Crisper mornings and falling leaves in many parts of the world (not to mention summer coming in the Southern Hemisphere) can only mean one thing: the holiday shopping and shipping season is rapidly approaching.
This year’s holiday shopping season is set to be another record-setter as early projections anticipate retail growth somewhere between 4.5 and 5 percent in 2019, according to Deloitte’s annual holiday retail forecast.
Overall, Deloitte anticipates that holiday sales will exceed $1.1 trillion during the November–January timeframe.
Recently, Bob Liva, who handles Pierbridge’s alliances and partnerships, had the opportunity to speak at Labelmaster’s Dangerous Goods Symposium about the growing convergence of hazardous material and omnichannel shipping.
With a record 2.5 billion packages estimated to have been shipped last year during the holidays, and with growing eCommerce and retail sales expected this season adding even more parcels to the mix, it isn’t a stretch to think that plenty of employees will be shipping a gift or two on their own as well.
“Rogue shipping” reaches its peak in the holiday season when employees absolutely positively have to get personal shipments to their loved ones. The lines are way too long at post offices and retail shipping rates are too expensive, especially to residences. So the natural thing to do is to simply add personal shipments to the avalanche of parcels going through shipping departments or mail centers that time of year. Who will notice?
At some point, everyone realizes that work gets in the way. Well, not really (I, for one, love my job). However, there are some things that have to be done during business hours — be it a trip to the DMV, meeting with your kid’s teacher, or standing in line at a parcel drop-off location to ship a personal package with a gift for a friend, important paperwork, or even an item sold on an online auction site — that can’t be done other times of the day.
While a trip to the motor vehicle registry or school may be unavoidable, there are ways that companies can help their employees take care of cutting down on errands to ship a parcel. However, there is a right way and a wrong way of doing it. Do it the wrong way, and it can cost you both in dollars and time. Do it the right way and you can not only cut costs, but help recruit and retain staff while keeping them more engaged and productive at the same time.
Employees sending personal shipments are costing companies whether they realize it or not.
Sometimes the losses come from allowing employees to ship their personal parcels on corporate accounts with the hope of recovering the costs from payroll deduction or other methods. Sometimes the losses come from employees taking time away from their desks to stand in seemingly endless lines at a drop-off location—and those lines aren’t going to get any shorter as the holidays approach. Sometimes, the losses are even more direct as employees slip their package into the company’s shipments or use the corporate account to send a package anywhere in the world, a problem we call “rogue shipping.”
Recently, we came across a forum from about a year ago at Alignable where a question had sparked an online discussion about employees receiving personal packages at work. The debate was fairly tame as these mostly small businesses discussed the positive and negative effects of allowing personal deliveries to be made to the office, which is now a common occurrence as online shopping continues to grow.
However, one person brought up the concept of employees shipping packages from the office.
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At some point, most people need to ship a personal package – important paperwork, a gift for a friend or a family member, items they’ve sold online, etc. Many large organizations formally or informally support personal shipping by allowing their employees to ship on their corporate carrier accounts and work to recover fees afterward, or by turning a blind eye to rogue shipping. Accurately accounting for and recovering personal shipping costs can be an administrative headache.
Last month, we posted a blog about how upcoming changes in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations are expected to greatly streamline customs clearance for cross-border parcel shipments.
As we discussed, statistics indicate that online shoppers are getting increasing comfortable buying from merchants located in other countries. This has resulted in a “parcel tsunami” at the borders and has overwhelmed freight forwarders and customs officials who are used to handling much larger shipments.
UPDATE: We recently co-hosted a webinar with Labelmaster where we discussed not only staying up-to-date with regulations, but also how to handle the challenges and opportunities of the emerging omnichannel shipping world in which more shippers are operating when shipping dangerous goods. Read this guest blog written by Labelmaster's Brian Beetz to make sure you are aware of some of this year's regulations and then watch the on-demand webinar "How to Stay Dangerous Goods Compliant and Optimize Parcel Shipping in the Brave New Omnichannel Shipping World” to hear him and Pierbridge's Scott Moore discuss the best way to overcome the challenges facing retailers and others shipping from an endless aisle.
As more consumers use their connected devices to shop from an endless aisle, retail and eCommerce players are increasingly shipping from omnichannel fulfillment points where inventory is closer to their customers. But not only is eCommerce as a whole growing, cross-border shopping is growing at about twice the rate of domestic eCommerce, which means that omnichannel fulfillment networks are extending to overseas suppliers.
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