7 Tips for Seeking Shipping Solutions for Small Businesses
The parcel shipping industry is big business. With three major players in the U.S. (FedEx, UPS and USPS), countless packages are shipped each day. According to a recent CNBC report, UPS and FedEx move over 25 million packages per day using carefully coordinated logistics and powerful internal shipping software. Combined, these two carriers deliver over 9 billion packages per year.
A large chunk of that number is presumably ecommerce orders that have been placed by domestic buyers. With behemoth sites like WooCommerce boasting over 2 million users, and with other juggernauts like EBay, Amazon, Etsy, Shopify, BigCommerce, 3dCart and others offering easy-to-use ecommerce platforms for end-users, becoming an e-retailer shopkeeper is a popular notion in today’s ever-expanding online stratosphere.
Choosing the right small business shipping solutions for your hub need not be rocket science. The following seven tips can help you better decide which solution is the best fit for your online store.
One: Assess Elements of Your Pack & Ship Process That Can Be Improved
One of the first things that you are going to want to take a look at when you are deciding which small business shipping solutions are right for your company is how your pack and ship process is operated.
The first element has to do with the size of your company. Unless you are employing a number of employees, it’s likely that you have a small fulfillment center (many ecommerce store owners fulfill orders from their own home offices).
Two: Assure That the Solution Will Work for Your Business
The last thing that you want to do is buy or subscribe to a software solution that ends up not really being a software solution for your business. Make sure you thoroughly research how it can integrate. For instance, some shipping solutions for small businesses may not offer the integration into the shopping cart that you are using.
You also should take into consideration whether or not the solution integrates with any order management or accounting systems that you are currently using, too.
Three: Consider Added Integrations for Extra Punch
Make sure you take the time to thoroughly assess the solution before you start using it. Evaluate the shipping software from top to bottom. Are you able to add other integrations later on? Will the software work with your QuickBooks Enterprise? Can you operate multiple storefronts from the software?
Can the software integrate with other solutions that you are currently using? Does the software offer cloud-based backup for disaster recovery, real-time access, reporting and visibility? Most importantly: can the software meet your needs now and well into the future?
Four: Give the Solution a Test Drive First
Do yourself a favor and avoid the anguish that comes with buying a software solution outright. The great news here is that most makers proudly offer a complementary trial period because they know that seeing – or in this case using – is indeed believing.
Make sure you don’t go spend crazy early on. Instead, be patient and try out a few solutions so you can find the one that will work right for your business’ needs.
Five: Only Use a Multi-Carrier Solution
Ask yourself this: What good will any small business shipping solutions be for your company if they don’t offer multi-carrier support? Make certain that you don’t limit your options with the shipping software you choose.
Remember that multicarrier support also enables you to take advantage of the best shipping rates, because you can compare the rates being offered by multiple carriers. Doing so can help you drastically reduce your bottom line while increasing your return on investment and improving upon retention dramatically.
Six: Look for a Discount Shipping Provider Option
There are some popular discount shipping options that you have, and the truth is that they should all be integrated directly into your small business shipping solution. These include Stamps.com and Endicia – which offer a variety of means for you to enjoy discount digital postage.
These providers enables you to take advantage of Commercial Plus pricing on Priority Mail shipments through the USPS. Your solution should be compatible, preferably, with all three of these providers, offering the greatest amount of choices for choosing a discounted rate shipping method.
Seven: Gauge Customer/Technical Support Levels
Lastly, test out their customer support. Make sure you do this when you are test-driving the software (as noted above in our fourth point). Give them a call and see how helpful and friendly they are. Take it a step further by emailing them, too, or by using the help desk or ticket system or other offered support functions.
Gauge your experience and take mental notes. After all, the small business shipping solutions you end up deciding to use should be a successful addition to your ecommerce operation well into the future. Knowing that you will be taken care of from the get-go, by opting for the provider that delivers white-gloved support, will only offer added peace-of-mind from day one.