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What Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Holiday Shipping This Year Keep these tips in mind for saving time and money while sending products during this busy time of year.

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Nothing about 2020 has been typical, thanks in large part to the global health crisis. While many brick-and-mortar businesses were forced to close down at the outset of Covid-19, online shopping surged for everything from groceries, household items and medicine, to toys, books, and electronics. Even as businesses have begun to reopen, the online shopping trend continues. One recent report suggests that e-commerce sales this holiday season will grow by as much as 25 percent to 35 percent year-over-year.

This is a prime opportunity for business owners of all kinds to meet shoppers online, grow their customer base, and capture sales they may otherwise have missed out on with a physical retail location alone," says Jamie Cohen, Senior Manager of Product Marketing at Pitney Bowes.

With an increase in ecommerce sales comes an increase in shipping needs. It's important for business owners to go into the holiday shopping/shipping season prepared to avoid overpaying and make the most of their dollars. With a shipping solution like SendPro Online from Pitney Bowes, businesses can rest assured that they have a partner on their side.

Here, Cohen explains the most important things entrepreneurs need to know about shipping as we head into the holiday season.

Give yourself options.

Whether you think it's easier or you're just being loyal to your carrier, Cohen says that business owners can miss out on savings by using just one carrier for all of their shipping needs. It's the holidays, after all, so give yourself the gift of having options.

"Unless you're shipping the same item, to the same person, at the same location this holiday season, you're likely missing out on savings," Cohen says. "Diversifying your carrier mix can help reduce costs by 5 percent to 15 percent and avoid paying unnecessary fees."

It's especially important this holiday season as many carriers will be implementing extra fees over the next few months. "With the surge in residential deliveries, FedEx, UPS and even the USPS have all announced seasonal peak surcharges," Cohen explains. "These surcharges are implemented to cover increased operating costs and most take effect in October. They will vary by carrier as well as weekly volume and individual package weight and zone."

While having to compare evolving rates across multiple carriers might sound like a hassle, working with a shipping solutions partner can help simplify the process. For example, SendPro Online includes a cost comparison tool, analyzing rates from different carriers to help business owners compare prices and services to make the optimal shipping choice. SendPro Online also gives smaller companies the opportunity to ship their products at rates normally reserved for high-volume senders.

Avoid "guesstimating' package weight.

Inaccurate package weight, even if by a few ounces, can cost you. Accurate package weight helps reduce shipping costs and avoid unnecessary fees. Cohen recommends using a scale to weigh everything you send to ensure exact weights and prices.

"There are a variety of compact scales available on the market," Cohen says. "Ideally, you should look for a model that seamlessly connects to your computer or mobile device to avoid manual entry errors. Some shipping software subscriptions, like SendPro Online, offer a complimentary USB-enabled scale at sign up."

Ship items in appropriate packaging.

Knowing the basics can go a long way when it comes to saving money on packaging. Start by being mindful of the size of your box compared to the item you're shipping, as well as the amount of filler you use.

"It's important to make sure everything you send is in a proper sized box," Cohen says "The extra space or unnecessary filler will increase your package dimensions and may impact the price of your shipment."

Cohen recommends using foldable boxes to ensure the right fit every time, regardless of what you're shipping. "Flat rate boxes from major carriers like USPS, UPS, and FedEx are also a great option," she adds. "They offer a fixed price for shipments under 50 pounds. As long as the contents fit in the box, it ships at a flat rate regardless of the destination."

From diversifying your carrier mix, to accurately weighing and packaging your shipments, there are plenty of ways to save money on sending this holiday season. Happy shipping!

Click here to learn more about how SendPro Online can simplify the process of sending packages.