Tips for Reducing Shipping Costs as an Amazon Seller
by Jodie Pride
If you’re an Amazon seller, you can reduce your shipping costs in a number of different ways.
Your shipping supplies, which will generally consist of boxes, tissue/newspaper, styrofoam peanuts, bubble wrap and tape, have the potential to cost you a lot, but there are ways you can source at least some of these items free of charge. Visit your local shops and ask for any boxes and packing materials going to waste – stores often have to recycle these themselves. which takes a surprising amount of effort, and is sometimes costly; they’ll be glad to give them away. Gift shops, electronics stores, and other places which sell a variety of fragile items often have frequent deliveries of goods which require a large amount of packing materials and sturdy boxes, so these are a great place to start. Grocery stores are also a good ideas as they often have daily deliveries of fresh produce, meaning they have plenty of boxes going to waste.
On that note, ensure that the items are well packaged too, so that they are protected during the shipping process, especially fragile items which are more susceptible to damage in transit. A layer or two of bubble wrap should do the trick for larger items, and a padded envelope is usually enough for smaller pieces. You can usually get these at discounted rates if you source them in bulk from suppliers – try negotiating with them to reach a price you both agree is reasonable.
If you’re only a casual seller, there’s not a lot you can do to reduce shipping costs, which is unfortunate. However, if you’re a high volume Amazon seller, you may be able to negotiate rates with your carriers, such as FedEx and UPS. Contact the companies and ask how much you need to ship to get a discount.
FBA (Fulfilment By Amazon)
If you’re an Amazon seller, you can take advantage of Amazon’s own fulfilment service. You can use FBA to send your goods to Amazon so that they can sell it on your behalf. You still have control over the prices, but Amazon handles customer interactions, packaging and shipping for you in return for seller and handling fees. This service is great because it requires far less time and effort than selling each individual item by yourself.
Perhaps the best thing about this service is that items tend to sell a lot quicker because they qualify for free Amazon shipping. This includes both Amazon’s policy of offering free shipping for orders over $25, and free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members.
Because Amazon charges some FBA fees per item, so you can reduce fees as a percentage of the total by selling higher priced items; and because Amazon charges FBA fees for storage and weight handling, you could choose only to sell items that are small and light in order to reduce these fees.
You should also take advantage of Amazon’s Zero Fee Fulfillment where possible. Amazon states the following “Standard-Size units that sell for $300 or more on Amazon.com are eligible for Zero Fee Fulfillment. You pay nothing for Order Fulfillment fees, which include Order Handling, Pick & Pack, and Weight Handling. Other fees such as Inventory Storage, optional services, and Selling on Amazon fees still apply.“
A few other things to remember:
Always remember to send your orders out within two business days (check eShipper services for more requirements and tips). Marketplace terms require shipping within two business days, so keep that in mind when you list items. If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to get an item out in a timely manner, don’t list it.
You should communicate with the buyer through Amazon’s “contact buyer” section. Even if it’s just to send a shipment notification email
Don’t lie about the dimensions and weights of your packages because you will be found out, and you will be charged extra! (This is getting ready to be fixed when Amazon makes entering dimension mandatory, coming soon…) Reducing Shipping Costs just means knowing how to do things properly.