ShipperHQ Customer Story: International Military Antiques

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  February 21, 2019

International Military Antiques
Helmet and Drum

“ShipperHQ keeps us legally compliant. I rest easier at night knowing they have our back.”

If you’ve watched movies like Saving Private Ryan or Dunkirk then you’ve likely seen authentic props provided by International Military Antiques (IMA).

Now the largest military collectibles business in the world, IMA got its start when founder Christian Cranmer inherited his father’s collection of 300 antique weapons. The inheritance really piqued a passion in Cranmer.

Since 1965, IMA has sold military weapons of all type, ranging from 17th century flintlock pistols, to World War II-era Italian General military uniforms. Collectors, props masters and history buffs can all count on IMA for unique finds.

But selling weapons online, even deactivated antiques, can pose formidable shipping challenges.

Alex Cranmer, IMA’s CEO and frequent expert guest on the History Channel’s Pawn Stars, explained the company’s delivery needs and how ShipperHQ has helped IMA master complex shipping scenarios.

For example, some of IMAs collectibles are restricted. A machine gun – even the entirely safe and deactivated non-firing ones that IMA sells – cannot be exported out of the United States without a license from the Department of State.

And while IMA employs a knowledgeable fulfillment workforce that manually reviews all exports, ShipperHQ is still IMA’s first line of defense to catch any errors.

“ShipperHQ has saved us man hours,” said Cranmer.  “We no longer have to cancel orders when we can’t legally ship an item, or contact customers after they’ve ordered because we need to update their shipping quote.”

army-uniform-min

By utilizing Shipping Groups in ShipperHQ, IMA prevents customers outside the U.S. from ordering a deactivated machine gun, or other restricted items. And because IMA includes messaging at their checkout about these rules, shoppers can easily understand what is and isn’t allowed to be shipped to their location.

The “antique” in antique gun is also vital. Guns manufactured in 1898 or before are considered antique. But guns manufactured in 1899 or after are considered firearms and require a license in most U.S. states.

“ShipperHQ keeps us legally compliant. I rest easier at night knowing they have our back,” Cranmer said.

And antique guns aren’t the only items that pose their own shipping challenges.

Take, WWI and WWII daggers, for example. Some have built-in brass knuckles, which as you can guess, are prohibited in certain states. Again, the powerful combination of ShipperHQ’s shipping groups and IMA’s knowledgeable warehouse staff create a strong line of defense against an accidental (and costly) shipping snafu.

But ShipperHQ hasn’t just helped IMA master complex shipping scenarios for their products; they’ve also helped improve IMA online shopping cart’s native shipping options.

Previously, IMA were unable to differentiate between small and light items, and items that cost more to ship. With ShipperHQ’s Dimensional Rules, they can now easily differentiate between mailing a small decal and a heavy antique firearm.

According to Cranmer, the ability to charge reasonable shipping rates based on the size and weight of the item immediately increased conversions.

“ShipperHQ has helped us provide a better, cleaner user experience. And in our niche industry, when customers are happy, they tell a friend.”

We encourage you to explore International Military Antiques excellent website. And the next time you’re watching a war epic, be on the lookout for authentic military collectibles. Chances are, you’ll be seeing IMA’s merchandise in action!
International Military Antiques

Click Here to view ShipperHQ’s Customer Story: International Military Antiques

If you’re experiencing unique shipping challenges like IMA, start a 30-day no-risk free trial to automate your own shipping with ShipperHQ.

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Why Does Residential Delivery Cost More than Commercial Delivery?

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  February 14, 2019
residential delivery

As an online seller, you may have noticed that shipping fees for residential delivery are higher than the fees for delivering to a commercial address. Most of the commonly used shipping carriers add a surcharge when shipping to residential addresses.

The reason residential delivery costs more? Last mile shipping. 

The cost associate with last mile shipping is the reason why it’s more expensive to deliver to residential than commercial addresses.

“Last mile” refers to the cost of delivering a parcel over the last leg of it’s journey to the customer. This is generally from  facility or distribution center to the customer’s preferred delivery address. According to a report from McKinsey & Company, last mile delivery services make up at least 50% of a parcel’s total delivery price.

Carriers like UPS who compete on price and delivery options have a vested interest in mitigating the costs associated with last mile delivery. Residential addresses are far flung and spread out, meaning it takes more time, gas, wear and tear on their vehicles, and other overhead costs, to deliver residentially.

Carriers may also have to perform services like address correction for residential addresses, which adds time and administrative costs to the delivery.

What about commercial deliveries?

On the other hand, commercial addresses are a carrier’s dream.

Commercial addresses are generally in high-density areas where the carrier can bundle many deliveries in a small geographic area. They may even be able to deliver multiple packages to the same address. And if not, they are probably at least delivering to other businesses very close by. It’s this “delivery density” drives carrier costs down.

There’s also usually someone available to receive or sign for the package, so the carrier doesn’t have to make multiple delivery attempts, or return the package to a hub and make a staff member available for the recipient to pick it up.

Can you avoid residential delivery fees?

As an eCommerce merchant, you are likely paying a residential surcharge every time your customer has a shipment delivered to their residential address. There are a few ways you can avoid this:

  1. Integrate a way for your customer to choose to pick up their package. UPS Access Points are conveniently located, secure, often offer later pickup hours, and can help you avoid paying and passing along the residential surcharge to your customers.
  2. Incentivize the customer to enter a business address. Offer your customers a discount or faster shipping if they do so.
  3. Ask the carrier to waive the fee during your annual negotiation. Go in armed with your shipping costs. If you are a loyal customer who uses one carrier for all your small package deliveries, they may waive this fee in order to retain your business.

For Further Reading

ShipperHQ can help you assess your current shipping strategy and offer your customers more options like these. Take advantage of ShipperHQ’s partnership with some of the biggest shopping carriers in the industry by signing up for a free 30 day trial.

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How Date & Time-Based Delivery Save Any Holiday

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  February 7, 2019
Date & Time-Based Delivery

Spring is upon us.

Whether you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, chances are your customers are going to be shopping around your store for a gift. Even if you sell pet supplies or machine tools, there’s no accounting for what some people like on these special days.

You don’t want to get your customer in hot water when their gift delivers after the kids open their Easter baskets, or the day Mom and Dad leave back home from their visit. To help you avoid these holiday fails, here’s how you can offer your customers date & time guaranteed delivery options just in time for any holiday.

Why your Customers want to Schedule Date & Time Delivery

The #1 reason to allow your eCommerce customers to choose a delivery date and time is, of course, that shoppers are increasingly coming to expect these options. Some other reasons why your customers may want to have their deliveries at their doors at certain point on the space time continuum include:

  • Convenience – Everyone is busy these days, which means offering convenience is absolutely essential. Perhaps your customer wants their child’s birthday cake to arrive the morning of the big 5th birthday puppy party. Or maybe they need that new patio set installed on their day off. Tasty treats, meat, and other perishable items run the risk of melting or spoiling on the doorstep, so it’s important that your customers can be there to accept any items that risk deterioration.
  • Special occasions – Flowers and cupcakes are not as special the day after your gift recipient’s birthday. Be a part of your customer’s special occasion by allowing them to give that perfect gift at the most ideal moment.
  • Security – This one is self explanatory. It’s no fun to order a big ticket item only to have the neighborhood thief make off with it instead. After all, not everybody has the skills to install a glitter bomb to teach would-be thieves a valuable lesson in this social contract.

Best of all, allowing customers to choose a delivery date and time increases conversion rates. If your customer has to choose between a retailer with a 2-day delivery window and a retailer who can promise to get the giant cthulhu plush to their beloved by February 14th, then that decision is a no-brainer.

How to Implement Date & Time Based eCommerce Delivery with ShipperHQ

ShipperHQ can help you fulfill orders on-time, every time using our Date & Time functionality. Keep in mind that in order to use these functions with ShipperHQ your carrier needs to support selecting a delivery date and time. UPS, FedEx, In-Store pickup and some custom rates carriers fit this bill.

  • Set Lead Times – Lead Time is used to define how many days are required to prepare an order for shipment. This can be less than a day, such as packing a t-shirt in a padded envelope, to weeks or longer, such as the time needed to build a custom piece of furniture.
  • Set Cut Off Times – Cut off times work in conjunction with lead times. The most frequently seen example of a cutoff time is the same-day shipping cut off date. For example, you may tell customers on your site to “Order by 5pm for next day delivery,” or “Order by 2pm for your package to ship today.”
  • Set Blackout Production Days & Dates – Blackout Production Days and Dates are used to define when this origin is not processing orders. For example, if you are a custom cake baker and your star baker only works Monday-Thursday. It takes your baker 1 business day to produce your trademark amazing cakes. So in this scenario, if a customer orders on a Friday, you’ll know it won’t be ready until Monday.
  • Set Blackout Dispatch Days & Dates – Blackout Dispatch Days and Dates are used to define when this origin does not ship orders out. This will most commonly be set to weekends and holidays. In some warehouses you might only dispatch on certain days of the week.

You can find specific instructions on using date & time-based eCommerce delivery options in our How to Use Cutoffs, Lead Time, and Blackouts for Delivery Date/Time in Transit article.

Allowing your customers to choose delivery date and time can increase conversions and create loyal customers who come back for more. To get started with date & time-based delivery options, start a 30-day trial of ShipperHQ today!

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8 Ways to Simplify Your Checkout for Cross Border Customers

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  January 29, 2019
cross border shipping

So you’ve decided you’re going to ship cross-border. You have your shipping network in place. Maybe you’ve even localized your website to attract shoppers in your target market. Your analytics show that potential customers in your new market are definitely clicking around your store. But conversions just aren’t there. What’s the deal? It could be your checkout process.

This post will go over how to simplify checkout for your cross-border customers.

Before they “Add to Cart”

Simplifying check out for your cross-border customers shouldn’t start when they hit “Buy Now.” Instead, you want to start by offering your future buyers an optimal experience when they are still merely browsing your store.

Don’t ship certain products to certain countries or regions? Then use geolocation to prevent potential customers in that country from picking a product, choosing their options, and trying to pay, only to be hit with, “Sorry, we don’t ship our jet skis to Peru.”  Or worse, the confusion of trying to enter payment information only to be presented with zero shipping options and no explanation.

ShipperHQ is working on a feature that will prevent disappointed customers at checkout by allowing you to restrict the product pages they can access. Contact us for early access.

During Checkout

1. Promote Trust

While cross-border purchasing is gaining steam, your customer may still be antsy about buying from someone in another country. In a PayPal study, U.S., German, French, Mexican and Japanese buyers all mentioned “suspicious checkout” as a top concern when it comes to buying from an international merchant.

Promote trust by keeping customers on your branded site during checkout. Sending them off to a vastly different page when it comes time to enter payment information can leave a customer skittish about parting with their vital information. They want to buy from you, not a generic checkout page.

On that note, a study by PayPal and Magento found that simply adding a security icon to the checkout increased mobile Revenue Per Visitor by 17.37% percent against a control group of the same websites. RPV increase by 7% with desktop and tablet shoppers.

Also feature symbols of trust such as customer reviews, trust seals, and a clear way to contact you should your buyer have questions or issues.

2. Minimize Form Filling

Require that customers provide you the absolute minimum amount of information to complete the order. In most cases this is email address, name, shipping and billing addresses and payment information. After all, you probably don’t need to know your customer’s birthday and nickname in order to get their product to them. Minimize friction and keep your forms simple.

3. Don’t Require Account Creation

Don’t interrupt the flow of the checkout process by requiring that your customer enter a password and create an account. If this is their first experience with your store, they may not know if they want an account with you yet. There’s plenty of time to encourage them to create an account after the transaction has processed.

However, do obtain an email address as early in the checkout process as possible. This will allow you to later send abandoned cart notifications or discounts to try and win the customer back.

4. Simplify Entering Addresses

Addresses around the world come in different formats. For example, a 9 digit US zip code is all numeric and looks like this: 30348-2129. And a UK postcode features a combination of letters and numbers and looks like this: NR14 7PZ.

If you require all numerics in your postal code field, you’re going to run into a problem when your UK customers try to enter an address. And customers who encounter errors entering shipping and billing addresses during checkout are likely to abandon the confusing cart and take an easier path to purchase.

Or, they might take a stab at an address and hope for the best. A study by Loqate found that 80% of customers don’t realize that their failed delivery was caused by entering their own address incorrectly. Instead they blame the merchant or the courier. Ouch.

But you have some options here. You can localize your checkout so that each customer sees the correct address fields for her country. Or you can use ShipperHQ’s Address Auto-complete feature that autofills addresses based on information the customer enters.

You can also minimize the amount of fields a customer has to fill out by automatically copying the billing address they entered over to shipping address fields (or vice versa), then giving the customer to option to change the shipping address if needed.

5. Offer Multiple Payment Types

Buyers in different countries prefer different payment methods. For example, a Pitney Bowes study found that buyers in Spain prefer to pay with credit cards like Visa, Mastercard and American Express. But only about 30% of German eCommerce buyers prefer to pay with credit cards. Mobile shoppers, an increasing percentage of online shoppers, may find it easier to pay with mobile wallets rather than typing in a credit card number. And many customers in India and Central Europe prefer to pay cash on delivery.

Preferred payment methods are as varied as your buyers. Ensure you’re not losing customers during checkout by providing the payment options they feel most comfortable using.

6. Be Upfront about Shipping, Taxes and Other Fees

You’ll find many occasions when selling cross-border where either your or the customer are required to pay import duties. If the customer is required to pay these duties, be sure to warn them upfront so they aren’t met with a nasty surprise before they can pick up their package.

You can also choose to show or hide fees strategically. Do you cover duties? Then you may not want to include a line for customs & duties at checkout. For example, say you are selling on a fully localized site. A customer who didn’t realize their item is shipping from overseas could get antsy and pull the plug on a sale.

7. Show Pricing in Local Currency

According to PayPal, 75% of cross-border buyers say they want the option to buy in their local currency.  And 62% say they check prices in local currency before placing an order. Anytime your customer navigates away from your site during checkout, you potentially lose them. Showing prices in their local currency keeps them in your checkout flow.

8. Optimize for mobile

Forty percent of mobile shoppers abandon their cart because they have trouble entering information. All the checkout options we’ve mentioned above will help mobile shoppers enjoy a seamless checkout experience, but you can do more.

Design your checkout with large, easy-to-see and press buttons, highly visible fonts and a fixed navigation bar so your customers can easily navigate your site and checkout on mobile.

Conclusion

Because on average of 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned at the checkout, you have to give customers delivery options that fit their individual needs while also showing them upfront when to expect their items.

Well guess what? Both are possible with ShipperHQ’s new Enhanced Checkout.

With the Enhanced Checkout, you have access to out-of-the-box support for options like click and collect, estimated delivery dates and date and time selection. Meaning your odds of keeping customers on your site and adding to their cart just got better. Sounds like a win / win right?

New and existing Enterprise Customers can sign up for ShipperHQ’s Amazon-style Enhanced Checkout through our Early Access Program for launch in early 2019.

 

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ShipperHQ Customer Story: Intelligentsia Coffee

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  January 14, 2019

Intelligentsia

bag-combo

With ShipperHQ we finally have a push-button shipping solution

Intelligentsia Coffee stands on the forefront of specialty coffee in the U.S. In fact, when it comes to coffee, these coffee crafters decided that Fair Trade wasn’t quite fair enough – at least to the customer.

Not only does Intelligentsia Coffee practice Fair Trade, which ensures that coffee growers are treated and paid fairly, they pioneered the even more stringent Direct Trade coffee buying model, which has become the benchmark for the entire industry.

Applying their Direct Trade principal, Intelligentsia’s buyers travel to 18 countries to meet each and every farmer they work with and sit down together for a cup to ensure each crop’s quality. When someone orders a mug of Intelligentsia Coffee, they know they’re going to sip coffee perfection.

With such high quality standards, it’s no wonder that Intelligentsia Coffee is in demand from coffee sellers and drinkers all over the world.

But Intelligentsia Coffee’s thriving wholesale business demands shipping software that can keep up. When they first built out their wholesale platform, shipping posed an immediate challenge. The biggest issue was cartonization.

“Our initial software didn’t understand that shipping one box that weighs 30 pounds is a whole different story than shipping six boxes that weigh five pounds,” said Matt Riddle, Director of Systems and Strategy.

They even had one employee whose entire full time job was working with a marker and highlighter system to manually guess weight on shipments, cartonize them, and create labels on UPS WorldShip™. Ouch.

coffee-pour

To compound that limitation, their old software’s UX was clunky, and left them unable to provide services like offering shipping promotions and special pricing.

When they decided to migrate to Magento 2, they listed their shipping requirements and began searching. ShipperHQ checked all their shipping solution boxes.

With ShipperHQ, Intelligentsia Coffee can now charge their customers correctly for shipping, offer special pricing, and easily pack the right products into the right boxes.

“With ShipperHQ we finally have a push-button shipping solution,” said Matt.

By the way, now that that cartonization problem has been solved, it’s no longer anybody’s full time job. We’re happy to report that the person who previously wrangled all those markers and highlighters has moved on to a much more fulfilling role in the company.

But that’s not all.

“We can provide inclusive pricing on some items, which means offering our customers free shipping,” said Matt. “ShipperHQ has allowed us to provide a value-add for the customer.”

Visit Intelligentsia Coffee to find out more, including where to get your own Direct Trade coffee fix.
Intelligentsia Coffee

Click Here to View ShipperHQ’s  Customer Story: Intelligentsia Coffee

Start a 30-day no-risk free trial to learn about automating your eCommerce shipping with ShipperHQ

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The UPS CGI Rating API and It’s Impact on UPS Rates for Magento 1.x and 2.x

Author: Liz Van Hoose  |  January 8, 2019

UPDATE: JAN 11 – UPS has restored service on the HTTP endpoint for their CGI Rating API, but action is still required

UPS has re-activated the HTTP endpoint for the CGI Rating API, meaning rates will now be returned via this endpoint. The HTTPS endpoint continues to work as expected. For background on this issue, see our original post below.

However, the CGI Rating API is still a legacy, deprecated API and:

  • Produces inaccurate results
  • Does not support newer UPS services
  • Has no uptime or EOL guarantee
  • Has no official support from UPS.

This means remaining on the CGI Rating API via HTTP or HTTPS continues to presents a risk to your site.

How do I know if my site is at risk?

You are not at risk if you use ShipperHQ
ShipperHQ uses the latest version of the modern UPS XML API and is continuously updated to account for any future changes. No action is required.

You are not at risk if you use WebShopApps extensions which rely on live UPS rates
WebShopApps extensions like Dimensional Shipping use live UPS rates and already require the use of the XML API. Therefore, these extensions are not impacted.

You are not at risk if you use Magento’s native implementation of the UPS XML Rating API
You can confirm this by checking the “UPS Type” set on the UPS Shipping Method in your Magento Admin Panel. On Magento 1.x this is found under System > Configurations > Shipping Methods > UPS. On Magento 2.x this is found under Stores > Configurations > Sales > Shipping Methods > UPS.

If the “UPS Type” is “United Parcel Service XML” you are using the XML API and are not at risk. If the “UPS Type” is set to “United Parcel Service” you are using the CGI API and are at risk.

What Actions Should I Take?

To avoid future impact, we continue to recommend that all merchants move to Magento’s native XML implementation or a service like ShipperHQ which is continuously updated with any UPS API changes.

If you are unable to immediately move off of this deprecated CGI API, we recommend as a stopgap that you move to using the HTTPS CGI Rating API endpoint following the steps outlined in our original post below.

If you need assistance with generating XML credentials for Magento’s native implementation, contact your UPS Account Representative. If you’re interested in learning more about how ShipperHQ helps protect merchants from incidents like this, please contact us.

Thanks to Kris Brown (@kab8609) for flagging this issue and the temporary resolution using HTTPS to us via Twitter!


 

Original Post from January 8, 2019

Changes to UPS Support for CGI Rating API

If you’re a meScreen Shot 2019-01-07 at 5.31.05 PMrchant on Magento 1.x or 2.x who is not seeing UPS rates returned as of Sunday, January 6th, this may be due to changes in UPS support for their legacy CGI Rating API.

UPS has made a change requiring that rating via their CGI Rating API, which is a native Magento option, and no longer allows HTTP connections but instead requires HTTPS. By default, Magento attempts to connect using HTTP.

Since the CGI Rating API is a legacy API with no official support by UPS, we recommend switching to the UPS XML API. The CGI Rating API does not return accurate shipping rates and may be disabled entirely in future.

If you are unable to immediately move to XML, as a stopgap steps to move to HTTPS for the CGI Rating API are below.

ShipperHQ/WebShopApps Customers

ShipperHQ customers are not impacted by this change, no action is required. All WebShopApps extensions that require live UPS rates (for example, Dimensional Shipping) require XML rating and are therefore not impacted.

Merchants Using UPS XML Rating API

All merchants using the UPS XML Rating API are not impacted by this change.

What to Do if  You are Impacted

While we and UPS have recommended moving to the XML Rating API for many years, if you must continue to use the CGI Rating API as a stopgap measure, you can change to using HTTPS and reactivate your rates for the time being using the steps below.

  1. On the M1 dashboard, go to System > Configurations  > Shipping Methods > UPS
  2. On the M2 dashboard, go to Stores > Configurations > Sales > Shipping Methods > UPS
  3. From UPS, set “UPS Type” to United Parcel Service
  4. Under “Gateway URL,” manually add an “s” to “HTTP” to the website address listed in this field

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DDP vs. DDU Defined for eCommerce Sellers

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  January 2, 2019
tax-1-min

When shipping cross-border, you’re quickly going to run into the acronyms DDP and DDUHere are those acronyms defined:

  • DDP stands for “delivery duty paid” and means that you, the merchant, have paid all customs, duties and associated fees on the shipment. Generally the shipping carrier you’ve contracted with will handle the heavy lifting on customs and duties and then bill you the total.
  • DDU stands for “delivery duty unpaid” and means that your buyer is responsible for paying any customs and duties fees associated with the purchase. Your buyer will be contacted by a customs broker and will be required to pay duties before receiving the shipment.  DDU is also sometimes referred to as DAP (Duties at Place).

What do DDP and DDU have to do with my eCommerce business?

When shipping cross-border, many countries will impose a duty or tax on your shipment. Whether a duty or tax is required depends on factors like the declared value of the shipment, the purpose of the shipment and origin and destination of the shipment.  

Every country sets it’s own customs and duties, and they can get complicated. For example, the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (i.e. the U.S. government document spelling out what customs and duties are owed on what products) is 3,863 PDF pages long and updates annually. Ouch.

When shipping products cross-border, a duty or tax may be owed on your product. As an online seller, it’s up to you whether you want to pay the duty or pass that cost along to your customer.

Should you ship DDU or DDP to your international customers?

The short answer is: It depends.

Shipping DDU Cross-Border
If you choose to ship DDU, your customer is ultimately responsible for paying customs and duties before she can receive her package.

Your carrier will deliver the package to a customs broker in your customer’s home country. A customs broker can be your carrier, the local post office, or another company who handles customs fees. Your customer is then responsible for paying the duty before she can take final possession of the package.

Shipping DDU has advantages when it comes to winning a sale. Without taxes and duties factored in, your price-conscious customer sees a lower price at checkout. A 2017 KMPG survey found that 57% of online shoppers hit “buy now” on the lowest price they can find.

If you aren’t careful to spell out during checkout that taxes and duties may be due on arrival, this may create a negative experience with your store when your customer realizes she has to pay even more just to spring her package from customs jail. Worse, if your customer isn’t quick to pick up her package, storage fees and other fees may apply. Or if she abandons the package, you may be on the hook for fess, return shipping and fines and penalties. In the worst-case scenario, your customer abandons the shipment at customs and cancels the sale, meaning you’re liable for paying the penalty yourself.

Shipping DDP Cross-Border
If you choose to ship DDP, you pay the cost for shipping, VAT or sales tax, customs, duties, etc. Because the duty has been paid upfront, your customer does not have to deal with the delay and hassle of paying a customs broker in her home country before she can receive her package. Your carrier will bill you for the customs costs.

However, this still leaves you with the expense. You may take the cost on yourself, pass this on at checkout, or include it in your item’s price.  ShipperHQ’s upcoming cross-border feature will help merchants finally understand total landed cost before shipping, and arm you with the knowledge you need to mitigate the cost of shipping DDP. 

Shipping DDP also has advantages.  Your shipment will arrive more quickly because it isn’t delayed in customs. And as eCommerce matures, savvy online shoppers now expect that they will have to pay customs and duties on cross-border purchases.

Conclusion

Whether you ship DDP or DDU will ultimately depend on the mix of products you ship internationally, and how receptive your customers are to either paying taxes and duties up front or dealing with customs brokers after the fact.

We want to hear from you. Do you ship DDP or DDU? What made you decide this? Do you plan on changing up your shipping strategy in the future?

ShipperHQ is actively working on a solution to make cross-border shipping easier for merchants.  Want in? Contact us to learn more about this .

 

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The Core Values of ShipperHQ

Author: Karen Baker  |  December 20, 2018

As CEO of ShipperHQ its a job that requires a great deal of effort, and comes with it a great deal of responsibility. My husband was a small merchant, which is how I got into this space, I was there with him and understand fully the demands of eCommerce, and how small changes can cause big successes or big failures. I also understand as a company owner myself that stability is key, you want integrity and trust from the vendors you work with.

Not many people know this but I never actually wanted to start ShipperHQ, I just had merchants reaching out to me back in 2008 and I responded to their needs. I still feel in a way I’m doing that today, all I really want to do is help people, of course I’ve realised that as part of that I need to ensure I maintain my own stability and that of my family and co-workers.

ShipperHQ is proud to serve this space, and takes its responsibility very seriously. We have worked for years with massive merchants, many that you see on the streets of US, UK and other countries around the world. We know shipping is important, and we are innovating daily to make life better for you. I wish we could do more and faster, but let me say we are trying.

As part of the work at ShipperHQ as CEO when you grow a company you have to ensure that your own ethics and reasons for doing this are translated to your staff. As much as I’d personally like to sit on every client call, answer every mail, deal with every agency, well I can’t, someone needs to steer the ship and right now thats me. I’m also pretty technical (female yes) so that takes up a fair bit of my time trying to get better solutions for you all.

We decided therefore this year to work out 3 core values that we would all adhere to. A lot of companies do this. For us as a bootstrapped company that has been profitable since day 1, and single founder owned, I think its important to say we did this to help make our business better. We will have this prominently displayed in all our offices, it will be a factor in every decision we make, in every new hire we take on, and how we do business from today, in late December 2018. That you have my word on.

So I’ll share them, I hope you find it interesting.

Core Value 1: – Always Responsive

This was key to me, and about how we scale this company. Its very hard to get staff to care about something as much as the CEO. We as a company need to be responsive, on every level. Whether thats a support email, a question around partnership, a new enquiry on our services. We are here, on many channels, you can reach us.

Already we have a Chat channel on our website, we can be reached by phone, email and our agency partners have a slack channel to communicate directly with us.

If you see us not being responsive reach out to me, I’ll sort it.

Core Value 2: – Unflinchingly Honest

I’ve a terrible memory, which means I kind of have to speak the truth all the time else I’d fall over! But thats not why I’m honest, I just like things in black and white, ultimately I’m a programmer and thats how my mind works, its logical. Even when I worked in London I really couldnt stand the boring business meetings where there is a lot of fluff and no action. Lets cut that bullshit I say. Time is short, we want to do things and there is a lot to do. So honesty I think works well, yes its blunt, have I annoyed people over the years, yep, but I’ve also found I’ve got a lot of stuff done with clients as a result of just being honest. I also try not to say we can do something if we can’t, lets just be honest. Here is my situation, this is yours, lets try to find a solve. I’m fed up of tech companies that promise the world and don’t deliver. Do it else be quiet. We would rather under-promise and over-deliver, and because we don’t have funding we can do that, the buck stops here.

Core Value 3: – Focused Innovation

As a programmer/tech architect I obviously love technology. But I’ve always loved it from the perspective of solving problems. I’m not into theory, I’m not into writing code for writing code’s sake. I want to advance eCommerce and I want to get merchants to a better place. Its that simple. To do that we need to innovate, and do so fast. But it needs to be directed in the right areas, where there is most benefit. I’m a big believer in the 80:20 rule, and I’m a big believer in reality. I’m not here to play games, I’m here to help people with technology. And this company is too.

The Company

What’s interesting about the above is that the team actually came up with them, not me. These values are personal to me, I strongly believe in them, but I know it takes a team.

I wish all our clients, our staff, and the general eCommerce community a great holiday and happy and healthy New Year.

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ShipperHQ Customer Story: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  December 20, 2018

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ShipperHQ isn’t just an add-on or 3rd party integration piece to us. They’re a partner

When your business sells perishable products over the Internet, you have very specific shipping needs.This is especially true for Columbus, Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, because they’re more than just a trendsetting purveyor of artisanal ice cream.

“People go on first dates at Jeni’s Scoop Shops, people get proposed to, and have their weddings with us,” said Chelsea Clements, Director of eCommerce at Jeni’s.

“Our customers send our ice cream for Mother’s Day, bereavement gifts and anniversary gifts. We are a part of people’s lives.”

This focus on customers means that Jeni’s wants to create a delightful experience whether in one of their Jeni’s Scoop Shops or when opening up a signature Jeni’s orange delivery box in the comfort of their own home.

That’s where the need for a shipping partner comes in.

“We were opening Scoop Shops across the country, but only shipping out of one fulfillment center,” said Clements.

“We realized that in order to sustain our online business and our cold storage supply chain, we needed multi-warehouse fulfillment. This wasn’t native to our platform Bigcommerce, so we knew we needed a solution.”

Enter ShipperHQ.
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“ShipperHQ helped us enable multi-warehouse fulfillment logic, which grew the business. Beyond that, they also helped us with things like guaranteed delivery date, because that’s very important to our customers who often send Jeni’s as gifts.”

After all, a box of melted ice cream on your doorstep the day after your birthday isn’t exactly festive.

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“ShipperHQ also helped us in times of crisis, like when landslides meant we couldn’t get shipments out of one of our fulfillment centers. If that had happened before we used ShipperHQ, we would have had to shut down our entire eCommerce business until the roads re-opened. We don’t have any developers on the team, but with ShipperHQ it was as easy as changing some settings, and we were able to keep our business up and running.”

Clements estimates that just relying on ShipperHQ to calculate delivery dates has saved the company 131 hours per year.

ShipperHQ also partnered with Jeni’s to enhance their customers’ eCommerce experience in other ways, like setting shipping cutoff times, and automating flat rate shipping and real-time FedEx Priority overnight delivery.

Clements added, “They’re very knowledgeable in all aspects of eCommerce, and have been great with helping us with our tech stack, and giving us advice and honest feedback about things we could try or avoid. ShipperHQ isn’t just an add-on or 3rd party integration piece to us. They’re a partner.”

Visit their website to learn more about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and order your own pint.
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Click Here to View ShipperHQ’s  Customer Story: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Start a 30-day no-risk free trial to learn about automating your eCommerce shipping with ShipperHQ

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7 Cross Border Shipping Options Online Shoppers Expect

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  December 19, 2018
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In part one of this series, we talked about what your cross-border customers want when it comes to customer experience. But now we want to talk about the aspect of online commerce we live and breathe here at ShipperHQ – shipping.

Shipping fails can derail your cross-border sales, but perhaps not always for the reasons that you think. Here are the 7 main things your customers are looking for when it comes to cross-border shipping options.

1. Clear shipping costs

Spell out shipping costs clearly and as early in the checkout process as possible. The last thing you want is for your customer to reach the final page of checkout and be hit with a huge fee.You should also be very clear on what each line item represents and why they are reasonable charges. Cross-border shoppers are accustomed to paying for shipping and fees.

Avoid showing shipping, handling, customs & duties and VAT all together in one lump sum, or you may risk scaring the customer off with sticker shock.

2. Options on shipping cost and speed

Some of your cross-border buyers need their product now, and are willing to pay a little more for shipping speed. Others shop around based on price and will try to stretch every dollar, euro or yen.

How you show shipping prices may depend on the market where you’re selling. Pitney Bowes’ survey found that Australians are more concerned with shipping price than speed, while Korean buyers were more concerned with speed than cost.  PayPal’s survey found that nearly and equal number of customers cited delivery cost (25%) and delivery time (24%) as reasons to abandon their cart.

According to the Pitney Bowes’s report, retailers are meeting cross-border customers’ shipping needs by offering a choice of carrier. They found that 83% of high-growth retailers used three or more carriers vs. just 53% of low-growth retailers.

3. Clear information on taxes, customs and duties

When shipping cross-border, retailers have two options when it comes to handling customs and duties. Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) means that the retailer pays all customs and duties. Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) means that the customer pays the final tally of customs and duties upon receiving the shipment.

Cross-border buyers want clear information about these fees, and taxes like VAT, and who will be responsible for paying them. The Pitney Bowes report found that some international shoppers (especially Canadians) prefer to see prices both DDU and DDP so they can compare and make a decision from there.

However, PayPal’s report found that 24% of global buyers cite having to pay customs and duties as a deterrent to making a purchase.

4. Doorstep delivery

Often called “last-mile” delivery, the process of getting your buyer’s shipment from the nearest shipping hub to their doorstep can be surprisingly tricky. Everything from laws curbing emissions in urban areas to underdeveloped shipping networks can make it difficult to delivery directly to your customer’s hands.

Retailers are looking at solutions ranging from courier services to drones to close the last mile. Use caution when choosing a last-mile carrier. Your customer will associate all aspects of shipping with her purchase from your online store, and a bad last-mile delivery experience will likely reflect poorly on your brand, and not the carrier.

5. Pickup options

But not every online buyer wants a package delivered to their door.

Forrester found that many buyers in France and the UK prefer picking their packages up from a central location or locker rather than trying to receive them at home or the office.

6. Tracking

PayPal’s report found that fraud and security are still top concerns when it comes to buying cross-border.

One way you can reassure your customer is to provide them with tracking so they can follow their purchase as it makes its way to their waiting hands. Not all carriers will provide, tracking, however, so make that one of your criteria when choosing a carrier.

7. Free shipping

Even though cross-border buyers are aware that international shipping comes with costs, they are also enjoying more free shipping as large online stores and marketplaces vie for their attention and purchasing power. In fact, PayPal found that 44% of shoppers cited free shipping as driving their cross-border purchase. This was the second biggest factor encouraging them to buy now, next only to price. 

Free shipping is an option for your retail store, even cross border.

Need help optimizing your shipping for cross-border customers? ShipperHQ has your back. Sign up for a 30-day no-risk free ShipperHQ trial and start delighting your cross-border buyers.

 

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