Thing-a-Day 22: Reviewing Shipping Methods

Shipping Method

Today’s thing-a-day is related to process improvement! I spent some time reviewing PayPal options for shipping products. The trigger to finally look into it was a friend who needed a simple solution to sell her books. The last time I used PayPal for fullfillment was for the first run of ETP pads in 2009, and I found the experience so tedious that I vowed to outsource everything as much as possible. It’s been five years, though, so I figured it was time to see if anything’s changed, and rethink my shipping strategies.

What’s Changed in Fulfillment Options

PayPal has made some improvements. There is now inventory control, which was sorely missing in 2009. There is still the direct shipping through the USPS, and presumably it is not painfully slow anymore. There’s also integration with UPS now.

I also have a better perspective on how shipping works after five years of messing around with Amazon FBA and Shipwire, so the options seem much more familiar. The biggest pain in the butt was figuring out shipping rates for each destination, but I have come to recognize that there’s no easy way to do it other than verify the rates for specific package sizes.

Bringing Fulfillment Home: Pros and Cons

I have been thinking about doing some fulfillment back home, after evaluating Shipwire for about a year. The system works, but the volume of orders hasn’t justified the cost of maintaining the monthly service fees.

So, I am thinking of bringing fulfillment back home for specialty purposes, and winding-down Shipwire:

  • Wholesale multi-unit packages, different weights for international and domestic
  • Short-run specialty projects using alternate production methods

The downside is:

  • Having to check and handle orders in-person, which takes time out of my day.
  • Having to maintain a shipping area, with taping / weighing / sealing and supplies.
  • Having to either drive packages to drop-off or have to wait for someone to pick them up.

I had found this was extremely tedious before, but I’m thinking now it’ll give me a reason to get out of the house every few days.



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