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Could Better Shipping Options Increase Your Business

It’s natural when business gets bad to look for something to blame. If you’re a printing company, these days an easy target for blame is the Internet printers. As their name suggests, Internet printers advertise with banner ads on the Internet and offer easy ordering, competitive prices, and multiple options for shipping. While many complain that it’s their lowball pricing that is driving their customers to these Internet printers, it’s really the combination of convenience, pricing, and shipping. But the most important question is if I’m losing work to Internet printers, how do I compete with them?

It’s always easy to point to pricing as the issue. But all the surveys done with print buyers show that pricing alone is not the determining factor. Therefore, we also have to consider ordering convenience and shipping options. Ordering convenience is fairly self-explanatory; as you would suspect, it’s a combination of getting quotes fast and being able to order quickly.

It would be too easy to say ordering convenience is only associated with web-to-print solutions. That’s not true for simple kinds of work. Customers can easily call a CSR and reorder work. That leaves one last competitive advantage, which is better shipping. When I think of competitive advantages, shipping is not usually something that jumps to the top of the list. But there have been some interesting articles lately from UPS talking about the competitive advantages associated with better shipping options.

Summarizing some of the facts from these articles shows that:

  • 75% of people say it’s important to offer tracking information
  • 70% added more products to the cart to qualify for free shipping
  • 67% say that they choose the most economical delivery option, but still want to see all the choices
  • 54% say they leave because the estimated delivery date is too long (5 days or more)
  • 41% said receiving their product when expected led to a recommendation
  • 24% said they abandoned their carts because the delivery date wasn’t provided at checkout

What do you think?  Do you think your shipping options increase, decrease, or have no effect on your value?

, Internet printers, , offering multiple shipping options, Printers value-added services, web-to-print options
Howie Fenton

About Howie Fenton

As an NAPL Senior Consultant, Howie works with commercial and in-plant print shops and industry manufacturers. Consulting directly with printing companies, Howie specializes in the areas of operations and digital production, with a focus on workflow, customer service, estimating and prepress performance and benchmarking, as well as budgeted hourly rates. Howie’s experience and expertise positions him to coach companies on their investment priorities such as web to print, pdf workflows, variable data printing and digital equipment. As a follow-up to that, Howie works with companies to streamline their operations and train their staff to sell the value of the digital technologies. As one of the leading in-plant printing experts, Howie performs in-plant audits and customized surveys that benchmark financial performance, analyze workflow issues, and measure productivity, customer satisfaction, and in-plant competitiveness. His evaluations help clients increase efficiency and reduce costs, and his services are used to benchmark financial and operational performance and to demonstrate or improve that performance. A frequent speaker at industry events, he has written five books and two books on digital printing and variable-data printing and is a regular contributor to several industry publications.

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