By Mark Aument, Vice President of ProShip, Inc.
As more and more consumers purchase items online, many retailers are facing growing challenges in keeping up with the demand. The dramatic growth in e-commerce has affected all aspects of the fulfillment process, from packing to shipping to delivery.
Several innovative products in today’s market can help address these challenges, while increasing efficiency and reducing costs. These products include the following:
1. Automated packing systems that build, fill, fold and label parcels in one seamless process, saving time and costs.
This game-changing solution creates a fit-to-size parcel around the item or items being shipped and produces the smallest parcel needed. By creating a fit-to-size parcel, DIM weight is reduced, thus lowering shipping costs. Automated packing systems also eliminate void fill, creating an environmentally friendly solution that also reduces packing material costs.
Building smaller parcels isn’t the only feature of today’s automated packing systems. Invoices, packing slips and return labels can also be inserted into the parcel, and the system can even label the package and send to the shipping area in just one step. All of this work can be completed in seconds and with only one operator.
2. Carrier-compliant shipping software can give retailers a true competitive advantage.
By integrating seamlessly with a company’s existing enterprise software systems, shipping software can identify the best carriers through rate shopping, print carrier-compliant labels and track packages, as well as offer a customer support team if any issues arise.
Many shipping software systems also provide real-time monitoring of package status, tracking numbers, productivity reports and delivery status. This saves time for retailers when handling customer inquiries, as all of the information can be found in one location. It also increases customer satisfaction by offering convenient access to order status.
Another feature is international shipping capabilities. As e-commerce becomes more global, shipping software systems can make international shipping faster and more accurate. The software allows easy electronic filing for shipper export documentation (SED) and obtains the internal transaction number (ITN) for shipments. The software also creates carrier-compliant labels that expedite international shipping, an important feature for many customers.
3. Parcel lockers provide easy delivery to customers 24/7.
Not only do parcel lockers eliminate the risk of theft, but they also guarantee customers receive their packages on time, without redelivery attempts. Innovative parcel lockers feature complete tracking and accountability, with an electronic log of every package drop off and pick up so signatures are no longer required.
Parcel lockers can also be beneficial to retailers that install them adjacent to or within a brick-and-mortar store. Customers can not only pick up their orders on their own schedule, but they may also enter the store to make additional purchases. This convenient solution can further enhance the customer experience.
Automated packing solutions, carrier-compliant shipping software and parcel lockers are three solutions that are beneficial to retailers and customers alike. These products efficiently manage large amounts of e-commerce orders, reduce costs for shippers and improve the customer experience. With the continued growth of e-commerce, all three of these solutions help shippers handle growing volumes, while also increasing customer satisfaction.
Mark Aument was Senior Vice President of ProShip, Inc., a Neopost company, that is a global provider of logistics software and product solutions, including enterprise wide, multicarrier shipping and manifesting software, automated packing solutions, and intelligent parcel lockers.