Smart Shipping Made Easy

All posts by Paula Heikell

Grove Medical Ships Orders 12X Faster with Epicor P21 & Ship-IT

Grove Medical Moves Orders 12 Times Faster with Logistyx Shipping Software and Wearable Technology Founded in 1988, Grove Medical has built a successful business by serving the elder care marketplace. As a distributor representing hundreds of name-brand manufacturers, Grove has become a “one-stop shopping” resource with a growing online business. Challenge VP of Operations Michael Laico was charged with […]

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Grove Medical Moves Orders 12 Times Faster with Logistyx Shipping Software and Wearable Technology

Founded in 1988, Grove Medical has built a successful business by serving the elder care marketplace. AsGrove Logo without box a distributor representing hundreds of name-brand manufacturers, Grove has become a “one-stop shopping” resource with a growing online business.

Challenge

VP of Operations Michael Laico was charged with implementing a next-generation technology platform that would position the company for future growth. He and his team chose Epicor’s Prophet 21 distribution software system and  Logistyx Technologies’ multi-carrier shipping software system integrated with Zebra ring scanners and printers to address these challenges.

Benefits

  • Reduced labor in shipping area by 1.5 full-time employees.
  • Improved shipment processing speed by 12:1.
  • Reduce labor with system-generated invoices.
  • Enhanced freight planning tools to address customer-specific rules.
  • Now design their own reports with Ship-IT reporting software.
  • Gained a hands-free scalable shipping solution.

Ship-IT also provides Grove with customized and complicated freight cost logic that can be assigned at the customer level. “We’re able to be creative with freight costs and build customer-specific shipping programs on Ship-IT.”  Michael Laico, Grove Medical 

Download the full Grove Medical Case Study 

Please contact us for a complimentary consultation today. You can contact us by phone at 877-755-2374 via email at info@logistyx.com.

US E-Commerce Shoppers Step Up Overseas Buying Habits

Better Pricing is the Top Factor in Luring US E-Commerce Shoppers Overseas Shoes directly from Japan? Pottery directly from a merchant in China? Sure, say a growing number of U.S. shoppers, who are quickly learning the ins and outs of buying overseas versus buying from a domestic online retailer. According to the recently published UPS Pulse of […]

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Better Pricing is the Top Factor in Luring US E-Commerce Shoppers Overseas

online shoppers buying internationally

Shoes directly from Japan? Pottery directly from a merchant in China? Sure, say a growing number of U.S. shoppers, who are quickly learning the ins and outs of buying overseas versus buying from a domestic online retailer.

According to the recently published UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Survey, Nearly half of avid US online shoppers bought items from international retailers, demonstrating the need for retailers to offer more personalized services as a way to compete against lower prices, according to the sixth annual UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study. Further, the survey noted, “almost all avid* U.S. online shoppers (97%), made purchases on marketplaces rather than direct store sites, up 12 points from 2016. Also, 81 percent of those surveyed cited price as the most important factor when searching for and selecting products online.”¹

The respondents were attracted to international retailers who:

  • Clearly show the total cost of the order to the online shopper, including duties and fees
  • Convert costs to the customer’s home currency
  • Have a good business reputation

As the chart shows below, online buyers are looking at international merchants for a variety of reasons:

Source: UPS Pulse Survey.

As shoppers get more comfortable with shopping internationally, domestic retailers should be taking careful steps to keep them coming back for additional purchases.

Where Personalized Service Fits In

Responsive customer service is one way to keep shoppers coming back. In reality, many in the retail industry say it is a must for business survival and growth.

“The lines that separate domestic and international retailers continue to disappear,” said Alan Gershenhorn, Chief Commercial Officer for UPS. “Retailers are now competing across the globe. In order to win, retailers can distinguish themselves by providing value through personalized experiences.”²

What does personalized service look like to these shoppers?Survey respondents cited the importance of a brick-and-mortar store in delivering personalized service:

  • 59% see stores as an important means to touch and feel products
  • 54% view stores as an avenue for immediate problem resolution
  • Over half of the respondents participate in loyalty programs
  • 50% have used ship-to-store this year, with 41% planning to use it more often going forward

Many leading online retailers are already working diligently to enhance their customer service programs and let their buyers know all about it. For an interesting read on customer shopping preferences and how technology is being used to improve service, read, “Ten Customer Service And Customer Experience Trends For 2017,” by Forbes magazine.

Wooing International Shoppers

The good news is that companies who are at risk of losing domestic shoppers can also bolster their sales by entering the international market themselves.

Flag Countries Foreign International Symbol Concept
Flag Countries Foreign International Symbol Concept

To attract overseas buyers, a company will need to either internationalize its existing website or launch additional online stores that have been localized to the specific markets they’re going after. As many online retailers have learned, this is no short and simple task. For additional tips on what it takes to truly attract buyers in other markets, read, “7 Ways to Make Your Website Global-Ready,” an excellent article by commerce platform provider Magento.

Controlling e-Fulfillment Costs

As critical as it is to attract international customers, it’s equally important to get control over fulfillment costs once they start buying.

Do your homework before you enter a new market on the characteristics and costs of shipping products to that area. Talk to your carriers before you begin – let them know what your plans are and find out if/how they can help.

It’s also critical, as your business grows, to have a flexible multi-carrier shipping system that enables you to quickly onboard new carriers as you enter new markets. The best solutions make it much easier to determine availability, costs and transit times up front so that customers can see true total costs while they’re shopping – a requirement to prevent shopping cart abandonment.

The best approach is to use carrier-agnostic software that gives your company the ability to compare carrier rates, services and charges, as well as robust delivery tracking and reporting. The system vendor you choose should be experienced in integrating its shipping software with your e-commerce platforms, ERP, WMS, order management and other back office systems.

The provider should also have a ready list of e-commerce companies that are its customers for domestic and international shipping. If this is the case, the company will have previous experience onboarding international carriers for other online retailers doing business overseas, and will be able to make the process smoother for you.

Plan to Go International

What is the projected growth for international online shopping? According to eMarketer, global cross-border e-commerce is projected to grow at an average of 22 percent from 2015 to 2020 compared to 15 percent for U.S. e-commerce during the same time period. (UPS Pulse Survey)

As self-educating as consumers have become, online retailers should expect their customers to grow more sophisticated in their preferences and willing to shop elsewhere to find what they want.

All online retailers should also expect an increasingly international mix of shoppers to visit their site and plan ahead to identify and accommodate their service expectations.

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Logistyx Technologies is a provider of carrier-agnostic e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solutions that enable shippers to manage all their small parcel, LTL postal, regional, national and international carriers on one platform. We also help companies automate their reverse logistics process for greater efficiency and lower cost. Contact us today. 

Copyright © 2017, Logistyx Technologies. All rights reserved.

 

*An avid online shopper, defined by UPS, is someone who makes two or more purchases online in a typical three-month period.

¹ “Study Finds U.S. Online Shoppers Turning To International Retailers for Purchases,” Supply Chain 24/7, June 9, 2017.

² Ibid.

³ “UPS Study: U.S. Online Shoppers Turning To International Retailers,”  June 6, 2017.

The Customer Journey to Making Online Sale Decisions

Shipping Options and Costs and How Buyers Weigh Them in Online Sales Decisions How much does brand loyalty factor into online sales for by today’s shoppers? How much do shipping and delivery costs and options factor in to the decision to select “add to cart?” Plenty, as evidenced by this infographic by ChannelAdvisor. As it […]

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Shipping Options and Costs and How Buyers Weigh Them in Online Sales Decisions

How much does brand loyalty factor into online sales for by today’s shoppers? How much do shipping and delivery costs and options factor in to the decision to select “add to cart?”

Plenty, as evidenced by this infographic by ChannelAdvisor. As it shows, a huge 71% of shoppers consider shipping costs as part of their decision process.¹

Among other findings, its clear brand loyalty, to products and platforms, is fleeting. According to ChannelAdvisor:

  • While 55% of shoppers start their search on Amazon, 28% start with Google.
  • An estimated 55% look for items on Pinterest.
  • Interestingly, 46% of shoppers view products online, while 69% look at items in-store before buying online.

Check out the infographic below to see how nimble and mobile shoppers are. Keeping up with these nimble shoppers will require retailers to evaluate their supply chain execution systems on a regular basis and upgrade their logistics technology where needed to be able to be found across platforms and deliver a positive customer experience.

Consumer Preferences for Online Sales

Keeping up with change is challenging, especially for companies with legacy order fulfillment and shipping systems. If you’re exploring new technology and would like to discuss your ideas, we’re here to help. Contact us today.

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Logistyx Technologies is a provider of carrier-agnostic e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solutions that enable shippers to manage all their small parcel, LTL postal, regional, national and international carriers on one platform. We also help companies automate their reverse logistics process for greater efficiency and lower cost. 

Copyright © Logistyx Technologies. All rights reserved.

¹ ChannelAdvisor.com blog, May 4, 2017.

The Return of Catalog Sales

Why It’s Time To Add Catalogs Back Into Your Sales Strategy   Long live mail order catalogs! Even though online shopping is taking the world by storm, a growing number of retailers have discovered that they can further boost online sales through smart catalog marketing. Catalog production went into a deep decline after the 2008 recession struck, […]

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Why It’s Time To Add Catalogs Back Into Your Sales Strategy

 

catalog sales trends

Long live mail order catalogs! Even though online shopping is taking the world by storm, a growing number of retailers have discovered that they can further boost online sales through smart catalog marketing.

Catalog production went into a deep decline after the 2008 recession struck, as companies looked for ways to cut costs. Once cut, they were never resurrected by many.

Some companies may have been able to adapt, but for companies such as Lands’ End, the results were disastrous. When Lands’ End opted to completely do away with its print catalog as a cost-cutting strategy one year, the company lost $100 million in sales.

As the economy has recovered, however, catalogs have found a way back into the mix. Why? Because shoppers like them. Consider the following interesting survey results by global management consulting firm Kurt Salmon:

A mind blowing 86% of women in the retail darling age range of 18 to 30 say they have bought an item after seeing it in a catalog. Further, the study reported that of these women, 64% who first saw an item in a catalog ended up completing their purchase in the store, and 32% went to the retailers website to buy it.”¹

To capitalize on these observations, savvy retailers are digging into shopping analytics to create the most effective catalog to drive sales. L.L. Bean’s Chief Marketing Officer, Steve Fuller, noted that instead of sending every customer his brand’s largest book, he looks for frequent website visitors and asks, “Can I only send her 50 pages, or 20, as a reminder of, ‘Oh, I’ve got to go to the website’?”²

Today’s technology is also making it easier to track first-time customers and learn how/why they got there. This helped menswear retailer Bonobos get more granular intelligence on customers spending habits, with or without catalog introductions.

After sending out a test catalog to existing customers and new prospects, the company tracked online orders for that catalog and discovered that “20% of the website’s first-time customers were placing their order after having received a catalog, and they spend 1.5 times as much as new shoppers who didn’t receive a catalog first.”³

What Today’s Catalogs Look Like

Catalog production has been growing again since 2008, but today’s catalogs are taking on a much different format. Some retailers such as Restoration Hardware and Crate and Barrel have found that jumbo page catalogs work well for their sales strategy, while others are creating slimmed down versions, targeted to specific products and buyers.

A growing number of retailers are also using their catalogs as a content marketing tool to build rapport and brand loyalty. Title Nine Sports, for example, showcases real women, not models, wearing their products in their catalogs and includes a short bio featuring their hobbies, vocation and interests.

Williams Sonoma has added recipes to their product pages.  Outdoor retailer REI often sends “mini” catalogs focusing in on certain products with their customer orders. Companies like J. Crew are marrying their catalogs with social media, putting them online in apps like Pinterest.

Many examples of how retail companies are using catalogs to drive sales can be found on the internet. The main thing to remember is that testing and refining your strategy is key. It pays to test different styles and offerings, analyze the results, and keep on tweaking. Fortunately, print technology today is much more nimble and cost-effective than it used to be, making testing less costly.

Right Into the Customer’s Box

If you’re aren’t already doing so, one way to start testing is to add catalogs into your order fulfillment process. Of course, it’s important to code the catalog in some way that makes it easy to track conversion results. The right order packing software and shipping software should make it easy to include specific catalogs with specific orders.

If you’re looking for ideas, we’re always here to help. Contact us today.

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Logistyx Technologies is a provider of carrier-agnostic e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solutions that enable shippers to manage all their small parcel, LTL postal, regional, national and international carriers on one platform. We also help companies automate their reverse logistics process for greater efficiency and lower cost. Logistyx Technologies. All rights reserved.

¹ “Back in Style Again? Five Reasons the Catalog is Making a Comeback,” resources.workfront.com, January 24, 2017.

² Denise Lee Yong, “Why the Print Catalog is Back in Style,” Harvard Business Review, February 25, 2015.

³ Elizabeth Holmes, “Why Online Retailers Like Bonobos, Boden, Athleta Mail So Many Catalogs,” Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2014.

Copyright © 2017, Logistyx Technologies. All rights reserved.

 

A Quick Update on E-Commerce Trends

Is Your Business Aligned With the Latest E-Commerce Trends? We see it every day – a steady stream of “traditional” retailers and distributors who find themselves entering the e-commerce world due to unstoppable business trends, driven by consumers. What do online shoppers want? Take a look at this informative infographic, based on data from Mashable, […]

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Is Your Business Aligned With the Latest E-Commerce Trends?

We see it every day – a steady stream of “traditional” retailers and distributors who find themselves entering the e-commerce world due to unstoppable business trends, driven by consumers.

What do online shoppers want? Take a look at this informative infographic, based on data from Mashable, Huffington Post and ExactTarget.com.

e-commerce trends 2017
E-Commerce Trends. Source: PICA.

It offers a good at-a-glance primer to see how your company measures up and what needs to be addressed.

Of course, it takes the right e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solution to be able to address these business and shopping expectations while controlling operational costs.

Look for technology providers who have tailored their order fulfillment and shipping software to address e-commerce requirements, and have a ready list of e-commerce companies who currently use their solutions.

An experienced e-commerce logistics technology vendor will not only understand your requirements but also have suggestions that can significantly enhance your business.

If you’d like to discuss your e-commerce system needs, contact us at Logistyx Technologies today.

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Logistyx Technologies is a provider of carrier-agnostic e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solutions that enable shippers to manage all their small parcel, LTL postal, regional, national and international carriers on one platform. We also help companies automate their reverse logistics process for greater efficiency and lower cost. 

Copyright © 2017, Logistyx Technologies. All rights reserved.

Choosing a New TMS Shipping Software Solution? Tips to Consider

Tips to Consider in Choosing a TMS Shipping Software Solution By Bob Fischer, Logistyx Technologies Transportation management solutions (TMS) are getting a lot of attention these days…

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Tips to Consider in Choosing a TMS Shipping Software Solution

By Bob Fischer, Logistyx Technologies

Tips to Choosing a TMS Shipping Software System

Transportation management solutions (TMS) are getting a lot of attention these days as companies look for ways to optimize their delivery network and get control over rising freight costs. It’s a good time to be evaluating systems. New technologies and new vendors have given TMS systems a serious overhaul in terms of usability, configurability, deployment and the total cost of ownership (TCO).

However, as many shippers have learned, identifying the best TMS solution for their specific industry and operations can be daunting. A quick search on the internet shows dozens of TMS systems offering a wide range of functionality, from the planning of small parcel shipments to booking ocean freight and everything in between. Not surprisingly, honing in on the right solution takes time.

The key is to keep the focus on your current and future needs as you compare vendors and not get distracted by bells and whistles that don’t necessarily apply to your operations. Following are some thoughts to keep in mind:

Shipment Planning

Some TMS systems are built for multi-modal planning while others focus on one or two modes, so it’s important to “vet” each solution and the depth of functionality it truly delivers in the modes you use most. It should be built by logistics technology experts who have in-depth experience working with companies who match your shipping profile. For companies who primarily ship via LTL, truckload, rail and/or ocean freight, a multi-modal TMS planning system is often the best choice, deployed upstream of the WMS system.

However, for companies who predominantly ship small parcel freight, a better planning solution may be a robust shipping execution system that dynamically optimizes the shipments during execution after they’re received from the WMS system. The best syChoosing a TMS shipping software systemstems include tools for shipment consolidation and the comparison of postal, small parcel, LTL and regional carriers for lowest-cost delivery.

When executed well, you should expect your TMS to yield significant savings and a measurable ROI. For multi-modal shippers, our TMS partner, 3GTMS, has tracked savings of its customers and noted that by making dynamic consolidations, mode and carrier service selection, most shippers on average save 8 to 10 percent off their overall transportation spend.

We’ve see our customers achieve these same savings and more when they adopt a multi-carrier shipping execution system configured for dynamic decision making. Small parcel freight savings of up to 40% can be uncovered when shippers can compare small parcel carrier rates to the USPS and regional or local carriers.

Shipment Execution

Once the plan is set, what does the TMS solution offer to automate shipment execution and processing? This functionality crosses over from planning and into operations but it should be a requirement because it can yield significant savings by eliminating manual shipping procedures.

The system should offer a library of carrier compliant shipping labels, carton contents labels, packing lists, ASNs and other documents required by your trading partners. When automated label and document generation is well-integrated into the fulfillment workflow, the labor savings can be tremendous.

Carrier Integration

How are carrier rates and services managed by the TMS system? Has the vendor already onboarded the carriers you use into its system and if so, how are rates, services and updates handled? How are surcharges managed so that they can be included during planning and not show up as unexpected costs on the freight bill?

Which other carriers does the TMS vendor work with? If for example, they’ve already integrated the USPS shipping rates and regional carriers into their platform, you may have the opportunity to reduce freight costs by leveraging these carriers.

To learn more, read one of our earlier posts, “Leverage Regional Carriers to Reduce Your Freight Bill,” and “Factors to Consider in Evaluating Regional Carriers.”

Visibilityhow to choose a TMS shipping software system

To control freight costs, it is vital to have comprehensive visibility into your carrier costs and performance.

A good TMS solution will provide reporting and analytical tools to support this process. It should also provide you with real-time visibility to track orders after they pass from planning to delivery, whether through EDI updates to partners and/or integration with your other host systems.

Deployment Costs

Years ago, a TMS was a high-priced solution purchased by large shippers. One reason for this was that implementations were complex, time-consuming and required senior resources to deploy them.

Today, customers can purchase cloud-based solutions which are much easier and faster to deploy. A fair number of companies still prefer onsite installations, but fortunately, these deployment times have also decreased as technology has evolved.

Related to this, user-configurability is another aspect to consider. The best solutions are moving toward user-configurable tools that enable the customer to change the software rather than relying on the vendor to make the modifications. As you are vetting solutions, come up with some scenarios that address this and compare how each system accommodates the changes.

Other Factors

As in any major purchasing decision, take the time to thoroughly review your vendor before signing a contract. How long have they been in business and are they financially solid? How many companies use their solution? How large is their product development staff and support team?

Also, ask the vendor for references that highlight success stories as well as challenging implementations that show how they resolved them. This is a partner you’re relying on to manage a core function of your operations, so you want to be sure that they have all the credentials to be a longstanding partner.

Plan for Change

Without a doubt, change is now a constant in supply chain management as the internet continues to revolutionize the way we source products for our businesses and homes. Companies that once seemed far removed from the e-commerce world now rely on it as their principal channel for revenue growth. Businesses that once sold products largely through distribution channels are now selling directly to end customers. Accommodating these new business practices takes planning.

Delivery modes are changing just as rapidly, a phenomenon that is going to continue to force new demands in transportation planning. A recent McKinsey report has predicted that autonomous vehicles such as parcel lockers, drones and bicycle couriers will soon delivery 80% of last mile deliveries.[1] I’m sure that soon, these elements will become standards in our planning and execution systems.

Bob Fischer, TMS shipping software expertBob Fischer is a recognized logistics expert with 30 years of logistics technology experience. He can be reached at bob.fischer@logistyx.com. For more information on Logistyx shipping software and dimensioning solutions, visit www.logistyx.com.

Logistyx Technologies is a provider of carrier-agnostic e-commerce fulfillment software and shipping software solutions that enable shippers to manage all their small parcel, LTL postal, regional, national and international carriers on one platform. We also help companies automate their reverse logistics process for greater efficiency and lower cost. Contact us today. 

Copyright © Logistyx Technologies. All rights reserved.

[1] McKinsey & Company, “Parcel Delivery: The Future of the Last Mile,” Travel, Transport and Logistics, September, 2016.