The e-commerce business space is as interesting as it is complex, involving different segments across its logistics division to facilitate a seamless delivery process. Over the years, it has become increasingly easier to create online storefronts, with the building blocks for essential infrastructure being made readily available to interested sellers.
E-commerce platforms like Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce provide clients with flexible cloud solutions that allow them to grow rapidly and innovate with limited resources. But then, the logistics is not all sunshine when it comes to shipping products, with a lot of friction existing in the shipping domain that needs a process revamp.
Enter Shippo, a company that infuses technology into shipping by empowering marketplaces, warehouses and e-commerce storefronts through an interactive dashboard that provides for the shipping needs of businesses.
“We offer a unified technology layer to connect with all the shipping providers, get different shipping rates, compare shipping labels, get tracking information, bills and customs documents - everything that a business needs with regard to shipping,” says Laura Behrens Wu, CEO, and co-founder of Shippo. “Our goal is to be the one-stop shop for e-commerce stores who are looking to provide the best shipping solution to their customers.”
Shippo helps e-commerce stores to concentrate on what they are good at - building stores, marketing their brand, and selling products - while taking away the burden of figuring out shipping logistics.
“These days, Amazon and Amazon Prime have really taught online shoppers to expect free and fast shipping,” notes Behrens Wu. “But at the same time, there is this inflection point in the market, where smaller and mid-sized businesses who aren’t at the scale of Amazon, can’t meet such expectations from shoppers.”
Being a technology company with various business units, Amazon has the reserves to offer services like Prime for a meager subscription amount. For example, AWS is hugely profitable for Amazon, and that helps pay for the shipping costs in e-commerce, feels Behrens Wu.
“Most of our customers don’t have such business units and have to pay for the shipping costs themselves. This makes them go out and look for different and more innovative solutions to help them meet those kinds of customer expectations.”
The innovation that Shippo brings to the table is possible because it draws its roots from fresh perspectives coupled with in-depth shipping knowledge. “I was working in the marketing division of a FinTech startup before starting Shippo, and thus, I don’t have direct shipping experience,” explains Behrens Wu.
“This helped me to really look at the shipping problem in a different light and not within the frameworks that this problem has been tackled before. We understood what the e-commerce stores need today from their shipping software and built that without any constraints, in a way it has never been done before.”
Right from its initial MVP, Shippo’s vision has remained the same - making the process of shipping as frictionless as possible. And in that broader scope, lies a lot of intricate details that need to be addressed for a product to function seamlessly. For instance, a lot of developers in e-commerce stores are not logistics experts, and thus, Shippo had to provide an API solution that could be integrated into their system within minutes.
“We look at shipping as an end-to-end experience. It is not something that just touches the seller, since even the buyer interacts with shipping as it is one of the main decision making factors in e-commerce,” adds Behrens Wu.
Looking to the future, Shippo has a lot of plans with regard to providing universal coverage to every single shipping provider on the platform. That apart, Shippo aims to create a two-sided platform where people could build on their own as well, as opposed to the company doing all the integration work by itself.
The company has not indulged in a lot of brand-related marketing yet, and Behrens Wu states that it would be one of their focus for the next year, other than accelerating the business and expanding internationally. Shippo has raised $20 million in Series-B funding last spring and has the strong backing of various investors and VCs. The startup’s product is currently being used by over 15,000 companies with an impressive year-over-year growth of 71% per customer since last year.
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