Sending is especially challenging for today’s small business, as more small and medium businesses begin marketing globally on the Web.

Keeping up

In addition to the increasing complexities of changing rates, multiple carriers, real-time tracking and new regulations, small and medium businesses are struggling to connect physical processes with growing digital functions. Today, almost all physical sending, including parcels, is digitally initiated and tracked electronically in real-time across desktop, laptop and mobile devices.

The good news for small and medium businesses is new technology and cloud-based solutions are becoming available to integrate physical and digital experiences and simplify processes on one platform. These new solutions will help small businesses send smart without requiring a Ph.D. in shipping and mailing.

Growing complexity

A recent study on the office shipping and mailing environment among more than 3,000 small and medium businesses (SMBs), national posts and shipping carriers revealed:

  • SMBs make sending decisions based on factors that vary by item and time of day.
  • SMBs believe sending is important to maintaining and growing customer relationships.
  • Operational complexities can be a constant source of disruption to sending workflows.
  • Financial transactions and record keeping slow down sending workflows.
  • SMBs focus on cultivating relationships but not on the transactions critical to those relationships.

The study further identified three common sources of complexity:

  1. Each carrier has its own processes.

  2. SMBs leverage a variety of platforms for e-commerce fulfillment.

  3. Cross-border shipping (different currencies, tariffs, regulations) further increases complexity.

Small and medium businesses are searching for a unified end-to-end approach to manage variations in sending frequency, data quality, carrier pick-up notification, delivery tracking, analytics and carrier payments. It’s also noteworthy that posts across the globe are responding with simpler shipping programs competitive with private carriers and partnering with solutions providers to integrate services.

Past vs. future

In the past, small and medium businesses managed sending from one physical mailroom using a variety of hardware and software solutions. In the future, SMBs will be able to efficiently prepare, send and track from anywhere by accessing new cloud-based apps for addressing, carrier selection, tracking, etc.

This new type of digital sending hub isn’t centralized, but it’s nonetheless unified, with attractive benefits such as:

  1. Flexible sending options with built-in rules drive tighter compliance.

  2. Greater visibility into service options helps select the best choice for each item, saving time and money.

  3. A better customer experience resulting from getting the right content to the right person on time.

  4. Expanded services via a unified browser-based solution helps employees become more effective, regardless of where they are around the globe.

Today, more than ever, sending powers commerce for small and medium businesses. Simplifying vital sending operations will allow these businesses to focus on what's important to them: growing their business.