Every year, the United States Postal Service alone ships out over six billion packages and parcels.
Americans love having their favorite products delivered right to their door, and more businesses than ever before are offering delivery options to keep their customers happy.
Whether you’re brand new to package delivery world or have been shipping out products for years, there’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to delivering items to your customers.
If you want to retain your customers and make sure they’re satisfied with your services, you need to stay on top of the latest shipping trends and technologies.
If you haven’t been doing your research, now is the perfect time to start. Read on to learn more about seven of this year’s most innovative and exciting shipping technology trends.
Importance of Fast, Affordable Shipping
It doesn’t matter how great your product is.
If your business isn’t known for efficient shipping, people are going to shop elsewhere. Folks these days have short attention spans and, thanks to companies like Amazon, they all expect free two-day shipping.
In order to keep your customers happy, efficient shipping needs to be a top priority. Keeping your shipping rates low is also a must in today’s market. With so many businesses offering free shipping, many customers balk at the idea of having to pay to have their packages delivered.
It’s not just about keeping customers from complaining, though.
By keeping your shipping rates low (or free), you might persuade your customers to buy more products. It’s not at all uncommon for folks to spend more money just to qualify for free shipping.
Top Seven Shipping Technology Trends
Clearly, affordable and efficient shipping is crucial if your business is going to succeed in this day and age. How can you speed up your shipping and bring the rates down, though?
This might seem impossible at first, especially if you’re running a small business.
The good news, though, is that there are lots of new shipping trends and technologies that can help your business run more efficiently and ensure your customers are satisfied when they receive their products.
Listed below are seven tools and techniques you ought to consider trying:
1. Online Calculators
It can often be hard to calculate the exact density of a package before you ship it out. If you get the dimensions wrong, though, you could be looking at a lot of extra fees, especially if your package is larger than you though.
To take the guesswork out of determining a package’s density, you can try using a free online freight class calculator. These tools make it easy for you to get the density of each package just right before you ship it out.
2. Shipping Presets
Do you find yourself consistently sending out shipments with similar or identical attributes?
If your packages regularly ship from the same location, are the same type, and are the same weight, for example, why waste your time typing in new information for every single package.
Consider designing presets for the types of packages that you ship out the most often. You can even link these presets to keyboard hotkeys or barcodes. This speeds up your workflow even more.
3. Batch Processing
Batch processing is great for making shipping more efficient, and lots of businesses are starting to utilize it so they can ship out more items at once.
Bath processing involves processing, producing shipping labels for, and shipping out lots of orders at once.
If you’re supposed to be shipping out 100 pairs of gloves for your business today, you could batch the process and take care of all those orders before moving on to the next item.
4. In-Motion Systems
Another great warehouse optimization method is known as in-motion systems.
In-motion systems utilize conveyer belts and scanning and printing equipment all in one location. This eliminates the need for shipping workstations and makes the process more efficient.
It works like this: A package is simply placed onto the conveyor belt, then it’s scanned when it makes its way down the belt. By the time it reaches the printer, the label has been printed and can be directly applied.
5. Service Mappings
Service mappings allow you to automatically assign a particular shipping carrier to an order based on the shipping speed (next-day, 2-day, 5-day, etc.) the customer requests when they purchase an item.
This makes it easy for you to accommodate each customer’s preferences while also choosing a shipping option that best suits your business.
6. Automation Rules
If you’re already utilizing shipping presets, you might also want to take things a step further by using automation rules.
Lots of business have started to rely on automation rules to simplify other aspects of the shipping process.
Automation rules are “if, then” statements that apply to various aspects of shipping. For example, you might be able to benefit from creating the following automation rules for your business:
- If an order is being shipped internationally, then that order needs to be insured
- If an order weighs less than 1 pound, then the carrier should be USPS First Class
- If an order is being shipped to Utah, ship from the Nevada warehouse
These kinds of rules take all the guesswork out of shipping and allow you to ship out more orders in a more efficient, cost-effective way.
7. Cloud Technology
Finally, don’t forget about cloud technology. Cloud technology isn’t exactly a new trend, but more and more small businesses are taking advantage of it to help them with their shipping needs.
Cloud technology makes it easy to access shipping data. It also allows for easier communication between staff members to figure out where packages are located and if there are any delays slowing down the shipping process.
Cloud data updates automatically, too, so you’ll always know that you’re dealing with the most recent information.
Try These Trends Today
As you can see, there are a lot of different shipping technology trends you might want to implement to make your business more efficient.
Consider trying out one (or more) of these innovative trends and see how your shipping strategy improves.
Do you need more help taking your business to the next level? Whether your problems lie in shipping, marketing, or project management, we’ve got articles that will help you.
Check out the Business section of our site today for all kinds of resources created with you in mind!