Technology has literally changed the way that we do everything. As it has become increasingly micronized, it’s paved the future of smaller, more efficient technological procurements. Only a decade ago, phones were not smart. They were bulky handsets with limited battery life and functionality. Today, they are handheld supercomputers that can process complex algorithms, and that act as mobile web browsers and multimedia devices.
Indeed, technology has helped us make life more efficient. Such is also the case for technology, as it relates to the operation of any ecommerce business. In the early days, during the ‘90s dotcom boom, online stores were very limited in their functionality. The fulfillment process was basically a time consuming and hands-on process that required much copying and pasting of information as well as hours of manual data entry.
And again, technology comes in to save the day. Newer ecommerce shipping software applications handle most of the busywork for shopkeepers. These robust applications are able to instantly import order data. They allow the shopping and comparison of shipping carrier rates, and they make it easy to reduce fulfillment time by enabling the generation of digital postage and shipping labels (see this related article about how peel-off shipping labels make everything faster) to reduce fulfillment time.
The Faster One-System Process
A one-system process for fulfillment is now possible, thanks to technology. Before, orders had to be manually culled from the shopping cart database. They then had to be filtered. A carrier and rate had to be assigned. A shipping label was then printed and matched with a packing list – both being generated from two different systems.
This created friction in the process and wasted time. Newer solutions eliminate this two-system process, according to Michael Lazar, Growth Hacker at TrueShip, which makes an ecommerce shipping software solution called ReadyShipper.
“ReadyLabels universal peel-off shipping label forms are a great example of technology’s progress,” Lazar says. “They combine a packing list, comment card and 4”x6” shipping label (FedEx, UPS, USPS certified) on an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper. They can be printed from a laser or an inkjet printer, and reduce the fulfilment time because shopkeepers don’t have to match packing lists to shipping labels any longer.”
Instant Data Import
Ecommerce stores have databases that track the inbound orders, assigning unique identifiers to store customer data. Once an order is placed, it must be exported to use the information to populate the shipping label fields. But with instant data import, this data can be pulled immediately. No longer do shopkeepers have to manually copy and paste this information just to get their orders out the door.
Carrier Teaser Rate Shopping
Getting the best shipping rate is essential to the success of any online store. Studies show that, by and far, customers want the lowest shipping rate and the fastest delivery window. The ability to compare aggregate teaser shipping rates between the major carriers is essential. Such technology can take this a step further by allowing software users to create custom rules that automatically assign the best shipping rate to outbound orders.
Automating Time Consuming Tasks
Finally, it’s all about automation in the digital age. It’s the one thing that technology has assuredly streamlined for the better of mankind. Much like cars can be robotically assembled in a factory with minimal human intervention, automators in shipping software take care of the tedious little tasks so that the humans can focus on the more important things. Like growing and expanding their online business.