How Can Your Small e-Commerce Business Benefit from Flat Rate Shipping?

How can your small e-commerce business benefit from flat rate shipping? Unlike Amazon and other big online retailers, small e-commerce businesses can’t always offer free shipping, which is understandable. This is why they are always looking for the best shipping options to keep customers happy and make a profit. In some cases, although not always, the best option is flat rate shipping. How can your small e-commerce business benefit from flat rate shipping?

First of all, let us tell you what flat rate shipping is in case you don’t know it. With standard shipping, the cost of shipping depends either on the actual (gross) weight of the package, or on its dimensional weight, which reflects the amount of space occupied by the package. Carriers typically charge by whichever weight is bigger. In other words, the heavier or larger your package, the more you have to pay for its delivery.

The cost of flat rate shipping is based on the size of a standard box supplied by the carrier, as long as the items you’re shipping fit into the box and do not exceed the weight limit (70 lbs for the USPS and 50 lbs for UPS and FedEx). As a rule, carriers offer several types of flat rate envelopes and boxes to choose from, each having a fixed shipping price.

Of course, flat rate shipping is not without its drawbacks, but for many small online retailers its pros outweigh its cons. What are the main advantages of flat rate shipping for small e-commerce businesses?

Consistent Prices

The price of flat rate shipping always remains the same regardless of the size, shape, and weight of the items you’re shipping. You can offer your customers several pricing options depending on the size of their order (Small, Medium and Large) to let them know in advance how much they will have to pay for shipping. Postal and courier companies usually adjust their rates once a year, and flat rate shipping is typically exempt from peak season surcharges, so you don’t have to worry that shipping prices will change unexpectedly.

Clarity and Transparency

With standard shipping, shipping cost depends on a number of factors and needs to be calculated on a case-to-case-basis. For small e-commerce businesses, this means that their customers won’t know the cost of shipping until they proceed to checkout; and some of them will certainly choose not to finish the purchase because of the lack of clarity regarding the price of shipping. With flat rate shipping, the price is clear and known right off the bat, and there are no additional or hidden costs involved.

Free Packaging

Most carriers offer flat rate envelopes and boxes for free (or, to be more precise, factor their cost into shipping price), so you can just get a bunch of flat rate boxes in varying sizes from the carrier and call it a day. Unfortunately, standard packaging robs you of branding opportunities, but when you’re just starting out, lowering your operating costs is more important than branding.

Less Errors

Whenever calculations are involved, errors can occur. To calculate the cost of standard shipping, one needs to weigh and measure the package and then submit these numbers into the shipping calculator. Since to err is human, it is easy to make a mistake at any stage of the process, especially when you’re dealing with lots of packages, which may lead to miscalculations; such errors are easily avoided with flat rate shipping because it has a fixed price.

Simplified and Less Time-Consuming Process

Flat rate shipping helps to save time because it makes order processing much easier and faster. As we’ve already mentioned above, it eliminates weighing and measuring of packages, as well as shipping cost calculations. All you need to do is pack the items in the right box, tape it shut, print a shipping label, attach it to the box, and you’re good to go! All that’s left to do is for you to mail the packages or order pickup, whichever option you prefer.