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When you're a small retailer competing against huge companies like Amazon, it's not easy to get shipping costs right. It's usually impossible for a small firm to waiver postage fees and offer free delivery like the bigger competition does, as you'll cut into your profits. However, high postage costs can put customers off. One of the biggest reasons why customers may abandon online purchases at the checkout is because the postage rates are too high.

Here are some tips on how you can cut down your postage and packaging costs, so you can increase your profit margin.


Don’t worry, we’re not telling you to give your stock away for free! While the below isn’t necessarily a way to reduce postage costs, it’s a way to improve your income and brand loyalty, which will help with postage and packaging costs in the future.

Freebies still incur postage costs

Of course, they can help entice customers in, but that doesn't always guarantee more sales. Offering free postage can put a serious dent in your profits, especially if you have to send heavy or large parcels. Instead, it's better to offer reasonably priced postage fees. It can be difficult to judge what's reasonable, but many retailers choose to charge postage cost by weight or size of the item the customer is buying.

Offer free delivery on purchases or orders over a certain amount

If you can afford to, you might just want to. Not only will this please your customers, but it will also keep postage costs down and it might even encourage them to spend more. After all, if they're thinking of purchasing something at £40, but see you offer free postage on transactions over £50, it's quite likely they'll decide to spend an extra ten pounds, even though it might be cheaper for them to just pay the delivery cost.

Offering free returns?

You might want to consider offering free returns – it’s been reported around a third of all items bought online are returned, so offering this service for free could increase your brand loyalty. Just consider that this will also raise the amount you want to spend on parcel delivery. A number of your customers might take some solace in the fact they know they can return their purchase for free in case it doesn't fit or isn't what they expected. On the other hand, many buyers might not even consider checking whether it's free to return an item, because they're buying impulsively or are more concerned about postage costs across the UK.


The heavier the package, the more it's going to cost to send. It seems obvious but many small businesses are spending far too much money on packaging they don't need. Remember that unless you're sending something breakable in the post, you don't need to pad every single box you send out with bubble wrap or packaging peanuts. Even when you're sending something fragile, the key is to pack it in tightly, so that it doesn't move within the box. Therefore, you shouldn't need to use five layers of bubble wrap, as long as the item doesn't slide around when the box is moved. The key thing here is reduce – lessening postage cost by the weight of the parcel!

weighing parcels


Small businesses love using DHL eCommerce UK as their courier company because not only do we offer cheap next day UK delivery rates we make shipping your UK parcels even cheaper with our ways to save.

The benefits

Collect icon We can collect from home or work address
Globe icon Globally trusted courier shipping to over 160 countries worldwide
Tracking icon Online tracking and delivery notifications for you and your recipient
Contents cover icon Contents cover (up to £25 for UK / £50 for International shipping)
Ecommerce icon Integrated with over 10 ecommerce platforms to make sending parcels even easier
One hour collection icon One hour collection windows on all UK and International orders so you don’t have to wait in all day

Many ways to save

Parcelshops icon Drop off and save at any one of our 3,500 ServicePoints or 50+ DHL eCommerce UK depots
Piggy bank icon ''My DHL rewards'' - exclusive to our customers
Finance icon Cashback into your pre-pay account when you add funds (Terms apply)
Multiparcel icon Multi-parcel discounts available on some UK services (Terms apply)

Keeping postage costs down on your shipping fees enables you to stay competitive, especially in an arena like eBay where these prices can make or break a purchase. Staying professional, yet economical, is a tricky balance when it comes to packaging. When you ship a parcel, the outer packaging is the first thing a customer sees, so the outer appearance as well as the interior is crucial to making the right first impression for you and your brand - almost as important as the contents!

So, what can you do to save money in the postage and packaging cost department and protect your bottom line?


Packaging can significantly increase postage costs in the UK and so there’s nothing wrong with reusing old boxes and bubble wrap. Not only is it good for the environment, but it will also save you a considerable amount of money a year. If you don’t have too many parcels sent to your office, talk to your local supermarket or any other businesses near you that might be inundated with boxes. It’s likely that they’ll be all too happy to give you some. Only pick ones in a good condition though – remember that your customer might not be happy receiving something in a scruffy box. Beware boxes with holes, creases, or tears. This is particularly true with larger boxes or when sending heavier items, as any damage will impact the structure of the box, making it less likely to withstand any bumps in the journey.

Build up a stash of packaging materials

Wondering how to get cheap postage? Well, you can save on packaging equipment such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts by keeping any that you receive - provided they're clean and still in a good working order. Packing peanuts can be easily stored in a large bin bag or box, and topped up whenever you get a new package full. Ask friends and family members to save items for you too, but watch out for bubble wrap that has been wrapped in sticky tape - it's near impossible to peel off without damaging the protective bubbles. When re-using bubble wrap use a magic tape to seal - it's much easier for your customers to open.

Making the inside of the box look nice

Wrapping the items in coloured tissue can compensate for an obviously recycled outer packaging - and tissue paper that's only been used once before is likely to still look like new. Consider getting some branded stickers made; these can be done relatively cheaply and will add a professional touch to both the inside and the outside of your parcel.


Old newspapers are always a good go-to for recycled packaging. When screwed up, the paper will make very sturdy packaging for delicate items. You can also use shredded paper - just make sure that none of the shredded sheets are confidential, as the information may still be legible.

What about alternative packaging solutions?

Think outside the box and try alternatives such as popcorn! Of course, make sure it's unsalted, un-sugared and definitely not toffee flavour - plain popcorn makes a great green alternative to Styrofoam peanuts - it's cheaper too. You'll have to pop it first though – and just remember when sending internationally to check that corn isn’t a prohibited item in the destination country.

So long as you take care with the wrapping and the packaging, there's no reason why the customer should think any less of your brand by using recycled materials. You could even get some stickers or a stamp made saying 'Recycled packaging' to highlight the fact you're re-using, recycling, and taking care of the environment! Being eco-friendly and saving on postage rates has never been easier.


As you probably already know, when it comes to postage fees parcel size has an impact on postage costs, as prices are calculated on volumetric weight, so it's unwise to use bigger boxes than are necessary. If you use less packaging materials, you might be able to reduce the size of the box. For very small items it might be possible to avoid using boxes altogether and send the items in padded envelopes instead. Postage cost by weight can be something that catches many out.

weighing parcels


Branded boxes and padded envelopes can look really snazzy but will also rack up the costs. If you really want to use these then consider only using branded packaging for particularly high value orders to keep costs down.

Why not make your own branded address labels or return labels by printing them yourself? Most labels will come with a downloadable template; allowing you to customise them yourself with your logo and branding. What's more, you'll always be branded no matter what size box you use. This is also a great option if you use recycled boxes as the stickers will cover old address labels.

With tips like these you can certainly save money on your packaging; combined with great postage deals from DHL eCommerce UK, there's no reason for using courier services to be a challenge to your small business, in fact it can be easy!