If you want to expand your business by partnering with someone to sell your products or services in another location, you’d want that person to represent you appropriately and abide by your practices, right? In short, you’d want your partner to uphold your brand.
The law of unintended consequences tells us that actions, especially on a large scale, may have surprisingly unexpected results. Take the eCommerce boom. The $350 billion eCommerce industry (in the United States) has transformed the retail and delivery business and given the customer greater control of the buying experience.
With package delivery a growing part of the business, it’s no surprise the U.S. Postal Service has focused efforts on improving tracking and visibility for parcel services. PASS – the Passive Adaptive Scanning System used to scan packages and identify delivery routes – represents both the promise and pitfalls of major investments in this area.
It’s Christmas in July for the retail industry. Holiday decorations might not hit stores for a few more months, but retailers are now working on their 2015 holiday plans.
And you can bet that shipping strategies are a big part of those plans. Online sales made up about 10 percent of the $616 billion in holiday sales last year, so shipping plans are a top priority for retailers. In addition, more and more retailers are eyeing the international market, which means cross-border shipping is part of the mix as well.
If you’re a shipper, you may have noticed your fuel surcharge fees aren’t going down in step with the declining price of oil. That’s because both FedEx and UPS tie their fuel surcharges to the price of diesel, which hasn’t dropped as far or as fast as gasoline prices. Furthermore, both shipping giants recently adjusted how they calculate fuel surcharges, resulting in surcharges that won’t drop as much as they would have under the previous calculation. In some cases, fuel surcharges are even going up.
Steve Jobs was famous for the ingenious simplicity of his designs. And, of course, his single button iPhone, now the standard in smart phoning, is a great testament to the value of simplicity.
As in design, simplicity in pricing, and a related simplicity of choices, are appealing to consumers. There is even empirical evidence that consumers will buy more when they aren’t overwhelmed with too much clutter and too many choices.
For the major express companies, preparation for the next holiday season started right after the last one ended. If you’re one of the many Americans whose packages arrived after Santa did last year, you are undoubtedly glad to hear this. In 2013, an unexpected surge in online orders, combined with winter storms and sparse airplane capacity, resulted in FedEx and UPS missing deliveries for Christmas.
Are you more inclined to use Click-N-Ship or PC Postage rather than visit a retail outlet to save money on Priority Mail?
No one can accuse the U.S. Postal Service of following the pack. It not only dismissed the strategy of pricing packages based on size as well as weight (referred to as dim weight pricing); it actually plans to lower prices for a good portion of its flagship Priority Mail products.
It’s no secret what the advent of digital technology has done to mail volume, particularly First-Class Mail. But there’s an emerging digital technology catching hold that could be a boon to the U.S. Postal Service. It’s called 3D printing, and it’s expected to increase the number of lightweight parcels, a segment of the parcel market where the Postal Service excels.