Common Small Business Shipping Problems and Their Solutions
In the competitive ecommerce marketplace, the technologies a small business uses for shipping, fulfillment, and returns can make or break a 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 aren't alone — there are ways to overcome these hurdles. Here are some common challenges we see small businesses encounter and how EasyPost can help overcome them.
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 rather than cause endless headaches.
With some software, you need a whole team dedicated to implementing it 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 worldwide — and we're dedicated to supporting our users beyond their initial integration. When Enterprise users get started, EasyPost representatives will help them get the ball rolling. After that, these users will have access to our dedicated customer support team, ready to help should any complications arise.
Finding the best shipping rates
Save yourself the headache by choosing software that will help you find the best shipping rates. These can 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 can travel farther and faster when choosing the best carrier — just set your parameters and start shipping.
Choosing the best shipping carriers
The days of choosing one carrier and doing all of your shipping through them are behind us. Sometimes USPS might have the rate you need, but FedEx or UPS will get it there faster. In many cases, finding the best shipping carrier is by working with several of them — this is called multi-carrier shipping.
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. We have worked with more than 100 carriers to ship billions of packages. Plus, we're still adding new ones. So if you're having trouble finding software that supports your carrier, get in touch with one of our shipping experts, and we might be able to make it happen.
Delivery address verification
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.
Real-time package tracking
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. So rather than sending customers to a carrier's tracking page, your brand is front and center, providing up-to-date information. We've also enabled webhook notifications, so customers can be updated as their order gets closer to its final destination.
Covering 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 them 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 ten 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 analytics over weeks, months, and years helps businesses make informed decisions about the carriers they work with and how they ship their packages.
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 data, like on-time performance.
You can rely on EasyPost
You can have software that helps you find reasonable rates, works with every carrier, visualizes all of your data, and more, but if it's down all the time, then what is the point? Reliability is a must when choosing shipping technology.
At EasyPost, we work hard to provide the most reliable uptime in the industry. With 99.99% uptime, your small business can confidently ship around the clock all year round — especially 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 the EasyPost offers.