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A guide on how to reduce shipping costs for small businesses

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Undoubtedly, e-commerce has been a crucial lifeline for many individuals and businesses during the pandemic. Even as we slowly emerge from the lockdowns and restrictions, the shift to digital commerce has remained strong across multiple countries, economies and industries — and Cambodia is no different. 

As a matter of fact, according to Khmer Times, Cambodia's market value of e-commerce increased by 19% from 2020 to 2021. In addition, the e-commerce sector is expected to expand even further, and the market volume could possibly hit over 2 billion by 2027. Accrediting it to the advent of new technologies, increasing digitisation, or rising income levels, Cambodia's e-commerce sector is making steady progress towards sustainable growth. 

However, as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cambodia leverage online sales as a means of growth and sustainability, there remains a challenge. This is the challenge of navigating the cost of shipping. So, what strategies can SMEs and online businesses adopt to reduce shipping expenses and enhance their profit margins?

1. Work with a trusted shipping partner

Partnering with the right shipping company can help small and medium-sized businesses reduce shipping costs. But how do you go about getting discounted and the cheapest shipping rates if you are not an industry giant? For one, it is important to research and compare the prices and services of various shipping companies to better understand their offerings. 

Whether you leverage an online container shipping costs calculator or personally request quotes, getting a range of prices can aid the decision of choosing the option that is the best value for your money. Moreover, having all this disposable information means that you can negotiate for lower rates. You can also provide your sales projections to the shipping partner to get more favourable rates, especially if you expect an increase in demand due to seasonality or growth.

However, it is important not to go for the cheapest option that comes your way. The last thing any small business would want is for their customers to receive their orders late, damaged, or not at all. Look for a shipping provider with a reliable track record and provides good customer service. 

DHL Express offers not only comprehensive yet flexible shipping solutions that can be tailored to fit your specific needs but also provides reliable and fast shipping services to several countries and territories worldwide.

Working with a trusted shipping partner like us can also help you navigate the complexities of customs clearance, duties, and taxes. 

2. Streamline your shipping process

Reducing shipping costs also involves streamlining your shipping processes. For example, using a shipping platform that integrates with your e-commerce infrastructure can help you manage your shipping more efficiently and improve complex international logistics operations. This reduces manual errors and processing times. 

You can also consider using a fulfilment centre that handles your shipping and warehousing needs. Easily save on shipping costs by consolidating your shipments and reducing shipping distances.

3. Leverage bulk shipping to lower costs

If you run a B2B e-commerce business that tends to ship large orders to business or wholesale customers, bulk shipping can be a valuable strategy to save on shipping expenses. Shipping in larger quantities provides an opportunity to take advantage of discounted rates offered by shipping carriers. 

In addition, packing your products tightly together helps reduce the space they occupy in the truck or air cargo container, which means you'll pay less for transportation. However, ensuring that products are packed securely is important to avoid damage during transit. 

4. Optimise your packaging

Following the above, one of the most significant factors you can control to reduce shipping costs and make it more affordable for you and your customers is your packaging. From cutting down on the weight of your packaging to using packages given by your carriers, you could save a considerable amount of money.

To achieve this, investing in a postage scale is advisable if you plan to print shipping labels yourself. Accurate package weight is essential to avoid higher shipping charges, especially if you're not using flat-rate shipping. This allows you to consciously reduce your parcels' overall volumetric weight to significantly lower shipment costs as a result. 

This can be achieved by using boxes that fit the size of your products as closely as possible or by packing small items into more compact boxes or lightweight poly mailers. Although this may require you to stock up on various packaging materials, it can make a long-term difference in reducing your business costs. Proper packaging also ensures that your shipments reach your customers safely and securely, saving you from potential expenses such as refunds and compensation for damaged goods.

Packaging costs can also add up, especially if you are using premium packaging materials or shipping large items. Consider using more economical packaging materials, such as recycled boxes. You can also negotiate with your shipping provider for discounted rates on packaging materials.

Save on shipping costs by working with DHL Express today

Just starting a business in Cambodia and looking to save on shipping costs, why not give DHL Express a shot? We offer low-cost shipping for small businesses, and you can estimate your shipping costs by getting a free international shipping quote online. 

So if you're in need of small business shipping services and want to save on shipping costs, consider DHL Express as your go-to solution. Open a DHL Express business account with us today and find out more about our services and how we can help your business grow today.