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Finding the Right Shipping Solutions for Small Business

by EasyPost
Woman hands package to person

In the competitive ecommerce marketplace, the technologies you use for shipping, fulfillment, and returns can make or break your business. 

While a smaller company may not have the same resources as giants like Amazon, that doesn't mean it's impossible to build a strong logistics operation with powerful technology, competitive rates, reliable carriers, and more.

You’re in luck — we’re here to make finding shipping solutions for small business needs a little easier.

Here are some common challenges we see small businesses encounter and how EasyPost can help overcome them.

Getting reliable tech support

Small businesses and their employees often juggle multiple tasks at once, so why not choose software and technology that will make your life easier?

With some small business shipping solutions, you need a whole team dedicated to implementing the software and keeping it updated. Unfortunately, some small businesses don't have the resources to support that, so companies in this situation should explore how different platforms can help them get started and continue to support them in the long run.

EasyPost helps thousands of companies, ranging in size from multinational Fortune 500 companies to small neighborhood stores, ship billions of packages internationally — and we're dedicated to supporting our users beyond their initial integration.

EasyPost users have access to our dedicated customer support team throughout the journey, ready to help should any complications arise.

Finding the best shipping rates

It’s one of the most important logistics questions to answer: what is the cheapest way to ship for small businesses? To get access to the cheapest shipping, SMBs should use shipping software that comes with pre-negotiated discounts and rate optimization functionality. Shipping solutions for small businesses are critical for helping cut costs

The best shipping rates will vary depending on your carriers, where your customers are located, and how fast you need a parcel to arrive. Powerful shipping software will consider these factors to find the most affordable options.

EasyPost's SmartRate API has become the first-ever rating engine to return prices and time-in-transit predictions with 98% accuracy by analyzing over a billion historical shipments. So when using our rating API, you can be confident that your money (and packages) can travel farther and faster. 

Just set your parameters and start shipping.

Man delivering packages

Choosing the best shipping carriers

What is the best shipping carrier for small businesses? The answer will depend on your shipping needs, so the best strategy is to partner with multiple reliable carriers, such as USPS, UPS, and FedEx. 

That’s right: the days of choosing one shipping carrier and doing all of your shipping through them are behind us. Working with multiple carriers to get the rates and delivery speeds you need is called multi-carrier shipping.

Benefits of multicarrier shipping

Multi-carrier shipping comes with many benefits, including the following:

  • Flexibility. Multi-carrier shipping lets you choose from a variety of carriers based on factors like cost, transit time, and service level. This provides the flexibility you need to meet diverse shipping needs.
  • Reliability. Diversifying shipping carriers reduces the risk of disruptions due to carrier-specific issues like capacity constraints or strikes.
  • Reduced costs. By leveraging multiple carriers, businesses can negotiate better rates, avoid over-reliance on a single carrier, and minimize shipping expenses.
  • Improved transit times. With multi-carrier shipping, you can choose carriers that offer the fastest delivery options for specific shipments, ensuring timely arrivals.

Factors to consider when choosing a carrier

With hundreds of carriers to choose from across the U.S. alone, it can be overwhelming to narrow down your carrier options. Depending on where your customers are located, how fast you need your packages to arrive, and your budget, some carriers may be a better fit than others.

When considering carriers, consider factors such as transit times, shipping rates, reliability, and regionality. Another major factor to examine is if a carrier can integrate with your shipping software. EasyPost has an extensive reach when it comes to carrier integrations.

Verifying delivery addresses

Address verification is a system many shipping platforms use to validate that a delivery address exists. These platforms use a database of existing and deliverable addresses to decrease the likelihood of a shipment arriving at an undeliverable or incorrect address.

This type of technology isn't just reserved for big players in ecommerce; small businesses can access it as well and benefit quite a bit. For example, it saves money from lost packages, saves time the customer service representatives would be using to track down lost packages, and avoids negative customer experiences.

EasyPost's Address Verification API is fully CASS-certified, meaning that it meets the USPS standards of quality for address-matching software. We strive to offer the best address validation experience with 99.8% accuracy and an experience that is ten times faster than SmartySheets — plus, it's cheaper than geolocation through Google.

Tracking packages in real time

Customers want the ability to track their packages in real time. In a survey performed by OptimoRoute, 87.4% of people said that real-time order tracking made their buying experience more enjoyable. 

As package tracking becomes more of a standard than a feature, it's valuable to provide the best tracking experience to customers. EasyPost achieves this by enabling our users to use custom-branded tracking pages. Rather than sending customers to a carrier's tracking page, you send them to a page with your brand front and center. 

We've also enabled webhook notifications, so customers can be updated as their order gets closer to its final destination.

Woman opening a package

Protecting packages with shipping insurance

Ecommerce shipments always risk becoming damaged, lost, or stolen. Shipping insurance policies help businesses get their money back when encountering these issues. You can purchase insurance directly through your carriers or a third party like EasyPost.

Insurance policies and claims processes can vary from carrier to carrier, making things more complicated if you use multi-carrier shipping. EasyPost's shipping API keeps things simple. Pricing starts at 0.5% of declared product value and covers any carrier, service level, domestic and international shipments, damage, loss, and theft.

When you need to submit a claim, it only takes about 10 minutes to complete the claim form, and our support team will respond within 24 hours. Approved claims will receive reimbursement within 10 days. Upon request, these funds can be deposited into your EasyPost account or mailed via check.

Reporting delivery analytics

Customers aren't the only ones who want to know where their packages are. Businesses should too. Compiling this delivery data over weeks, months, and years helps you make informed decisions about the carriers you work with and how you ship your packages. That’s why reliable delivery analytics is a large focus in shipping solutions for small businesses. 

The bottom line? No matter what technology you use to ship packages, make sure you can record and analyze shipment and delivery data. With EasyPost, you can dig deeper into information like package tracking, billed weight, distance shipped, and time in transit. On top of that, EasyPost users can also analyze carrier performance metrics like on-time performance.

You can rely on EasyPost

Even if you have software that helps you find reasonable rates, works with every carrier, visualizes all of your data, and more, if it's down all the time, then what’s the point? Reliability is a must when choosing shipping services for small businesses.

At EasyPost, we work hard to provide the most reliable uptime in the industry. With 99.99% uptime, your small business can confidently ship all year round, even during peak season.

When you're ready to overcome these small business shipping challenges, EasyPost is ready to help. You can sign up for free today — or even better — get in touch with one of our shipping experts to unlock all that EasyPost offers.