Flat rate shipping refers to shipping based on the size of the box. Flat rate shipping doesn’t consider the product dimension, instead takes the total size of the package into account. So how do you ensure that the package size meets the required weight threshold and does not exceed expectations? Your package should be delicate as long as you maintain the maximum weight. The maximum weight per box is subjective to different carriers, especially the significant carriers on e-commerce platforms.
What is Flat Rate Shipping?
So why is flat-rate shipping important? To understand this, we need to revise two concepts- shipping costs and profit margins. Shipping costs are the rate you pay to facilitate the delivery of your package from source to destination. On the other hand, profit margins constitute a company’s money-making activities determined by dividing the total income by the revenue earned. The profit margin is directly connected to the costs of shipping a product. To explain more elaborately, the higher the shipping costs are, the lower your profit margins will appear.
When talking about e-commerce businesses, shipping is a boulder to be sorted with different options such as freight shipping, international shipping, and flat rate shipping. But what if you’re specifically looking for a shipping strategy to cut down on extra costs while shipping heavier products without incurring losses? And for a business that ships a lot of orders on a given day, flat rate shipping offers the transparency and coverage a business would require at affordable rates. Apart from that, you can weigh the costs of different carriers depending on your need and shipping box.
How is Flat Rate Shipping Different From Standard Shipping?
You must remember that a particular business may have more than one shipping strategy. As a result, it becomes crucial to understand the different types of shipping methods available. Standard shipping is one of them. Widely used around businesses, this shipping form is also called economic shipping and provides an array of advantages compared to flat-rate shipping. For instance, it is the cheapest service type available in e-commerce. For example, when a business offers free shipping to its customers, it is done through standard shipping.
Standard shipping not only helps the merchant keep tabs on the prices, but also facilitates shipping at a much later time, thereby providing a slower delivery period. On the other hand, shipping depends on other variables such as the package’s shape, weight, and size. Another essential factor is the final delivery destination, which may touch quite a few nerves for the shipping carrier. Standard shipping charges are usually the cheapest, but they may also vary according to these variables.
Let’s discuss the variables and determine how they change the shipping type.
- Dimensions – Standard shipping is charged according to the DIM weight, which is predominantly seen in the case of popular carriers. Flat rate shipping doesn’t charge for the DIM weight.
- Shipping zones – While standard shipping offers multiple stoppages and interferes with your delivery time, it also costs you more, depending on the location. Flat rate shipping doesn’t add any costs related to shipping zones. In this comparison, we can see why most merchants prefer flat rate shipping over standard shipping because of its non-hidden charges. This way, merchants can reduce inconsistency and ensure limited shipping costs.
- More lucrative – In terms of flat rate shipping, customers must pay a standardized cost for the entire shipping without considering any factors. However, customers only have to pay according to their zip codes and shipping zones for a standard shipping format.
- Delivery period – With flat rate shipping, you can ensure a uniform delivery code within time. The shipping may take a definite period, and you will be able to charge your customers a fixed price. For standard shipping, it goes the other way. A fixed price is valued if the shipment is made within the city.
How Does Flat Rate Shipping Work?
As a merchant or a seller, you are expected to know the how-about of flat rate shipping if it works for your business. Flat rate shipping provides you with the necessary transparency and ensures consistent shipping, thereby helping you with your establishment.
So how does flat rate shipping work? Let’s get into the packaging and shipping implementation process through flat rate shipping.
1. Get a flat rate box
The first step to getting into flat rate shipping for your brand is determining what packaging suits you best. After deciding on the packaging, get a flat rate shipping box or an envelope depending on your product.
You can either collect the envelopes or boxes from your local office or have them delivered to your business site. The process of packaging is free overall.
2. Pack your items and address your box
After you have procured your desired box or envelope, make a note to pack your order in the item available carefully. One advantage of going for flat rate shipping is that you can decide on the dimensions of the box without thinking about the weight of the package as long as it is under the prescribed category. Thus, the shipping fee is uniform, and you don’t have to pay extra shipping charges. While adding the packaging and addressing, you must conform to the shipping carrier’s rules and practices.
At this point, you can add the address in a way accessible to the transportation. A clear, transparent, and thorough address should do the job. Don’t forget to add the return address lest the shipment fails to arrive at its final destination or is canceled by the customer. After you have packed your product and listed the address, you can opt for shipping.
3. Ship your items
The last and final step is the most crucial one. After you have packaged and added the address, ensure you purchase postage at the office or contact an online postage portal. You can also arrange for the shipment to be picked up at your office. The process of shipping is facilitated once you have posted the package.
How Long Does Flat Rate Shipping Take?
Some well-known flat rate shipping providers usually work on a time limit of one to three days which may extend by a day or two depending on the ultimate destination. A flat rate shipping service is an attractive option for brands and businesses since it helps eliminate high costs. Furthermore, it saves time by ensuring that the packages aren’t exclusively weighed. The dimensions of the envelopes and boxes take care of this aspect, making the shipment available to your customers in no time. However, you must ensure that the packaging weighs below the specified amount at the carrier’s portal. Usually, weekdays are taken into account. Weekends except for Saturdays may be a viable option for some carriers too. Thus, weekends can be working days too in terms of delivery.
So how long does flat rate shipping take? Compared to other shipping services, including standard shipping, notoriously known as free shipping, flat rate shipping offers a more successful option. Since standard shipping provides a free form of shipping that is standardized, flat rate shipping takes the lead in terms of shipping speed. The flat rate shipping time is based on locations. It is also beneficial if you want to get your shipping done without investing too much time and effort.
Why is Shipping Flat Rate Perfect For E-commerce Shops?
Flat rate shipping carries a charm that is unmatched by its rivals. So far, we have established that it is the most common and convenient shipping form provided by leading carriers. In its entirety, it is a process that helps businesses send multiple goods according to demands within the same time zone. It also ensures timely delivery and is cost-effective in the long run. Let’s look at other aspects of how it may be the perfect option for e-commerce businesses.
- Simple and predictable pricing
One of the main benefits of using flat rate shipping is that it opens you up to clarity and lends you multiple options in terms of packaging, processing, tracking, and delivery. It also takes care of the insurance in a manner deemed transparent and professional. It helps you earn the customer’s trust, thereby adding to your brand’s reputation.
In addition, you don’t require a shipping calculator for your shipment, since flat rate shipping hardly entertains talks of weight and dimensions. You can rely on the base prices for packaging and outsourcing the product.
- No surprise or hidden fees
Since the process is transparent, you can expect no hidden costs. Doing this leaves you with enough time to purchase the packaging box or envelope based on your business’s requirements. The process of shipping is entirely taken care of by the shipping carrier. This feature makes shipping across different zones smooth. How much does a flat rate box cost? It depends on carrier services across the country.
- Time-saving and resourceful
With flat-rate shipping, your time is always rewarded. Since the dimensions and weight aren’t considered, you can save a reasonable amount of time at the postal office or online. It also ensures more customer orders since current orders are usually fulfilled promptly.
Flat rate shipping usually comes with numerous options to choose from in keeping with your shipping requirement. Not only can you choose from boxes of different sizes, but you can also find envelopes of varied sizes to suit your business’s best interest. You can expect it to be picked up by the carrier, which will save you the travel and time to the local postage office.
With all the options weighed, we can successfully assume that flat rate shipping is of the highest convenience thanks to its hassle-free shipping method. It is an excellent way to save time and be the most productive in a stressful environment. In addition, it also helps secure a customer base owing to the careful maintenance and shipping of the product.
Apart from the advantages mentioned above, there are other factors you can relate to in terms of flat rate shipping and other forms of shipping. When talking about flat rate shipping, you can expect benefits such as lesser weighting errors. The error usually occurs with volumetric weight and dimensions, which isn’t the case with this type of shipping.
Can You Use Your Box For Flat Rate Shipping?
While you can bring your own box to aid in the packaging of a shipment, there are several other factors to consider before moving ahead with flat-rate shipping. Firstly, custom-branded packaging ensures brand reputation. It ensures that the customer has a positive experience when unpacking the shipment. The last thing that brands want to do is hamper the feedback process that the product will receive. Secondly, you can also avoid faulty packaging that way.
However, if you have decided to go with your packaging, you may want to maintain a few pointers. These include –
- Using a well-built box with enough space to place the product
- Adding cushions and shredded paper filler for the safety of the product
- Securing the item in a way that it does not shift in the least
- Removing all old logos, addresses, and shipping labels for reusing a packaging box.
When is it Cheaper to Opt For Flat Rate Shipping?
Knowing what shipping to opt for can have its advantages and drawbacks. It also helps to know that flat rate shipping carries with it both these aspects. To save extra costs, you can consider these pointers to gain more insight into the market and how shipping carriers move their businesses forward. At the same time, it will help you determine the pros and cons and what you can avoid.
- Avoid additional costs – How much do flat rate boxes cost to ship? Suppose your business relies on shipping smaller and heavier boxes than more extensive and lightweight packages. In that case, you can easily opt for flat rate shipping without much thought. This shipping service helps you avoid additional charges in terms of parceling. It also doesn’t take into account the dimensions and, therefore, excludes the DIM weight.
- Centralized strategy – If your business’s warehouse only ships orders throughout the country and not worldwide, you can go for flat rate shipping. It will help you avoid a premium while crossing multiple shipping zones and borders.
- Self-fulfillment – Brands that practice self-fulfillment are heavily rewarded by flat rate shipping. Besides, flat rate shipping prices go down when you track self-fulfillment costs. In turn, it helps streamline the packaging process.
When is it Not Cheaper to Opt for Flat Rate Shipping?
One of the upsides of opting for flat rate shipping is that it caters to your business needs in a more valuable way than other shipping systems. If your shipping requirement stays within the service provided by your required carrier, you can expect flawless service. On the other hand, if your shipment does not meet the standards of the carrier company or exceeds expectations, your business might carry a bad reputation. How so? The below pointers explain why flat rate shipping may not fit your business best.
- Customer experience – In terms of customer experience, it is essential to know when not to opt for this shipping. If your area requires you to use the standard delivery form, it will be a hassle to qualify for other shipping systems.
Reputed brands seeking to create a valuable customer interaction will always ensure that customer expectations are met. In this case, the business may compromise on the shipping or settle for one that offers to ship with customization.
- Lightweight products – In terms of products that do not meet the carrier’s expectations, this type of shipping may also prove to be a failure. If a customer’s order is way below the minimum levels of requirement, you will be forced to add extra charges for added weight since you cannot ship a product with such a low bar.
While the customer has already paid for the order and is on the other end expecting its shipping process, you will have to pay from the business accounts. In such cases, it is always best to go for regular shipping services, that will help you save on the extra cost.
- Localized order – If you are running a small-time business and don’t yet have an influential market, it is in your best interest to go for a regular shipping service. Not only will this help you fight the extra costs, but it will also help you save on the profit margin in the initial phase of your business. It has also been proven over time that minimal orders help save on the profit margin by minimizing the extra costs.