The average online shopper is willing to spend lots of money on products — sometimes products that they’re picking up on pure impulse — but they don’t want to spend a cent on shipping. It’s true, the price of shipping can make or break a sale. If it’s not free, shoppers will look elsewhere for a similar product or give up on the purchase altogether. 

Why do customers expect free shipping?
Massive companies like Amazon have changed customer expectations about shipping costs and delivery. Shoppers can order an item with no shipping fees and they will get the order at break-neck speeds. Free shipping and rapid delivery are two qualities that get shoppers hooked onto the website because they might not find that level of convenience anywhere else.

Small businesses can’t replicate the Amazon free shipping method because it would decimate their budgets. If the customer isn’t paying for shipping, the seller has to. And if the seller takes a loss with each product order, then they risk making little profit and running themselves out of business. It’s feasible for a multi-billion-dollar company like Amazon, but not a small-time store selling artisanal jewelry or knitwear.

What can small businesses do instead?
The first thing they can do is trim down shipping fees with the help of a courier broker. A courier broker will provide owners with a long list of different courier companies, discounted rates and delivery times, so they can pick which one works with their next product order.

An exceptional courier broker app also streamlines the packaging and shipping process for you. You can get your orders ready-to-go without stepping away from your work desk. You can compare prices, schedule deliveries and print out shipping labels. It can also get you through problems like how to import eBay orders into shipping software or how to track your package after it’s been shipped, so you never feel overwhelmed.

You could also be wasting money using packaging that is more expensive than it should be. You can save on packaging by finding materials that perfectly fit with the item’s size and cutting down on unnecessary layers. Many courier service offer free or extremely cheap packing materials. Do some research to see if you can get free cardboard boxes and envelopes.

Another good way to offer competitive shipping prices as a smaller business is to include the shipping into the price of the product. That way, the shipping fees seem like they are completely free. It will make your products more expensive, but customers will be a lot less likely to abandon their carts for an originally high price than they are for an unexpected shipping fee.  

As a small business owner, you probably feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place: you can’t offer free shipping without draining your budget, but you know shipping fees will lead to abandoned carts. If you follow tips like using a courier broker and building the fees into the product’s price, you can please customers without hurting your business.