This might come as a surprise, but very few people start an online business in order to fulfill their lifelong dream of shipping packages.
Shocking, we know, but it’s the truth.
Shipping is the least exciting part of selling online for most e-commerce entrepreneurs. You’re trying to sell a product you created or believe in. And now you have to deal with carriers and rates and options galore.
So let’s breakdown shipping carriers and rates so it isn’t so intimidating, and maybe even find a few ways to save you time and money. (If you’re new to the topic of shipping, you may want to check out our webinar first, which covers the basics.)
Getting Discounted Rates
Postage and carrier rates can be extraordinarily high, especially if you’re just getting started. They don’t have to be high, though: most carriers offer bulk discounts or commercial rates, it’s just a matter of applying for them. For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the big 3 in the United States: FedEx, UPS, and the USPS.
- FedEx Save Now Program. The Save Now program is targeted at lower volume shippers and boasts of the following savings: 8% discount on FedEx Ground and Home Delivery; up to 16% on FedEx Express, and 60% off FedEx Freight.
- FedEx More Savings Program. The savings you’ll receive with this offering depends entirely on average annual shipping revenue; basically, the more you spend on shipping, the deeper FedEx’s discounts. You do get a free 9 week trial period, though: up to 22% off FedEx Express and up to 9% off FedEx Ground and Home Delivery. After the 9 weeks? Again, depending on volume, you can get up to 32% off Express and up to 11% off Ground and Home Delivery.
- eBay Labels. FedEx offers up to 37% off their services when labels are purchased via eBay. If eBay is part of your multi-channel strategy (and it 100% should be), this is something to look into.
- Negotiated Rates. This one has to be discussed with the carrier directly. As you might’ve guessed, it tends to be all about volume and $$$ spent on shipping.
- UPS Connect. Offering you a year of free UPS Smart Pickup, Connect also gives you 20% off international and air shipments plus 10% off UPS Ground. Don’t worry if you already have an existing UPS account—you can link it to UPS Connect and reap the benefits!
- Association & Organization Discounts. UPS doesn’t exactly promote which associations and organizations provide discounts, or even what those discounts are. So if you are a member of a trade organization, you’ll have to either check with your association or contact UPS for more details.
- eBay Labels. Like FedEx, UPS offers discounts via eBay: Up to 34% on domestic labels as well as pickup scheduling and free supplies.
- Negotiated Rates. Volume-based, you’ll need to contact UPS directly to see what you can work out.
- Commercial Rates. Commercial Plus and Commercial Base Pricings save you mega bucks off in-store prices. Carriers like Stamps.com get you access to some of those discounts on almost every service offered by USPS.
We’re going to toot our horn a little bit here. Thanks to some of our partnerships, we can offer dramatic discounts with both the USPS and FedEx:
- USPS. You get the best of Commercial Plus Pricing and Commercial Base Pricing—whichever is cheapest for that particular service.
- Up to 49% off Priority Mail, and up to 56% off Priority Mail Express
- Up to 22% off First Class Package Service
- Up to 18% off First Class Package International Service
- Up to 18% off Priority Mail International, and up to 20% off Priority Mail Express International
- Up to 40% off USPS Package Insurance Rates
- FedEx Advantage. We negotiated these rates directly with FedEx so you don’t have to. Plus, if you have your own negotiated rates already, you can pick and choose which services get which discounts:
- Select FedEx Express® US services - Up to 29% off
- Select FedEx Express international services - Up to 25% off
- Select FedEx Ground® services - Up to 20% off
- Select FedEx Office® services - Up to 20% off
Shipping can still be scary, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Take advantage of these discounts and you can start offering free shipping full time—making your store and product stand out all the more.
Joey Blanco has been writing about any and every aspect of e-commerce at ShipStation for over two years. Joey owns far too many musical instruments for someone not actively in a band.