Business Shipping Solutions
Achieving these results requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work by retailers, which must constantly refine their shipping strategy and streamline their fulfillment and delivery processes. To make it even more challenging, this must all be accomplished without increasing prices to unacceptable levels. Once you identify the right shipping partners, however, the process becomes far more manageable.
“When it comes to customer loyalty, shipping speeds and costs are more important than ever,” said Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Commerce, a provider of e-commerce and subscription commerce solutions. “Most shoppers still choose ‘free’ over ‘fast,’ but with a growing number of retail outlets – Amazon, eBay and others – now combining those options, retailers of all sizes have to find ways to cater to every customer’s interests.”
Small businesses can choose from a variety of shipping services. Here are some popular options:
United States Postal Service
The USPS offers a few choices that make it worth utilizing as a shipping solution. Some of the benefits the USPS offers small businesses include multitiered click-and-pay services for both domestic and international shipping, volume discounts, postage calculation tools and lightweight business services.
FedEx, which has one of the largest government contracts, provides an e-commerce center to help you develop your online business, as well as grants, administrative task support, and an informational blog and podcast.
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UPS offers several services designed specifically for small businesses. There are a variety of flexible shipping solutions that can help you track and manage your shipping expenses. UPS offers overnight, international and ground shipping, as well as returns and billing options.
Additionally, the company’s eFulfillment service can help you store and ship products that are sold on more than 20 platforms.
Another option is drop-shipping. Although drop-shipping does not cover much of the logistics a business or warehouse would require, it is a viable option for streamlining your shipping process.
Before choosing drop-shipping, make sure to research the industry, determine how much drop-shipping would cut into your profit margins and avoid overbuying.
If your business is heavily reliant on warehouse space, consider using 3PLs rather than operating a fulfillment center. 3PLs offer complex services that are not associated with drop-shipping, such as product assembly and packaging, order fulfillment and warehousing. Talk to the companies directly, and negotiate where possible.