Spiffy Stores Fulfilments and Australia Post eParcel – A new partnership

We all remember the time we received our first order from our new online store and how we eagerly packed the parcel, wrote out a label and proudly took it down to the post office to be sent on its way.

This was the start of a new adventure, and with time and effort, it’s now grown to the point where packing all those parcels and sending them off can consume a significant part of the day. It’s not that we’re complaining about the success, but it would be really nice if it wasn’t such a chore.

This is a common story, that many new store owners experience as their businesses grow. Once the volume of your sales increases, you can start to take advantage of discount shipping rates by signing up with services such as Australia Post’s eParcel.

eParcel is used widely by many businesses, and it allows you to submit your parcel information electronically and to generate pre-printed labels and tracking information automatically.

Although there are many advantages to using eParcel, it can become a bit of a chore without some sort of direct integration between your online store orders and the eParcel system.

This is where the new Spiffy Stores Fulfilment integration shines. Once you have activated your eParcel account within the Spiffy Stores Toolbox, you can directly submit it to Australia Post with the click of a button. Your customer is automatically notified with the tracking information, and you’ll be able to check on the status of each parcel until it is successfully delivered.

Our new Fulfilment integration is going to save you so much time that you’ll have oodles of time left to invest in marketing your store. Our first users are already delighted and excited by the way this improves the way they run their businesses.

And we’ve also left the best news until last. This new addition to your Spiffy Store is not going to cost a cent extra. Every store can now add the eParcel integration absolutely free!

 

 

 

Australia Post outage this weekend

australia_post_outageAs part of a planned outage to upgrade their services, the Australia Post website (auspost.com.au) will be unavailable for approximately 26 hours from 10pm AEDT on Friday 17 October until midnight AEDT on Saturday 18 October 2014.

This outage affects many Australia Post tools including the Australia Post Postage Calculator built into Spiffy Stores.

To minimise disruption, please plan ahead accordingly. Then check the Australia Post website for updates as the timeframe for the outage may change.

Please do not contact the Australia Post help desk during the outage as they’ll restore the service as quickly as possible. Similarly, there is nothing Spiffy Stores Support can do to remedy the situation other than to provide the instructions that we have provided below…

How to plan for this outage

You will need to make sure that you have backup shipping rates during the outage. Australia Post calculations will not be available during the outage, so your customers may not be able to order at all.

  1. Firstly, you will need to check whether you are affected. Go to the “Preferences -> Shipping & handling” section of your store’s Toolbox.  If you are using Australia Post, it will display there (see image below).
    australia_post_outage_2
    If you’re not using the Australia Post Shipping Carrier, then you don’t need to worry about the outage.

  2. If you are only using the Australia Post Shipping Agent then you will need to make sure you have set a “Default fee” for the shipping rate.  To do this, you click on the shipping rate and edit it.  Under “Default action”, choose “Use the default fee” and enter your default fee.  See example below.australia_post_outage_3
  3. Once you have done this, save your changes.  You will also need to make sure that you do this for any other countries that use the Australia Post shipping carrier.


ADDED @ 2:30pm…

We’ve had a few questions about what price you should set for the default fee.  As there’s no substitute for the actual shipping rate, the only think I can suggest is that you have a look at some of your orders and calculate the average shipping cost.

For example;

# of orders Shipping cost Total shipping cost
22 $8.25 $181.50
35 $13.40 $469.00
9 $16.70 $150.30
Total = 66 orders   Total = $800.80

Average shipping cost = $800.80 ÷ 66
which comes to $12.13

You may think that averaging out your shipping is a bad approach, but if the alternative is that you miss out on some orders during the outage, it seems to be the lesser of two evils. Australia Post calculations will not be available during the outage, so your customers may not be able to order at all.

 

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Minimize Shipping Costs with the Spiffy Stores Advanced Packing Algorithm

“How do I save money by minimizing my shipping costs?”

That’s a question we hear all too often as our store owners stuggle with the problems of shipping their goods to customers.

Setting your shipping costs is one of the most important aspects to running an online ecommerce business. If you charge too little, then you may lose money on each order and if you charge too much, you may lose sales as customers go elsewhere.

Other Shopping Cart Software Fails to Deliver

As incredible as it sounds, the popular ecommerce software packages available today are of little help, with most offering no more than simple flat-rate shipping schemes. If you find a service offering real-time carrier calculated shipping rates, such as from Australia Post or New Zealand Post, then the chances are that if your customers order more than 20kg of items, they’re out of luck as that’s the maximum weight that you can send using these services.

This means that you could lose customers or risk going out of business because you’re not making enough profit. What’s worse is that you may be losing valuable orders where your customer wants to purchase a large number of items and your shopping cart software says: “Sorry! I don’t know how to handle that many items. It’s all too complicated for me. Please take your business elsewhere.”

Large shipping companies pay $100,000s for software to help them optimize their parcel packing because it saves them money. It’s expensive because it’s a very complicated problem and requires a lot of advanced mathematics to solve.

Spiffy Stores Advanced Packing Algorithm Software Solution

At Spiffy Stores, we’ve solved the packing problem and we’ve added our advanced parcel packing algorithm to all stores at no extra cost. Every Spiffy Stores plan includes real-time carrier calculated shipping rates, and all orders are processed by our advanced packing software.  This means that the cost of shipping every package is minimized, and that means you save money!

Our Advanced Packing Algorithm software is unique to Spiffy Stores and you won’t find it anywhere else. Our range of shipping options is unmatched by any other vendor, and every one of our shipping features is freely available to every store on every plan. Other providers charge extra for basic carrier shipping apps, plugins and add-ons that we provide for free!

There’s simply no competition. Have a look at what the others offer and you’ll see the advantage in choosing to build your business with Spiffy Stores.

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New Shipping Rate Options for Australia Post Rate Calculator

When we first started Spiffy Stores, one of the first features we added was a shipping rate calculator for Australia Post. Remember, this was back in the day when live shipping rates were a bit of a novelty in ecommerce software.

So it is with great pleasure that we are now able to offer our online store owners an enhanced version of the Australia Post shipping rate calculator which supports the full range of Australia Post’s parcel shipping services.

Included in this release is support for the following new services –

  • Parcel Post Satchels
  • Express Post Satchels
  • Express Post Platinum
  • Express Post Platinum Satchel
  • Registered Post International
  • Pack and Track International

This new support comes from the recently announced Australia Post initiative to boost their support for the rapidly growing online shopping and delivery market. As part of this initiative, a new international tracked parcel product called “Pack and Track International” has been introduced, initially supporting parcels between Australia and the United States.

We’re pleased to be announcing this support as part of our ongoing commitment to support Australian small business and to provide them with the best tools available to help them run their online ecommerce ventures. We’re also proud to be offering this support to our Australian store owners, when other so-called “market leaders” just ignore Australian businesses and concentrate on the North American market.

We’re also introducing some exciting new technology into our Shipping Rate calculators that automatically splits up a customer’s order into multiple parcels. This is a real boon when you’ve got a mixture of heavy and bulky items to ship with your normal standard weight items, and it means you won’t have to worry any more about losing money because of incorrect shipping rate calculations.

This technology is unique to Spiffy Stores and is one of a range of advanced features that are designed to make running an online store as easy as possible.

Existing store owners can activate the new services by going to the “Shipping carriers” section of the Store Toolbox.  More information about the new services can be found in our knowledge base.

International shipping with NZ Post now available

We’re happy to announce that our New Zealand Post shipping calculator can now calculate international shipping rates!  It’s now available to all Spiffy Stores based in New Zealand for calculating postage costs to your customers all over the world.

To activate it, just go to the “Shipping & handling” page in your Toolbox and click on the “add a shipping agent” button to go to the “Shipping Agent Rate Calculators” page.

From here, you can add, delete and edit the shipping agent and the services that you want to support in your store. All our New Zealand customers will see a new entry on this page from today for the new NZ Post calculator. All you need to do is click on the “Activate” button, confirm the international services that you want to support and you’re done.

Existing store owners already using NZ Post for their domestic shipping should follow much the same process.  If you’re already using the New Zealand Post shipping calculator for domestic shipping, just go to the “Shipping & handling” page in your Toolbox and click on the “add a shipping agent” button to go to the “Shipping Agent Rate Calculators” page, and enable the extra international services.  You’ll also have to add rates for each country as well.

More information about our New Zealand shipping calculator can be found in our knowledge base.

NZ Post shipping calculator now available

New Zealand Post Shipping Calculator now available with Spiffy StoresWe’re very pleased to announce that we’ve incorporated New Zealand Post’s domestic shipping calculator into the Spiffy Stores ecommerce software.  It’s currently available to all NZ-based Spiffy Stores for calculating postage costs to your customers within New Zealand.

To activate it, just go to the “Shipping & handling” page in your Toolbox and click on the “add a shipping agent” button to go to the “Shipping Agent Rate Calculators” page.

From here, you can add, delete and edit the shipping agent and the services that you want to support in your store. All our New Zealand customers will see a new entry on this page from today for the new NZ Post calculator. All you need to do is click on the “Activate” button, confirm the services that you want to support and you’re done.

Now, whenever you add a weight-based shipping rate and you switch to using a Shipping Agent rate calculator, you will now have the option of using the New Zealand Post calculator.

If your online store is in New Zealand, the best way you can currently provide postage prices for shipping your products worldwide is to use prepaid ParcelPost bags for shipping to Australia or shipping worldwide… but we’ve just been informed by NZ Post that their shipping API will be extended to incorporate international shipping in early to mid July.  Not long now!

More information about our New Zealand shipping calculator can be found in our knowledge base.

Make yourself Popular with Free Shipping

Everyone loves a bargin or free stuff!

Reward your customers for their loyalty by giving them free shipping. We’ve added a new type of shipping rate that makes this possible for every Spiffy Stores customer.

Until now, shipping rates have been weight-based. We’ve added the capability to define rates based upon the value of the shopping cart. You can define a range of values for the value of the shopping cart and if the cart falls within that range, you can provide a fixed value for the cost of shipping. This value can be $0.00, which is how you specify free shipping.

For example, you can create a rule that provides for free shipping if the customer spends $50 or more.

If no shopping cart value range applies, then the normal weight-based rules will apply.


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