By: Atikah Hanafi
Your website is ready. You’ve done all the necessary marketing strategy to garner potential customers’ attention of your brand and product. You can’t wait to get your gear running. Now, the next step would be to choose the shipment and fulfilment company to work with.
In the previous post (http://blog.allsome.my/2019/09/20/7-ways-to-get-better-shipping-rates/), we have list down some ways to cut down your shipping cost and one of it is to compare prices. In this post, we will discuss how to compare shipping rates effectively.
Select a Shipping-Calculation Website
The first step that you must do when making a comparison is to select a shipping calculation website. There are various websites or apps that allows you to compare shipping rates for domestic delivery, cross-border delivery and freight shipping rates for bulk delivery. Websites such as Online Shipping Calculator (Link: https://onlineshippingcalculator.com/) allow you to calculate shipping rates for more than one carrier companies.
For example, if you are using the Online Shipping Calculator, you must first key in the mailing addresses for both the origin and destination. Entering the exact address will give more accurate rates. Otherwise, you can just key in the general area and city to get a quick estimate. Next, you also need to fill the details of your package (i.e. weight & dimension). Once everything is filled correctly, you can now know what is the shipping rate for that specific product and destination.
Compare Rates for Equivalent Packages
When comparing rates, ensure that you compare packages of similar weight and dimension. If you were to compare the rates for packages with different weights and dimensions, it is the same with comparing an apple with an orange (which, of course, doesn’t make any sense). The shipping rate imposed by carrier companies is dependent on the package’s size and weight. Bear in mind that sometimes it might cost you more to ship a large but light package than a small but heavier one. That is why it is important to compare rates for packages with similar weight and dimension first. Once you get the list of rates, you can play around with heavier packages with bigger dimension or lighter packages with smaller dimension and so on to see how they rate differently.
Use online comparison tools
Comparing each carrier companies against its strength and weakness manually is not an easy feat. It might include hours of desktop research, browsing through each company’s website, exchanging email queries or a multiple series of phone calls. Although it will give you an in-depth profile of each potential shipping company, the time and effort it takes for this endeavour might put some people off from doing it at all. This situation will force some people to opt for the easiest way out that is choosing the most common carrier available in your region which will not usually mean the best one for your business.
If you are looking for an easy way to compare shipping rates, you can try online comparison tools. Here are some online comparison tools you can choose from:
However, it is important to note that not all online comparison tools are able to give you comprehensive data and some might even charge a fee if you want to have a more extensive comparison but it is still a good option if you want to have a quick comparison.
Create a spreadsheet to organise all your data
In the end, all these information-gathering efforts will be in vain if you did not record the data and use it for your advantage. Once you get the rates for shipping companies, designate a place (i.e. a spreadsheet) where you can access in future. Organising the data in proper tables and present them in form of charts and graphs will help you to make better comparison. It also saves you a lot of time if there is any updates or changes. You can simply change the data here and there instead of researching the information all over again.
Comparing shipping rates offered by various shipping companies can be an arduous task, but it will give you, as a business owner, the upper hand of choosing one that suits you well. Shipping cost might take up a huge chunk of your overall business cost. According to The Wall Street Journal, a data recorded by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals shows that companies in US spend over $1.5 trillion on logistics and shipping in 2017. If you take more time considering the shipment and fulfilment company that you’ll be partnering up with, you’ll save time and definitely cost of changing your choice in future.