about shipping insurance.

Items can get damaged in transit, and insurance on shipments can help businesses plan for that risk. Carriers may automatically provide insurance bundled into certain rates up to a specific amount, and additional insurance can be purchased depending on the value of the shipment.

Click here to learn more about how Pitney Bowes can help your business save valuable time and money when it comes to online shipping.

Pitney Bowes

Brand Spotlight Partner

Spotlight is brought to you by the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Spotlight partners are their own.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks