United Parcel Service

UPS Shippers: Read the Fine Print!
September 9, 2011

Parcel shippers be forewarned. Lately, I've seen several misleading, if not unethical business practices by United Parcel Service (UPS). If you're like most shippers, you’ve negotiated incentives off UPS’s prevailing “published” or “list” pricing. For years, UPS used a single list rate for volume shippers and all incentives applied to an established set of rates.

Advantage: Shippers
July 1, 2008

When multichannel marketers negotiate with parcel shipping companies, who has the advantage: carriers or shippers? Current market dynamics make today the best time to bid your business. Recent earnings disclosures by FedEx and the United Parcel Service indicate a slowing or decline in their domestic parcel businesses, making them hungry for new business and willing to fight to keep existing accounts. Slow domestic growth rates in the transportation industry means promoting competition among parcel carriers is a winning strategy in managing your shipments for lower unit costs. Carriers’ Upper Hand However, initiating a competitive bid process in today’s parcel environment is a complex

Good or Bad? How We in B-to-B, too, Have Trained Our Customers to be Last-minute Shoppers
December 11, 2007

I’ve heard a number of nervous comments from B-to-B direct marketers who rely on seasonal products or end-of-the-year sales peaks. Everyone seems a little concerned as their order curves are behind last year’s — in some cases more than 20 percent behind. I’m not worried … yet. Here’s why:
Over the past five years or so with all the advances we’ve seen in technology, there’s been a continual shortening of production and delivery times. What used to take four to five production days, now takes one to two. Shipping and delivery times also have been cut, due to advances made by the likes of

How the USPS Can Save Shippers Some Cabbage
May 15, 2007

For companies that ship to residential locations, it may behoove them to take advantage of the U.S. Postal Service, which can still provide cost-effective shipping despite the recent rate increases. That was the message of Alicia Berry, COO of DVD Empire, a Web-based DVD retailer, at a session during the recent National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Schaumburg, Ill. “The most important thing you can do to control costs is to figure out where each of your packages is going and how much it costs — the daily numbers,” she said. “That way, you’ll be able to take advantage of what the USPS has

React When It’s Sent Back
April 1, 2007

When it comes to processing returns, it’s all a matter of approach. Certainly, nobody wants a lot of returns and processing. But if you approach returns processing as more of an opportunity than a burden, you may be surprised at the results. “The biggest mistake I see with the returns process is that returns are treated as an operational procedure. But it’s an excellent marketing opportunity,” says Debra Ellis, president of Barnardsville, N.C.-based Wilson & Ellis Consulting. “It’s personalized contact with the customer that you don’t get when a customer orders online or through the mail.” The bottom line is that customers who’ve had positive

Chinese Consumers Increasingly Interested in American Products
September 5, 2006

A recent United Parcel Service survey of 1,200 middle-class consumers in six Chinese cities shows that the Chinese continue to want more American products than ever beflore. Among data revealed by the survey: * 76 percent of urban Chinse consumers say they’d like to buy American DVDs in 2006, up from 71 percent in 2005; * 73 percent say they’d like to buy American-made moisturizer in the coming year; * More than 70 percent say they want to buy American blue jeans; * 64 percent say they’d like to purchase American athletic shoes; * 56 percent want to hear messages about quality components or workmanship in advertising

Know Your Carrier and Know Your Business During Negotiations
April 25, 2006

Long gone are the days of relying solely on United Parcel Service (UPS) or the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for all your small package ground delivery needs. Nowadays, most mailers are not only turning to a mixture of different carriers, but they’re also better able to negotiate carrier contracts than ever before. Rick Collins and Tim Geiken, both managing directors at transportation and shipping consultancy AFMS Inc., offered during a session at NCOF several negotiation pointers to catalog shippers when working out small parcel shipping contracts with carriers. Among these, -Understand your business better than your carrier does. -Look at your previous contracts and how well

How to Develop a Reverse Logistics Strategy
December 1, 2003

Multichannel industry leaders such as Cabela’s, Talbots, Eddie Bauer, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Lands’ End and L.L. Bean have established themselves as the standard-setters for returns processing, allowing customers the flexibility of returning goods with a no-quibble guarantee. But there’s a downside to a liberal returns policy: Companies have seen return rates increase every year for the past 10 years. For example, $5 of every $100 worth of goods purchased on the Web are returned, compared to $6 for traditional retailers, according to The Boston Consulting Group and Shop.org. And for many merchandise categories, returns rates are much higher. Moreover, the study found