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3 ways to 'outship' your competition, part II

Use these shipping strategies to beat your competitors – and look like a hero.

Proven – and sometimes unexpected – ways to improve your operation.

Shipping may not be the most glamorous part of a transaction, but it can make or break businesses. What you charge, how quickly it arrives and how it looks on arrival all reflect on your brand – and your chances for repeat purchasing.

Here's how to ship more quickly and cost-effectively and use shipping to look better than your competitors.

1. Sell sooner. Hat Trick Sports Owner/CEO Bryan Bentz uses Quantum View® Manage to monitor incoming shipments of the orthopedic braces and sports medicine supplies he markets. “This helps me sell more inventory by being able to list products earlier instead of waiting for them to arrive,” he says. “I can anticipate getting more stock and list items sooner and get more sales.” 

Another sell-sooner strategy: have items drop-shipped right from suppliers. With this approach, you can list products on your company’s website and start selling them as soon as your deal is in place with the drop-ship supplier.

2. Do the work of many with only one worker. Technology helps you get more done more quickly.
Hat Trick Sports owner Bentz understands this. He uses shipping software called ShipWorks that automatically downloads orders from online shopping cart systems and completes tasks such as generating carrier-specific shipment labels and updating customer records and accounting systems. That has cut his labeling process down from five minutes to 30 seconds. 

Then Bentz chooses UPS Smart Pickup® to notify UPS through his shipping system that he will need a pickup that day. This option is designed for customers who do not need a daily pickup, and that saves Bentz a 30-minute round trip to a UPS drop-off location. 

Finally, he uses Quantum View Notify®, which automatically generates accurate shipment status updates, which keep customers proactively informed. The result: One man, many happy customers.

Some other ideas include: 

  • Setting up a dedicated pick and pack and shipping center that includes a shipping computer, scale, barcode reader and shipping supplies.
  • Automating reorders for packaging materials so you’re always in stock.
  • Establishing a specific time of day or day of the week to prepare shipments, so you’re not constantly jumping from task to task. 

3. Consider your packaging materials. High-performance interior cushioning is often worth the expense. The most basic interior cushioning, polystyrene, can endure only one impact. It may not be adequate for the rigors of shipping. Higher-performing materials such as polyethylene or polyurethane are stronger and thinner. With less but more effective packaging, you can use a smaller box and save on shipping costs related to package dimensions and weight.

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