Friday, September 14, 2012

International Shipping Tips for USPS, FedEx and UPS

International Shipping Tips for USPS, FedEx and UPS
If your company is looking across our country’s borders to expand your business, a fundamental question is “How do I get the orders delivered to these international customers?” With the special regulations and additional expense of international shipping compared to domestic, getting this right is key. So understanding the international shipping process is the cornerstone to making this new business profitable and worthwhile.

Let’s look at the additional documents needed when shipping internationally. There are two (2) sets of information needed so your packages are delivered properly. One is for the carrier; the other is for customs. And this is where a multi-carrier shipping system can really help. I’ll use our CPS Shipping Software as an example.

Let's start with the most important items for the carriers. First, and it may sound obvious, but you need to know what country you are shipping to. Actually, you need to know how the carrier refers to the destination country. For example, let's use Ireland. If you are shipping with UPS, the country can be Republic of Ireland or just Ireland. For FedEx, you can only use Republic of Ireland. For USPS using Endicia, you can only use Ireland. Use the wrong one and you will not even get a shipping label. Our CPS shipping software helps with a “pull-down” country listing to assist you.

Next is international paperwork. This includes Commercial Invoices, Certificates of Origin, USPS Customs Forms and SED filings. The carrier needs to know how the international paperwork is being handled or your package can be delayed clearing customs. Each customs form has a specific layout. A shipping system like CPS that really supports international shipping can collect the data and print the correct forms in the approved format.

Using a shipping system that simplifies the shipping, shipping label, and international forms creation processes goes a long way to making international orders easy, freeing you to grow your business outside our borders.

International shipping is definitely not for the uninformed. There will be several more posts on this subject to follow over the next few weeks, including more detailed information about some of the items in the customs forms, such as the Schedule B and Harmonized Tariff codes and other items. So stay tuned.

To see more about CPS, visit

Friday, September 7, 2012

An Easy Way to Emphasize Great Service and Reinforce Your Brand

An Easy Way to Emphasize Great Service and Reinforce Your Brand
“Your order is on the way.”

You received the order, you have the products in stock, and now they are on the way to your customer. So what do you think your customers expect next? If they are like most, it’s "Is my order on the way and when do I get it? Show me!" Isn’t that what everyone wants to know? And when you notify your customers with timely, accurate information about their order, you also reinforce your brand. What is the best way to do this and show your customers great service?

Shipping notifications underline your commitment to outstanding service and, when delivered correctly, emphasize your brand. A terrific way to show your customers you are giving them a great experience is to send them a timely email to let them know their package is on the way. Today's best order systems may have this feature, the carrier provided shipping systems might be able to help, and high-quality third-party shipping systems have this as an optional or (better yet) standard feature.

For example, the CPS shipping software includes the SHIP eLERT(R) that sends email shipping notices right out of CPS using your company's own email address. You don't need Outlook, Outlook Express, etc., for this. Since each SHIP eLERT comes from you instead of the carrier or another party, there is no doubt about who your customer is doing business with.

There are many more advantages to a multi-carrier shipping system than just timely shipping notifications, so consider this one point. If you use a carrier's dedicated shipping system and send the shipment notification from their system, take a look at that notification. First, it's not from your company, it's from the carrier. Also, notice how far into the notification you have to go before it's clear the notification is from your company. With the CPS shipping software, you use your company’s email address. There is no doubt the shipment notification is immediately identified as coming from your company with the information they expect to see about delivery of their order. Great service keeps customers coming back. When it’s also a better process for your company, you have the best win-win situation.

Great service keeps customers, and showing customers know how well you are serving them is a great way to encourage repeat business. For information about CPS, visit our web site at