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5 ways small businesses in India can reduce shipping costs

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The e-commerce market in India is projected to grow at a neck-breaking rate, from US$22 billion in 2018 to an estimated US$350 billion by 2020, reports Statista. Much of this growth can be attributed to digitalisation over the decades, as well as an increasing internet user base as the country urbanises. 

On top of this, India’s exports, according to the India Briefing, peaked at a value of US$417.81 billion during the financial year from 2021 to 2022. This indicates that global shipping is an increasingly important aspect for successful businesses in India.

Certainly, e-commerce offers a bundle of opportunities, but when discussing these from a shipper’s perspective, SMEs may find themselves facing increasing expenses when exporting products overseas. So, how can online businesses reduce their shipping costs in ways that level up their profit margins?

1. Ensure proper packaging to reduce the weight and dimensions of your shipments

Most carriers generate a quote for shipments based on their weight and dimensions. Minimising these can help you reduce shipping costs. Pack smaller shipments in compact, lightweight boxes so you can shave off the unnecessary volume. You can also invest in a postage scale to calculate your costs more accurately, so you can optimise the allocation of finances more effectively. That’s not to say that you cannot explore unique packaging ideas to stand out from the crowd. Rather, it’ll be helpful to consider the weight and size of these packages so that you can benefit both from its cost-efficiency and brand appeal 

2. Purchase labels & packing materials in bulk

When buying packaging supplies for your shipments, purchase them in bulk to save more. For certain packaging items, numerous shipping providers may offer discounted boxes and envelopes to businesses, when they choose to pay these costs upfront. You may also buy shipping labels in advance and in bulk from your carrier at a flat rate and use them to label your packages for the next few months or the year. For small businesses exporting products with the same or similar weight and dimensions, this tactic works brilliantly. This way, you eventually pay less than what you’d need to fork out if you purchased labels and packing materials every month.

3. Include shipping fees upfront

To stay competitive, you may be tempted to offer free shipping to your customers. But this approach may not be financially prudent, especially if you’re just starting out. In this case, state your shipping charges (i.e. together with the product) so that customers know the total cost from the start. Such transparency helps manage customer expectations and builds their trust.

4. Use integrated e-commerce platforms

Running an online store on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, or Shopify is only part of the deal. Integrating them with your logistics provider can help you streamline operations with intuitive shipping solutions and gain access to shipping discounts, as you would with our DHL Express Commerce integration feature. You’ll be able to save money on shipping while ensuring a seamless shopping experience for your customers.

5. Choose a trusted logistics partner

The easiest way to reduce shipping costs is by choosing a trusted logistics partner that offers favourable rates and solutions. You’re advised to negotiate with several carriers and compare their quotations to find the one most suitable for you. The ideal carrier provides the best value for money based on the volume and size of your shipments. At the same time, you’d want to work with a shipping company that not only provides cost-effective rates but is also dependable and professional in their service. 

DHL Express’s logistics solutions for SMEs

As the leading courier service in India, DHL Express can be your trusted international shipping provider. Our Time Definite International (TDI) service means you can ship parcels globally at predetermined times, even on the same or the next working day. Coupling this with our track and trace services, you can enjoy full transparency of shipment movements and implement immediate measures during any hold ups to reduce more significant costs. 

You can also rely on our technologies to ensure efficient sorting of parcels when you ship with us. Our DHLBot makes use of barcode cameras and AI to scan the airway bill on each parcel before they are placed into their respective delivery bins. Not only does this improve our productivity, but it’ll also ensure that all parcels are rightfully organised. All packages are also handled with care by our specialists, so there will be no instances of delays, missing or damaged parcels, saving you on shipping costs otherwise required to rectify these issues.

Open your DHL Express account today to explore how you can ride the cross-border e-commerce wave with our effective shipping solutions.