Key to Carrier Strategy for Small Ecommerce Businesses
To win and retain customers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the e-commerce space must deliver goods to their customers when promised. This requires shipping goods quickly, managing costs, monitoring carrier performance, and being resilient.
“It is a must to keep an eye on carriers and review carrier strategy from time to time,” post-shipment Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Andrew Chan told PYMNTS.
AfterShip helps SMBs do these tasks with its Postmen carrier shipping software that integrates with top e-commerce apps and connects to multiple carriers. It provides order management, real-time shipping rates, and label printing.
Automation of tasks to speed up shipments
Multi-carrier software like this saves time through automation and helps place orders faster, Chan said. For example, the software allows labels to be printed in bulk, eliminating the manual labor required when performing this task on carrier platforms. It also allows managing shipments with multiple carriers in one place.
“This Postmen solution helps you ship faster and also to the same location so you can meet your [service-level agreement] with customers,” Chan said.
A platform like this can also help SMBs ship cheaply. With FedEx and some other carriers, he can get discounted rates for these SMEs. Carrier shipping rate information remains transparent, making it easier for newer and smaller businesses to see it.
Customers shipping larger volumes can speak with carrier agents and negotiate directly with the carrier to secure their own rates, but pre-negotiated rates are available for smaller businesses.
“This rebate program helps the beginner get a basic rebate to get started without really negotiating and starting doing,” Chan said. “Once you build up that volume, you can really play the game and trade.”
Facilitate the selection of different carriers
By using a multi-carrier solution like this, traders and shipping companies can easily switch carriers at any time. So, if they monitor their current operator’s on-time rates and find that they are not up to par, they can choose another operator. The platform includes 80 carriers worldwide.
Businesses are also using a multi-carrier solution so they can stay resilient and switch carriers at any time, for any reason. For example, companies may relocate because a carrier is on strike or because a change in the weather forces them to use another carrier.
“You need a really nimble way,” Chan said. “How can I switch immediately without the need for the operations team to do it manually? Have it switched easily with just a few clicks, and it can handle everything – this is very crucial.
Shipment monitoring and modification if needed
Such efficiencies are especially important in times of supply chain challenges and high fuel prices. AfterShip has seen the impacts of these trends in the notifications it receives from various carriers regarding updated prices.
“We see this price impact for sure – everyone is talking about the price change,” Chan said.
Beyond shipping costs, there are long wait times for shipping larger items. While some say the pandemic is coming to an end, AfterShip finds delivery times still haven’t returned to normal.
This means merchants need to keep tabs on carriers, know if shipments are delivered on time, and revise their transportation strategy if necessary.
“Shipment is key, but how you monitor it and change it quickly, I think, is key to success when it comes to shipping strategy,” Chan said.