• Get Control of Your Holiday Shipments

    10/11/2017 — Leah Hyland

    Get Control of Your Holiday Shipments

    As a consumer, it might feel like it’s too soon to start thinking about the holidays, but retailers know that waiting is not an option. If you’re in the retail industry, you’ve probably already been receiving shipments from your vendors and preparing for the increase in business. As you’re getting ready for this busy time of year, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

    Set up inbound management
    While you’re forecasting sales and preparing your inventory for the holiday season, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are properly managing your inbound shipments. You need to have a good relationship with your vendors and be assured that they’ll be able to deliver your goods on time. You need efficient routings set up and you need to be able to plan ahead so you can avoid costly expedited services when you’re replenishing throughout the season.

    This is where working with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider or broker can make a big difference. A quality 3PL will create routings for you and ensure vendor compliance. They can also make sure you’re getting the best rates and service options for your time-sensitive shipments, by utilizing their buying power in the market.

    Make sure your website is prepared for increased traffic
    Online shopping is more popular than ever and will be a crucial part of your sales this holiday season. Don’t let technical issues get in the way of sales, when customer traffic to your site will likely be the highest of all year. Use a reliable web host and develop back-up plans in case of problems.

    Clearly communicate shipping deadlines
    There are some of us who are guilty of waiting until the last minute to do their holiday shopping. When’s the last day to order for Christmas? Do you offer expedited options or any special seasonal guarantees that could give you a leg up over the competition? Managing customer expectations will increase your customer satisfaction. Clearly communicate this information on your website, during the purchasing process, and in emails to your subscribers.

    Consider special promotions
    Now is the time to pull out all the stops to maximize your sales. People are looking to buy, and it’s your job to incentivize them to bring their hard earned dollars to your store. According to a report by the National Retail Federation, 50% of shoppers cited a limited-time sale or promotion as the reason they were swayed to purchase an item they were on the fence about.

    Even more notable, 64% of shoppers said that free shipping has influenced them to make a purchase. Offering free shipping has become the new normal in the world of ecommerce. If you’re worried about the costs of “free shipping” there are several different strategies you could try. For example, try setting the free shipping threshold above your average order amount to increase the amount people spend when making a purchase on your site. When executed properly, consumers will be more likely to add items to their cart to meet the minimum and it becomes a win-win.

    Be aware of holiday surcharges
    UPS recently introduced an additional surcharge for residential shipments during their peak season. The charge applies during two of the busiest online shopping days of the year, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and for the week before Christmas. We don’t have to tell you that these are very critical parts of the year for your online orders. These charges can add up quickly and cut into your profits for the season. The good news is, FedEx won’t be following in their footsteps. The UPS competitor is only implementing an additional surcharge for oversized packages and special handling. Evaluate how you’re shipping out customer orders now and make any necessary changes before these times hit.

    Set up a streamlined returns process
    With increased holiday sales comes the inevitable – returns. According to a Narvar Consumer Report, 74% of customers said return shipping fees will prevent them from making a purchase. On the flip side, 72% said that a “no questions asked” return policy would make them more likely to buy from a retailer. The influence of the return policy on the purchase decision is undeniable. Make your return policy as customer friendly as possible and communicate it clearly at the beginning of the shopping experience. Also, take proactive steps like providing return labels in the original order and offering in-store returns so it is less of a headache for you and your customers.

    Striking a balance with inventory, preparing your online store for increased traffic, and being mindful of your shipping options over the holidays can help make your season bright. When you work with PartnerShip, our shipping experts will help you with routings and ensure you’re receiving competitive pricing on your inbound and outbound shipments so you can focus on your business. Contacts us for a free shipping analysis to see how we could help you.

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  • Are You Ready for Small Business Saturday?

    11/20/2015 — Leah Hyland

    Mark your calendars! Small Business Saturday® this year is November 28th. Since 2010, this day has been dedicated to supporting small businesses and local communities across the country. Last year, 88 million people got out to Shop Small®, making this "small" day a pretty big deal. 

    If you own a small business be sure to take advantage of the free marketing materials you can use to promote the day and encourage shoppers to visit your business. The more you do to promote it, the more customers you'll see come through your door. 

    If you're interested in shopping small, click here to find participating businesses for dinning, shopping, entertainment and more. You'll find a great tool to search for local merchants in your community that you can help support with your loyalty over the holiday shopping season.

    Not only is PartnerShip a small business, but we also actively support thousands of other small businesses across North America with discounted shipping services and unique, value-added shipping solutions. We're glad to support this annual event which is sponsored by American Express. For more information on PartnerShip services and how we can help support your small business, click here to contact us.

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  • Top content created this year…so far

    09/02/2015 — Matt Nagel

    As Your Shipping Connection, it is our goal to save you money and time. That's why we continue to develop content geared towards helping you navigate through the world of transportation and logistics. We know that sometimes things get hectic and it's tough to keep up with everything. That's why we put together the below recap of PartnerShip content posted this year (in order of date posted) - just in case you missed it or wanted to give something a second look!

    • UPS and FedEx Increase Fuel Surcharges - "FedEx and UPS have both increased their fuel surcharges, effective February 2, 2015. This increase, combined with both companies’ general rate increases in late 2014, mean that almost all shippers will pay more to ship small parcels this year."
    • New White Papers - PartnerShip has created a number of new white papers recently, including the 5 Most Common Shipping Mistakes, the Truck and Trailer Equipment Guide, A Guide to Stress-Free Shipping, and How to Accept Freight and Handle Claims
    • Take Advantage of Simple Flat Rate Shipping with FedEx One Rate - "With FedEx One Rate, there’s no weighing or measuring of shipments under 50 lbs., so you can add to the box without adding to the price. Your flat rate includes free packaging options, time-definite 1-, 2- or 3-day delivery, and even some common surcharges."
    • Top 5 Highlights from CAMEX 2015 - "CAMEX is a very special show for PartnerShip. We are the endorsed shipping partner of the National Association of College Stores (NACS) and the college retail industry is an important customer segment for us."
    • DIY Projects Using Shipping Materials - "If you do any shipping, you’re probably familiar with the standard packaging materials – bubble wrap, pallets, boxes, etc. But you may not be familiar with some of the not-so-standard uses for these items."
    • Meet Your PartnerShip Team - Get to know a different side of Nicole, Alex, Harry, Jennifer, Laurie, Hector, Barbara, Julieann, and Laura and learn why PartnerShip is a unique shipping partner and employer.
    • Top Freight Shipping Challenges - Common freight shipping challenges are identified and addressed. Price, unknown freight, transit times, and damages/lost shipments are the focus of this informative blog series.
    • Dim Weight Resources - "Small package carriers FedEx and UPS are now applying dimensional (DIM) weight pricing to all packages. If you're confused about how to calculate DIM weight or what you can do to keep your costs down, PartnerShip can help."
    • Cleveland Playoff Plates - "The (styrofoam) plates add something a little extra to the already special experience of watching the hometown Cavaliers battle for a championship. Part superstition, part team-building, part bragging-rights, the playoff plate benefits are many and the fun is never-ending."
    • Top 5 Trade Show Shipping Mistakes - "Shipping to a trade show comes with its fair share of pitfalls that could leave you high and dry at an event. Learn from other’s mistakes and shy away from the following top trade show shipping blunders."
    If you haven't already done so, subscribe to our blog by entering your email in the space in the upper right. If you have some favorite posts of your own, let us know which one(s) and why in the comments section below. Thanks for reading and following PartnerShip!

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  • Happy National Small Business Week!

    05/04/2015 — Matt Nagel

    PartnerShip prides itself on being able to help businesses of all shapes and sizes save on their shipping costs. Small businesses are an integral part of the United States economy and, every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing a National Small Business Week recognizing the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year. This year, May 4-8th has been designated as the week to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the organization that coordinates this yearly event, and has designated this year's theme as "SBA: Dream Big. Start Small."

    The week will highlight small businesses with events in Miami, Los Angeles, San Antonio, New York City and culminating in Washington, D.C. where national winners will be recognized and awarded.  Additionally, recognition events throughout SBA’s 10 Regions and 68 Districts will be held throughout the months of May and June.

    If you're interested in learning more about National Small Business Week, you can visit the SBA website. There you'll find a schedule of both live and online events and other helpful information.

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  • eCommerce Benchmarks for Your Business

    03/25/2015 — Leah Hyland