Printing & Shipping: the Best Options Worldwide
Marina Vasilyeva, Client Manager in Multi-Programming Solutions • 8 min read
Finished product delivery, along with other stages of the sales chain, has a huge impact on the company's reputation. That’s why online store owners should pay close attention to this process. Negative customer experience, caused by high shipping costs or long waiting for the parcel, can decrease retention and business profitability, even if you distribute high-quality stuff.
In this article, we’ll discover how to choose the most affordable shipping options to help safely ship clients' purchases, add value to the brand and increase profit.
Table of Contents
Packaging and preparing products for shipment
Online stores first directly interact with buyers while they unbox parcels. Customized, sustainable, and well-designed packages can impress clients equally with the goods inside and set your brand apart from other rivals. With well-thought packing, entrepreneurs may reduce delivery costs and contribute to client engagement. So let’s find out how to prepare for shipping all your printed stuff and which materials to select for packing.
When discussing personalized t-shirts, hoodies, or other soft apparel or house goods (like pillows and blankets), the most creative shipping practice is using poly bags or envelopes as packing materials. They are light, recyclable, and can fit any size of your product, saving space and minimizing expenses.
Polyurethane bags are strong enough to ship goods without damage and can be easily customized with Shopify printed shipping labels. It is also an option to order branded stickers and simply place them on the top of an envelope, add business cards or care instructions on tiny cardboard, etc.
Those sellers, who trade custom jewelry, books, or other craft can use padded mailers for packing customers' parcels. Bubbled wrap or chopped paper are additional materials that provide extra protection for items and are described in eBay's best shipping practices.
If you send several items or fragile ones, like printed mugs, then choosing corrugated boxes will be the best option in terms of product safety. Some retailers use double-walled packages and fillers (air pillows, foam inserts, wood fibers, or paper) to strengthen the parcel.
When you figure out how to pack stuff in the most cost-effective, eco-friendly, and meaningful way, it will be the right time to pay attention to delivery frameworks.
How do I determine the shipping speed?
All courier services have different delivery options. Thus, the standard shipping speed lies between 3-7 business days, depending on the final destination. Remote locations usually take a little longer to reach. And if you plan to merch nationwide with United States Postal Service (USPS), it takes about 2-3 weeks.
Wholesalers and global traders often use United Parcel Service (UPS) to send large packages or sell worldwide. UPS ground shipping speed is 2-5 days on average. The company also provides same-day and next-day delivery options.
It would be beneficial for business owners to partner with multiple services. Each one will be more effective in different situations, and you’ll build a balance between price and time.
It’s worth mentioning that the best shipping practice for eBay vendors is delivering goods with USPS. These two companies are in partnership, allowing reduced fees for transporting parcels.
How to change the shipping speed? Those sellers who use Amazon warehouses for storing products allow clients to choose delivery deadlines at their online stores. Customers should make the following steps in their marketplace accounts: go to Your orders → Change speed → Select another day and time → Confirm.
Understanding eCommerce shipping rates
Before you start delivering parcels from an online store, you should think of a charge you’ll take from each purchase for eCommerce shipping fulfillment. There are several types of rates you can add to your shop checkouts. Let’s get familiar with the most common ones:
- Price-based. You can set up a $5 fee for items under $100 and raise the rate to $10 for each product above that price. This shipping option for small businesses is clear and understandable for every user.
- Weight-based. Here merchants should set the minimum and maximum fee based on the package weight. Thus, you can charge $4 for parcels lower than 5kg and $10 for heavier things.
- Flat rate. With this cheapest shipping option to try, customers will pay the same amount of money for each package, regardless of its characteristics. This way, you encourage buyers to add more items to a single order to save costs.
- Discounts or free shipping. This option helps to increase the store’s conversion rate. But here, entrepreneurs should prevent working at a loss. Shipping costs can be included in the product price to keep the business profitable.
Thus, you can use rates based on different product conditions, make the process simpler, and set up a single fee. One delivery may be more expensive while the other is way cheaper. So in a long ride, you’ll take an average rate.
The most popular vs. cheapest shipping options
Before COVID-19, consumers were focused on free and fast delivery experiences. Such preferences threatened small eCommerce businesses because they could hardly compete with large brands for their place in the sun. But the pandemic made adjustments to the way of life in society, and clients have improved their expected shipping timelines.
Now, buyers are more likely to wait up to 8 days for their parcels. Instead, they want to get a perfect delivery experience. And this is an excellent opportunity for eCommerce entrepreneurs to provide cost-saving shipping practices to increase sales and add value to each order. Here are several tips on how to make delivery cheap for sellers and delightful for clients:
- Use suitable materials and the right-sized packaging. Poly mailers, bubble wrap, and air pillows will be good choices.
- Charge flat rates. This is the best shipping practice that will help to predict fees more accurately. Compared to 2020, online users don’t mind paying more if they get a better shipping experience.
- Partner with local couriers. This is the less expensive and quicker way for businesses to communicate with nearby customers. Perhaps, it will help to kill two birds with one stone - ship faster at a lower price.
- Integrate proven eCommerce shipping software. Automated tools like Shipstation or Shiphero will streamline the delivery process by integrating with major trading platforms and simplifying order processing, printing labels, and service pricing.
FAQ about printing and shipping
How can I make shipping packages cheaper?
Use lightweight materials and fit the packages according to the product size. If you add a flat rate to the order checkout, the price won’t be tied to item conditions. Such eCommerce shipping best practices will help to convert variable costs into fixed ones and send several t-shirts at the same price.
What is the cost of sending goods abroad?
Prices for delivering parcels worldwide depend on the end customer's location, package shape and weight, and couriers’ requirements. The cheapest international shipping options for a 5-pound box from the US to the UK will cost $80.65 with USPS and around $241 with UPS or FedEx services in 2022.
Why is FedEx so popular in the USA?
FedEx has a reputation as a fast and reliable logistics company with daily traffic counting over 19 million packages and the highest American customer satisfaction index (ACSI) among other shipping services during the last several years.
How do I make my deliveries eco-friendly?
There are a few ways you can make your eCommerce shipping strategy more sustainable. The first thing to do is use recyclable cardboard boxes, composted mailers, and business cards. Try to make your package as smaller as possible, striving for zero-waste delivery. Ensure the inks for printing shipping labels at home are not toxic. The other task in maintaining eco-friendly deliveries is reducing fuel consumption by developing the optimal roadmap to ship orders or using electric forklifts in stocks.
What are the return policies for global customers?
These are sets of instructions vendors create for international eCommerce shipping in case buyers want to send back or exchange their purchases. Such policies can be handled in-house or outsourced to a central logistics company or a local partner. Returns from other countries should be planned wisely to minimize costs and ensure customers' trust simultaneously.
In this guide, we briefly discussed the most common rates and famous US couriers, like USPS, UPS, and FedEx, for local and global print on demand shipping. We’ve figured out that delivery fees can be based on such product conditions as shape, size, and weight or set up as a fixed sum for any order, which is usually convenient and accurate for sellers and customers.
Today’s online buyers have become more patient in terms of timelines but also demand a good delivery impression, including concepts of sustainability, personalization, and a better unpacking experience.
Customers can now wait up to 8 days for their parcel to arrive if you can ensure transparency - understandable charges, order tracking, safety, and eco-friendliness. Clients' preferences give small retail businesses more space to get prepared for shipping to end users. They can add value to branded products even at the stage of package delivery, which can positively affect business profitability and improve its competitiveness.