New technology eases shipping logistics for SMBs

UPS X-Port Challenge for small businesses
Shipping logistics still a challenge for SMBs.

New digital tools are an important way for small and mid-sized businesses to grow their companies. Yet, according to a recent survey by Deloitte, many of the 30 million small businesses in the U.S. are not harnessing the tools out there, especially in the way of e-commerce shipments.

According to data by global technology company Pitney Bowes, global shipping continues to grow. Retailers need to be armed with the digital technology to overcome any challenges. The company recently launched SendPro C Series, a new shipping and mailing device that incorporates Android applications into contemporary office product, creating a modern user experience. 

But why are so many small businesses missing out on digital opportunities? Mark Shearer, EVP and president of global SMB Solutions at Pitney Bowes, explains that these new systems are costly, complex and time consuming, especially for a small business without an IT department. What these companies need are cloud-connected applications that are easy to use and have an investment that is worth the expense. 

And one of these digital necessities is logistics, which plays an integral role in the growth of SMBs. Shearer says parcel shipping is having a profound effect on businesses. 

"Increased demand has led to greater service options from an expanding number of global, national and regional carriers," he told FierceRetail. 

According to Pitney Bowes market research, 85% of SMBs use a combination of the USPS, UPS and FedEx. 

"However, managing multiple carriers and shipping goods across borders also creates new challenges and raises complexity. Small and medium businesses in particular are having trouble managing the growing number of shipping options, service levels and 24/7 tracking," he added. 

Shearer believes that there are some essential new technologies that SMBs need to look into if they are not already investing in them. For example, cross-border and cloud-based multi-carrier office shipping platforms, which can help businesses of all sizes optimize their parcel shipping operations to maximize efficiency and deliver the best possible customer experience. 

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"With these enterprise-caliber solutions now available via the cloud, SMBs are now able to better compete with very large companies in terms of customer engagement and fulfillment," he said. 

The new SendPro C-Series standardizes the sending process and removes the nuances from individual carrier sites. Users have full visibility for all their transactions, across all of the carriers. The SendPro C-Series is a digital multi-carrier platform that enables offices to provide full tracking and delivering savings across carriers and up to 39% off USPS retail shipping rates.

Pitney Bowes' client The Giggling Pig offers art lessons to toddlers up to adults and sells art boxes that include materials and step-by-step instructions for art educational themed projects. E-commerce was not originally part of their business plan, but it has grown over time to be an important channel for them, allowing for sales and new revenue across the country. 

"Using SendPro avoids trips to the post office, allowing more time to conduct lessons. Plus, they save money on every art box they ship," Shearer said. 

Shearer offer some final tips for SMBs looking to improve their e-commerce logistics:

  1. Use multiple carriers to optimize shipping and use discounted shipping rates from the major carriers. Depending on the shipment, each carrier has its own strengths to meet clients’ needs. It is not unusual for even occasional shippers to save 10% to 25% on parcel shipping costs using discounted rates.    
  2. Use high-tech online shipping software that makes it easy to ship with multiple carriers and save money.Solutions like Pitney Bowes’ SendPro C-Series brings together the hardware, software and service making it easy to ship with multiple carriers and save money. 
  3. Keep clients in the loop with shipping and tracking details. Shipping tools like SendPro now use your customer’s email address to provide package tracking information automatically, improving the client experience.