First off I apologize for the long break. I will be back to a more regular schedule after the brief haidous. Now on to the post.
In general the products we sell at scrubadoo.com are relatively low ticket items. This combined with the fact that we are almost 100% e-commerce makes shipping tremendously important to us.
Shipping is so important for several reasons. First, our shipping costs can reach 30% of the total ticket price of some of our items. Second, to help differentiate through customer service we need to provide a flawless customer experience which includes on-time, track-able shipping. Finally, we need to provide a seamless way for customers to return items that are defective or they feel should be returned for other reasons.
Like any business there are a ton of capabilities we would love to have but there are only a few that without we would be sunk. One of those few is shipping. Because of this we spent a lot of time looking at UPS, FedEx, and USPS. We needed a product we could integrate into our website, a company that was business friendly, and a company that offered reasonable rates.
My first impression of the three companies was underwhelming. None of the three seemed to have their act together on the small business side. Additionally, all of their web capabilities seemed rather antiquated and it was impossible to get an anwser from anyone. After a frustrating amount of digging I found out the following:
USPS- currently does not offer many capabilities for business owners. They are currently building a small business platform that will eventually satisfy the type of needs we have for scrubraisers and scrubadoo.com.
FedEx- I was never able to get very far with them. Through there web they dont seem to have a small business orientation nor do they have the capabilities we needed. If they do have the capabilities needed I could not find any information about them nor could I get in touch with someone who could help me out.
UPS- At first I could not get anyone to speak with me and then when I did get someone they had never even heard of the product they advertised on the web that I had more questions about. That product “returns on the web” turned out to be what we needed. I was finally able to get them to assign me an account rep who was able to either A) answer my questions or B) put me in touch with someone that could answer my questions.
We went with UPS and since my initial negative experience, I have since been impressed with their customer service (they even took me out to lunch). We launch the site in the very near future and hopefully UPS will play a key role as a strategic partner for us.