Being Ready To Ship At A Moment’s Notice
Having a free shipping account at major carriers is no big deal. After all, call any one of them up and they’ll drop by to pick up whatever it is you’re shipping out. Right?
So why bother signing up for a free account with the major shipping services or couriers? Consider this personal story.
The Personal eBay Shipping Story
One summer I decided to get rid of some of the extra computer hardware and miscellaneous items cluttering up my closets and spilling over into various nooks and crannies. Until that time, I had occasionally purchased items on eBay but had never had the seller’s experience. Like many others (maybe even you?), I’d promised myself “One day I’m gonna sell some stuff on eBay!” Friends, here was my opportunity.
A Real Eye-Opener
One day I’m gonna sell some stuff on eBay!
Without going into the details of setting up the seller’s portion of the account or what I had to do to get stuff prepared for selling, let me tell you that the real eye opener in this process was the shipping. eBay offered buyers and sellers a plethora of shipping options. In order for buyers to select a particular option, sellers must have set up those options. And if you think the path of least resistance (think US Postal Service) is the best and easiest option, your buyers will make you change your mind with their demands for this carrier or that courier.
Making them happy by offering the widest breadth of options is in the seller’s best interest because your feedback score is tied to their supreme happiness — in all areas, including shipping!
Keeping them happy is only one point.
As I got better at describing what I had for sale, got a handle on pricing items, figured out what categories to advertise in, my volume of sales increased. That meant I was shipping more often, sometimes several items in a day! I had to rethink my (non-existent) shipping strategy. (The back-and-forth to the post office, shipping center, and UPS or FedX stations was getting a bit old!)
Enter free shipping accounts.
After a bit of research, this is what I found out:
I could save time and money.
I could increase my level of professionalism.
Packages seemed to arrive at their destinations quicker.
Now those are some great benefits, wouldn’t you agree? Look at the details:
- Pickup requests could be placed online
- Group packages within a 24-hour period
- Print shipping labels and packaging manifests online
- By printing postage online, there was a significant savings
- The carriers would bring all the supplies needed right to my door
- Tracking packages was less time consuming and more accurate
Additionally, just by having a free account, I could save favorite destinations, favorite ways to ship, place standing orders for shipping supplies, select best time of day for pickups, etc. What a boon to my efforts!
Your Business Ain’t eBay
You’re right. I chose the eBay story because getting items into the hands of customers is done almost exclusively by shipping those items to them. If you’re doing business online, dealing with products, this will hold true for you as well.
With a local market, that might not be the case, especially if most of your traffic is walk-ins. But walk-ins buy things they want sent elsewhere (and they don’t always want to take it home first, package it up, make a trip to the post office, then mail it off). Too, walk-ins may have visited your store while they were visiting friends or family, and liked your offerings enough that upon arriving home (in another city), they pull up your website and buy from you again. Guess what? They’ll want that item shipped!
Get Your Free Shipping Accounts
This is not for every business but if you have already had occasion to ship out products on customer request, there is no reason not to be ready when the flood of requests come in! The most popular resources are listed below. Drop me a note if you think I should add others.
DHL WebShip is the online shipping solution that helps you prepare and manage Express international shipments.
- USPS (United States Post Office)
: get a free account – check shipping rates (check business rates) – customer service
- UPS (United Parcel Service)
: get a free account - check shipping rates – UPS small business center
- FedEx (Federal Express)
: get a free account – check shipping rates – customer center
- DHL Worldwide
: get an express shipping account – check shipping rates - Express Shipping Tools & Advice
Interestingly . . .
You can create customized postage and mailing supplies through the United States Postal Service (USPS)
What does D-H-L stand for? (Boy will you be surprised!)
Hmm, this one is new to me: FedEx offers free access to their FedEx Office services around the country where you can bring your laptop, plug into various printing services or rent a computer if you need to.