Return Shipping Arrangement:

The capabilities you choose to implement will inform the processes you follow—as well as the technology you select. While there are hundreds of subtle process permutations based on the capabilities we’ve covered, here are the common high-level steps.

 

1. Aggregate and Manage Order Information

aggregate

Getting the order information from your selling environment(s) into your shipping environment and preparing them for shipment. Including, but not limited to:

  • Validate addresses
  • Confirm inventory
  • Check customer and internal notes
  • Combine orders from the same customer
  • Split orders going to multiple addresses
  • Assign orders to categories
  • Apply rules/mapping
  • Mark as drop shipped
  • Sort and/or filter orders by:
    • Warehouse location
    • Number of items
    • Order date
    • Weight
    • Domestic/international
    • Residential/commercial
    • Other attributes relevant to your process
  • Manage inventory and communicate levels to selling platform

Basic functionality: No shipping platform available

In the most basic shipping environment, there is no shipping platform—everything tends to be managed via the selling platform(s) and the carrier’s website (e.g., UPS Worldship or FedEx Shipment Manager) or PC Postage provider (e.g., Stamps.com or Endicia). In this case, you would simply log into your selling platform (into each one, one at a time, if there are more than one) and print your packing slip(s), then move to the next step. In some selling platforms (e.g., eBay, Amazon, Etsy), labels can be generated directly from that platform for orders generated there.

Advanced functionality: Shipping platform available

In this case, your shipping platform receives the order data via the Application Programming Interface (API—a software interface that allows one system to easily send and receive data from another system) from the selling platform(s) in real time, including the customer-selected shipping option, customer address, customer messages, order split/merge information, and item weight and dimension measurements, when available. If multiple selling platforms are used, a good shipping solution can aggregate order data from all of them into a single view.

  • Your shipping platform updates inventory levels based on order data received from selling platform and actual shipment
  • To guide automated processes, shipping administrator(s) can manage order data by filtering and sorting
  • Multiple administrators can view and manage specific groups of orders, communicate with each other, and collaborate to prep orders for picking, packing, and shipping
  • Your shipping solution applies rules to order data to automate decision-making and repetitive tasks
  • Your shipping solution creates related pick lists, packing slips, and shipping labels, and readies them to print. A good shipping solution allows you to design your pick lists, packing slips, and mailing labels to lay out various data elements from the shipping platform