Four ways web stores can help you save on shipping

When you shop online, do you look only at the sticker price? Maybe you should also be concerned about how the retailer handles shipping costs.

More online consumers abandon shopping carts due to unexpected costs than for any other reason – those costs are usually shipping and handling. This is one of the main reasons why the average conversion rate for eCommerce websites is around four percent, according to Marketing Sherpa.  The good news for us consumers is that even if a store thinks it has reduced its shipping costs as low as they can go and still make a profit, there are several effective strategies that they may not have tried.

Save on shippingPlan their shipments in advance

When it comes to finding affordable shipping and handling rates, timing is everything. If they pay close attention to the standard shipping schedule of the carriers they choose, especially when it comes to weekend deliveries, they could find a bargain.  So if you want to save money, don’t worry about how fast a company ships; be more concerned with what they charge for delivery.

Even though it may seem to be more convenient to have shipments delivered on Saturday and Sunday, all carriers that offer this service charge expensive fees to go right along with it.  Keep in mind that you will always save more money with 3-day shipping than next-day shipping, according to the Wall Street Journal. If you as a consumer have the option, use an online shipping calculator, which can easily be found either on the retailer’s or the shipping carrier’s website, to calculate and compare delivery fees accordingly.

Save on shippingThey can search for competitive rates

Just as you can shop around for the best price on sandals, perfume, gadgets or whatever, so can the retailer shop around for the best shipping rates. You will get a better deal from a retailer who shops around for a lower price.

Postage rates and shipping expenses change rather frequently among carriers, because they are continuously striving to gain an edge on their competition. As a general rule of thumb, on products that weigh less than 5 pounds you can get the best deal with USPS (assuming, of course, that this is a shipment within the USA), according to However, for much heavier products, you will more than likely be able to get a better deal and faster delivery time by using UPS or FedEx.

Save on shippingBe cautious about international shipping

Even though you may want to shop on a global scale, it is important for you to remain mindful of international shipping rates and the increased cost of shipping across international boundaries and particularly overseas. Keep in mind that, unlike with standard domestic shipments, there are several other fees and charges that need to be factored into the equation when calculating international shipping costs. You might save a lot more by buying locally, within your own country.

So location is one of the first things to check when visiting an online retailer, especially when shopping for a product that is likely available form many websites. You can save money by avoiding

Getting the order right the first time

Although it might not seem to have very much to do with a store’s upfront shipping and handling charges, making sure that orders are fulfilled and shipped accurately the first time around is essential.  And it does play a role in the overall cost of shipping.  Why?  If a company has a lot of returns and reshipments, they will have to recoup that cost somewhere.  And somewhere is always you.

One study shows that close to 30 percent of consumers who receive an incorrect order from an eCommerce business never buy from that company again, according to You might be one of those 30 percent, and the odds are that the choice is a wise one from both a pocketbook and a stress-reduction perspective.

Check the company out online, and search specifically for reviews that talk about fulfillment – whether the right product arrived, whether it was damaged and whether it needed to be returned or exchanged.

Save on shipping

The Bottom Line

If you are able to save money on shipping expenses, or if your retailer is able to do so, you can increase save some serious money. It does pay to shop around and to look at more than just the sticker price of an item.


  1. Usually I contact customer support before I proceed with selecting the shipping method. Additionally I check import taxes, which can be a big problem sometimes.

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