After a few decades in the manufacturing and distribution industry, I have seen many shipping trends come and go. Let’s face it, I was here when the Internet was referred to as the World Wide Web. Right now, we are facing challenging times that affect how goods are supplied. However, it is my prediction these shipping methods and changes will stay.
Our shipping software includes blind shipping as a built-in feature. We have included this for many years and within the past few years, almost all of our manufacturing and distribution clients are using this feature. In a nutshell, blind shipping is when the actual party who took the sales order and promises to fulfill it then redirects their order to the actual manufacturer or supplier (Those are our clients.) Once the consumer receives the package, the paperwork looks as if it came from the company they originally placed the order with or it may just suppress all information. If you have ever ordered from one of the “Big Box” websites, your order was most likely a blind shipment.
Free shipping has been around forever and there have always been stipulations. Some of the most common being you must order over a set dollar amount or order a certain number of products to enable free shipping. Recently, we have noticed businesses are becoming smarter because they know the promise of free shipping can keep consumers coming back to their eCommerce Sites and ordering product. There are studies shown that potential consumers have abandoned their shopping carts when it was discovered they would need to pay for shipping. So how do distributors and manufacturers handle this without losing money? Very carefully. (Read our blog on Free Shipping Here).
Free Shipping on Returns
Just as free shipping is expected, you guessed it, so are free returns. All of the major carriers our software integrates with has some type of return service. Even before Covid-19, more and more consumers began shopping on-line vs. going to in person. This can be “tricky”. For example, you know your shoe size, right? How often have you had to go one size up or down for a perfect fit? So, while on-line ordering offers convenience; it’s not always perfect. There are two ways distributors or on-line retailers typically handle returns. First and most often, it includes sending a return label with packing list and instructions. The second manner is a simple on-line tool that allows you to print your own return labels.
It is imperative for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to not LOSE money on shipping costs. For the record if you’re not careful it can easily cut into your profits. That’s where a true rate shopping software (like the one we developed) comes into play. The way it works, is when you set up your warehouses and carrier accounts up in the software (meaning your negotiated rates with your shipping vendor) and you pull up an order to ship – you can actually see a side by side rate comparison. Our customers using our rate shopping software are saving 22% on average in shipping costs which is significant. Learn more in-depth information in this blog we wrote on Rate Shopping.
There are many shipping trends that come and go but blind shipping and free shipping are definitely here to stay. Utilizing rate-shopping helps manufacturers navigate what carrier and service to use when offering free shipping and ensures they are not losing money. For more information on how DCSC can help you streamline your shipping operations, check out this video and drop us a note below!