Reporting and reconciling is the dirty work of owning a business. Like cleaning the toilets, no one looks forward to the task but if it doesn’t get done . . . well . . . s*** happens.
You can’t set it and forget it but you probably didn’t start your business so you could stare at Excel Spreadsheets all day. So if you can curate saved reports on your current system, here are the top 3 must-haves. If your current system is a clipboard and a binder full of tracking barcodes, it’s time to upgrade to a system that gives back:
THREE Reports That Will Lead to Informed Choices and Better Decisions
- Total Cost of Shipping (by Option)
How much does FREE SHIPPING cost your business? (Follow-up question: if you give customers other flat rate shipping options, how much do each of those cost you)?
FREE is a word customers love to see and can mean the difference between making a purchase and deleting items out of their cart. There is a reason so many businesses make this offer. But it’s not worth it if the cost outweighs the benefit. And how do you know? Reporting.
What you can do with these numbers:
+ test different qualifications for FREE shipping (and see the results immediately on your bottom line)
+ test different thresholds for “Order Size” or “Delivery Windows” (and watch the results over daily/weekly/monthly reports
+ find the sweet spots for what you charge for shipping and catch and cut off the sore spots before they cause major issues
- How Many Customers Choose Fast Over Free?
Related to #1 this report is going to give you a snapshot of the shipping you are paying for but it will also show you trends you maybe didn’t see before.
Shipping Shows You Trends in DEMAND:
+ what products are most frequently expedited?
+ do you have peak seasons (other than Christmas) where everyone seems to want their order in a hurry?
+ do you have markets/regions that more often opt to pay for faster delivery?
And does any of this inspire a marketing idea? A new campaign? Or a new vision for the value of your product?
- Reconciliation Reports by Courier
This seems obvious but reconciling this can be a HUGE pain and so often doesn’t get done because there is enough pain in this world.
This report is going to tell you what you total payment to each courier should be based on the services you ordered over a customizable timeframe. If the total in your shipping system does NOT match the total on your Purolator/UPS/FedEx/Loomis invoice, here are the most common culprits:
+ You cancelled a shipment and still got charged for it.
+ You got charged an address correction fee.
+ You got charged Peak rate when you weren’t expecting it.
Now some of these charges might be legit but perhaps not all. The point is that a report lined up side-by-side to your invoices is going to make finding discrepancies much MUCH easier on you and your staff.
BONUS REPORT: Check to see if your shipping platform can provide a LATE DELIVERY report. If you’re paying for 9am Next Day delivery and the package isn’t delivered until 3:00pm you can adjust the invoice.
I probably ran a bit over time there but I hope you found some value. If you’d like to dig into some other Best Practices for eCommerce and Shipping click to jump over to Choice or Streamline for some more useful information.
If you are looking at your current shipping platform (digital or clipboard edition) and thinking you might like to explore other options, Quadient Shipping Solutions is a great place to start!