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Videos | 5 Best Shipping Practices to Grow Revenue

In this webinar, ShipWorks, the leader in ecommerce shipping, will share how ecommerce retailers can ship like a pro. This seminar will cover topics like how to optimizing shipping within your Miva Merchant store; how to streamline the shipping process; and how to scale shipping processes as business grows.

Video Transcript

Welcome everyone to this webinar by Miva Merchant and ShipWorks. I'm here to tell you a little bit about ShipWorks. ShipWorks has been a valuable partner of Miva Merchant for years. They've been helping a great number of Miva Merchant users streamlining their back office tasks. Their services assist Miva Merchant's throughout the entire order fulfillment process from batch printing, shipping labels and invoices to automatically updating marketplaces with order status and tracking. We feel ShipWorks has many exciting ways they could potentially help your business, so today I'm honored to introduce to you Tricia, the Senior Technical Writer at ShipWorks who can tell you a little more about all of that.

Great, thanks. Hi everybody. Thanks for joining us today. I'm going to tell you a little bit about how to implement five best shipping practices to help grow revenue. These are some tips and tricks that our customers have told us works for them. I'm excited because these are really proven techniques to help your business. 

ShipWorks is a multi-carrier shipping solution that easily imports orders from your online in stores like Miva into one place, which is our software. From here you can easily connect your orders with multiple shipping providers - getting your orders to customers quickly and easily. The multiple shipping providers we'll see comes into play a little bit later. In our software, you can also automate the mundane  tasks. We like shipping rules where you can create default settings to shipments. Then when your orders are imported into ShipWorks your shipment details are automatically prompted with the settings you create, really making a customized experience for you. We can also automatically send email notifications to customers, when a shipment is processed, run reports that show product trends and shipping information and a whole lot more. We're just really excited to partner with Miva by offering our scalable shipping solution to make your company more competitive in a global marketplace. 

Since we work with a lot of online retailers of all different sizes, this is really based off of their experience and feedback. These five best shipping practices help grow revenue .

Tip #1 - Reduce Overall Shipping Costs
You can do this by diversifying your shipping carriers. This is a huge tip that can help increase your bottom line. Regardless of your shipping volume, calculating your shipping rates can cost you a lot of money. Knowing what carrier offers the cheapest rate for things like weight classes of your items that you shipped. This would be a big step in managing shipping costs effectively. You might be eligible for price breaks with different carriers depending on your shipping volume. In addition, if you're shipping heavier packages you might be interested in who is best at shipping cubic rates by dimensions rather than by shipment weights. So, really looking for these alternatives rather than just sticking with one carrier paying retail prices at the post office or at a retail counter. These things will save you money almost immediately. Now this is a collection of screen shots from our software that help you utilize the different shipping providers. You can see on the left side screen there's a lot of different providers that we support natively within ShipWorks and so you can account for under the default provider, you can account for a lot of different things with a lot of different providers. Taking it one step further, you can break it down to each provider and create rules for each provider. In the middle screen shot there's a rule in place that says if an order is equal or less than 13 ounces, us USPS First Class. If an order is more than 13 ounces, apply a profile that says to use the Priority service for USPS. On the far right side of the screen you can see that the weight here is 4.8 ounces so it's less than 13 ounces so it's applying a First Class profile or default setting. You can really utilize all of these diverse shipping providers by creating rules that are specific to your business and what makes sense for you and then really streamline your shipping process efficiently. 

Tip #2 - Streamline Your Shipping Process
Assessing your business logic and accounting for different variables will really help you increase revenue. One of our customers started to analyze their shipping process and they discovered that they were completing about fourteen steps from beginning to end including things like copying and pasting the order from the web site into a shipping carriers web site and then manually printing the label and all of that really manually intensive labor that goes into shipping packages. Their shipping volume was about 750 shipments per week. So doing the math, if you take 750 shipments per week, times that by 14 steps per shipment, it equates to about 10,500 steps per week. If you were to adjust that in terms of labor rate attached to that, about $15 an hour per employee, that labor costs to process at 750 shipments a week equals $562 dollars a week and that translates to $29, 250 a year. So really assessing what you can automate is important for growing revenue. Obviously this will do more than just grow revenue. it will reduce the time spend on manual tasks and you can spend that time doing other things that will help you grow your business in other ways. It doesn't have to be even complicated such as analyzing every step involved in the shipping process, there are customers who don't even realize that it might make sense for postage providers to pick up their shipments on a daily basis instead of taking those to the post office and that just eliminates one step, but it's also a really time consuming step of making sure that you take every package to the post office and having all that documentation with you and all of that kind of stuff. So it doesn't have to be every process. Just thinking of what you can do better and we believe that our software can help you with that. Particularly with ShipWorks and a Miva connection you can customize our software and we can help you customize your set up in terms of automating mundane tasks.

Tip #3 - Automating Mundane Tasks
Automating mundane tasks like bookkeeping, generating invoices, shipping reports and tax reports can easily save you time and help manage expectations and revenue. This also reduces costs by reducing errors due to manual data entry and gives visibility to project trends like supply and demand. Specifically with software like ShipWorks you can automate the entire shipping process including options to create actions that automatically notify customers when a shipment is processed, or update your cart to reflect your online status, or print invoices or labels at the click of a button. We have actions in ShipWorks which basically allow you to program how ShipWorks actually runs. For example, you can choose a prompt such as a scheduled time, so when ever a scheduled time occurs, then a tasks happens. Prompts can be other things like when an order downloads, a button is clicked, or when a shipment is processed. But this one is a scheduled time. So it can run on April 30 at 8pm or the last day of every month and then it saves this file for you and this file is a report. This is a shipping profit and loss report that would show you how much you're paying out every month on shipping profit and loss or how much you're saving.You can take this further and do a lot of different customized things with it. This is just one example of the many many things that you can do. Ultimately, the goal is to create fewer steps for your employees to process the shipment and update your Miva store. 

Tip #4 - Scalability
When you create fewer steps for your employees and they can spend time doing other things, it's really going to have an impact on how you grow your business. Because of that you want to create a shipping process that is flexible and respondent to growth which can save you money in the long run. Adapting your existing process to help you meet new challenges instead of adapting new processes time and time again. It can cut down on things like Employee training where your employees get used to one shipping solution or online cart and then would have to get used to another one once you hit a certain volume level. So you don't want to have to continually retrain employees how to use new software and technology. It can also reduce errors by maintaining consistency within your shipping process. So you're not really reorganizing how you're doing things, you're just adding on to what you've already been doing. 

Tip #5 - Provide Great Customer Service
The fifth tip is really to create exceptional customer service. Creating clear and efficient customer service with methods with buyers about where their order is in the shipping process is just one way to keep them coming back. Forward facing communication, like clearly stated shipping policies and any changes in your store - like holiday messages and deadlines will take some ambiguity out of the process from when they'll receive their order to when they can expect they'll have it or how to get in touch with you if something is wrong. In addition, direct and follow up communication like messages to buyers, confirming their order and any requested shipping instructions, messages about a status of an order, if something is backordered or out of stock, sending return labels, sending shipment notifications, all of these things really give transparency to the process and let the customer feel like they are involved. In addition to providing great customer service to your customers, you'll want to work with vendors and carriers who give you clear and direct answers about how to optimize your shipping process. One thing that we do really well in ShipWorks is that for any sort of outbound communication, like if you were to send a return label to a customer or the shipment notification email we give you an option to either write a note through a composed email function so you can send the documentation to the customer directly from the ShipWorks program or we allow template modifications. So if you need a report to be customized for your business or have your branding that includes things like holiday hours or any sort of shipping policy, we can include that on the templates that will reflect your branding - so everything is consistent in terms of what the customer sees and expects. 

So a quick overview of the discussion and then I can open it up for question and answers. 

Tip #1 - Reduce Overall Shipping Costs
You'll want to reduct your shipping costs by diversifying your shipping carriers. 

Tip #2 - Streamline Your Shipping Process
Assessing your business logic and accounting for different variables will really help you increase revenue. 

Tip #3 - Automating Mundane Tasks
Automating mundane tasks like bookkeeping, generating invoices, shipping reports and tax reports can easily save you time and help manage expectations and revenue. 

Tip #4 - Scalability
When you create fewer steps for your employees and they can spend time doing other things, it's really going to have an impact on how you grow your business. 

Tip #5 - Provide Great Customer Service
The fifth tip is really to create exceptional customer service. Creating clear and efficient customer service with methods with buyers about where their order is in the shipping process is just one way to keep them coming back. 

If you just want to go ahead and message me on the chat window or direct message me on the screen here, I would love to take any questions. 

Q: Can ShipWorks include custom attributes?

A: I'm assuming this means when you put something in the Miva storefront and you pull that down into ShipWorks does it reflect things like sizes or colors and it does. We can pull down items sku, etc. So we can see certain attributes that we get from Miva and we can create attributes as well within ShipWorks so we can do things like filter off of those and we can organize your information more efficiently. So we definately can provide that for you. 

Q: What does the setup process look like?

A: The setup process is relatively straight forward. With Miva you'll just have to upload a file to your server that allows ShipWorks to connect to the file which is a bridge between ShipWorks and Miva. But after that, you just import your Miva credentials into ShipWorks and then you're able to download all your order information, your order history into ShipWorks. Now, how to set it up from there is a completely customizable process. You don't have to but it's recommended to have an account with a postage provider so that you can buy postage online and that way you can automatically have the postage generated for you with the labels that you print out. That's the most efficient way that our customers find doing things. Once you have your postage provider, once you have your printer set up, once you have your store, you're ready to process a lot of volume. You can create things like filters, which would look for certain orders that are download into ShipWorks based on criteria. So shipped or not shipped are default filters that ShipWorks comes with so you can see automatically what's been shipped verses what hasn't. You can create domestic or international filters to separate those. You can create actions that streamline your shipping process even more. So there are a lot of different tools within ShipWorks to really give you the flexibility to do what you need to do. It's a pretty straight forward process. If you have any trouble getting started we have a free trial that's available. We have a 30-day trial that our team here will work to get you to set up if you have any questions, always feel free to contact support at ShipWorks.com. Or you can give us a call at 1-800-952-7784. We have a whole team dedicated to getting people up and running with ShipWorks so we'd love to help you out with that.

Just to add on to that a little bit. If you're familiar with the Miva Merchant Admin at all, it's as simple as activating one of those modules. So it's very much the same process where you just go into modules, you check it off in the checkbox and you hit update and it's installed in your store. As far as Stoneedge Order Manager, I'm not quite sure. Trish do you know?

A: I'm not quite sure about that specific one. We do have specific order management software that we do integrate with. I don't believe we do but I don't want to say for sure. Just call us and we can review that.

Q: In Step 1 you mention reduce overall shipping costs. You mentioned setting up rules with the best carriers chosen. Can you show us an example of that. 

A: It's hard to show an example if I don't have ShipWorks running, which I don't. It's not so much if the best carrier is chosen automatically, it is in the sense that if you know you're shipping the best rate for you specifically is under 13 ounces to choose First Class. Then anything over 13 ounces would be to choose Priority with USPS. If you know your rates, because some people get negotiated rates through different carriers. If you know your price break then you would be able to set these rules up pretty easily. For most people under 13 ounces using USPS would make sense, or First Class USPS would make sense. These are pretty standard rules. It depends on what type of shipping you do. I think that's the most generic rule that I could give you. We do have something in the works that would show you a little bit more clarity on where you're shipping with a particular provider, but we don't show the best rates or the rates for the best carrier of your shipment, I should probably make that clear. 

Q: Just to clarify, if you would prefer multiple carriers for the best rates or to have just one specific carrier like UPS? 

A: I think it makes sense to talk to a lot of different carriers. Some carriers offer discounts depending on your shipping volume. They offer negotiated rates. There are some carriers like Express One which is USPS. It's a consolidator that might be able to even give you breaks on your USPS shipments. So you could be shipping a certain amount of volume and not be eligible for price breaks within something like other USPS offerings. 

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