It seemed obvious, when you set up your business, that shipping would be one of the easiest functions of the operation. The mail carrier comes to your house and business every day, and in the past you’ve given him or her letters or boxes to be shipped.
It was all simple enough, so it’s easy to understand why people rarely see it coming in business: shipping high quantities of items to worldwide locations is actually quite a challenging task for most businesses!
But we now live in a world where mobile technologies are all around us, even in our pocket. Smartphones allow a greater level of productivity and management than at any other time in human history. And along with smartphone technology comes their greatest asset: applications.
Take a look at these five shipping apps that make shipping easier for online business owners.
1. Avery Universal Package Tracker
The awesome thing about the app that Avery has put together is that you can track shipments across many of the shipping carriers are typically used by corporate customers. UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, and others can be found here, all accessible within a single app.
You can key in a tracking number individually or track many items at once, across many carriers. This app is available on Apple iPhone, Google Android, but may not be out on BlackBerry just yet. We would also be surprised if they do not make a mobile app for Windows Phone eventually, as that platform grows in popularity.
2. FedEx Mobile
This is a pretty cool app that generates shipping labels and can get you shipping rates. And since it’s associated with FedEx, you’ll be able to access their website from within the app, and track anything you’ve mailed.
The updating is literally up-to-the-minute, and quite handy if you’re in a situation when you’re eagerly awaiting the successful arrival of a package. They have this app on the platforms of Apple iPhone, Google Android, and RIM Blackberry.
Again, we would be quite surprised if they did not make their mobile app available to the users of the Windows Phone, since that platform is steadily gaining market share.
3. UPS Mobile
UPS has always been a leader in shipping, and their app will always be one of the best. The downside is that they’re going to focus on their shipping company and shipped items only, which may not work if you need to use many different vendors. But if you do all your shipping through UPS, then this app will work well for you.
Inside the app is a directory to UPS retail locations, which can come in handy in a pinch. Like other apps, you can track all your UPS shipments, make labels for your items, and get estimates of costs to ship and the varying delivery times across the world. This app is available on Apple iPhone, Google Android, RIM Blackberry, and potentially soon on Windows Phone.
4. USPS Mobile
The USPS Mobile app is available on Apple iPhone, Google Android, and RIM Blackberry currently. Similar to the UPS app, it’s a great way to track anything mailed via USPS offices and find retail locations and kiosks nearby.
5. Custom applications and software
If you have a specific type of business that requires specialized shipping solutions such as shipping storage containers, you’ll need a vendor who can provide that custom technology and software for your business.
Software typically isn’t cheap, but the prices are coming down compared with the past, and the opportunity to increase revenue and decrease expenses over the long haul will make it worth the investment!