These Shipping Services Are Helping Small Businesses Compete with Amazon

Shipping giant UPS wants to help the little guy.

The company said it plans to rollout several promotions and discounts targeted toward small businesses on May 1 as part of its participation in National Small Business Week, which runs May 5-11. The move comes as a number of alternative fulfillment services are rising to meet the growing shipping demands of e-commerce.

The promotion’s offerings to small businesses include free access to UPS Smart Pickup, a service that automates the pickup request for online orders; discounted prices on ground, air and international shipping; the elimination of weekly service fees, and one free virtual consultation with a UPS expert. To access the deal, titled the “Success Bundle,” businesses must open their account in May during Small Business Month.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and UPS is committed to supporting them and helping them grow,” said Kevin Warren, chief marketing officer at UPS.

However, UPS isn’t the only service targeting the growing market of e-commerce shipping.

Deliverr, a San Francisco-based startup, provides shipping for businesses that sell on marketplaces like Walmart and eBay, or through Shopify. Designed as an alternative to Amazon’s shipping services, which might be prohibited by competitors (as in Walmart’s case), Deliverr syncs a brand’s sales channels to create a multichannel fulfillment option with competitive pricing.

Packages ride on a conveyor system at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. Outside of ditching online shopping altogether, there are some small tweaks in how you shop that can cut down on the impact on the environment, such as slowing down shipping times and not filling up the cart with stuff you know you won't keepOn The Money Online Shopping-Environment, Baltimore, USA - 03 Aug 2017
Amazon ships more than five billion products per year, through more than 130 fulfillment centers. Small businesses are often choosing to access third-party warehouses to remain competitive.
CREDIT: Patrick Semansky/Shutterstock

Amazon has set consumer expectations for fast, frequently 2-day shipping, and its recent announcement of a 1-day shipping service has raised the stakes even higher. Part of the Deliverr solution is a free and automated ‘2-Day shipping’ tag that gets applied to online product postings on Walmart’s website. That tag also helps items rank higher in the search function, helping smaller brands get their product noticed.

Services such as Deliverr also address another problem: being able to quickly distribute orders to customers all over the country. Many small businesses have struggled with this, due to the need to store product in strategic locations throughout the country. Through both Deliverr and Shipwire, a cloud-based platform for logistics management, companies can gain access to their warehouses in addition to the shipping service. By storing items in these locations across the country — and internationally with Shipwire — brands can maintain shorter delivery times for their customers.

The growth of e-commerce has allowed many small businesses to break into the market, saving overhead on brick-and-mortar while they build their consumer base. However, investing in a reliable and fast shipping solution could prove to be a big factor in remaining competitive against the retail giants.

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