Small ecommerce businesses are feeling the economic crunch like everyone else these days. In these tough economic times, it's more important than ever before to economize wherever possible. Laying off employees is the last thing that any responsible business owner wants to do - and for entrepreneurs or small web-based retailers who ARE the entirety of the company, "lay off" can easily translate to "out of business."
One potential revenue sink often overlooked is the inefficient way many small web-based retailers still ship their merchandise - using physical or postage meters to label their parcels before shipping. There is a better alternative, one that will save your business both time and money, each important for the bottom line - online postage software, also known as PC Postage.
Ship your orders - without standing in long lines at the Post Office
One of the most time-and-money-consuming chores of a web-based retailer is order fulfillment - the physical shipping of your merchandise. Not too long ago, that meant long, time-consuming trips to the Post Office to buy postage for each and every package - a strain on the gas tank, on the wallet and on the back! And that was time that could have been put to more productive use building your website, making deals for new merchandise or keeping ahead of financial issues.
Or, it meant leasing or buying a meter - an inefficient, bulky machine that had to have postage bought in large blocks (with hefty fees tacked on by the meter company) -- for anywhere from $20 to $80 a month, not including the regular outlay of as much as $80 for a refill of the special proprietary ink the meter uses.
With PC Postage, small-scale web-based retailers now have a flexible third option to ship packages - buy postage online, in the quantity YOU need, not what the meter company dictates, and print it out right on the spot using most leading laserjet, inkjet or thermal printers. With gas hovering around $3.50 a gallon, just the savings on those trips to the Post Office will make PC Postage pay for itself in short order.
Deep discounts on Express Mail and Priority Mail - only through PC Postage
Everybody loves saving money - finding a bargain deal appeals to human nature. In these times, bargains can also be the difference between in the black or the red. The USPS has authorized sizable discounts off the usual retail postage on two of their most popular mail classes for PC Postage customers: a 3% discount on Express Mail and up to a formidable 11% on Priority Mail service when you buy postage online. You can only get these great postage discounts through PC Postage - you'll end up paying the full retail price at the post office counter.
PC Postage allows you to hide the postage amount.
Obviously, you want your customers to focus on how good your product is, not how much it cost to ship. Yet, the cost of materials and labor are not insignificant to a small business, and they have to be recouped. Still, customers can get irate at the idea that they're subsidizing "shipping and handling" charges above and beyond the cost of their purchase. With most PC Postage vendors, you can short-circuit this process by requesting that the postage amount be suppressed on the shipping label. The customer need never know how much you paid in postage - yet both you and the USPS will know, as the postage is encoded into the scatter code on the label. This saves you or your customer service team time spent handling complaints, and money in lost sales from angry customers. Not to mention the savings in aspirin from the averted headaches that either brings...
PC Postage provides detailed postage reporting
Once tax season rolls around (as Ben Franklin said it must), you're looking for any deduction you can use to save some money from the clutches of the IRS. Of course, that postage you bought is a business expense, and a fairly hefty one that could save you a fair amount of cash. But how do you prove that you spent as much as you claim you did? With physical postage and meters, you need to be sure you have the receipts saved somewhere - and as we all know, small pieces of paper have a irritating habit of disappearing right when you need them the most.
Not so with PC Postage - all your transactions are stored on your computer in a secure file, ready for you to view at your (or your accountant's) leisure.
And, further, with most of the leading PC Postage clients, you can assign tracking codes to individuals, tracking their postage spending to reduce wastage and potential misuse of your company's precious postage. Most applications allow you to assign as many as 50 discrete codes to track postage by department or even individual employee if need be.