In light of the holiday shopping and shipping frenzy that takes place throughout the month of December, Retail Technology Insider wanted to share some insights from our friends at Pitney Bowes about how the world of shipping looks moving into next year. These trends are particularly important to e-tailers and reflect customer values that have emerged as a result of two-day shipping normalization.
As we near the end of 2017, we’ve taken a look at the changes in the office sending environment that are leading to new objectives. In 2016, we were dealing with the complexity office senders faced.
A 2016 Forbes Insights report sponsored by Pitney Bowes, observed that “one of the unique insights (into the challenges faced by office shippers) is that the complexity of their sending is growing, and it’s growing at a very rapid pace.”
In 2017, the focus shifted from understanding and dealing with the complexity involved in shipping and mailing to a demand for accuracy in the process. Why is that?
Why the focus has shifted from complexity to accuracy
“Here is where I see the shift,” explains Samantha Jones, Pitney Bowes Vice President of Marketing and Communications for SMB Growth Initiatives. “We saw a complex landscape of shipping options that were often difficult for office senders to navigate. But many office senders have found shortcuts in an effort to just get it right. They want to be able to get something to the right place at the right time. The problem is that they’re often spending more money to do it. They don’t have the right tools.”
The updated strategy, therefore, has fast-forwarded the focus from the complexity to the ultimate goal – accuracy. “At the end of the day,” says Jones, “when you are able to improve your workflow and make more informed decisions, you can achieve this accuracy and also save money for your business across the board.”
Rachel Martin, Pitney Bowes Director of Product Marketing for SMB Global Growth Initiatives, echoes the assessment. “The two areas of focus we see for our client base is a need for simplicity, for it to be as easy as possible.
“And the second focus,” Martin continues, “is that our clients want the process to be accurate. They need to trust in a system that’s going to be able to get their mailer or shipping out the door without having to worry about it, knowing what the time frame is and not spending their entire day planning for it and then executing it.”
Accuracy allows more people to participate in the sending process
In addition to the obvious comfort factor of “getting it right” that ensured accuracy brings, Jones sees a valuable follow-on benefit.
“Once you solve the accuracy issue,” she observes, “you acquire a willingness to open the process to many people in your office, and you understand that sending happens across the organization in many different forms. With this comfort factor and knowledge, you’re more willing to have more people participate in the process. You have more confidence that they’re going to make the right decisions. You also have more confidence that you’re not spending in excess.”
Shipping, mailing, or sending? What’s the difference?
“Accuracy is about having the right workflow and the right structure to be able to involve more people,” says Jones. “Because the reality is that sending happens everywhere, and the process terminology has started shifting to sending because it involves both shipping and mailing.”
As a leader in the shipping and mailing industry, Pitney Bowes is creating the sending category in response to clients who are attempting to incorporate both methods of delivery into their daily processes with less confusion about the parameters. “No other player is really recognizing how mailing and shipping are coming together as sending.” Jones goes even further, adding that e-mail is also a form of sending.
“In the larger area of e-commerce and fulfillment,” says Jones, “shipping is core to the customer relationship. You can think about how critical getting legal documents to the right person at the right time is and making sure you feel comfortable that you’re making the right choice.
It’s all about customer satisfaction
“I think Pitney Bowes has tapped into an anxiety that our clients had around this process,” Jones concludes. “Rather than the description of it being complex, we’ve tapped into their desire to remove the guesswork and make sure that they have confidence in what they’re doing every time. They can preserve their client relationship, keep their business intact and save money at the end of the day.”
“The biggest catastrophe that could have long-term consequences,” adds Pitney Bowes’ Martin, “is not meeting the expectations of your customers. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, that’s a problem. The reason we’re all in business is to help satisfy and exceed the expectations of the customers who trust us enough to do business with us.”
To learn more about shipping as a strategy, check out this Forbes Insights report. To stay updated on the latest retail trends and best practices, subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Twitter at @RETTechInsider.