Friday, January 8, 2010

Getting Your Shipping System Ready for the New Year

Starting off the year, I sure hope you're looking back on a reasonable or even successful 2009. A number of our customers reported they had good 4th quarter sales and are evaluating how to make 2010 work for them, too. Here are some areas our customers are discussing:

Carrier rate changes went into effect on January 4th. This means updating your shipping system to be sure you charge your customers correctly for shipping. We continue to believe that using one rate for shipping (what we call flat rate shipping charges) results in fewer abandoned shopping carts and more completed orders, giving you more sales. Our CPS shipping software has a report that averages your actual shipping costs to give you an accurate flat-rate amount to charge. Until you get a new baseline for the 2010 rates, you can take last year's flat rate and increase it by the average carrier rate increase (4.9% for one carrier, for example) and still have a flat rate to charge for shipping that is in the right ballpark. If you have negotiated your rates with a carrier, we can work with FedEx and UPS so that your CPS will show your company's contracted rates with the carrier. Just call our sales department to ask about that.

In the shipping system itself, the start of the year is a great time to test your battery backup and be sure it's still ready to save you if your power goes out. Also, if you have a shipping computer that might be giving clues it's about to give up, this relatively less busy time might be a great opportunity to replace that aging system before it causes real trouble. In the CPS shipping system, there is a backup and restore option that makes moving the shipping software from one computer to another much easier than performing a fresh installation "from scratch".

Finally, take a look at your overall shipping costs for the year. Maybe you sent out packages by a premium next day or second day service although the packages would have arrived on time using the less expensive ground service. Or you might have a lot of address correction charges (Wow! Those add up quickly, don’t they?) or you paid unexpected residential delivery surcharges although you did not get paid for this by your customers. Our CPS shipping software has great tools to help with all of these. Check out our web site at, or call us and we'll be glad to explain how we can make these problems go away in 2010.

Happy New Year!