The most successful shippers grow wiser as they get bigger. Here are 5 handling hints to make 2020 your best year for efficiency and savings.
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Great – you're growing! It’s an exciting time for a business, but also a crucial period of adjustment. That adjustment can be intimidating, confusing and, worst of all, costly. Read the latest article from 71lbs for 5 key growth bases to cover and how we’ve got your back on them all.
Growth is good, but what many businesses don’t factor in is how much of a surprise even gradual growth can be, and not necessarily a pleasant one. Not only does their old logistics model not scale effectively to suit the next phase, but those extra customers bring more demands, increased carrier costs and new logistical bases to cover.
We’ve assembled this go-to guide that any business can use to optimize their shipping and minimize the hassles involved with it. From getting refunds you didn’t know were yours to keeping carriers in line and customers satisfied — it's all unpacked below.
1. Reap your refunds and get savvy with savings
There’s one business out there that’s bigger than most — the business of unclaimed refunds. A staggering $2 billion goes to waste every year because shipping departments are unaware of refunds they’re owed. Hoovering those due dollars back into your shipping account is the first step. Once you know you’ve got that covered — and at 71lbs, we do — a growing business should focus on day-to-day savings practice.
A few examples? Pack smart. It can be a chore, but your carrier has shipping guidelines they want your business to follow — dimensions, taping, etc. You can usually find those in their terms and conditions. Following their guidelines to the letter will cut down headaches and costly refusal of claims because you “didn’t follow the rules.”
You may also want to invest in pre-paid shipping labels now that your business volume has increased. These can often save money in the long run, as can using packaging provided by your carrier. That way, you can be sure the package dimensions are acceptable.
Consider joining an association specific to your industry. This can often lead to large group savings on shipping, or you could leverage 71lbs’s thousands of shipping customers to find a great deal. You could discover some really big savings if your business utilizes a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ). We looked at those in-depth in our previous article.
2. Give your growing customer base what it wants
They don’t want much — just on-demand tracking information that keeps them informed at every stage of their order’s journey. More and more businesses are catching on to this. So, as yours grows, it needs to offer tracking that’s a cut above the competition unless you want to swamp your team with ever-increasing query calls and emails (and we know you don’t).
Free returns are another popular demand from consumers. If done badly, however, they’re anything but free for your business. Check out our article on how to do a free returns policy right.
3. Keep your carriers accountable
The larger your customer base, the bigger the role your carrier will play in getting goods to them. That increased influence gives the carrier greater power over whether your business gets to grow any further. Lost and damaged packages slowly but surely erode your bottom line and the confidence of your customer base.
The 71lbs team specializes in keeping an eye on losses and damage and tracking down the refunds you’re owed. Once we’ve found the money you’re owed, your team can keep track of the claims process through our easy-to-read dashboard.
4. Ensure your increased shipping volume is carrier-proof
More volume means more chances for things to go wrong. Adding shipping insurance to your arsenal of growth tools can save you plenty, especially if it’s through 71lbs.
The benefits are triple-tiered. First, it’s cheaper than anything offered by your carrier by anywhere from 25 to 45 percent. Second, our claims process is simple and fast, so you won’t have to go jumping through the hoops the big carriers put in place to drag a claim out.
Lastly, our insurance is unconditional. That means there’s no burden of proof on the shipper to show that the carrier was at fault. 71lbs insurance is unconditional and covers both return shipping costs and the cost of the merchandise.
5. Scale-up data to increase your bargaining power
A growing business means cutting bigger deals with your carrier, and you can’t get the best deal without the best data. Scaling up the quality of information you receive is essential as you get bigger. It not only illuminates your entire shipping cycle, but it also gives you more power at the negotiating table.
Drafting up a carrier agreement is a vulnerable time. Either you lock down a bargain or trap your business into a money-draining mistake until the contract expires. 71lbs can be there during your next contract negotiation to ensure you’re getting the shipping solution that suits you and is most cost-effective (we’ve saved some customers up to 25%!).
We don’t just leave you at the table after you sign, either. Our team of shipping advocates keeps a close eye on the carrier to make sure the new agreement is being honored and really does work in your best interests as you grow.
There’s not enough room on a page to tell you the other things we do for our own growing customer base of 5,000-plus businesses. We know it will be another great year for them, and we’d love to help you grow, too.
At 71lbs, we focus on two things: a) helping customers save money on shipping, and b) helping customers understand their shipping costs. We provide you refunds and savings on shipping insurance, freight and imports, among other benefits. Our automated dashboard displays easy-to-understand shipping costs and insights so you can make better business decisions. Drop by the contact page to get in touch!