4 Ways To Better Understand Shipping Prices

OEM Bargain Blog 4

As a consumer, everyone agrees that the world would be a much better place without having to worry about shipping.  However, this expense is unavoidable for businesses. To account for this, businesses usually charge for shipping or incorporate that cost into the price of the item being sold. Thing is, different businesses have a wide price range when it comes to shipping cost. Are you being charged the appropriate amount? Here are four ways to be more informed about shipping.

Look for product weight information

One large determinant of shipping cost is the weight of the item being shipped. Light products should have low shipping cost and heavier products should be more expensive right? Not necessarily.

All packages being shipped will start with a base price. This means that even if something is 1 ounce, it may cost $10 to have that package expedited if that is the carrier’s starting price. However, the additional cost per unit of measurement or weight is usually only fraction of the base price. For example, a 32 ounce package may cost $11 to expedite. While shipping for this is more expensive than the 1 ounce package overall, it is much cheaper relatively. Using this example, you would be paying $0.34 shipping per ounce of product instead of paying $10 shipping per ounce for the 1 ounce package.

What does this mean? It means that shipping heavier products is expensive on the outside but in reality more cost effective than having to ship light products. This also means that if you purchase multiple units of a light product in one transaction, you help the seller save money on shipping. A nice seller would acknowledge this and may even provide you with a discount on your order!

Look for product dimensions

A second important factor to shipping cost is the size of the item being shipped. Most carriers charge both a higher flat starting and per weight fee for packages shipped in larger containers.

If you notice that the shipping cost for one item may be more expensive than another item despite them being similar in weight, try to see if there is product dimensions information available. This can help you distinguish between sellers with honest shipping prices and sellers that are secretly milking their customers.

The links below provide a shipping rate calculator for three of the most commonly used shipping carriers.

  1. https://www.usps.com/nationalpremieraccounts/calculaterates.htm
  2. http://www.fedex.com/us/2016rates/rate-tools.html
  3. https://wwwapps.ups.com/ctc/request?loc=en_us

Identify the shipping speed being used

Most sellers will specify the shipping method being used but not the carrier. While no one carrier offers the same exact services, the prices are pretty similar when it comes to their standard, expedited and express shipping options. This information is available on the carrier’s website and is a great frame of reference if you are skeptical about a seller’s shipping rates.

Account for the number of units being purchased

Even though shipping price gets relatively cheaper as you load up your shopping cart for the transaction, there are times where you may notice a big shipping price bump after you go over a certain amount of units. This is because even the biggest shipping box has a limit to the amount that it can hold.

The price bump usually indicates that another box is needed to ship your entire order. When there is another box in the equation, the seller needs to order another shipping label for the transaction. The new label requires another flat fee so the price bump is to account for that additional charge.

If you have any concerns about the price bumps, most sellers will try their best to adjust your order so that it can be cheaper. However, this isn’t always possible so be mindful of that.

Have any comments or suggestions you think we should include? Please let us know!

 

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5 Tips For Aspiring Online Sellers

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Looking to sell online for your business or maybe as a side job? That’s not a bad idea at all considering that 96% of consumers have shopped online in the past year. However, figuring out how to capture a slice of this pie may be a daunting task for those unfamiliar with selling online. Here are five starting points that may help simplify this process.

Start off by analyzing whether selling online is right for you

Before you jump the gun and commit your resources to selling online, take a step back to evaluate the situation. Would people understand your item without needing to see it or physically inspect it? If close inspection is required, is it feasible to send your product out as a sample? If you said yes to either of those questions, selling online becomes a serious consideration.

Once you’ve made the decision to sell online, you will have to consider the following:

  • The shipping methods that you will offer (ie: First Class, Express, International) and the average rates of each method based off the items you are selling. A good calculator is ShipGooder
  • What will your return policy be? Will you charge a restocking fee?
  • What your pricing strategy will be
  • Who is your target audience

Determine your strategy for getting exposure online

So you’ve decided that you want to sell online and looked into creating an online store. The next step now is to build a following. In order to stand out among all the other online stores available, you have to think strategically and consider the latest e-commerce trends.

A good starting point would be to learn about search engine optimization (SEO), which focuses on getting your website to the top of the Google search. SEO would be a long term strategy that requires a constant stream of content and updates that adhere to Google’s algorithm. You can learn more about SEO here.

Additionally, you can look into advertising your store with tools such as Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. Both tools provide plenty of options to narrow your focus and optimize your budget for the best ROI. Keep in mind that the cost will come from all clicks so it is important to consider how to drive conversions from those clicks. If you’re worried about spending too much on advertising, you can set a daily budget restriction as seen fit.

Connecting your store to social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest is another useful piece to the strategy.  An increasing number of online purchases are made after visiting a company’s social media page. The pages also serve as an avenue for staying connected with your existing customers.

Deciding whether to host an online store or use e-commerce software

The headache begins when you have to decide whether you want to use a hosting service or e-commerce software to create your online store.

Hosted services is a popular option for those with little to no technical background. It provides everything that you would need in an online store, such as a SSL secure domain and a sandbox that provides a wide range of templates to customize your page. Common e-commerce platforms include Shopify, BigCommerce and Volusion. To maintain the hosting service, users have to pay a monthly subscription that ranges based on the level of features needed.

Although hosted services are popular, it lacks the versatility that you would have if you decided to use e-commerce software to create your own online store. If you are tech savvy and are willing to learn how to program, using e-commerce software is the better alternative. It is less expensive in the long run since most software are one time license fee based and you can maintain your site on your own. There are no template restrictions since you can add your own codes to modify the layouts. Examples of e-commerce software include Magento, WordPress and Zencart.

Setting up an account for online payments processing

Credit card transactions may seem very simple on the consumer’s end but as a seller, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to payments processing. Payment gateways need to be set up so that transactions can be validated in real time. While there are numerous payment gateway providers, the fees involved are not straightforward so be sure to conduct due diligence before settling on a gateway.

PayPal is also a must for online transactions, but by no means a solution to payment gateways because there are still people out there that do not use PayPal. Additionally, PayPal skeptics still exist and without a payment gateway, you would miss out on sales from those customers.

Functionality and design

You can have the best products on the market, but it will never sell if it becomes a task to complete the order. Your goal is to have a website that is user-friendly so that your items will actually sell. Examples of user-friendliness include:

  • Functioning mobile compatibility
  • Webpages with load times under 3 seconds
  • Quick and simple checkout process
  • Clear item descriptions that aren’t overloaded with information
  • Video demonstrations for specialized items

By sustaining these practices, you will be able to convert more of your visitors into customers. This upkeep will require some basic competency so that even if you were getting help from a hosting service, you understand the effects of each change on your website.

Starting a store is easy but can quickly spiral out of control if there is no long term plan driving your actions. Remember to do your homework and stay adaptive to changes in trends to ensure that your store will be successful. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Purchase In Bulk

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In this day and age where everything can be bought online, many people have turned a blind eye towards bulk purchasing options. But by doing so, many people are leaving money on the table. If you take a step back and consider the options available while shopping, you’ll realize that bulk purchasing has many benefits.

Cost savings.

One of the biggest advantages of bulk purchasing is the initial cost reduction as compared to purchasing on a retail level. In addition, most wholesalers offer big discounts (price breaks) as the quantity purchased increases.

Let’s work through an example.

Our vendor QQ Studio retails one item by the pack through their website at a retail price of $11.49. They also sell that same item sold in quantities of 5 on our website at a starting price of $44.17 and as low as $28.71. The higher price tag may look intimidating but don’t overlook this huge saving opportunity.

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The graph above shows the price breakdown. Looking at the graph, you should notice that there is a significant 23% price difference between shopping retail and the first bulk price tier. Purchasing at the highest tier yields savings greater than 50% of retail price!

Save resource and time

Bulk ordering increases productivity for both the supplier and the customer.

For example, if a customer needs to order 100 mugs for his gift shop each month, s/he can decide whether they want to make one transaction for the month or multiple transactions. Suppliers would prefer one transaction because they would only need to setup for the transaction once a month instead of four or five times. The time saved could be used to focus on other activities in their business.

The same applies for the customer. Instead of processing multiple invoices for their monthly inventory, one invoice makes for easier logistics and may springboard into improved operations.

Provides a cushion for demand changes

While there are ways to analyze your past sales records to determine average demand, there is no real way to predict the buying intentions of a new customer. You may be selling 3 mugs a day on average but suddenly a new customer decides to buy 25. If you were stocking in low volumes, you probably need to place an urgent order with your supplier. However, odds are you would’ve had some inventory surplus to cover the transaction if you ordered in wholesale quantities.

Although this may sound like an easy fix, it’s important to consider if you have the cash flow to support excess inventory and whether unexpected large orders bring in enough revenue to justify the extra storage space needed. Determining this will take some trial and error and number crunching. If the benefits of holding excess inventory outweighs the cost of unfulfilled orders, the business’ financial health will improve over time.

Opportunities to expand your network

If you are purchasing in large volumes, you likely have contacted numerous suppliers that each have their own set of expertise. This gives you a greater understanding of the network and allows you to determine which suppliers would be best for each aspect of your business.

Gain valuable industry know-how

Deciding to engage in large scale purchasing is a learning process but it isn’t for naught. With some observation, you can learn about the industry’s value chain and the competition. This information can be used to your advantage when it comes to bargaining with suppliers. The industry knowledge is also great if you decide that you want to manufacturer your own supplies in the future.

The next time you need to place a business order, take some time to identify your specific needs and evaluate the options available. You may discover your capability to source larger quantities for each order and further improve the prospect of your business by having more time and being more efficient. 

The creation of the OEM Bargain logo

The creation of the OEM Bargain logo

Deciding how to design a logo is never an easy task. It is usually a planned combination of colors, texts and images portrayed in a symbol that becomes the face of a company. Our logo carries these elements and we want to share the story behind it.

Color has a powerful subconscious effect on our lives. In business, the color of a brand complements its mission statement and enhances its profile if successful. Our company logo is built around elements of green and we’re going to share our rationale behind this decision.

Green is associated with growth and vitality. Psychologically, it represents balance and harmony that promotes good decision making. Physiologically, it represents a sense of calm. But in business, green can have a variety of meanings.

Why green?

The biggest reason why we chose green is due to its representation of growth. As a platform built to connect vendors and manufacturers to retail and business customers, our goal is to provide wholesale prices for volume purchases. We want to be the company that provides the raw resources to promote business growth.

In addition to growth, green is also associated with freshness. While we are familiar with brick-and-mortar wholesalers (Costco, Sam’s Club), we felt that the opportunities online were limited. Our goal was to create a fresh online shopping experience by bringing together the elements of wholesale and marketplace.

The OB panda design

For our brand, we used a panda as our logo design. Pandas go hand in hand with the color green and also carry a unique symbolism that fits our business mold.

Pandas are also a symbol of friendship that we wish to emulate. Our mission is to give manufacturers the opportunity to extend their hand to consumers, to help them realize the value being offered. We strive to preserve this peace by providing excellent customer service and shipping turnaround.

Last but not least, pandas are rare in nature. Although online transactions are common, we feel that it is rare to see product listings that explicitly show the amount of savings available. We don’t want it to be a rare sighting on our platform so you will always see the amount you can save at OEM Bargain.

Now that you have read this post, we hope you learned about our business and our design choice!