Friday, November 4, 2011

Residential or Commercial? The Right Multi-Carrier Shipping System Knows, Even If You Do Not

Residential or Commercial? The Right Multi-Carrier Shipping System Knows, Even If You Do Not
When you spend time reading shipping forums, you will see the question come up—how can I tell whether a destination address is residential or commercial? In fact, you will see from many posts that the wrong answer to this simple little question can cost a business thousands a year in unexpected shipping charges if they aren’t careful. On one forum, incorrect address status was listed as the number one reason for discrepancies in a carrier statement as compared to expected costs.

Just ask the customer if their address is residential or commercial, right? Sure, you can ask. Of course, some customers are aware of higher charges for residential delivery and will just mark their suburban, white-picket-fenced house as a business thinking they will pay less for shipping. And they will, but you won’t! Or if they run a business out of their home, they might incorrectly assume this makes their address commercial. But unfortunately for shippers, inaccuracy on the customers’ checkout form does not mean you can go back and charge their credit card later for the difference in shipping costs. Plus, not only is there a higher surcharge for residential delivery to begin with, there are potential penalties when addresses are repeatedly classified incorrectly. The result is money lost in the shipping department, which means money lost from your company’s bottom line.

One way to attack this problem is checking the address right when the package is shipped. The CPS multi-carrier shipping system with its Address Verification Module (AVM™) reports the residential/commercial status for every package as soon as the address is entered. The AVM checks addresses against the USPS master database of all addresses, so not only is the commercial/residential status confirmed, the address is checked to make sure it exists and is accurate. When CPS knows the correct status of an address, the surcharges are included in in the rating.

The true power of a multi-carrier shipping system lies in the combination of features like AVM and Smart RateBots (see last week’s post) that let you make quick, smart shipping choices from the major carriers. You get a true comparison of rates between UPS, FedEx, and USPS as soon as an address is entered with a system which can even select that best rate automatically. For more information on the unparalleled flexibility of CPS, visit

No comments: