Determining shipping costs for your Facebook store products can be a confusing and difficult task.
If you’ve never shipped anything before, you may be asking yourself a number of questions.
Do I want to set limits on where my product is shipped?
What if I charge too much for shipping and lose customers?
What if I don’t charge enough for shipping and lose profit?
How can I determine shipping costs if my items are all different weight & sizes?
If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’re not alone. It may take a few purchases to get your shipping process nailed down. I’ve created the guide below to help you determine your ideal shipping cost. Everyone’s shipping needs are different, but if you’re completely new to Facebook selling, this is a great place to start.
1. Choose a shipping provider.
Every provider will have disadvantages and benefits, so it’s important to take a look at each provider’s website to determine what makes sense for your business. Some options for shipping providers include:
USPS is by far the cheapest shipping option if your package is less than 2 pounds. Currently, USPS offers 3 main shipping services:
- First Class Mail – Arrives within 2-5 business days
- Priority Mail – Arrives within 2-3 business days
- Express Mail – 1 – 2 business days depending on location
The main disadvantage is that USPS does not guarantee the delivery date of any packages. If reliability is a top priority for you, you may want to choose someone else.
UPS is widely considered to be the most reliable, and they have discounts if you ship large volumes.
You may also want to consider the proximity of the shipping provider. If your business is across the street from a FedEx, it might make sense for you to use their services for shipping.
2. Take some products to your shipping provider to determine estimated costs
I always recommend that you take several of your most popular items to your chosen shipping provider to get a sense of the cost to ship certain items.
They are the experts, and you’ll learn a lot just by swinging into one of their offices and asking some questions. Many providers offer flat-rate boxes, meaning the weight of the item doesn’t matter as long as it fits inside a certain size of box.
Write down some of the cost estimates they give you so you have them for reference.
You’ll also want to ask about international rates. Many shipping providers have expensive international shipping costs, and if you’re an international seller, you’ll want to take those costs in mind for this next step.
3. Calculate your “average shipping expense” and then experiment
This is where things get a little tricky.
What you’re trying to do is determine the average cost to ship items to your “average customer”.
Let’s say you sell jewelry and clothing.
If you know that it will cost you $5 to ship up to 10 pieces of jewelry, and $10 to ship a single item of clothing (based on the conversations you had with your shipping provider), you then have to ask yourself:
What’s the most likely “basket” of items that I’m going to sell and how much will that cost?
For instance, if you know that 80% of your customers buy 1 piece of apparel, and the other 20% buy jewelry (and you know that you can fit 100% of your apparel in a flat rate box that ships for $10), then charging a flat rate of $8 for shipping might make sense (that’s close to the average cost for the majority of your purchases). As you’re customers’ buying habits change (let’s say they starting buying 4 pieces of apparel on average), then you may have to make adjustments to your flat rate.
If that doesn’t work for you, another popular option is to charge shipping based on the amount ordered (in $).
For instance, you could charge:
$6.95 for any purchases up to $75
$9.95 for any purchases from $75-$150
Free shipping for purchases over $150
After a few purchases, you’ll be able to tell if you’re covering your costs. A lot of shipping is based on experimentation. You have to have an understanding of your “average shipping expense” to determine your prices.
If you aren’t covering your costs, adjust the price. If you’re getting complaints about shipping prices, lower the cost (or provide a discount to your customers).
This is a great option if you’re using PayPal with your Facebook store in the US. They provide a handful of options for shipping – I’ve created a guide in another post that shows you exactly how to set up your PayPal shipping in 8 steps.
If you still feel lost on what to do for shipping, don’t worry. The best thing you can do is take action, choose a shipping cost, and learn from it. You’ll quickly be able to determine what’s working and what isn’t.
Quick Tip: Another way to “lower your shipping cost” is to adjust the prices of your items. People are more sensitive to the price of shipping then to the actual price of a product, so you can transfer some of the cost from shipping to the product itself without losing any profit from the sale.