The holiday season is nearly upon us and, for many businesses, that means getting ready to ship items internationally and nationally to customers dotted all over.
This year, shipping is likely to be more difficult than in previous years, thanks to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic situation, the addition of the U.S. to air cargo restrictions, and other factors.
Anticipating these problems and seeking ways to avoid them, businesses should be ready with their own shipping policies before beginning that holiday shopping period this week or next.
Getting your first few loads if you are new to the industry is always going to be difficult. This is where investing in a load board service can be important.
With a load board company such as https://www.shiply.com/us/load-board, you are dealing with someone who knows how to ship quickly, safely, and efficiently.
The cost is about the same as it would be for you to hire one of the big shipping companies. You can also be assured that you will have many places to turn to for help if something goes wrong with your shipment.
Open consignment shipments are not really much different from using your own shipping company.
The only difference is that you are responsible for shipping the goods out yourself. This means that if something goes wrong, there are no systems to fall back on or excuses for not being able to deliver what you have agreed to.
Wholesale or Retail?
Some small businesses are unsure whether they should ship their products wholesale to retailers, who sell at a lower price, or directly to consumers, who can purchase at retail prices. As with most questions of this nature, the answer involves knowing the facts behind both situations and choosing the best situation for your business.
Farmers selling to wholesalers will often not know exactly who exactly their own customers will be: instead, they sell their goods to a wholesaler at a set price and allow that business to choose its own customers.
The farmer can still meet the needs of the retailer’s customers by making sure that each customer receives 100% of their order; by shipping an ample supply, and by providing detailed instructions about what specific traits or preferences may vary from one shipment to another. By meeting these requirements, farmers can ensure that they remain in good standing with both retailers and wholesalers.
Direct or Ship-to-Store?
Another common question is whether a small business should ship directly to customers or send the items to a store for pick up.
This is a key decision that small businesses need to make early. If customers don’t know much about the business and only want to purchase its products (or pick them up at stores), they will most likely buy online and let the retailer ship their order to them.
This business model is obviously not viable for a business that doesn’t have an established brand.
The shipping may be easier or harder than you think, depending on where you live and what legal requirements you must meet.