I listen to talk radio from time to time and often hear Stamps.com advertisements (as well as Carbonite, Constant Contact, Barracuda Networks and a few other tech oriented vendors).
From time to time I receive news about Endicia, which, like Stamps.com sells software to help businesses better manage shipping products or other types of mail.
I would assume that just about every business that ships products (or other kinds of mail) to customers has decent shipping software solution. However, for those of you who manually calculate shipping and send mail using traditional postage solutions (like stamps) you are not being as productive as you can be and you're in fact simply wasting time and money.
Stamps.com makes the case for its software quite well, but the case is equally applicable to Endicia or any other software postage/shipping solution.
Their web site reads:
It is for businesses such as fulfillment houses, online merchants and other companies that would like to process their shipping efficiently by directly pulling order and customer information from an existing database or file. If you process a large number of orders everyday or need an easy way to connect your shipping department to your orders database.
Shipping software can reduce the amount of time you spend every day in the shipping process and saves time and reduces errors from typing addresses and order information incorrectly. It also helps you improve your daily workflow with advanced features such as bar code scanner support for easy order retrieval, auto print and SCAN forms.
Stamps.com professional shipper starts at $35 per month and also has a rate of $20 for lower volume shippers.
Endicia has a range of solutions, starting at $10 a month and up to $35 (not including the $100 a month option for super shippers). Endicia has several good case studies of how customers are using its services, one of the many it has is from customer, Yan Can Cook.
The case study in part reads:
Yan Can Cook, Inc. uses key Endicia features, such as label customization, e-mail notification, address validation, and Stealth Indicia. Label customization adds the Yan Can Cook logo to labels, which helps greatly in branding the company. E-mail notification alerts customers that their orders are on their way, thereby providing them with excellent customer service and decreasing call volume.
Endicia's address validation compares each shipping address to the Postal Service’s national Zip+4 database to obtain the correct 9-digit Zip Code. The system also corrects other common addressing errors (e.g., spelling corrections, formatting, and abbreviations), thus contributing to successful mail piece delivery. Stealth Indicia, by hiding the postage amount, protect the company's fair shipping and handling fees without angering customers.
If you are shipping a sufficient volume of mail to cause you headaches at the end of the day, and you are not using software to save time, save money and boost productivity in your shipping then you need to consider a solution. It's hard enough being a small business owner but even hard and might I say 'silly' to not invest in technology solutions to help you run your business even better.
Both Endicia and Stamps.com offer very liberal trial periods, check them out and see which solution is best for you.
Ramon Ray is the editor & technolog evangelist for Smallbiztechnology.com