Shapiro is a leading logistics company for over 100 years, specialised in ecommerce freight management and commercial cargo. This week we asked Nicola Phillips from Shapiro what online sellers should know about their supply chain for 2018. Read her tips below and see how they can help!
1.What does Shapiro offer to e-commerce sellers?
Literally over a century of logistics for ecommerce experience! We’ve been around since 1915 and know transportation and Customs like the backs of our hands. We use our industry know how to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses on an international scale. We’re a family company with just the right mix of forward thinking innovators and savvy logistics experts. We’re also a super friendly bunch!
2. What is the biggest myth surrounding logistics for ecommerce?
Good question! A lot of ecommerce sellers seem to believe it’s easier (and cheaper) to leave the international transportation up to their suppliers. On the surface, this seems true but the reality is that if you give your supplier too much control over your supply chain, what’s to stop them cutting you out of the middle? Also, quite frequently the cost they provide you doesn’t account for everything (I’m looking at you, arrival charges!), so you’re left with a direct hit to your bottom line. Finally, if your supplier is choosing your forwarder, you have no say in the level of customer service you’ll receive. Most sellers find that spending a few extra dollars to save them endless headaches and hassle is certainly worth it!
3. Looking forward to 2018, what are your top 5 tips to new and existing sellers?
ONE: Do your homework! Talk to your broker and forwarder way before you’re ready to ship so you can be proactive about any import requirements you need to handle. You can also determine the duty rate that applies to your products so you can factor that into your cost analysis.
TWO: Read up! Stay updated on industry news so that you can be one step ahead of other sellers. Planning on shipping through the port of New York in 2018? You’ll want to know about the contract negotiations that will be going on in case there’s a strike like the one that hit Los Angeles and caused massive disruptions. Shapiro has a great set of free news alerts, blogs and white papers that you can subscribe to!
THREE: Diversify! Particularly if you’re selling on Amazon, it’s always good to have an alternative fulfilment or storage option in case the rules (or fees!) suddenly change.
FOUR: Always give yourself a buffer. Even the best laid plans can be stymied by delays. You’ll thank yourself later!
FIVE: Automate, but be smart about it. There are a ton of tools out there to help you get information and make decisions faster. Use these to your advantage, but don’t neglect to check the details!
4. What is coming up for Shapiro in 2018?
Lots of tech upgrades, but the one we’re most excited for is that we’re going to be launching a Shapiro App!
5. Tell us something awesome your company has done this year for a client!
A customer recently reached out to us about a Customs issue with their shipment. They were shipping via small parcel courier and not sure why their shipment was being held. After working with the client and the courier, we found of that the FDA requirement that applies to dietary supplements was not advised by the Customs entry agent, and that the client had not set themselves up for these requirements either. We did some research and identified a possible exemption. The client determined that the exemption was applicable and their shipment was cleared without further delay or fees!