Whether you choose to operate your small beading business from home or a commercial location, you might want to allow customers to purchase your product from abroad. This means giving consumers the option to buy your jewelry over the internet and have it delivered directly to their homes.
If your company has grown to the extent that you can now afford to ship your goods elsewhere, there are a few things you need to consider. One is to determine where you're willing to mail your jewelry. Although your business might be located in the U.S., you might have fans of your small beading business in other parts of the world. This means you'll have to ask yourself if you're willing to ship your products outside of the country, which can be costly.
|In turn, you will also need to determine which ways you're comfortable with mailing your goods. There are a number of different options available to you: train, plane, boat. However, the costs for these types of shipping vary.
Train is one of the most traditional ways to deliver goods across the country, but this will limit you to mainly local orders, as opposed to international requests. This can still be a viable way to get your products from one area to another in a cost-effective manner. However, you have to keep in mind that doing so by train may take weeks at a time.
Boat is another way to ship your goods, and this can be helpful when it comes to international requests. Although it can take slightly less time than train and gives you more options, it may cost you more money.
Finally, there's the option to ship by plane. This gives you a wide variety of options, internationally and domestically. However, the prices can become costly depending on how quickly you want your goods to be delivered.
When it comes to shipping internationally, you should also compare and contrast delivery companies. The U.S. Postal Service often offers reasonable rates in comparison to larger corporations, such as FedEx, but it's best to explore all of your choices before making a final decision.
If you're unsure about which company or method will work best for your company, create a mock scenario and calculate out your potential expenses.
"Put together a forecast for how many packages you are planning on shipping for the next 12 months, estimate your cost per package, and calculate your total cost for the 12 month period," Sean Kim, director of business development at Zappos.com, told Inc.com. "If it's difficult to swallow, consider putting together a phased plan to eventually get you to your goal."
Another thing to consider while devising your shipping strategy is whether you're comfortable with offering free shipping to your consumers. Although it may seem like you're wasting money, free shipping opportunities can help you establish relationships with your clients and improve customer retention. This can help your small beading business grow over time.
Free shipping doesn't always have to be a giveaway, either. Consider offering this option to customers who are willing to sign up for a monthly membership that includes a small fee - you'll be surprised at how many people are willing to join your club.
Another alternative is to offer free shipping on select items or require a minimum order size to balance out your expenses. Oftentimes, consumers are willing to spend the extra few bucks to get those shipping costs off. As an added bonus, consider providing free shipping on returns or a free ship-to-store option to make things easier on your clients.
Your ultimate goal should be to break even with your shipping costs. If you're constantly trying to make money through delivering your goods to customers elsewhere, you will find it incredibly difficult to continue to provide this option to clients.
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