By Mark Shearer, EVP and President of Global SMB Solutions at Pitney Bowes
It is becoming increasingly popular for businesses to interact with customers in multiple channels, including physical and a growing number of digital platforms. Pressure to effectively manage mailing and shipping logistics and related costs can mount quickly for business owners. A digital transformation of sending processes can help reduce costs and deliver a better mailing and shipping experience to customers.
A recent Deloitte survey found that digitally-advanced small businesses experienced revenue growth nearly four times as high as those with basic digital engagement. Yet, many of the country’s 30 million small businesses do not utilize digital tools to optimize operations.
You’re probably wondering, “how can digital impact my mailing, when deliveries are a physical exchange?”
Let’s explore a few ways digital technologies are bringing new capabilities to mailing and shipping operations:
Cutting Costs with SaaS
Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions offer cost-effective ways to operate. These applications and databases reside in the cloud, so businesses don’t need additional IT assets on their premises. And mailers and shippers do not need experts to install and service systems to operate, nor do they need an IT staff to maintain and upgrade them. A SaaS-based mailing and shipping solution is always up-to-date. It automatically updates rates and provides users with the latest features and savings on shipping costs. For example, the SendPro C-Series from Pitney Bowes can deliver savings across carriers, which can be as much as 39 percent off some USPS retail shipping rates.
Another big advantage of the SaaS-based approach is that applications and data can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Users can run these solutions from the desktop, integrate them into sending devices and access them remotely on a smartphone or heavy-duty handheld device in a wireless environment.
With SaaS, it is also easy for a business to expand its solutions with new applications, such as adding inbound tracking or e-commerce shipping solutions to existing processes. And, single sign-on technology also ensures simplicity in accessing many applications, versus having to learn multiple access procedures.
Transitioning To Digital
Another way mailers are moving from the analog to the digital world is by using IoT (Internet of Things) solutions that connect sending devices to the cloud, enabling better services and an enhanced customer experience.
For example, Pitney Bowes’ new SendPro C-Series interface runs on the Android platform and provides a direct digital connection to the Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud. With one integrated platform, small business owners can access updated services and new innovative mailing capabilities, such as securely comparing shipping options and tracking packages across three major carriers.
Feedback from early IoT adopters has been extremely positive. Digitally enabled functions can speed up the pace of sending operations, like uploading postage, updating rates and resolving system problems.
Dialing up the Customer Experience
The digital transformation of the mailing and shipping world fits well into the digital transformation of the world at large. Companies are seeking ways to meet their customers’ changing communications preferences. And the customer will often have more than one preference, wanting a text alert for the delivery notification and an email for his or her bill. Digital capabilities provide convenient solutions to facilitate this range of customer communications.
SaaS solutions let them select on a dashboard a range of omnichannel communications. They can integrate digital and physical communication channels, or send out to an outsource service provider to fulfill. The automation simplifies the process, enabling businesses to easily manage customer preferences. Digital delivery can be done in many ways from email and mobile to various social networks and cloud-based file sharing services like Evernote or Dropbox.
In addition, with new real time data always available in the cloud, solution providers can find better ways to serve their customers. This allows vendors to be more proactive and resolve customer issues before they arise. Rapid (and sometimes remote) resolution helps dial up the customer experience.
It is clear that trends in the mailing and shipping industry all point to digital transformation. Using SaaS-based cloud solutions and multifunction IoT devices, mailers can:
- communicate better with their customers
- deliver valuable new services
- access richer data to driver better insights and offers
- deliver a superior customer experience
- save money
Companies can focus less on how they’re managing equipment, and more on growing their core businesses. And that means the digital transformation of mailing and shipping can ultimately help businesses make more money—as well as save it.