Today is Cyber Monday, one of the largest online shopping days of the season. With less than a month to go until your customers expect their gifts to arrive, safe and sound, you’ll want to ensure that your shipping processes are solid and fool-proof.
Jason Hodges, founder and President of Auctane LLC, a provider of cloud-based shipping solutions for eCommerce merchant, including ShipStation, has offered us five tips to help small businesses better manage the shipping process this holiday season. Here are Jason’s tips:
- Use A Consolidated Shipping Solution. If you are selling on multiple channels, consider using a software solution that will consolidate all of your orders into a single place and automate the communication between those channels. With a single click, you can create a shipping label with packing slip, email the tracking information to your buyer, and communicate tracking information to the sales channel.
- Take Advantage of the USPS SCAN form. If you ship with the US Postal Service, consider printing a SCAN form at the end of each day. The USPS SCAN form (Shipment Confirmation Acceptance Notice) consolidates all of your shipments for the day into a single barcode. USPS employees then scan this barcode instead of each individual package. This allows the tracking information for all packages to be recorded in the USPS tracking system, providing your buyers with confirmation that their package has entered the mailstream.
- Process Orders in Batches Instead of One At A Time. If you are creating a single shipping label at a time, you’re likely fulfilling 30 to 60 orders per hour. If you use software that can print labels in batch, you can double or triple your efficiency! Some sellers are concerned that batch shipping will increase the chance for human errors, but this can be minimized with a few safeguards. Many shipping solutions can print identifying information such as the order number or product SKU(s) on each shipping label. You can also print a shipping label on half of a page and a packing slip on the other half so that you can easily match labels with inventory.
- Use A Thermal Label Printer. If you are printing labels on a laser printer, consider switching to a thermal printer such as the Zebra ZP 450 or DYMO LabelWriter 4XL. These printers can speed up label generation and they don’t use ink! UPS leases the Zebra ZP 450 thermal printer for only $2 per week and they provide thermal labels for free. If you are not ready to move away from your laser printer, make sure you are printing on label sticker sheets instead of plain paper. You can waste a considerable amount of time by cutting and taping labels.
- Pay AttentionTo Shipping Carrier Deadlines. Shipping deadlines vary for each carrier and service, so keep a list handy to ensure that you don’t ruin Joey’s Christmas. Check out the image below for various deadlines and important calendar dates.
Hopefully these tips will help to take some of the stress out of meeting your holiday shipping deadlines and make your processes even more simple and efficient. By doing so, you’ll save time and money – both of which you can quickly spend doing your own shopping for your loved ones!
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