Ecommerce Coffee Chats: Global Shipping Strategies with Easyship

Ecommerce Coffee Chats: Global Shipping Strategies with Easyship

skuvault and easyship

 

In this conversation with Doug Sill, Head of Sales, Americas, and Jess Roma, Head of Partnerships at Easyship, we get into the benefits and challenges of implementing a sound shipping strategy this peak season. As ecommerce continues to evolve, so do customer expectations and demand. The time is now to make changes to your business model to stay ahead of the competition and delight consumers.

And what happens when peak season has already started? Listen to Easyship’s top tips on how to navigate the peak season 2020 landscape successfully, and learn the benefits an Easyship platform gives sellers who want tighter control and more options for their shipping process.

 

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Intro to Easyship

Kim Wren, Director of Business Development, SkuVault

Hi everybody and welcome today. I’m Kim Wren, I am the Director of Partnerships and Business Development with SkuVault. I’m here today with Doug Sill and Jess Roma from Easyship. And we want to talk to you a little bit about ecommerce, what’s going on this year, some of the post and pre issues with getting your orders out, and just kind of help you out with some tips and some tricks.

So, Doug, Jess, thank you so much for joining me. Do you guys want to talk a little bit about yourselves and Easy Ship?

Doug Sill, Head of Sales, Americas, Easyship

Sure. Why don’t I get started, and then Jess, I can turn it over to you. So my name is Doug Sill, Head of Sales in the Americas here for Easy Ship. We are an ecommerce shipping and technology company that helps people integrate with multiple carriers, both domestic and international, through a series of the integrations here through our dashboard, and pre-programmed integrations that allow our larger clients to use our API integrations to gain access to multiple carriers, multiple [inaudible 00:01:00] all across the world.

Jess Roma, Head of Partnerships, Easyship

Hey, and I’m Jess Roma. I had a partnership with Easy Ship, and as Doug mentioned, all in one shipping platform. We try to enable our users to not only expand within the domestic side, but also internationally. It’s one of the fastest ways that a business can scale. So with our shipping solutions, we’ve really been able to aggregate all of those for someone to really streamline the domestic and international.

Kim

Awesome. So Jess, you mentioned something to me in email, and I just want to touch on this real quick. You had talked about building out partnerships and what you had done. I’d love for you to tell me a little bit about that, because I think I’m actually listening to a book right now talking about connections, and I think people forget that it’s so important to make connections. And one of the things that they talk about is the 55000 rule and making sure that we stay in touch with people. So partnerships help with that.

Jess

Yeah, absolutely. So what I really tried to do is rather than having just endless amounts of partners, we try to partner with really good solid solutions while still giving our merchants good options of who they can go through rather than it just being like additional sources of revenue or just to have a partner just on our page, just because we really did scope out these partners and really try to be strategic with the fee based on the feedback of what our merchants are asking us for and really providing them and becoming more of consultants and also expanding with our partners. Merchants that are in need of a solution that would help streamline their business or simplify a lot of the inefficiencies that they have and connecting them with those good partners that we know are going to be treated the same exact way as our customers would with us.

Kim

It’s a hard balance. Sometimes because we have people coming at us from all over the place and it’s something I’ve had to learn this year is when and how to say no to people when I’m like it’s just not quite a good fit. Plus we all want our clients to be well taken care of. So we want partners that mirror our own values and the values of our companies. So that’s great. So Doug, how long have you been at easy ship?

Doug

So I’ve been in the shipping logistics tech industry now for three years. So I’m pretty familiar with the landscape and the key players, again, both domestically and internationally.

Kim

And over that time, how much change have you seen? It’s just three years. It’s amazing.

Doug

Yeah, I know, it’s truly amazing and the fact that as ecommerce companies mature, they mature from this environment of needing a single solution real simple, like an integration process to meeting two, three, four, five different carriers. And oftentimes what we find in that life cycle that ecommerce client is that the need to actually go international and that multiple carriers internationally matures over time. So when push comes to shove, I think that’s one of the things you’ve seen accelerate over the years as the conference industry continues to grow and mature is the need for multiple carriers and having a single end point that makes it easy as an integral part of our tech stack in order to gain access to those characters.

Kim

Okay. And I wanted to ask you guys about international shipping because easy ship is very focused on international shipping. And I think that a lot of times we see E-commerce sellers who are possibly a little afraid of selling internationally ideas, tips, suggestions.

Doug

I think that if you think of the most common hurdles, it’s just this fear of the unknown, right? I have a relationship as an ecommerce customer, you might think, Oh, I have relationships with my USP strap, and that’s great. They should have that. But what do we do when this product needs to ship to Hong Kong, to Australia, to the UK, right?

Certainly it can be done through those carriers, but that may not be the best option. And ultimately I think it comes down to finding the right partners where you can kind of leverage their relationships to help meet that goal, meet that need. Again, so many of our clients find us and to grow because this growing need for ethnic insure, multiple carriers, international carriers, people they just don’t have a relationship with.

Doug

So they can partner with us and realize that, “Gosh, because I know Jess and I’ve worked with Easyship. I now have a pathway to get to Australian post [inaudible 00:05:47] or Canada post.” Purolator and all these carriers that may not be as well known, but really doesn’t have to be as challenging as long as you have the right path to get it done.

Jess

Yeah, I would add to that. A lot of the main reasons we hear from customers is it’s very complex. You just don’t know how to handle customs and there’s [inaudible 00:06:08] that you need and it’s very expensive and he’s right, when you just work with one or two carriers, it can be very expensive, right? One partner carrier, it can be a great solution to Canada, but it might be a super expensive solution to Australia where you don’t even want to open up your business to that.

So I think the main challenges are that fear of the unknown. What would this cost, what additional documents do they need to provide? What’s our tax and duties. That’s a super complex area of international shipping and it varies with every single country. And I think that’s why we exist because we take care of all of that and really are very transparently showing exactly what merchants and customers would need to do, how much should expect to pay things like that.

Jess

And that shows merchants, that it’s a lot easier than what they would be able to do on their own. And it’s just not a good use of their time in general, because they should be focusing on sales product, all of that stuff that really matters.

Shipping Strategies

Kim

Right? No, I agree. And I do agree. I think the fear of the unknown is such a big deal. Worrying about paperwork, worrying about the taxes and the duties. Even as a seller, you hear the stories and I’ve had this happen to me when I was selling of the customer that emails you and says, I really want this, but I don’t understand taxes and duties and you’re gone, I don’t either. So this kind of takes that element away where you guys are taking care of it for them. And what about inbound? What about anything coming in? Any advice for anybody who’s making their purchases overseas and trying to get product here?

Doug

Absolutely. I mean, I think that if you think of inbound, it’s similar to app, I was just starting with a different carrier, right? So ultimately if you find yourself in Australia and you’re shipping out, or maybe the more common example should be coming from Asia, where a lot of those products are being manufactured and housed, there’s strategies that can be involved that can be played as long as you kind of know how to utilize those shipping rules and how to kind of maximize the bang for your buck and time of transit.

One thing I think is very interesting and tell a story because I think it’s, I was surprised when I heard the first time, but I think most people would think that, gosh, if I were to ship from, for example, Louisville to New York, as an example, obviously that’s two to three days just to standard ground service in the US. Yet, if you were to ship from, for example, Hong Kong to New York, you’d think, gosh, that’s going to take months when the reality is choosing the right carrier, like a Hong Kong express option that shipment can make from Hong Kong to New York in less than 30 hours.

So having the right approach and using the right method to attack that and a satisfied customer, I think just comes from having the experience of seeing it done with other clients. So is it shifted over a hundred thousand different E-commerce clients using our software today, but exposed to all sorts of these different scenarios and we can kind of coach and mentor class to make the right shipping’s decision. So it doesn’t need to be scary.

I always like to think that ecommerce companies are typically entrepreneurs, these families, they’re great at problem solving, but they’re also great at being very efficient. And I think that’s kind of where easy ship comes into place, great partner for them rather than recreate the wheel, all these different API connections and all these different kind of the learning curve that we’ve had over the years, you can kind of partner with us and leverage from our skillset and help you up make the right decisions, both domestic and international, again from the US and into the US

Kim

Good advice. And talking about getting things from Hong Kong to here, it’s over the summer, we were limited on what some of the things we could get. And several of my packages came from Hong Kong and I was amazed at how quickly they got here. If the seller was using that express backs.

Doug

Believe it or not, Hong Kong is the biggest commercial airport in the world. The amount of flights that come in every day to the US or Hong Kong, I think it’s 800 plus lights. So it’s the reality is if you, if the right pathway, you can leverage a very time efficient turn time, and then do so from anywhere in the world.

Peak Season 2020

Kim

Wow. Good to know. So let’s switch this up just a little bit. Let’s talk about peak season. This has been the subject desire for us for the last month. Are we in peak? Is this it? Is it here? Are we getting into it? Are we going to see big ebbs and flows or it going to look like this year? What are your thoughts on that?

Doug

Well, that is the $60,000 question, right? I personally think we’re not pic yet. If people are preparing aggressively for pic I think you’re going to find most E-commerce companies are going to go to code freeze here in the next three weeks to a month. And to me, that’s kind of like when pic starts for folks, but I think that you’re going to see the volume, just go through the roof between November 1st, maybe November 7th, and then December 19th or 20th.

Right? I really, at that point in time, once you hit December 20th, 21st, now you’re borderline with, if you can get it there to get it under the tree before the holidays. So that month and a half to two month window is going to be crazy. How crazy is the question, right? We fully expect with the global pandemic that everyone they’ve accelerated habits from retail E-commerce and now with that habit built and the remove the question Mark around how much they can even go out of their house. So they’re given parts of the world. I think that they’re going to see record years by far with E-commerce spending, but I just can’t tell you if that’s going to be record years by 10% or by 300%. Right.

Kim

I also, I agree. And I do you think, do you think people are going to have to plan on having their gifts? I don’t know what their Christmas falls on that this year. That is a terrible thing. I don’t know that. Do you think they’re going to have to plan on a couple of days earlier than we have in the past, simply because we didn’t know when peak is, or that last mile is a little bit more difficult and Christmas is on a Friday this yea?. So are they going to need to say, “Hey, by Tuesday” is the cutoff going to be earlier do you think?

Doug

Two things that come into play there right? So when you’re ordering from a company, of course, I have to pick the product off the shelf and get it out the door. Right. And as well as the time of transit can be a factor, right? So I think the one common denominator, both of those two examples is what’s the workforce look like, right? So I know that in some Archer factory settings, not all employees and people will come back. So whether that’s because of, of precaution or illness people are working still improves.

And as a byproduct, what might’ve been a 24 hour pic sometimes turn into two or three days. And then we’ve seen some of our carriers that the standard route that’s always four days, for example, also might be six days because it’s a slower to get through their distribution hubs because of a labor shortage. So I think that it would probably be smart that people padded their shopping window by two days, maybe three days to be safe. I’m not entirely sure that’s going to be necessary, but you’ve got almost planned for the unforeseen.

Kim

I agree. It’s I think it’s going to be a little weirder and you touched on the labor issue, any suggestions or anything on that? We know that people have all sorts of reasons for not going to work. They’re afraid they can’t different States have different rules. So we’re dealing with a minimum of 50 different rules in the United States. And that doesn’t even cover everything because in some States it’s County by County. And so who knows what we’re looking at as far as labor goes and trying to get people hired.

Doug

Yeah. Kim I’ll take it even further. I think we’re dealing with exponentially more than 50 different rules, because if you think about the environment, everyone, for the most part feels comfortable in their little home bubble, if you will. Right? And all businesses are now really working very hard to make sure their work bubble is as clean as there home bubble. Right? So in every particular instance, in not necessarily just the fact that the state of California says it’s okay to go back. Does that business have a plan? And is that plan really detailed enough to make their employee base feel comfortable enough to want to come back?

So I think it’s a moving target and it’s going to be moving company by company for some cases, location by location, within a company. And it’s something that we’re all going to have to kind of work our way through. I think that the key with this is that we’re not going to get through that. It’s not like ripping off a band-aid and we’re done, it’s a slow in a process that we’re going to have to work ourselves through. So ultimately it comes down to developing those plans sharing those plans, having a high level of transparency with your employee base and then slowly but surely kind of getting them back into the routine of working in a safe environment yet.

Kim

Agreed. It’s going to be… I mean, here in Ohio, we’re county by county, so everybody’s a little different and we have the hotspots. So if your county happens to be a hotspot then we might be city by city. So yes, it’s going to definitely be a little different this year.

Doug

In terms of water students. Sure.

Kim

Yeah, for sure. Any advice on how to handle post purchase to keep the client happy so that those client expectations are met and ideas on how to set the client expectations with everything that we’re going through so that the clients are not disappointed and that they know what to expect. Post-purchase

Jess

Yeah, I can talk on this one. So I think setting the expectation is the most important thing, right? So realistically times, as Doug mentioned right now, there maybe should be patent just because there’s a lot of delays unexpectedly and a lot of maybe delays with the pick and pack, anything like that outside of the carriers. So displaying realistically times at checkout, I think is important. And a lot of these websites are doing the right thing or they’re putting in Astrix and saying, Hey, delays maybe up to this point in time, make sure to cut off date for like holiday shipping or anything like that.

But I think on the post-purchase providing very transparent tracking. So that’s an awesome thing to alleviate customers coming back to the merchants and is going to decrease those customer inquiries. If they can see everything and it’s directly coming from the courier who has the package. So I’m setting the expectation, but then really keeping them with good solutions not using these shipping solutions that don’t provide transparency with tracking just because they’re super cheap. So spending a little bit more to help with that customer experience. And then I think, what else did you say on that first?

Doug

Yeah. And I think that just as so transparency is the biggest part, right? So most E-commerce companies, when they think of their client experience that you asked, it’s how their experiences on their platform, right? So all the way from checkout, what it looks like, the navigation and the color of each button. And I mean, they really get every detail provided that optimal experience, but the reality is the true full experience that customer is for the moment, the hit your website to the moment that box has opened up in their living room.

So you’ve got to be able to provide transparency and a solid experience all the way through. And unfortunately the way most E-commerce companies do should be experienced now is still provide shipping notifications. So yours were placed, your orders would shift and then there’s this black hole until the order’s delivered.

Kim

Yes

Doug

There’s that black hole that provides the most, Oh, the most uncertainty and the most concern. And especially- if we think about the fact that a lot of these buyers are going to be first time, first year kind of ecommerce buyers, and there’s a lot of uncertainty there. So one of the big things that we really encourage people to work with these ship on is having clear visibility through the delivery process, not necessarily just labeled, created packs delivered, but where it actually is through the delivery process, through granted tracking.

So you can actually have a very clear and branded experience of where that product is on the truck, right through when something goes wrong that, “Hey, listen, there’s a delivery failure here.” Or “There’s an exception with this package delivery.” So that you can actually address it before the customer comes to you and complaints, right? So controlling the experience from the moment they find you through that Google ads, Facebook ad, whatever, brought them to your platform, unboxing experience that it takes place in their living room.

Kim

Could not agree more. I think that people have forgotten that the customer experience does not end, as soon as you have completed the sale, the customer experience is still continuing until they opened the box and are satisfied with it and with their product and say, “Oh, this is exactly what I wanted.”

Doug

Absolutely. So think about it this way. When you buy something on Amazon today, do you do a Google search Amazon to go to Amazon.com? Of course not. Well, you go right to Amazon.com, right? Ecommerce companies, can’t forget they’re building brand, right? And they don’t necessarily want to get everything through paid searches and driving traffic to their platforms. They need to make sure people are having an incredible experience.

Know the brand are committed to the brand so that the next time they come back, they come back right to that website. They don’t have to actually do it through paid channels. So it’s a way of really building that brand identity and driving organic traffic.

Kim

I agree. It’s a great way to get them in and to bring them over to you and any type of branding that you can sneak and get away with on the platforms where you’re not breaking the rules. I’m not suggesting anybody break any rules, but anything that you can do, that’s not breaking the rules and making sure that you’re getting the right product out. So used to give out and make sure you’re picking and packing that right product every time that you’re sending it out, there’s nothing more disappointing than opening your package.

And it’s not what you ordered and then having to get in touch with somebody for a return or a replacement. So I just had this happen recently. So I was a little mad cause I ordered six of something and got something completely different. I’m like, this is not even close, but I can’t thank you enough for that insight. So what any other advice that you have for sellers going into pic or just year round? Everybody isn’t going into peak. We have people that are in their peak season right now because they’re Halloween suppliers. Automotive sellers, they don’t have a peak season really, they’re selling year round advice or information for them to just keep going through these fun times that we’re experiencing.

Doug

So this sounds like a little bit of a cliche, but something I’ve always kind of just resonated with me and I think translates to ecommerce. And really every company evenly is that people buy from other people or in this case brands that they know they like and they trust. Right. And so if they know you, they like you, they trust you that’s going to bring them back to allow you to kind of rotate in their world. Right. So ultimately comes down to kind of building that connection with people. And that again goes from phenomenal experience UX on the platform all the way through and box of their living rooms, trust that you did it right. Trust that site quality so on and so forth. So I think it ultimately comes down to really kind of building that brand.

In some cases, the brand is individuals in cases it’s experience they have with the company and then not be afraid to think, okay, if you’re E-commerce company, you’re so used to solving problems and kind of showing incremental growth, not be afraid to sit down and be like, okay, what does this look like 90 days from now, 180 days from now, two years from now. And actually in that case, allow yourself to kind of step away from the dandy ammunition. Think big, because I think that most people don’t realize that when you’re running a small brick and mortar location, you’re limited to, by the people that walk in your door, where if you’re an E-commerce company,

You don’t have any limits that you can get in front of millions of new people every single day, so think big, you really kind of push yourself to get outside of your normal routine.

The Future of Ecommerce

Kim

And yes, I think that you see that with a lot of ecommerce sellers, they forget to think big, they think too small and, and they forget that the world is kind of their oyster that they can do whatever. So, yeah, I agree. I’ve and having been around a while, I’ve seen people do both. I’ve seen him stay small because they forgot to think big and I’ve seen them wake up and say, Oh, I could do better than this. I can grow. So it’s all in your expectations and what you want any predictions for next year or ideas of what we might be seeing. Do we get to go back to normal? Do you know, do you have the crystal ball? What is normal?

Jess

Honestly, I’m not sure how it’s going to look. I think that initially with everyone needs a hesitant to spend money and not really knowing like job security and just financial, what their financial picture will look like. We saw that debt. But now, as you had mentioned, cam like a lot more people are shopping online and a lot of, I mean, everyone’s selling online that have advanced us technologically so much. So I would say it’s probably going to continue to be one of those things that people really look forward to is online shopping because they can’t physically go out there.

And even in some of the States that they can, it’s still a very big risk. So I would say, we’ve had record months since the initial tip. And I think that we’re only Excel as these companies that were just brick and mortar online this people, like you said that aren’t really used to shopping online now got used to it and see how convenient it is and are spoiled by the plethora of businesses out there and the items and yeah, kind of what I would say,

Kim

And I’ve read, I don’t remember where I read this, but the, most of the people that are shopping online now expect to receive between two and five packages a week, it’s just normal for us to open our door. And there’s a package there. And I mean, if you think my own experience, that’s absolutely true. It’s almost disappointing when I opened my door and there’s not a package there that day.

Doug

Yeah, sad to say but nobody outcome I guess travel by night

Kim

Yeah. Right. I mean, I leave little snacks out for my USP guy I’ll leave him water and pre-packaged bags, snacks and stuff. So they can, there’s no restaurant right next to us. So it’s here have a snacks and try to be nice to them. Just a little bit about the two of us together easy ship and ski vote. We do have a partnership we can together through API. We are looking at extending that in the future. So, but we both have an open API. We can easily connect and make everything flow very seamlessly and make everybody’s E-commerce experience a little bit easier from getting things out of your warehouse and into your shipping solution and around the world. Anything else you’d like to add?

Doug

What a great partnership best-in-class WMS. That’s great.

Kim

That’s exactly right. Well, I really appreciate you guys joining me today. It’s been great. Have a good rest of your week and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.

 

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