The budget crunch and ensuing reduction of resources that the United States Postal Service has endured has forced the government agency to rethink the way it provides services. In other words, the demanding and competitive shipping industry is forcing the USPS to adapt by becoming more efficient, or risk dying out. One such way the USPS is attempting to keep up with the demand for swifter, more reliable service is through the exploration and integration of the USPS and the Internet of Postal Things (IoPT).
According to a report released by the Office of Inspector General of the United States Postal Service:
“The Internet of Things refers to interconnecting networks of physical objects embedded with digital sensors that can collect, transmit, and act upon a wide variety of data. The Office of Inspector General, in conjunction with IBM, examined how this technology could be applied to create an Internet of Postal Things (IoPT) that could increase efficiency, lower costs, generate revenue, and improve customer service.”
Each month, FedEx®, UPS®, DHL® and regional carriers such as OnTrac® and Eastern Connection® publish their Ground and Air fuel surcharge rates. Whether the rates remain the same, increase or decrease these charges could have a significant impact on your transportation budget throughout the year.
In effort to keep up with the reigning king of e-Commerce, otherwise known as Amazon, Target’s new “available to promise” 2-3 day shipping program has been launched as a test program. This new delivery feature lets customers know more precisely when their orders will arrive, with the goal of delivery being within 2-3 days. Currently, Target is using just 140 of its more than 1,700 stores nationwide to fulfill online orders, but plans to use as many as 450 stores to fulfill online orders by the end of 2015.
The “available to promise” program is designed so that items arrive in just a few days, as opposed to 7-10 days. Perhaps more importantly, consumers will have a more precise idea of when to expect the items. Under the “available to promise” test program, Target’s online shoppers receive an email following their order which lets them know exactly where their shipment is, and enables them to track their purchases as they make their way through the network.
As online shopping becomes increasingly favorable among customers, omnichannel retailers who integrate in-store inventory to be fulfilled from brick-and-mortar locations with the ecommerce website see more profit. Period.
Some stats about retailers who implement ship-from-store strategies: