Once upon a time, shipping boxes less than 3 cubic feet in diameter was a relatively affordable option for the small business owner. But then FedEx and UPS changed their pricing structure, adding dimensional weight pricing to these smaller packages.
Dimensional weight pricing uses a formula to estimate the weight of a package based upon its height, width, and depth; you are charged according to this estimated weight. It doesn’t matter if your merchandise is actually substantially lighter than what the dimensional weight pricing formula estimates – you’re still going to pay full freight.
It’s Time To Think Beyond The Box
Nobody (except, we assume, FedEx and UPS) is happy about the price increase associated with dimensional weight pricing. However, its impact is felt especially strongly by the small to midsize e-retailer. It’s difficult to pass those extra costs along to the consumer – especially when Amazon has its popular Prime program and has even begun offering free shipping on selected smaller items in metropolitan locations. Instead, the emphasis needs to be on identifying pragmatic cost-containment strategies.
In other words, it’s time to think beyond the box. While cardboard boxes have long been the standard option for shipping merchandise to customers, there are other viable options, including poly mailers. Polybags are attractive, durable, and tamper proof. To determine if polybags are a viable option for your business, consider the following:
- The size of your merchandise: many times, there’s a lot of ‘wasted space’ in cardboard shipping boxes. Poly mailers are available in a variety of sizes, which means you can select a bag that’s large enough to contain your products without wasted space.
- The fragility of your product: Poly mailers have proven to be an ideal shipping option for apparel, books, and a variety of other items. However, if you’re in the glass collectible business or you ship other fragile items, poly mailers may not be the right choice for you.
- Branding considerations: Many small business owners are surprised to discover that poly mailers are available in a wide variety of colors, and can be custom printed with logos, imagery and more. In this area, poly mailers compare favorably with cardboard shipping boxes, which generally come in an easy-to-ignore brown.
Switching to poly mailers can significantly reduce the impact of the new dimensional shipping charges on the small online retailer. To find out more about the benefits and different types of poly mailers and to see which one will work best for your business, click here.