3 Shipping Tips to Help Make this Holiday Season your Best Ever!

November 28th, 2012 Comments off
3 Shipping Tips to Help Make this Holiday Season your Best Ever!
As the holidays approach, most e-commerce businesses are getting prepared for their busiest season of the year.  Getting orders faster than you can ship them may seem like a problem most businesses would like to have, but your response can be the difference between growing through repeat customers and losing their future orders to a competitor in the fast paced world of e-commerce.  We hear from many businesses that have added more people to the warehouse to help with fulfillment during the holidays, but changing the way that you print your shipping labels can make a big difference to your efficiency and scalability this season.
Tip #1: Print Packing Slips & Labels Together
The first tip to creating a more manageable holiday season is printing your packing list/invoice and shipping label together on a professional all in one form.  This option presents some immediate advantages over a 4×6 shipping label.  You will see an immediate improvement in overall efficiency when you remove the need to match up a packing list from one system and a shipping label from another.  Many businesses have people assigned to only this task during their busiest season to keep up with demand.  With the packing list/invoice attached to the shipping label, your shipping department will be able to focus on packing up your shipments as fast as possible without fear of sending the wrong item to the wrong person.  The improved accuracy of the all in one form is an added bonus that saves everyone time by eliminating the need to correct mistakes down the line.
Tip #2:  Use Flat Rate Boxes for Simple Shipping
Our second tip is to utilize the many new Flat Rate boxes and Cubic pricing options from the USPS to streamline your shipping this holiday season.  “If it fits, it ships” gives you an immediate idea how these unique options can save your shipping department time and energy this season.  If you have not considered any of the many Flat Rate boxes or Cubic pricing options, it is time to give them another look.  There are so many available shapes and sizes for Flat Rate pricing with the Post Office now that most items sold online today can probably fit in one of them.
USPS Priority Mail and Express Mail Flat Rate Boxes offer big discounts for heavier packages going to residential customers.  They also offer huge potential time savings.  With Flat Rate boxes and Cubic pricing, there is no need to weigh your shipments one by one anymore.  In TrueShip, you can assign a default box weight or attach standard weights to your items and run large batches of shipments without worrying about the exact weight.  If the package is less than 70 pounds, it is the same price every time with the Flat Rate options from the Post Office.
Tip #3:  Multi-Carrier Software Can Save Time
Our last tip relates to sellers using multiple carriers to ship their packages. If you are using different platforms for each carrier, then a multi-carrier system like TrueShip’s ReadyShipper can save your business lots of time and energy.  TrueShip’s ReadyShipper gives you one system for all your UPS, FedEx and USPS shipping labels.  It’s quick and easy to set up ReadyShipper with your preferred carriers, including your Stamps.com account, and you can start printing labels for each carrier from one interface.  TrueShip even built in the ability to set up basic rules for all your imported orders to default to the correct carrier and shipping method automatically.  This opens up the possibility for batch processing your shipments in one large run, instead of having to run them one by one.
TrueShip’s ReadyShipper works seamlessly with Stamps.com and the company offers a free 14 day trial.
Contact TrueShip directly for more information at 877-818-7447 or [email protected]

As the holidays approach, most e-commerce businesses are getting prepared for their busiest season of the year.  Getting orders faster than you can ship them may seem like a problem most businesses would like to have, but your response can be the difference between growing through repeat customers and losing their future orders to a competitor in the fast paced world of e-commerce.  We hear from many businesses that have added more people to the warehouse to help with fulfillment during the holidays, but changing the way that you print your shipping labels can make a big difference to your efficiency and scalability this season.

Tip #1: Print Packing Slips & Labels Together
The first tip to creating a more manageable holiday season is printing your packing list/invoice and shipping label together on a professional all in one form.  This option presents some immediate advantages over a 4 x 6 shipping label.  You will see an immediate improvement in overall efficiency when you remove the need to match up a packing list from one system and a shipping label from another.  Many businesses have people assigned to only this task during their busiest season to keep up with demand.  With the packing list/invoice attached to the shipping label, your shipping department will be able to focus on packing up your shipments as fast as possible without fear of sending the wrong item to the wrong person.  The improved accuracy of the all in one form is an added bonus that saves everyone time by eliminating the need to correct mistakes down the line.

trueship_label-form

TrueShip's Label Form combines a shipping label, packing list and message card on a single 8.5" x 11" sheet

Tip #2:  Use USPS Flat Rate Boxes for Simple Shipping
Our second tip is to utilize the many new Flat Rate boxes and Cubic pricing options from the U.S. Postal Service to streamline your shipping this holiday season.  “If it fits, it ships” gives you an immediate idea how these unique options can save your shipping department time and energy this season.  If you have not considered any of the many Flat Rate boxes or Cubic pricing options, it is time to give them another look.  There are so many available shapes and sizes for Flat Rate pricing with the Post Office now that most items sold online today can probably fit in one of them.

USPS Priority Mail and Express Mail Flat Rate Boxes offer big discounts for heavier packages going to residential customers.  They also offer huge potential time savings.  With Flat Rate boxes and Cubic pricing, there is no need to weigh your shipments one by one anymore.  In TrueShip, you can assign a default box weight or attach standard weights to your items and run large batches of shipments without worrying about the exact weight.  If the package is less than 70 pounds, it is the same price every time with the Flat Rate options from the Post Office.

Tip #3:  Multi-Carrier Software Can Save Time for High Volume Shippers
Our last tip relates to sellers using multiple carriers to ship their packages. If you are using different platforms for each carrier, then a multi-carrier system like TrueShip’s ReadyShipper can save your business lots of time and energy.  TrueShip’s ReadyShipper gives you one system for all your UPS, FedEx and USPS shipping labels.  It’s quick and easy to set up ReadyShipper with your preferred carriers, including your Stamps.com account, and you can start printing labels for each carrier from one interface.  TrueShip even built in the ability to set up basic rules for all your imported orders to default to the correct carrier and shipping method automatically.  This opens up the possibility for batch processing your shipments in one large run, instead of having to run them one by one.

trueship-logoTrueShip’s ReadyShipper works seamlessly with Stamps.com and the company offers a free 14 day trial.

Contact TrueShip directly for more information at 877-818-7447 or [email protected]

Categories: Ecommerce Shipping, Shipping Tags:

4 Tips to Buy a Domain Name and Build a Website

November 13th, 2012 Comments off
As the world becomes more technologically savvy with each passing year, the importance of having a website continues to increase. And while creating a website is becoming easier and more accessible through hosting companies like Domain.com, it is establishing the online presence needed to make that website powerful that can seem more complicated. How can you make sure your business website is found? How can you drive more traffic to your site? Here are some important tips to consider:
Tip #1 – First Things First. Get Your Domain.
The best method of establishing an online presence begins with owning your own domain. Don’t just rely on social media to spread the word. Here’s why…Unless you’re lucky enough to have a completely unique name or organization name, you’ve got competition online whether you know it or not. If you’re a “Joe Smith” or other common name, there are many other Joe Smiths out there that also want to be found online, and they’ll beat you in search engine rankings if they’ve got a domain name and you don’t. So first things first, find and buy your domain name or your business domain name. If www.yourname.com or www.yourbusiness.com are available, snatch them up! If the .COM isn’t available, you’ve got many other solid choices such as .NET, .ORG, or .ME.
Tip #2 – You’ve Got Your Domain. Now What?
Owning your personal domain name is a big step towards being visible online. However, the driving force behind being found online is content. If you have a domain name but it isn’t associated with a website, you won’t get very far. Search engines and social networks alike both value new and fresh content and quality links to that content. A static website is a good start, but depending on your needs, a continuously updated blog might be a better choice. With the growing number of social networks and websites that your business can have a presence on, it is important to have a home-base to link back to. Think of a solid website with ever-changing content like the backbone of your online nervous system.
Tip #3 – Now It’s Time To Draw Others In!
The reality is social media networks are taking over the internet. And with the explosion of these networks has come the ability to be mentioned in many places at once online. The downside, however, is that only being mentioned in one place online is becoming increasingly ineffective. Creating a profile on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and including your website name within that profile is a great start to generating traffic to your site. These are some of the biggest social networks, and they’re all great for connecting, sharing information and content and getting more visible online. If you’re already on the major social networks, consider some others that may be relevant to your interests:
Flickr – A social network for sharing photos
Dopplr – Share your travels online
Yelp – Food buff? Review your favorite restaurants
Youtube or Vimeo – Share your videos
Tip #4 – Finally, Get Searched!
Search engines are still the driving force for the majority of online traffic, so appearing within search rankings for the major search engines is key to getting noticed. This is where owning a unique domain name (like your own) comes in. Having www.yourname.com, among other factors, will help you rank high in search engines. Plus, those social networking profiles you’ve set up? They can also be a great way to increase the rankings for your name. The more places your name exists, the better. For example, twitter.com/yourname will rank well organically and you just might see your Twitter account jump up in the search rankings. If you’ve got a rare name, we challenge you to dominate the search rankings for your name!
Sign up with Domain.com to begin building your site and online presence. You can try it free for 30 days and it only costs $2.99 per month thereafter. Plus you’ll get a free 12-month domain name and a free JumpStart to your website.  TRY IT TODAY!

As the world becomes more technologically savvy with each passing year, the importance of having a website continues to increase. And while creating a website is becoming easier and more accessible through hosting companies like Domain.com, it is establishing the online presence needed to make that website powerful that can seem more complicated. How can you make sure your business website is found? How can you drive more traffic to your site? Here are some important tips to consider:

Tip #1 – First Things First. Get Your Domain
The best method of establishing an online presence begins with owning your own domain. Don’t just rely on social media to spread the word. Here’s why…Unless you’re lucky enough to have a completely unique name or organization name, you’ve got competition online whether you know it or not. If you’re a “Joe Smith” or other common name, there are many other Joe Smiths out there that also want to be found online, and they’ll beat you in search engine rankings if they’ve got a domain name and you don’t. So first things first, find and buy your domain name or your business domain name. If www.yourname.com or www.yourbusiness.com are available, snatch them up! If the .COM isn’t available, you’ve got many other solid choices such as .NET, .ORG, or .ME.

Tip #2 – You’ve Got Your Domain. Now What?
Owning your personal domain name is a big step towards being visible online. However, the driving force behind being found online is content. If you have a domain name but it isn’t associated with a website, you won’t get very far. Search engines and social networks alike both value new and fresh content and quality links to that content. A static website is a good start, but depending on your needs, a continuously updated blog might be a better choice. With the growing number of social networks and websites that your business can have a presence on, it is important to have a home-base to link back to. Think of a solid website with ever-changing content like the backbone of your online nervous system.

Tip #3 – Now It’s Time To Draw Others In!
The reality is social media networks are taking over the internet. And with the explosion of these networks has come the ability to be mentioned in many places at once online. The downside, however, is that only being mentioned in one place online is becoming increasingly ineffective. Creating a profile on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and including your website name within that profile is a great start to generating traffic to your site. These are some of the biggest social networks, and they’re all great for connecting, sharing information and content and getting more visible online. If you’re already on the major social networks, consider some others that may be relevant to your interests:

  • Flickr – A social network for sharing photos
  • Dopplr – Share your travels online
  • Yelp – Food buff? Review your favorite restaurants
  • Youtube or Vimeo – Share your videos

Tip #4 – Finally, Get Searched!
Search engines are still the driving force for the majority of online traffic, so appearing within search rankings for the major search engines is key to getting noticed. This is where owning a unique domain name (like your own) comes in. Having www.yourname.com, among other factors, will help you rank high in search engines. Plus, those social networking profiles you’ve set up? They can also be a great way to increase the rankings for your name. The more places your name exists, the better. For example, twitter.com/yourname will rank well organically and you just might see your Twitter account jump up in the search rankings. If you’ve got a rare name, we challenge you to dominate the search rankings for your name!

blog_domaincomSign up with Domain.com to begin building your site and online presence. You can try it free for 30 days and it only costs $2.99 per month thereafter. Plus you’ll get a free 12-month domain name and a free JumpStart to your website.  TRY IT TODAY!

Why Small Businesses Outsource Payroll

August 14th, 2012 Comments off

blog_payroll-image Outsourcing payroll is an excellent alternative to in-house payroll processing for today’s small businesses. Through a relationship with a professional payroll services provider, an employer can expect to realize several benefits, including consistency and reliability, a reduction in cost and workload, reduced risk, expanded offerings for their employees and peace of mind.

Payroll can be a time-consuming headache for many small businesses as keeping track of benefit accruals, garnishments, new hires and terminations, not to mention federal and state payroll tax changes, are often daunting tasks. And at the end of each year, small businesses spend a significant amount of time on W-2 and 1099 preparation, all the time rushing to ensure that they are sent out on time. Outsourcing payroll can reduce stress and free up many hours of time that can be spent on tasks that impact the health of the business and the bottom line.

Keeping abreast of state, federal, local and industry-specific regulation changes can be a significant challenge for most employers, small or large. A reputable outsourced payroll provider has a staff dedicated to keeping up-to-date on all of the changes that could affect payroll, ensuring that their clients are in compliance.

Payroll companies also have a full staff on hand to process payroll. This is a huge advantage for small businesses because payroll will be processed on schedule even if the owner or payroll manager is on vacation or has an unexpected absence. Outsourcing payroll functions increases consistency and reliability because payroll will be accurate and processed on time each pay period. It also ensures that the company’s payroll expertise does not leave if the payroll manager does.

Payroll can be a time-consuming headache for many small businesses as keeping track of benefit accruals, garnishments, new hires and terminations, not to mention federal and state payroll tax changes, are often daunting tasks. And at the end of each year, small businesses spend a significant amount of time on W-2 and 1099 preparation, all the time rushing to ensure that they are sent out on time. Outsourcing payroll can reduce stress and free up many hours of time that can be spent on tasks that impact the health of the business and the bottom line.
Keeping abreast of state, federal, local and industry-specific regulation changes can be a significant challenge for most employers, small or large. A reputable outsourced payroll provider has a staff dedicated to keeping up-to-date on all of the changes that could affect payroll, ensuring that their clients are in compliance.
Payroll companies also have a full staff on hand to process payroll. This is a huge advantage for small businesses because payroll will be processed on schedule even if the owner or payroll manager is on vacation or has an unexpected absence. Outsourcing payroll functions increases consistency and reliability because payroll will be accurate and processed on time each pay period. It also ensures that the company’s payroll expertise does not leave if the payroll manager does

When comparing the cost of an outsourced payroll provider to in-house payroll expenses, consider the amount of time spent on payroll-related activities as well as the costs of printing and distributing or mailing checks, computer software, training and support. Because most payroll providers handle all of these, outsourcing payroll functions is usually a big cost saver. And outsourcing does not have to be expensive; many professional payroll providers offer packages for small employers as low as $50.00 per month.

And then there are the costs involved in penalties for errors, omissions or late payroll tax filings. The IRS reported assessing 7.7 million civil penalties for employment taxes alone in 2011, totaling $5.3 billion in assessments. Businesses who outsource payroll and payroll tax functions can dramatically reduce the risk of incurring payroll tax penalties; most outsourced payroll providers will calculate payroll taxes, manage filings and payments and will assume the cost of penalties incurred due to incorrect calculations or late payments, as long as the necessary information and funds are provided on time.

In addition to printing and shipping checks directly to your door, most payroll companies also offer the convenience and security of direct deposit services. Because pay is deposited directly into employees’ accounts, having to put a stop payment on a lost paycheck and reissue it becomes a thing of the past. Many payroll providers also offer a paycard service for unbanked employees, usually at little or no cost to the employer. Both provide the security and convenience of paperless payrolls.

Many small companies find it difficult to dedicate the proper resources to knowing all the ins-and-outs of payroll. Outsourcing with a reputable payroll firm offers employers access to some of the leading experts on payroll and payroll taxes in the country. And with guarantees of error-free payroll, accurate tax filings and timely payments, the worry that many experience when it comes to the business of paying employees is eliminated, providing just the peace of mind every small business owner needs.

120x60_Compupay Terri Tennant is the senior director of business development for CompuPay Inc., one of the top-five payroll providers in the United States. Since 1980, CompuPay has worked with businesses with one to over 5,000 employees to streamline their business processes, improve productivity and save money through their offerings of easy, flexible payroll solutions.

Image: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Grow Your eBay Business with a SWOT Analysis

June 29th, 2012 Comments off
The most common complaint I hear from ecommerce sellers is that they don’t have enough time. But really the bigger issue is how you use that time. Have you ever felt like a robot? You churn through your list of tasks – photographing and researching and describing and listing and shipping and responding and…repeat. Too often we don’t take time to really take a step back and evaluate our eBay business.
To help you deal with this challenge, you can use a simple exercise. It’s called SWOT. No, it’s not a new police show (there are enough already!) It’s an evaluation of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Shot Term Pain = Long Term Gain
Take the time you’d be putting towards selling and focus on SWOT. Ultimately the investment in time here should pay off in a more successful business. Okay, so how do you do it? Hide yourself away from your kids and your cell phone (you can do without Cut the Rope on your smartphone for an hour or two can’t you?). Get some paper and start writing.
Strengths – Looking inside your business, what helps you do well? Do you have good product sourcing? Perhaps you’re an expert in a particular category? Maybe you create great looking listings? For those eBay sellers, do you use a nice eBay selling template for all of your listings? eBay listings that look professional will make you more credible in the eyes of prospective buyers.
Weaknesses – Don’t worry if you have more weaknesses than strengths, it just means you have a great chance to improve! Maybe you are bad at time management? You don’t have a strong knowledge of keywords or Best Match? Have you taken the plunge into social media?
Opportunities – Look outside your business. Have you wanted to find a new product category to specialize in? Do you have expertise that you could use to create a presence in social media? Or perhaps expand to new marketplaces?
Threats – Today or in the future. Is there a competitor who’s undercutting your pricing or growing faster than you? Are you a small seller without back up to run the business if you’re unable for some period?
Time to Prioritize
You probably have a big list by now. The next part of the process means choosing the most valuable items. Maybe a strength that you want to exploit. Or a weakness you need to finally eliminate. Or an opportunity you’ve had in the back of your mind for a long time but have never taken the plunge. Pick one or two that will have the biggest impact on your business.
The Tough Part – DO IT!
Break the one or two items into small tasks with dates. Now it’s Nike time – Just Do It! After you’re done, evaluate the results. Now pick one or two more and do it again.
Take the time to go through the SWOT process with your eBay business. To help, there’s a free SWOT guide in our eBay seller resources section. It has a lot more examples in each area and more tips on being successful. It’s free so check it out!
Chris Taylor is VP of Marketing at Page Mage. Page Mage, a recipient of eBay’s 2011 Ecosystem Champion Award, offers Billboards, a “Top 10 Most Popular” application for free custom eBay listing templates for eBay sellers looking to stand out from the competition.

The most common complaint I hear from ecommerce sellers is that they don’t have enough time. blog_SWOT-AnalysisBut really the bigger issue is how you use that time. Have you ever felt like a robot? You churn through your list of tasks – photographing and researching and describing and listing and shipping and responding and…repeat. Too often we don’t take time to really take a step back and evaluate our eBay business.

To help you deal with this challenge, you can use a simple exercise. It’s called SWOT. No, it’s not a new police show (there are enough already!) It’s an evaluation of your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Short Term Pain = Long Term Gain

Take the time you’d be putting towards selling and focus on SWOT. Ultimately the investment in time here should pay off in a more successful business. Okay, so how do you do it? Hide yourself away from your kids and your cell phone. Get some paper and start writing.

Strengths – Looking inside your business, what helps you do well? Do you have good product sourcing? Perhaps you’re an expert in a particular category? Maybe you create great looking listings? For those eBay sellers, do you use a nice eBay selling template for all of your listings? eBay listings that look professional will make you more credible in the eyes of prospective buyers.

Weaknesses – Don’t worry if you have more weaknesses than strengths, it just means you have a great chance to improve! Maybe you are bad at time management? You don’t have a strong knowledge of keywords or Best Match? Have you taken the plunge into social media?

Opportunities – Look outside your business. Have you wanted to find a new product category to specialize in? Do you have expertise that you could use to create a presence in social media? Or perhaps expand to new marketplaces?

Threats – Today or in the future. Is there a competitor who’s undercutting your pricing or growing faster than you? Are you a small seller without back up to run the business if you’re unable for some period?

Time to Prioritize

You probably have a big list by now. The next part of the process means choosing the most valuable items. Maybe a strength that you want to exploit. Or a weakness you need to finally eliminate. Or an opportunity you’ve had in the back of your mind for a long time but have never taken the plunge. Pick one or two that will have the biggest impact on your business.

The Tough Part – DO IT!

Break the one or two items into small tasks with dates. Now it’s Nike time – Just Do It! After you’re done, evaluate the results. Now pick one or two more and do it again.

Take the time to go through the SWOT process with your eBay business. To help, there’s a free SWOT guide in our eBay seller resources section. It has a lot more examples in each area and more tips on being successful. It’s free so check it out!

pagemage_billboards-smallAbout the Writer: Chris Taylor is VP of Marketing at Page Mage. Page Mage, a recipient of eBay’s 2011 Ecosystem Champion Award, offers Billboards, a “Top 10 Most Popular” application for free custom eBay listing templates for eBay sellers looking to stand out from the competition.

3 Ways to Go Green at Your Office

June 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Going green at the office doesn’t have to be difficult, small and simple changes can actually make a huge impact on the environment.  Most people, when they think about going green, start at home. This is a great first step, but in reality we spend a lot of time at work.  We have outlined three simple and effective ways to start making your workplace more environmentally friendly. blog_recycle-box

#1 Swap this for that

Thinking like, “I need to buy green, all or nothing,” just doesn’t work.  Instead, try and swap out products for a more environmentally friendly versions when it is time to make a purchase and it is available. Switching to recyclyed paper, recycled legal pads, and even recycled furniture also isn’t as expensive as you would think. If you need more help, Shoplet.com has a neat “green your cart” feature that will actually show you if an item in your shopping cart has a green alternative.

#2 Double down and Double Side

Many times in the office we let supplies just go to waste. Not only are we harming the environment, but also our bottom lines. That is because every time we waste supplies we need to buy more; and more supplies means less money to spend on real business. One quick trick is to simply refill empty ink cartridges rather than tossing them aside. Also, when at the printer, try printing double sided; you’ll cut your paper usage (and paper budget) in half.

#3 The break-room, not the waste room

Coffee in the break room is sacred, but re-buying cups again and again is wasteful and harmful to the environment. Instead, consider providing employees with mugs with a company logo on them, which are not only better for the environment, but also great for team spirit and company branding.

shoplet_logoIf you need help going green at your office, visit Shoplet.com to receive 10% off your order. Shoplet.com has over 20,000 environmentally friendly products to choose from and over 400,000 total office and business supplies.

Box Image: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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