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Shippo introduces new workflow that uses machine learning to make shipping easier

 (Photo: Unsplash)
(Photo: Unsplash)

Shipping has been one of weaker links for e-businesses as standing up to the might of Amazon or Alibaba with a diminutive logistics chain has been a hassle. Unlike the common perspective that consumers have of shipping to be fast and inexpensive, it is neither. Larger logistics giants create a mirage around shipping by making it look economical, when on the contrary, shipping is expensive and can only be made fast by perfecting supply chains over a long time. Shipping is a huge cost to small-time e-businesses, accounting for 15-30% of their total spend.

The challenges sprouted Shippo, a company that provides for the 360-degree needs of shippers and intends to make shipping a more affordable process for businesses through its interactive web-platform. The company has recently brought out a new workflow feature that relies on innovative approaches in machine learning to help customers optimize their own operations and thereby reduce time spent on deciding a label.

“At a glance, the shipping analytics and reporting [feature] will serve as an in-house shipping specialist. Answer basic questions around overall shipping history with stats for spend, current shipments’ status, deliverability, delays, fulfillment times, and how to better optimize carrier and service level choices,” said Simon Kreuz, co-founder at Shippo in a statement.

Scouring actionable data from the shipping processes of Shippo’s customers is hard, since most of its clients are not shipping enough volume to create considerable data points. “Amazon, for instance, is able to use all their data points across all the packages that they’re shipping in order to further optimize their shipping strategy. We want to give businesses of any size access to optimization opportunities through the data points that we’ve gathered, not just for their shipments but for also what we’re seeing for other people’s shipments,” said Kreuz.

Shippo looks into its database to figure out possibilities through which it can help customers from working on redundant tasks. For example, a business could have hundreds of ways of shipping a package from point A to point B, but Shippo assists the client on repetitive tasks on parameters like their package type, service levels required, need for signature confirmation and so on.

The new workflow is a solution that came out after Shippo started conducting intensive research within its customer demographic. “Customers that run an online retail store with the intention of growing their business, account for a large percentage of our signups,” said Kreuz. “The new workflow is one of the results of this research. We started building the new workflow late last year and have been beta testing for several months.”

Shippo has also introduced a multi-user account feature, which would be highly useful in an environment where a business operates from different locations. Primary users of an account can invite other users via email, to a shared Shippo account using their own identifiable information. This creates a frictionless shipping experience across teams, as data can be entered on the platform through different accounts.

This feature eliminates the need for a primary user to share credentials, allowing people on different teams like finance, marketing, or operations to get a view into shipping without sharing the same login and password.

“We estimate that we’re making Shippo 20% faster for our customers. This would save them roughly an hour a week,” said Kreuz. “To calculate this projection, our sweet spot was small businesses that ship package volume into the hundreds per week. We believe the same time-saving projection percentage could also scale to shipping volume in the thousands per week.

Shippo has raised over $29 million in venture capital and power shipping for marketplaces like eBay, OfferUp, GOAT, Depop and Vinted.

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