1. Use a range of carriers Instead of relying on one carrier to fulfil your local and international deliveries, using a range of carriers will help you get the best rate for each region that you are selling products to. One carrier may be more cost effective and deliver a better service locally (such as City Link, UK Mail and Tuffnells), whereas global carriers (such as DHL, UPS, FedEx and DPD) are more cost effective when shipping internationally. 2. Buy a label printer Printing your labels using a standard office printer can be very costly, which is why it makes sense to buy and install a label printer on your PC. Rather than laboriously printing labels from your desktop printer, a label printer such as the Zebra Gk420d makes sense when you are shipping multiple parcels or packets on a regular basis. While these devices incur a high initial investment, the amount of time (and paper) using one would save you will reap benefits for years to come. They are also easy to use. Simply export your customer order data as a csv file, upload to the label printing software and you are good to go! 3. Rent some space purely for your business In some cases it makes sense to rent your own, or shared space to store your ecommerce stock. This may seem like an odd point to make in terms of cutting your shipping costs, but having the extra storage space gives you chance to bulk buy items such as bubble wrap and old recycled boxes. While I’m on this point, I may as well mention that once over a certain scale, many ecommerce businesses find it cost effective to outsource all of this process to a fulfilment company. 4. Don’t drive to your local delivery depot, arrange collection The vast majority of parcel carriers offer collection from your business, saving you the hassle of transporting your sold items to your local courier. 5. Trim excess edges off your boxes Any excess corners on boxes can be trimmed off to save weight. Be careful with this one though, don’t cut off too much! 6. Access ‘pooled volume discounts’ The problem with using mainstream carriers, for many businesses, is that in order to get a discount on your delivery rates, you would have to be sending parcels in high volume. This is an unrealistic proposition for small businesses. However, there has been a resurgence of courier management firms that have large contracts with mainstream carriers. Also known as courier brokers, these firms work with a large number of growing businesses, giving the small business access to the kind of rates on offer purely to much larger organisations. In order to gain a competitive advantage, using a courier broker such as Parcelhub is essential to minimising shipping costs. 7. Re-use old packaging Boxes can be really expensive, especially when you are running an online business. Get into a habit of saving and storing any packaging you can get hold of. Another item worth considering is a paper shredder. Much cheaper than buying polystyrene chips and moulds for padding, shredded (recycled) paper acts as a cost effective solution. 8. Use custom packaging If you are sending the same item in high volume, it makes economic sense to outsource your packaging production. While initial setup costs are high, further down the line this will reduce shipping costs. 9. Where possible, remove excess packaging Many imported products (such as iPhone cases) will arrive at your doorstep in bulky packaging. Not only does this packaging increase the overall package volume dramatically, this can also impact the weight. Every gram counts, and that extra 20g can easily push your package into the next shipping price bracket. If possible, use bubble wrap to ensure that your package is as compact as possible. 10. Bulk-buy shipping supplies. Finally, consider buying your shipping and packaging materials in bulk. When you buy in bulk, you will usually be able to get better discounts and sometimes packing materials be delivered to your door for free. Since you are in the business of selling and transporting goods, you might as well buy in bulk instead of buying packing piece by piece.