Why Your Business Should Be Integrating a TMS

integrating a TMS

Why integrating a TMS is best for your

business 

When offered shipping software, some business owners are skeptical. Why fix something that isn’t broken? The harsh reality is that while legacy solutions may still work, for now, times are quickly changing. As buyers’ expectations change and businesses continue to grow, legacy solutions are quickly becoming outdated and inadequate to handle the changes. Integrating a TMS can help your business meet these expectations and grow your bottom line.

integrating a TMS

While there are many transportation management systems (TMS) out there, there are four valuable components that all shipping solutions should be able to offer their customer:

1. Automation

Order fulfillment can be a lengthy and expensive process. In order for businesses to ship a package, they must go through multiple steps: pick the correct box, carrier, shipment type, print labels, schedule pickups, etc. While this may be fine for small orders, once shipping volumes begin to increase, businesses can no longer afford to manually engage in such a tedious process for each shipment.

By leveraging a transportation management system, order fulfillment and management no longer have to be roadblocks. In addition to optimizing each step of the shipping process, having an automated system means fewer errors, manual work and time spent on shipping packages.

By streamlining the supply chain, business owners are able to fulfill orders faster and more cost-efficiently, allowing for higher profit margins and higher customer satisfaction.

2. Certainty

With legacy solutions, business owners are often left guessing and hoping that they made the right decision for their shipment. In contrast, shipping solutions give business owners control over their shipments. Out goes estimation and in comes predictable margins and certainty.

For instance, multi-carrier rating software automatically calculates and compares the shipping rates from various carriers to show owners the most cost-efficient options, all with the click of a button. On the other hand, packing optimization software is able to calculate the optimal box size based on the actual items that make up each order, regardless of how uniquely shaped or fragile an item is.

Through the use of such services, business owners are able to have full cost-transparency on their shipments, allowing for greater cost-visibility for the customer.  This results in lower shopping cart abandonment rates and higher customer satisfaction. Through such solutions, business owners no longer have to base their decisions off of guesswork and can continue to focus on what matters: growing their business.

integrating a TMS

3. Convenience

To put it simply, integrating a TMS makes life easier by reducing the manual work you need to put in for each shipment.

For example, with a platform like ShipHawk that offers a unified tracking system, businesses are able to aggregate all of their carriers’ tracking updates into one platform. With real-time updates, businesses no longer have to constantly contact several carriers at a time for customer tracking updates, and customers no longer have to keep visiting third party sites (or picking up the phone to call customer service) to keep track of their packages.

integrating a TMS

Furthermore, many shipping software API’s offer auto-generated shipping labels and bills of lading for user convenience. The best transportation management systems aim to cut out the middle-man (third party websites, customer service reps, etc.) and simplify the customer’s shipping experience with proactive order updates.

4. Growth

Most importantly, transportation management systems gives your business the bandwidth to grow and take advantage of the opportunities created through features such as automation. In addition to the reduction of shipping costs, shipping software can help businesses streamline their growth by offering data and analytics tools.

With a TMS like ShipHawk, businesses gain access to margin analysis, customer profitability, shipping trends, and reconciliation. By being able to leverage such data, businesses can allocate resources to proper areas and save thousands of dollars in addition to the shipping costs already saved.

Overall, there are many benefits that come with utilizing a transportation management system. Whether your company wants a more transparent tracking system, a foolproof comparison of carriers and packaging options, or simply to stop losing profit margins to high shipping costs, integrating a TMS software can be a great solution to the problem.

Although each company will have specific needs, if a shipping solution can provide these four areas of value, it might be worth taking a closer look.

How Retailers Are Evolving With Their Customers

Customers

Grow and Evolve with your Customers

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There is often a correlation between customer satisfaction and company profitability. To be more specific, if businesses aren’t able to find the balance between giving customers what they want while still making revenue, they risk losing business to competitors or simply go out of business. Billionaire and businessman, Mark Cuban, says it perfectly, “Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your consumer buying from them, not you.” With millions of buyers looking towards online retailers to satisfy their needs, it is up to each eCommerce business to understand what their customers want and how they can best fulfill it. As consumers continue to change their preferences and demands, retailers must be able to adapt and exceed customer’s expectations in order to continue to have a competitive edge and keep their business alive.

When online shopping, buyers first and foremost want a seamless buying experience: a process that is both user-friendly and instantly gratifying. This means that retailers must ensure that their websites are easy to use and can instantly deliver, both with their products and their service. There are many aspects to consider in order to ensure quality service- fast and free shipping, transparent shipment tracking and efficient order management to ensure smooth delivery. By deciding to order an item online versus shopping in person, buyers want to be guaranteed that their purchase will take less time and effort than it takes to go to the store.

Once one company is able to deliver on those customer’s needs, competing retailers must also comply in order to retain customer loyalty. For example, with eCommerce giants like Amazon, setting the precedent of free shipping, companies must also offer the same services in order to avoid consumers switching to a competitor site that offers the same item without extra shipping fees. An extra $10 shipping charge can be the reason for in-cart abandonment and overall company revenue loss. Furthermore, customers expect their items to come quickly and want to be constantly updated on where there item is, without needing to call customer service or engage on external sites. While both of these services are necessities for online retailers, subsidizing shipping costs and constantly providing shipment updates can take away additional margins that businesses make on their products, as well as increase time spent on customer service.

Engaging in competitive pricing and service can turn out to be very costly for businesses. However, there are a couple of areas where businesses can tweak in order to avoid losing profit margins on their product. One solution is to minimize shipping costs by utilizing packing optimization and picking the cheapest carrier available for your specific service type and delivery speed. Another way to improve customer satisfaction is by improving the technology used on your platform. With no physical sales representative, user experience takes the place of in-person customer service. By finding an efficient system to constantly track and manage orders while constantly updating customers on their package, buyerswill not only call customer service less, but also be more satisfied with the delivery of their items.

While businesses can engage in many different solutions and strategies to satisfy these needs, there is also another option: integrating a shipping API like ShipHawk into your website. Not only does ShipHawk’s multi carrier rating and packing optimization software reduce overall shipping prices, but ShipHawk’s fully transparent tracking system leads to superior customer service. Instead of directing buyers to third party sites to track their packages, ShipHawk integrates all carrier tracking systems into one platform, so that customers can directly track their shipments on your website. Furthermore, instead of having to request shipping updates from carriers, ShipHawk pushes these updates in real-time so less time has to be spent inquiring carriers. By both streamlining your business’s shipping process and improving end-to-end customer buying experience, ShipHawk is able to increase company revenue through both customer conversions and operation costs.

In conclusion, no matter what solution your business chooses to implement, retailers must face the facts. As the eCommerce market becomes more advanced and technologically advanced, buyers will continue to increase their demands and expectations for online retailers. While there may be many things that retailers can do to improve, one thing is clear. If retailers do not adapt and evolve with their customers, it will be very hard to maintain a successful business.

Why Dimensional Pricing Software Matters

dimensional pricing

Why Dimensional Pricing Software Matters

Ever since 2015, the process of weighing your best shipping options for ground delivery no longer included taking into account a package’s actual weight. Why do businesses no longer factor in actual item weight when shipping anymore? This change occurred two years ago when major carriers, such as UPS Ground and FedEx Ground, stated that packages were no longer charged based on item weight but rather off of dimensional weight. Dimensional weight is defined as the amount of space a package takes up, not the actual weight of the item. You can calculate your package’s dimensional weight by multiplying the length x width x height and dividing it by your carrier’s specific dimensional divisor. Always make sure to round up to the next whole number as well.

Ex. Dim weight (1,728 cubic inches)/166 (UPS Dimensional Divisor) = 10.40 → 10lbs . Based off of dimensional pricing, you would then pay to ship a 10lb package.

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Seems like a pretty simple formula. Package your item in the smallest possible space to avoid spending the maximum amount of money. However, even though your item’s metrics will never change, that doesn’t mean that carriers can’t change their dimensional divisor sizes. In fact, as of January 2017, FedEx decreased the size of their dimensional divisor, thus increasing overall shipping prices. As a result, no matter how you package your items, because of the lower dimensional divisor size, packages will begin to be weighted as “heavier”, and therefore be more expensive to ship. With leading shipping companies increasing shipping prices, it is only a matter of time before additional companies follow their suit.

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Why Businesses Should Be Rate Shopping

rate shopping

Why Businesses Should Be Rate Shopping

Shipping can often be an overwhelming process. With so many different types of carriers, rates, services and regulations, it’s easy to understand why many customers opt to choose the first carrier that comes to sight without really doing the research to find the best rate. While it may be more time efficient to settle with the first adequate carrier, a more cost-efficient way to ship packages is through rate shopping.

Rate shopping is the process of comparing different carriers– such as UPS, FedEx and USPS–to find the cheapest shipping rate for the same delivery experience. This means that instead of immediately choosing one carrier, you research several different carriers, delivery formats and service levels to find the lowest rate that still delivers the package by the expected delivery date. Shipping-Software-for-Executives_Data-Driven-Decision-MakingRates are dependent on various characteristics, such as dim weight, fuel charge, residential surcharges, freight class, and unit types, all of which carriers charge different prices for. By strategically researching and prioritizing these components, customers can avoid high margin loss when they pick the cheapest possible delivery service. In fact, rate shopping has been accredited to reducing shipping costs by up to 30%. In addition to increasing company profit, money saved in shipping relations can also increase customer acquisition rates. By providing the cheapest shipping rates, businesses are better able to maintain a competitive edge through marketing shipping, such as offering free shipping to increase eCommerce sales.

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How Can Unified Tracking Help Your Business?

unified tracking

How Can Unified Tracking Help Your Business?

Own-the-Post-Purchase-ExperienceOnce a customer has purchased your product online, shipping is the only roadblock between your eCommerce business and a happy customer receiving their item. As simple as that sounds, there are actually many factors that businesses must incorporate in order for items to be delivered exactly how and when customers want them. Items must be delivered with the correct service type, for the cheapest rate, in a timely manner, and have a package tracking system that is easily accessible and convenient.

Having an easy and transparent shipping system can increase customer experience and loyalty, which is an integral key to your business succeeding. However, the problem is that the more options that customers require, the more carriers you need to use to satisfy all their needs. In order to provide customers constant shipping updates, businesses have to either integrate each carrier’s tracking service into their platform, send customers to an external carrier site, or leverage a software solution. Having to constantly direct customers to a range of different carriers or integrate carriers one by one can be extremely time consuming and inconvenient. This brings us to the third option: integrating a software solution.

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