By Brian McKay
More and more small businesses are shipping products. After all, more and more consumers are expecting such a service! But many of these businesses are making some pretty big mistakes. Here’s a quick list of the most common - and most dangerous.
Not paying enough attention to the cost of shipping
Don’t just “guesstimate” the cost of shipping. (And yes, that word makes me shudder too. Sorry.) So many small businesses get caught out by surprisingly high delivery costs at the last minute. This isn’t a situation you should be getting yourself into.
Because orders can often change at the last minute, the research into cost isn’t always carried out properly. But you should always know exactly how much the product is going to cost to deliver. If you’re ever surprised by the cost when the time comes to deliver, then you’ve done it wrong! This can be a huge problem because you’ll end up undercharging the buyer for shipping. In some cases, this can result in significant losses.
Not researching before shipping internationally
There are few things more exciting for a small business than international sales. It’s a sign that your sellability and influence is stretching beyond your hometown. This is something that many businesses before you were only ever able to dream of. But you should never underestimate the task of international delivery. The laws surrounding it are manifold and very sensitive. And, of course, they’re often changing.
Before you deliver to another country, you should research the shipping process to them thoroughly. What can and can’t you send over there? How much is it going to cost you? What are the taxes and tariffs are going to be. You also need to ensure that the party you’re sending this to is aware of everything they need to be aware of. Are they going to be asked to pay extra cash in order to receive the item? They need to know this before they buy, not when the delivery person is at their door with the package.
Working with an inadequate third party
Not all businesses are going to be able to oversee the entire delivery process. In fact, even the majority of the massive businesses can’t do that. They need to rely on a third party for something.
It might be the delivery itself. It might even be the fulfillment process. A lot of businesses will go for the cheapest third party service just because they don't want to spend too much on what should be simple and cheap. But this is a mistake. You need to ensure you’re working with a business that is known for quality as well as value. This goes for all sized tasks. From snack delivery to shipping container delivery, ensure you’re working with a trustworthy company.
Seriously, even the e-commerce giants can’t seem to get this one right. The amount of times people have complained about dented or scuffed paperbacks because of the packaging Amazon sends them in? (Not that you should be buying books from Amazon, by the way.) If I had a penny for every time a friend of mine complained about that... Well, I wouldn’t be rich, but I’d definitely have an annoying amount of pennies.
Brian McKay is a co-founder of zenruption. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Gonzaga University and an M.B.A. from Boise State University (yes that blue field). His goal in life is to look out for the regular guy and bring as much knowledge and change to this world as he can. His purpose in founding Zenruption was to do just that and help craft the world he wants his daughter to inherit. Please feel free to email him any feedback or article ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. On twitter: @brianmckay71
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/briguy71