Today’s customers want instant satisfaction. People want to know if the item they choose is available, where it’s coming from and how quickly they can get it.
This puts a lot of pressure on retailers, distribution centers and third party logistics (3PL) providers. Paired with a warehouse labor shortage and rapid growth in these industries, companies are facing many last-mile logistic challenges.
When dealing with high labor costs, strict compliance regulations and the pressure to meet fast and cheap delivery expectations, companies need to choose the right tools to automate. By streamlining your shipping processes, you can gain a competitive advantage and continue down the road to success.
E-Commerce Growth and Rising Shipping Volumes.
There is enormous pressure today for next-day or same-day delivery. Keeping up with these demands is crucial to staying competitive, but expensive if you’re not well-equipped to do so.
E-commerce sales are rising exponentially, and the thriving economy has boosted the manufacturing industry. Parcel growth is at an all-time high, with the number of packages delivered annually in the U.S. expected to rise from 11 billion in 2018 to 16 billion by 2020.
All this growth has put incredible pressure on last-mile delivery as customers expect to receive their orders faster and at their convenience.
The Need for Speed.
Speed isn’t just another specification, but rather an important gauge of efficiency, quality and productivity for every business. This requires high-performing technology that is fast enough to handle unlimited shipping requests from many locations and real-time processing of complex business rules and rating logic. Attention to all phases of the shipping process are required to achieve the best outcome.
The Growing Labor Shortage.
E-commerce, third-party logistics (3PLs) and manufacturing are booming—yet warehouse labor shortages are at an all time high. These industries are all feeling the pressure to meet or exceed business demands, yet struggling to keep up. [How Amazon's #1 most-popular food brand automated their shipping strategy]
The Rise of Automation.
Companies are scrambling to find ways to lower costs and make their supply chains more flexible to meet high customer expectations. When looking for ways to address the warehouse labor shortage, fast and free delivery expectations and high export compliance regulations, it all comes down to one process—shipping.
Overall, there’s no doubt automation in your shipping strategy improves the customer experience—and consequently your bottom line.
Improving the Customer Experience.
Lack of shipping options.
Customers want multiple shipping options at checkout so they can choose based on their needs—whether it be next- or same-day shipping or a cheaper standard option. Automated rate shopping software gives you the ability to rate shop between parcel, rail, freight forwarders, LTL and even hyperlocal—so you can present customers the best shipping cost and carrier options at checkout.
Shipped to wrong address.
It happens all the time. Mis-picked, mis-packed, mis-labeled, or mis-shipped orders, resulting in an onset of customer complaints that can lead to a damaged reputation. Shipping software with custom address validation modules will reduce or eliminate carrier charges for address corrections, thus allowing you to improve on-time delivery performance for your customers. Bar codes and bar code scanners eliminate manual key-entry in shipping, also eliminating the chance for human error.
Meeting International Shipping Compliance.
Shipping compliance—or non-compliance—can make or break your supply chain. When domestic and international shipping compliance is achieved, ongoing rules and requirements for rating, labeling and manifest reporting are not an issue. Non-compliance is a major exposure adding time, cost and risk. [eBook: How to Build a Successful Cross-Border Shipping Strategy]
Automation Simplifies Shipping Overseas.
If the world is your market, you already know that while the ability to ship products globally can contribute to the success of your company, it also presents a new set of challenges. Each shipment can potentially involve multiple carriers with numerous levels of services and constantly changing rates.
Intricate business rules and shipping restrictions for parcels that differ in size and weight and include anything fragile, hazardous or perishable add another challenge. Specific requirements and documentation for international shipping further complicates the process.
Multi-carrier shipping software not only simplifies the shipping process, but also handles the many complex details of international shipping. Equally important, it can help shippers improve customer satisfaction and gain a competitive advantage in the global shipping world.
Finding an Automated Solution to Streamline Your Exports.
The ideal software should provide not only sophisticated “rate shopping” from a wide variety of global carriers and services, but should also integrate seamlessly with your existing systems and technologies. Automated multi-carrier shipping software enables companies to reduce the amount spent on freight, streamline shipping processes, provide new delivery capabilities and potentially reduce inventory levels. It handles the export compliance, label creation and carrier regulations while automating the electronic filing of your export documents.
Automating your international shipping processes makes all the difference and can provide you with a big competitive advantage. Rest assured you’re always in compliance when shipping internationally and shipping at the most cost-effective rates.
Why Automation Leads to Greater Profits.
Multi-carrier shipping software automatically selects the best carrier and provides the fastest delivery—all while saving money on every shipment. Plus a shipping software platform scales as your needs grow and e-commerce technology changes, allowing you to continuously exceed the wants and expectations of your customers.
Rate Shopping Reduces Shipping Costs.
With multi-carrier shipping software you can provide customers with fast and flexible shipping options at checkout. You have the ability to rate shop between parcel, rail, freight forwarders, LTL and even hyperlocal, so you always hit your promised delivery dates at the lowest cost.
Faster Shipment Processing Increases Warehouse Efficiencies.
Meet next-day or same-day delivery requirements with faster shipment processing. You’re able to easily produce carrier-compliant labels, documents and manifests to reduce manual processes. This major increase in processing speed will save all branches time and money without incurring additional costs. [7 Ways to Accelerate ROI with ProShip Multi-Carrier Shipping Software]
Order Visibility Reduces Calls to Customer Service.
Tracking is a key component of an effective shipping strategy. Shipping software empowers customers to track their own packages, allowing complete order visibility within the enterprise and instant tracking once packages leave your facility. Live package visibility leads to 40% less calls to customer service.
More Shipping Options Decrease Cart Abandonment.
Today’s online shoppers choose when and how their orders are delivered. Without shipping options at checkout, 50% of consumers abandoned their carts. Increasing the number of shipping options at checkout elevates the customer experience, builds brand loyalty, increases sales and turns customers into loyal advocates.
Greater Accuracy and Performance.
Every mis-picked, mis-packed, mis-labeled or mis-shipped customer order results in an additional cost per shipment or delay in the fulfillment process. That can cost a sale and a lifetime customer. Custom address validation modules in shipping software will reduce or eliminate carrier charges for address corrections, allowing you to improve on-time delivery to your customers.
Shipping is the lifeblood of e-commerce. Multi-carrier shipping software ensures customer packages are delivered on time to the right destination, as cost effectively as possible. It’s an investment with huge return.
Finding the Right Multi-Carrier Shipping Software.
By integrating multi-carrier shipping software, there are many ways to save time, reduce costs and increase your margins. Having a strategy in place for implementation however is imperative for success.
Shipping software tools optimize service, efficiency, control costs, and ensure orders get on the right truck faster. And that keeps customers coming back.
With numerous shipping software solutions out there however, it can feel overwhelming trying to find the right one for your business. After all—what are all the features available and why would you need them?
9 Things to Look for in a Shipping Software Solution
1. Faster Shipment Processing
Fast, real-time processing of complex business rules and rating logic will save all branches time and money without incurring additional costs. You’ll be able to easily produce carrier-compliant labels, documents and manifests to reduce manual processes and keep up with the pressure for next-day or same-day delivery.
2. Multi-mode Track
Trace Directly connect your on-demand e-commerce data or warehouse systems to real-time and batched carrier tracking feeds. Customers can track their orders without ever leaving your online store. That means they can continue to browse, find other must-have items and snap them up with a simple click.
3. Rate Shopping Software
Automated rate shopping software sorts through all carrier conditions to help find the lowest cost to meet the expected delivery. This enables you to take full advantage of special conditions and seasonal offers—such as extended pickup times or extra trailers—to get more orders out the door each day, at a lower cost.
4. International Shipping Services
Whether you’re shipping to Asia, Europe or South America, shipping software should perform the different regulatory steps for each destination, and produce or electronically transmit the required documentation and customs forms. Automatic rate shopping among the international carriers assures that you’re shipping most economically when carrier costs are the highest.
5. Analytics and Reporting
Comprehensive analytics and reporting tools help you evaluate the complete transportation spend to effectively manage freight costs. Reporting can be designed to help evaluate and understand the complete transportation spend by carrier, division, location, department, customer and more.
6. Custom Address Validation Modules
It’s mission critical to have a shipping software solution that verifies addresses worldwide before a label is even generated. Custom address validation modules will reduce or eliminate carrier charges for address corrections, allowing you to improve on-time delivery to your customers. Additionally, bar codes and bar code scanners eliminate manual key-entry in shipping which eliminates the chance for human error.
7. Carrier Compliance
Multi-carrier shipping software enables companies to easily meet the requirements for compliant labeling without having to change printers, label stock, or systems. This can reduce carrier charge-backs for non-compliant issues and reduce the overall amount spent on freight.
Shipping software is often designed with a modular architecture, allowing you to install, pay for, and maintain only those modules that your business actually needs, saving both time and money. The flexibility of scalable solutions allows for your business to grow without having to expend more time, energy and cost shopping for a new solution.
9. Continuous Customer Support
Customer support, though hard to quantify, should also be considered a value. Your organization may not need 24/7/365 support, but be sure you have a process to get the help you need if your system is down. Support should come from a team of engineers familiar with your environment, who because of their certified status have access to carrier support.
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