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Category: Optimization

How to Save Money and Increase Profits Shipping via Priority Mail

Shipping products is a large part of selling on Amazon. Get it wrong, and you could end up spending over the odds getting your products to buyers. This can lead to frustrated shoppers and increased outgoings – not ideal.

By optimizing the shipping process and choosing the right delivery options, you can dramatically cut costs in this area, improving your bottom line and increasing overall revenue. 

The tricky part is knowing where to start. There are tons of different shipping options available, all with their own unique set of pros and cons. The best one for you will depend on the type of products you’re selling, the size and weight of them, and the delivery destination.

What Are Your Packaging Options?

One of the most common questions that crops up is about boxes for shipping. If you’ve ever wondered whether it’s cheaper to use your own box for priority mail or to use a flat rate box, you’re not alone. To help you get to the bottom of it, we’ve created a handy guide that tells you everything you need to know about shipping boxes.

The difference between the two is in the kind of postage you pay for. If you buy Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box postage, you have to use a Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box. The boxes are branded with the Priority Mail logo and design. If you don’t buy flat rate postage, you can use whatever kind of packaging you like.

It’s important to note that Priority Mail is just the name of the service class and you can use any box or packaging you choose. In the majority of cases, it actually works out cheaper to use your own packaging instead of a Flat Rate service.

The idea behind the Priority Mail Flat Rate service is that you pay just one fee regardless of the weight of your product or where it’s being shipped to. If it fits into a flat rate-branded box, you can send it.

It sounds simple, but the cost isn’t the only downside.

When you ship with a Flat Rate box, you have to use the Priority Mail Flat Rate service branding. This means you can’t use your own branding which can impact your customers’ experience in a negative way. It’s worth working out whether the minimal savings you might be able to make is worth the trade off of a potentially sub-par buyer experience.

Flat Rate Boxes vs Your Own Box

USPS Priority Mail service provides free shipping boxes for sellers to use. These come at no cost to the user which is a huge benefit when you consider that most boxes elsewhere cost between $0.25-$1 or more.

You can pick up Priority shipping boxes from the post office and they come in a variety of different sizes (we’ll talk more about this later). You can also order them online and have them delivered directly to your door. Again, this is free of charge and great for sellers who don’t live close to a post office.

The range of Priority Mail boxes available allow you to ship based on a fixed amount regardless of the weight of your products. The boxes are free to get your hands on, but will cost you to send them once you have packaged up your items and got them ready for delivery.

This can be particularly beneficial to sellers who regularly ship heavy products.

Here are the sizes of Priority Mail boxes available:

  • Small flat rate box
  • Medium flat rate box
  • Large flat rate box
  • Flat rate padded envelopes

Source

As you can see, there are plenty of flat rate options for sellers depending on the size of the products they’re shipping.

Alternatively, you can use your own box to send your packages in. The general difference between the two options is that Priority Shipping flat rate boxes cost more to ship but tend to deliver quicker than your own boxes. It’s up to you to decide whether speed or cost is more important to you, but it will also depend on the size of your items, their weight, and where you’re delivering them to.

It’s worth noting that if your products are under 2.5 pounds, then flat rate fees are often more expensive than shipping non-flat rate.

At Urtasker, our goal is to help you maximize your revenue and optimize your sales processes. So, with that in mind, here are some things you should be aware of:

  • Flat rate is often only cheaper in a few situations, namely if you’re using flat rate envelopes or small flat rate boxes. As soon as you size up, the costs dramatically increase and it often works out cheaper to use your own packaging
  • Flat rate boxes are delivered at the same speed as all Priority Mail, which tends to be between one and three days if you’re shipping to another US address
  • Priority Mail flat rate shipping comes with full tracking, so both you and the recipient can keep an eye on where the package is at all times

Shipping Via Flat Rate Boxes

Now we’ve touched on the differences between the two options, let’s dig a little deeper into the details of using flat rate boxes.

How Much Do Flat Rate Boxes Cost to Ship?

For products that fall into the 1.4 pound range, Priority Mail boxes are often the cheapest way to ship. Like we said before though, this totally depends on the size of the box you use, where the product is being shipped to, and whether the destination is a business or home address.

Prices are mostly based on weight, dimensions, volume, and delivery address, so bear this in mind when researching your options.

Here is a general list of prices for flat rate boxes:

Envelopes are obviously the cheapest option to ship. Letter envelopes, gift card envelopes, window envelopes, and small envelopes all cost $7.15.

Padded envelopes and legal envelopes are a little more expensive, with the former clocking in at $7.75 and the latter at $7.45.

Small boxes cost $7.65, medium boxes are $13.20, large boxes are $18.30 and APO/FPO boxes cost $16.80. Look into the dimensions of each of these boxes to determine which one is the best fit for you and your products and calculate pricing from there.

Here’s how you can optimize the shipping experience:

  • For items under one pound – ship via First Class Mail and select a box that keeps the weight limit at or below one pound
  • For small items that weigh over one pound – some of the flat rate boxes available can save you money here, particularly small flat rate boxes, flat rate envelopes, and flat rate padded envelopes
  • For items that weigh over two pounds – sometimes the Regional Rate (more on this further down) or Flat Rate boxes ship for less than your own box. Regional Rate A rates are very similar to the two pound Priority Mail rate. This means that you can ship in the Regional Rate A box for the same rate. In a similar vein, the Regional Rate B Box ships for pretty much the same price as a four pound Priority Mail box.
  • For items that weigh over three pounds – it’s often cheaper to ship via FedEx or UPS depending on the size of the shipping box you need. However, FedEx and UPS both charge based on weight and dimensions and also add a $3-$3.50 fee for products being shipped to a home address
  • If you’re shipping 50 Priority Mail packages a month – explore shipping services that allow you to ship via USPS Dimensional Weights

What About Regional Rate Boxes?

You’ve probably come across Regional Rate Boxes in your shipping research. They work in a similar way to flat rate boxes except there are only three weight tiers and the price is based on how far the package is going.

You can pick up the boxes for free (just like flat rate boxes) and, if your product is being delivered to anywhere in Zone 1-4, this option is usually cheaper than flat rate boxes.

Which Boxes Should You Use?

The best thing you can do is sit down and play around with the shipping calculators provided on each carrier’s websites. While flat rate boxes are free to pick up, they cost to ship, and sometimes this cost is higher than independent carriers even if they charge more for pickup.

We recommend starting with the UPS calculator and the FedEx calculator to get an idea about any savings you can make compared to Priority Mail flat rate boxes.

If you decide to use the Priority Mail service, you’ll need to calculate whether your own boxes are more cost-effective than Flat Rate Boxes or Regional Rate Boxes. Unless you’re sending packages in an envelope, it usually works out cheaper to use your own boxes. This means you can incorporate your own branding and ultimately provide a better customer experience for your buyers.   

At Urtasker, our mission is to help online sellers optimize their systems and their revenue. Shipping plays a huge part in this and choosing the right packaging option can save you a ton on unnecessary costs. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you streamline your sales.

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Omer Riaz September 21, 2020 0 Comments

Strategy to Reduce E-Commerce Shipping Cost

Developing a proper shipping strategy will help you to balance price, speed, and reliability and delight your customers. Putting some effort into understanding your various options for sending products can help you stand out as an E-commerce merchant and keep your customers coming back.

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Omer Riaz April 30, 2020 0 Comments

How to Skyrocket Higher Sales in the E-commerce Arena with the Power of an Amazon Specialist

The E-commerce Arena

Have you ever been to the Mall of America in Minnesota? According to their website,

“Mall of America features 520 stores, 50 restaurants and attractions galore, including Nickelodeon Universe, the nation’s largest indoor theme park, and the new American Girl store. Plus, there’s no sales tax on clothing or shoes!”

Can you imagine? Average malls have about 100 stores. That means the Mall of America has five times as many stores. Does this remind you of anywhere else? Maybe somewhere in Cyberspace?
You see, Amazon is the world’s ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet of products and any seller or marketer’s throne for kingdom-hood. With millions of transactions every day, an Amazon product is ‘your voice’ to the world.

According to Export-X: “Today Amazon sells over 200 million products in the USA, which are categorized into 35 departments.” It’s the virtual equivalent to Mall of America, in fact much much bigger. And this is why so many sellers get excited about listing their products on Amazon.

But the size of Amazon is a double-edged sword. While this eCommerce giant brings in millions of visitors a day, it also attracts a ton of competition for the products you list.

So how do you stand apart from all the rest?

This is where a qualified, specialist and truly experienced Amazon expert or service provider is crucial, one who has a proven record of progressive results. A powerful Amazon system that converts with all the right tools and elements is crucial to being an A-List Seller.

These parameters and dynamics include critical areas such as Product Research, Market Research and Competitor Analysis for new Amazon sellers, and more complexed realms such as FBA Specialization, Product Listing Copywriting, Optimization and SEO, Reimbursement Procedures, PPC Management and Customer Support for seasoned/experienced sellers.

One of the ways Amazon Sellers – both new and experienced – can leverage the power and potential of a profit-generating business strategy, is employing the brute force of an Amazon-centric Virtual Assistant agency that specializes in helping eCommerce business owners reach their highest most ‘lucrative’ potential online.

This strategic approach entails the following areas:

Product Research

Product Research is key. As a Seller, you need to know what the demand and supply are for a certain product niche or category, even before you begin to source it, let alone sell it! A specialist Amazon Virtual Assistant provider will take care of this hassle for you, saving you time, money and energy.

Market Research

It is crucial to do your Market Research in order to gauge the scope, trend and behavioral aspects of consumer needs, wants and desires. You cannot enter the market’s ecosystem without having done your homework, which can be painstakingly time-consuming as a business owner when on one hand you’re trying to grow your business and on the other, you’re stuck in its day-to-day operations.

Competitor Analysis

Your competition is your treasure-chest of knowledge. Use it! Analyzing your competitors enables you to devise your marketing, sales, operations and customer service strategy in the right direction without hitting roadblocks. Knowing your competition is like driving with a GPS – you can navigate yourself even from the tightest of spots if you know where you are.

Amazon FBA

Understanding the full dynamics, rules, regulations, procedures, parameters, and guidelines for Amazon FBA are imperative as a seller. For this reason, it is important that a Virtual Assistant you’re delegating work to is well-versed in various elements of Amazon FBA.

Amazon Product Listing

Make your listings original. It’s OK to be creative. There’s plenty of boring listings on Amazon–don’t let yours be home for content like this. For example, if you’re selling fingernail clippers, don’t give them the same uninspired content typically associated with products like this. Give it some personality and explain the benefits of using them. An Amazon product listing specialist will understand and be able to apply these crucial facets to your Amazon product listing.

Amazon Optimization

Optimizing your product listing is just as important as anything else. Powerful, potent, high volume keywords and action phrases are important for effective SEO, ranking and indexing purposes, thus facilitating the free flow of organic traffic to your product page.

Amazon Reimbursement

Refunds and Reimbursements are part of the eCommerce game, and as an Amazon seller, you’re never going to be immune to them. Reimbursements have a certain set of stipulations and criterion that must strictly be followed per Amazon’s policies. Hence, it is important to have a specialist take care of the headache and hassles for you, enabling you to focus on marketing and growing your eCommerce business rather than getting caught in the nitty-gritty of reimbursement technicalities.

Amazon PPC Management

For sellers running Amazon ads, optimizing keyword bids is one of the most important yet time-consuming activities when it comes to PPC management. Having a specialist Virtual Assistant on board that oversees and manages PPC for you is a luxury you’ll be grateful for beyond words.

Customer Support

As an eCommerce business owner and Amazon seller, your customers are your bread and butter. If they aren’t happy, even the world’s most amazing product loses its worth. The customers determine the value and depth of your product because they are the ones buying it. Keeping them happy, content and hassle-free is the key to a good, self-regulating Amazon business.

A highly adept, professional, patient and empathetic Amazon specialist Virtual Assistant will ensure all your Customer Support queries and arising issues are taken care of – without you breaking a sweat or your bank account!

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Omer Riaz April 12, 2018 0 Comments

Capitalize on Fourth Quarter Holiday Shopping

Have you been sitting at your desk pondering the best way to maximize revenue flowing from your Shopify store during holiday shopping season?

Making the decision to embark on the journey of building a business is one to be commended. But watching that business flourish with exponential growth requires skill, diligence, and perhaps most importantly, vision, and foresight. Shopify has provided a tremendous platform that makes it possible for us to launch a business easier than ever, but there is still much “leg work” to be done.

While of course, making money is the motive for most, if not all, business owners; when to make the most money must be of high priority. People shop, and love to spend money throughout the year. But when do they spend the most money? Doing your homework, and planning ahead could open your eyes to great possibilities.

Why It’s Urgent to Plan in Ahead

The last quarter of the year is the holiday season, so it’s a very important time for consumers, and businesses. The last two months of the year are a particularly important time because of the many holidays, and it presents a great opportunity for you to hit your marks with all the splurging, as well as get rid of the surplus.

However, Capitalizing on the opportunity that the holiday season brings can be difficult. Maintaining the day-to-day operations, and constantly grinding to keep your business alive can be taxing, and that can lead to being unprepared for big events down the line. And you don’t want to be the business owner who misses out on the holiday shopping due to lack of planning.

When To Start Planning

As the saying goes, “better late than never, but never late is better.” Apply that to running a successful e-commerce business by knowing when to do your planning. For example, last year, 2016 do you know what period of the holiday season was peak time in shopping? If you’ve already started preparing for the holiday season this year, you would know that Google Trends shows that in 2016, November 23-26 was the peak time for shopping.

You could look at past years to accurately depict your current year outlook. Have you missed important shopping periods like this in the past? The only way to assure that you’re well prepared to capitalize is to plan accordingly.

Upcoming Holiday Shopping Schedule

As you now know, the last quarter of the year is a major one for your business. For you to take advantage of what the holiday season can mean for you, you must first gain an understanding of what days all of these holidays are on. Check out the 2017 fourth-quarter holiday schedule:

Other fourth quarter (non-official) holidays include:

Green Monday, December 12, 2017

Free Shipping Day December 15, 2017

Note that November and December are essential months for you, and shoppers.

 Top 10 Shopping Times & Top 5 Slowest Shopping Times

*Source: ShopperTrack

How to Prepare for the Holidays

Now that you know why it’s important to plan for the holiday season, let’s move on to how to prepare yourself, and your business. You must first create a holiday marketing plan, and there are a few components that go into a well-organized plan of attack.

Before you set out to execute your marketing campaign, you need to plan a few crucial parts. Here’s what you should accomplish to stay ahead of the market, and ready for the holiday splurge:

Plan

-Choose which holidays you want to capitalize on

First, you’ll need to narrow your focus, and wisely choose the best holiday that your business would be most competitive, and successful at. As previously noted, the last two months of the quarter are especially busy. Deciding to participate in all of the holidays in this window would be absolute chaos.

Strategically, make a wise business decision.

-Develop a Promotional Calendar

After choosing a holiday, start organizing things. The holiday season is extremely busy, so staying organized will only make your efforts that much easier, and can ensure your marketing success.

A promotional calendar enables you to visualize, and plan out the necessary steps you need to take to carry out your campaign. Your promotional calendar should include information such as:

  • When you start/stop ads on promotions
  • Days and times you will deploy emails
  • Days and times you will update your site

-Product Research

Knowing the specifics, and potential of the products you sell is essential. Doing your homework on the products that you could add to your holiday inventory could rake in major bucks.  Some of your product research should include:

  • What products are most appropriate for your store on holidays
  • What new items are currently trending
  • History of top-selling products

For example, for 2016, top-selling products included:

*Source: Business Insider

  • iPads
  • Samsung 4K TVs
  • Drones
  • Legos

-Your Shopify Store Must Be Optimized

Your store should be visible, and easily accessible for current, and especially potential customers during the holiday season. There are many stores with a digital presence. And more, and more people are shopping online during this peak time.

Therefore, you will need to be creative in getting exposure for your store. Use keywords that accurately describe what you offer, and make it easy for people to find you.

Let the virtual assistants for Shopify build and optimize store for maximum conversion. 

-Promote Your Store

Facebook Ads- A great way to target your audience with your promotional material in a relaxed, social environment. It takes barely any time to get your ads to go live on Facebook, and there is a bunch of training material available online.

-Instagram influencers

Yes, it’s the social media age, and you should take full advantage of it. Online Consumers love images, and Instagram is most known for its image shares, and uploads. Instagram Influencers are bonafide Instagram users with the most followers who will promote your product for you, reaching millions of people.

-Build Email Lists and Follow Them Up

Your email campaigning is important.  If you have experience in this area, you understand how much planning it takes when preparing your emails. You’ll want to strategically plan your emails in advance, and according to your promotional calendar. If you gain leads via email marketing, be sure to follow up with your potential client.

Click here to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION CALL for Email marketing for your store

Virtual Assistant

Acquiring virtual assistant services allows focussing primarily on the day-to-day operations of running your store. Once your business takes off, and the inquiries start rolling in nonstop, accomplishing everything we previously discussed can become a daunting task. Our Virtual Assistant Services will accomplish the goals you set forth in getting your Shopify store prepared for a major holiday season.

Conclusion

The marketing of your store should be just as important as the launch of your business. Little to no one has built a fruitful business entirely by themselves without the help of even one other person. Marketing your business requires professional assistance. Our virtual assistant services will have you well on your way to financial success. The fourth, and last quarter is a very important time of year for you. The stats don’t lie. More, and more people are shopping via e-commerce, and spending boatloads of money during November, and December especially. Let’s tap into that.

 Click Here to book an appointment

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Omer Riaz October 11, 2017 0 Comments