Friday, September 25, 2009

Do I Need a Backup?

"This computer will not start up. What should I do?"

That's a computer statement that no one wants to hear. This is bad in any department and it's a real problem when this happens in the shipping department. If you suddenly lose your shipping computer, it's a good bet that the next question will be "Is there a backup?". If the answer is "No", what follows will either be silence or bad words. So what's the best plan to keep your shipping computer and others as safe as possible? It's a fact that computers still fail without any warning and what follows is either a real pain or relief that the planned backup system has saved the day.

If you have information on a computer that is absolutely, positively necessary for your business, it should be backed up. It's easier than you might think. You can make local backups, you can use an online service, and some applications (such as our CPS™ shipping software) have a built-in backup to save those specific applications and their data. Local backups might be set up by your network person, or you might just copy your important files to a file server using a backup application, Windows Explorer or the Windows backup program. Online backup systems include and Symantec. There are solutions out there to help make your data safer.

Keep in mind there is both direct computer failure as well as indirect computer data loss to think about. Data corruption due to a power failure, files that are deleted accidentally (or otherwise), and other things happen. A current backup can save the day. And use a battery backup. Be ready.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Using Free Shipping to Make More Sales

We've talked a couple of times about free shipping. According to one survey, free shipping offers are up this year compared to last year. Free shipping should always be used to gain more business, not just give away the shipping cost - a profit and sales tool, not a giveaway. But there's more to it than just posting "FREE SHIPPING".

Generally, a free shipping offer gives the best return when it's matched to products and services for consumers. And the products offered are important. For example, overstock merchandise sales do not benefit as much with free shipping offers. Current products that have caught consumers' interest respond much better when matched with a free shipping offer. Also, always offering free shipping can reduce its success. Offering free shipping for a limited time typically provides superior results.

A final note-
When preparing marketing, whether email or other, keep in mind that a limited-time free shipping offer provides better results for the more popular items and services sold to consumers. Moving away from any of these points can definitely affect sales results.