Learn why “business focus” is a determining factor for selecting a shipping software vendor.
While e-commerce has been at an all-time high, carrier capacity has been at an all-time low. Surcharges, climbing parcel shipping costs, and missed or late deliveries are haunting shippers and passing on a poor customer experience (CX) for online shoppers. Most shippers are searching for a way to gain a competitive advantage. To generate a positive online shopping experience, shippers have determined that they need to manage prompt deliveries and have control over their shipping spend – whether that is through multiple carriers, rate shopping tactics, or utilizing business rules to regulate shipping logic and costs.
How can shippers gain a competitive advantage?
A shipping software can address the pain points plaguing your team. Some of these pain points could be those previously mentioned like high shipping costs, capacity constraints, or the need for carrier diversification, while other companies may be suffering with a shipping software that isn’t scaling with their business. [Learn more: Time to Pack Up and Move: Clues That Your Parcel Shipping Software Is Too Small]
It’s important to note that not all shipping software solutions are created equal, and the right partner will not only improve efficiency but provide those much-needed costs savings to your brand – not to mention serve as a tipping point in getting to that positive CX.
How can you choose the right shipping solution?
One of the earliest determining factors should be if the possible supply chain partner has a business focus aligned with your concerns – namely, parcel shipping. Choosing a vendor with a focused parcel shipping foundation will ensure that they can provide ample resources to best address your needs. Here are other important pieces to that business focus:
- Reputation: A part of this business focus is the business’ reputation. Does your potential partner have testimonials from happy customers? Are there third-party sources such as user reviews, experts, or peers that can also offer reliable and accurate unbiased information? This kind of independent information is a good indicator that the quality of a shipping software product speaks for itself. (Our recommendations? Josh Mayer of Summit Advisory Team or Mark Taylor of enVista).
- History: While the shipping industry has changed over the past 20 years or so, the basic needs of a shipping software hasn’t changed: speed, compliance, flexibility, and support. The benchmarks for how those can be measured have improved, but a business with a history and legacy of providing these pillars stands apart from the competition. Choosing a shipping software vendor whose history and sole focus is on small parcel increases your ability to continuously optimize one of the most important areas in the supply chain arena.
- Carrier Relationships: A business that has strong, strategic partnerships has proven that they have businesses that believe in their product already. A vendor that leads the industry in certified and compliant shipping engines has commitments from a multitude of global parcel carriers. Also, you should be able to connect to those multitude of parcel carriers – the right partner won’t put restrictions on which carrier or carrier service you use. Providers will be able to verify this information and let you know that your shipping software selection is one of their preferred solutions. [Ex: ProShip’s a Diamond Tier Partner with FedEx]
- Technology Partners: A solution that integrates with some of the largest OMS and WMS providers elevates the combined power of advanced technologies to your benefit. The vendor’s team should include support and integrators that have extensive knowledge of not only their own software product, but their partner’s product, allowing for highly educated recommendations based solely on your brand’s needs.
- Product Direction: An elite logistics software solution will not only focus on parcel shipping alone but will share that strategy in their future as well. They won’t be announcing a new initiative to focus on mailing or truckload shipping – they leave that to the other industry experts. In addition, with a murky past portfolio or merging companies or a limited geographic focus, the future looks uncertain, and the support team will likely be lacking the familiarity and knowledge to assist your business.
What are the next steps?
Doing the fundamental research upfront will help avoid the incredible amount of wasted time when you have the need to switch solutions down the road. And picking the wrong shipping solution will be painful to switch – not only will it have wasted time but the money squandered will be huge. In short, take your time. It’s important to make sure that the shipping software vendor you partner with addresses your specific needs and provides value over a long period of time.
After making sure your selection and your brand are coordinated in business focus, you can take a look at the other important factors in the decision-making process: Core Technology, Pricing Scheme, Speed, and Updates. [Jump ahead and read the entire Multi-Carrier Shipping Software Comparison Guide] Settling on a shipping software that doesn’t address these factors won’t drive success and at the end of the day, success should be the goal for both your software vendor and your business.
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