Effectively managing an e-commerce business means delivering products on time through an efficient shipping process. Doing this gets more complicated as a business grows, and you find yourself needing to expand the company’s shipping capacity. Shipping software simplifies and streamlines this process, effectively allowing a business to scale.
How Do You Know if You Should Invest in Shipping Software?
Your business will likely benefit from this investment if any of the following scenarios are familiar:
1. You’re struggling to work with a free solution not capable of creating carrier-specific workflows.
2. Your e-commerce business makes at least 100 shipments per day or you find yourself constantly dealing with sudden high-volume shipment bursts.
3. You’re having trouble dealing with complex training needs and high costs brought on by employee turnover.
Shipping software can help manage these pain points and help maximize the output of your current staff. Here are three examples of how to gain an advantage and always be ready to scale.
Your customers’ expectations around shipping cost and speed continue to increase, and comparing rates among different carriers can help you meet those expectations. Shipping software will allow you to see rates and destination windows of various carriers so you can make the most cost-effective choices while hitting your service level agreements (SLAs) to your customers. You can identify ideal shipping options and rates based on most commonly shipped items and shipped-to locations, then save certain carrier selections for future orders. Not reinventing the shipping decision process with every order makes a business more scalable.
Beyond that, when you only have to train employees how to use a single piece of software, as opposed to multiple carrier platforms and interfaces, the likelihood of mistakes decreases and productivity increases.
Most day-to-day shipping involves performing the same steps repeatedly. The amount of time saved when shipping software learns these same tasks and automates cannot be understated. Automating these processes also frees up your staff to perform other duties, possibly even outside of shipping, creating increased productivity and efficiency.
Automation puts your business in a position to handle sudden surges in orders (planned or otherwise) without needing to hire new staff. This creates a more agile shipping environment, making your business more likely to succeed in these situations, and maximizes workflows.
For example, creative beauty brand Color Street sees order volume vary anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 orders per month, based on the timing of new products. Keeping up with surges like that without the use of shipping software would prove nearly impossible and certainly unscalable.
“Shipping software helps us scale because it takes all of the worry out of label creation, picking sheets for us and data needed,” said Morgan Reilly, Color Street’s eCommerce Manager. “We do not have to worry about address verification, what carrier someone checked out with, or what items are on the order. This is all nicely organized and done for us in the software. Instead, we can focus all of our energy on actually fulfilling our orders and how to handle the volume now and strategize for future volume.”
In addition, shipping software allows you to track trends and access reports on your shipping history so that you can make informed decisions on how to plan and prioritize your shipping workflows in the future. You can assess the effectiveness of your team and identify how they may likely scale as you grow based on data. How did they perform at times of max shipping throughput versus slower periods, for example?
Personalization is what helps customers form loyalty to the business. A study by Northwestern University showed that up to 70% of repeat business for most companies comes from building up a small core of loyal customers. That means you need to make both new and current buyers feel they’re worth something to your business.
Shipping software should offer some personalization capabilities, particularly in confirmation emails when customers place their orders. The automation in your software should also be able to automatically provide tracking information once an order ships. A well-informed customer is a happier customer, and happier customers stick around.
These are just a few benefits achievable when shipping software becomes part of your company’s overall e-commerce strategy. The improvements this technology can bring to your company over more manual processes can be the key to successfully expanding your business on a much larger level.
Dominic Lozano is General Manager of the leading program for serious and successful e-commerce merchants and warehouses. ShipWorks software and order fulfillment solution helps online retailers and warehouses organize, process and ship their orders quickly and easily from any PC. The company offers some of the most sophisticated automation features available in the market including a custom rules engine, automated product profile detection, and ShipSense, a predictive analytics feature that automatically uses order history to configure shipments.