Even if you only ship a few packages a week, the paperwork and related chores can be time-consuming. ShipIT and InXpress reckon they can save you time and money.
ShipIT's function is to integrate ecommerce platforms such as Bigcommerce, eBay and Magento with domestic and international carriers such as Australia Post, Startrack Express and DHL. The service also accommodates offline orders, and is suitable for businesses that ship as few as five or ten items a week. At the other extreme, some users ship thousands of items a day, according to ShipIT COO Rebecca Percasky.
Once an order is entered, ShipIT checks the delivery address is valid, allocates the delivery to a carrier according to rules set by the user, and prints a picking slip, invoice and address label so the order can be packed for collection by the carrier.
Automating the production of labels and other shipping paperwork is a huge time saving, she said. That's especially true for parcels heading overseas: if they're going via DHL, for example, ShipIT generates a digital - not printed - international invoice and sends it electronically to DHL. Then Customs can scan the barcode on the parcel's label (which was printed by ShipIT) to read the details.
Manually completing the necessary forms for items being exported can take five to ten minutes per parcel and this soon becomes a bottleneck, said Percasky, so this type of automation can help open up global markets for small businesses.
InXpress comes into the picture because it is the largest express freight logistics provider to SMEs in the country, according to its Asia-Pacific CEO Lindsay Birley. By negotiating with domestic and international carriers on behalf of all those clients it is able to offer rates that are equivalent to those charged to large corporate customers.
So that hypothetical overseas shipment should cost the merchant less if it was booked via InXpress rather than directly with DHL.
The service suits businesses spending between $200 and $6000 a month on freight, but some clients ship as little as one consignment every other month. "A lot of our large customers started as SMEs," said Birley.
InXpress has an automated system for booking freight (integrated with the major carriers), printing waybills and presenting a single invoice to its customers.
That worked well, but InXpress has been attracting more customers that are engaged in ecommerce, and its existing customers are tending to move into ecommerce. Either way, those businesses want a shipping system that integrates with the sales platforms they use.
So rather than doing its own integrations, the company looked for a partner that could provide that piece of the puzzle and selected ShipIT. "The takeup has been really good," Birley said, adding "it's a good marriage" as both parties offer capabilities that customers need.
In addition to providing the technology and relationships with carriers, InXpress's offices can help ShipIT users set up the rules that determine which carrier is used for a particular parcel, he added.