The Ins and Outs of Shipping Discounts With Christine Fede

Discover shipping discounts with Christine Fede, a Shipping and Supply Chain Specialist at Pitney Bowes.
Christine Fede

Christine Fede is a Shipping and Supply Chain Specialist at Pitney Bowes. With over twenty years of experience in logistics, ten of those as an award-winning executive at FedEx Services, she is a supply chain solutions expert. She is currently pursuing a Master of Business degree at Nichols College. Her specialty is redesigning and optimizing workflows to reduce waste and gain efficiency. In this Q&A, Christine provides valuable insight into shipping discounts on every level and the best ways to take advantage of them.

How can businesses obtain shipping discounts?

“Both FedEx and UPS have discount savings programs just for signing up for an account (30% off and up). The FedEx Advantage Program is another way to save even more (50%) with American Express and other partners. The UPS Store has membership discounts for associations like AAA, AARP, and others. Both FedEx and UPS offer flat-rate pricing based on weight or distance. The programs differ according to the carrier and are best leveraged for heavier items. Lastly, by using our cloud-based shipping software, Pitney Bowes clients instantly access deep discounts with USPS and UPS without a minimum shipping volume threshold or annual commitment needed. As a result, their packages are priced competitively, delivered reliably, and assessed fewer surcharges. So, a few things are available to customers: signing up for a FedEx or UPS account or a specific reward program where you can earn gift cards and merchandise or using a shipping platform like PitneyShip Pro.”

Are volume discounts available?

“There are volume discounts, but those must be negotiated directly with the carrier, so you would need to engage with your FedEx or UPS rep to negotiate a company-specific contract. The discounts driven by volume are called “earned discounts”. With earned discounts, you receive extra savings in addition to contract-negotiated discounts. However, these are usually based on a rolling 52-week average, making it challenging to forecast what the reduced costs will be.”

How can shipping software help?

“Pitney Bowes Shipping Software will multi-carrier rate shop, print carrier-compliant labels, track packages, impose business rules, and run reports, alleviating the need to visit multiple websites. Our clients save time and money by using a single user-friendly cloud-based platform to compare carrier rates based on delivery standards, making it much easier to choose the most cost-effective method. But the savings don’t stop there. Regarding the post office, for example, Pitney Bowes software offers attractive, wholesale pricing (lower than published commercial rates) for several services. Plus, you can eliminate old-fashioned green cards and save $1.25 per piece. (Savings increase to $1.35/piece on July 9th). Through a group partnership, we can also pass through competitive UPS rates and surcharge reductions for companies that do not already have a UPS discount. These Digital Access Program rates are only available when you use shipping software. So, as you can see, multi-carrier shipping software is invaluable for any business, allowing it to create more efficiencies and a cost-effective shipping strategy. Automation saves time and reduces administrative burdens. It even improves customer service because recipients are notified when their package ships. There’s a ripple effect to this. Good customer service equals loyalty and repeat sales. Finally, shipping software can help businesses comply with regulations, process mail, and packages according to laws and regulations, and avoid costly fines and penalties.”

What’s the most important thing shippers should know?

“The fact that they can negotiate everything. Whatever the company’s size, I usually advise understanding the organization’s data and the company’s cost drivers for shipping before entering any negotiation. Arm yourself with data because the carriers will do the same. In other words, do you usually ship to certain cities/zones? If you don't ship to California that often but have a satellite office in Illinois, you might not mind paying a higher rate for Los Angeles to get a better rate for Chicago. Are you shipping to residences? If so, there are extra fees for that, that you may be able to mitigate. Are signatures required? Negotiate that fee. And so on. You see where I’m heading. Finally, people don’t always consider the dim factor or fuel — which are also negotiable.”

What can shippers do differently to save money?

"First, avoid buying at the post office. Though the post office provides complimentary packaging and crisp labels, this convenience is expensive. Discounts are only available with shipping software. A business, or even an individual who ships more than once a week, shouldn't pay retail rates. Second, choose proper product packaging to avoid getting “dimmed” and paying for empty space. Third, choose the right service based on the day of the week and delivery standards (i.e., understand that by using a 2-day service on a Thursday, the package will not arrive on Monday, so maybe the post office is a less expensive and faster option in this instance). Lastly and most importantly, be open to changing your process. The “if it ain’t broke, don't fix it” logic may be ok for my 2011 Honda Pilot, but it doesn't work for shipping. Just because you have always done something a certain way does not mean it cannot be improved. Why pay more or waste valuable time visiting multiple sites to compare rates, notify customers, and track packages? Let the software do the heavy lifting while you reclaim your time, save money, and focus on your core competency. By reducing shipping costs, saving time, improving customer satisfaction, and complying with regulations, multi-carrier shipping software can help businesses be more successful and profitable."

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