Some Things to Know About Shipping Management Software
Shipping remains the most cost-intensive aspect of fulfillment (aside from the merchandise itself), as well as the most visible and most important to the consumer. Most eCommerce customers have had their expectations shaped by Amazon, which makes free and fast shipping the ever-increasing norm. From figuring out DIM weight to accessorials and penalties to deciding which carrier to use for which package—shipping opens up to a seemingly endless spiral of information. Businesses large and small alike, then, have found themselves looking for shipping relief, often in the form of shipping management software.
Most shipping management software acts as a platform by which to access a shipping consolidator’s services. Shipping consolidators are something like shipping middlemen; oftentimes, they ship no direct goods of their own, but, by acquiring the accounts of numberless smaller companies, are able to generate an extremely high shipping volume. The consolidator, in turn, uses this high shipping volume to negotiate contracts with steep discounts and added benefits with major carriers. These discounts and benefits are then returned (usually for an ongoing membership fee) to those small companies, who would normally not qualify for such perks on their own.
If you find that a cost/benefit analysis clearly makes third-party shipping management software valuable for your business for the above benefits alone, there are a handful of other reasons to make the switch. Most consolidators work with all of the major carriers, meaning that their platforms offer negotiated contracts with USPS, FedEx, USPS, and so on. When considering with whom to ship, companies using shipping management software are able to quickly and accurately compare rates among these carriers. Though this often results in the cheapest and most efficient means of shipping via major carrier, the only possible downside is that many platforms don’t also access the rates and conditions of smaller, local or regional carriers, which may occasionally be the smartest route.
Finally, most shipping management software offers some sort of assistance or specialization beyond “just” shipping. Anyone who has ordered a product from a company using the Shopify platform, for instance, is familiar with the software’s communication around shipping, from confirmation email, to shipping notice, to out-for-delivery alert, to delivery and thanks. While this might appeal to smaller shippers, other software can focus more on the back-end, emphasizing inventory or packaging strategies, thereby appealing to larger outfits. Also crucial for higher-volume shippers or warehousers is that shipping management software can and does integrate with existing WMS (warehouse management system) software, allowing businesses to better streamline their operations according to their own specific needs.
Learn more about Shipping Management Software by speaking with an expert today!