The Past, Present And Future Of Shiptheory

Published 19th May 2021
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This post was written by Shiptheory, a trusted partner of OnBuy.

Shiptheory directly connects to popular carriers and e-commerce platforms to automate shipping. As a Royal Mail Approved Integrator and FedEx Compatible Provider, our web-based app connects to trusted carriers to create a seamless shipping process.

Shiptheory links up with printers and handheld bar code scanners to give you a much faster fulfilment process. Shipping labels and customs documentation are automatically generated and sent to the correct printer in an instant.

1. What's the history behind Shiptheory? When you created the business, what issues were you looking to solve, and what solutions did you create to offer businesses today?

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When we launched Shiptheory as a cloud-based shipping management platform back in 2015, we had already been in the e-commerce shipping space for years. The founders of Shiptheory had created many of the de facto shipping integration for UK carriers, most of which were on-premises solutions at the time. After seeing how critical those early shipping integrations were to online retailers, we decided to pivot to a SaaS model, allowing us to scale both financially and technically.

Our core mission has not changed; everything is built with the idea to remove friction from our customers. We do this by implementing intelligent automation: data automation, labelling and manifest automation, fulfilment automation, and more. What has really changed since the early days of the on-premises shipping integrations is the level of automated intelligence.

2. 'Business as usual' this decade already looks very different. How has Shiptheory risen to the challenges of our times, and how do your clients benefit from that?

Shipment metrics

The pandemic managed to topple almost every expectation for 2020, and businesses faced disruptions at an unimaginable speed and scale. It was clear to us from the very beginning that during these troubling times, it is of the utmost importance to work even more closely with our customers. To develop our platform further and improve our offering, we had first to truly understand our customers' needs, pain-points, and concerns.

By putting their interests first, offering tailormade solutions, and consulting them on best practices, we forged even stronger relationships with our customers and helped them keep ahead of the competition.

At the same time, we are constantly trying to improve our offering by implementing brand new features, integrations, and tools monthly and offering extraordinary customer support 24/7. We don't cut corners; we work hard to provide our customers with the solutions and support they want and need the moment they need them.

The beginning of this decade has presented businesses with significant challenges but also with great opportunities. We are dedicated to our customers' success, and we are geared towards helping them grasp those opportunities and thrive.

3. With eCommerce order volumes continuously on the rise, what is Shiptheory's view on the industry today - consumer needs, the needs of sellers and the demands of logistics overall?

shiptheory products

E-commerce sales are soaring in the last few years, almost eight times the growth rate of brick-and-mortar retail. The pandemic has only accelerated this trend, and in the previous year alone, e-commerce rose from 13 to 17 per cent of total retail.

Along with the enormous increase in e-commerce volumes, customers' expectations are equally increasing significantly. Consumers expect to get goods faster, more flexibly, and at low or no delivery cost. If they can't have that they will switch to a competitor in the blink of an eye; the pandemic has caused an unprecedented shock to brand loyalty.

At the same time, consumers demand a highly personalised experience that is also environmentally friendly. Therefore, it is no surprise that both operating models and profitability are under strain for both sellers and the logistics industry.

As we move towards the end of the pandemic, 2021 will be a year of transition, and businesses can begin to look forward to shaping their futures. But the post-pandemic retail landscape most probably will be different. As people's lives and habits start to settle into the new normal, so does their consumer behaviour. It is unclear whether once the Covid-19 crisis recedes, customers will return to their old shopping habits or if the pandemic will create a new type of consumer.

Our advice to both sellers and carriers is to try and understand their customers deeply. Consumers are more likely to remain loyal to a company with a solid understanding of their concerns, needs, and perspectives; a company that listens to and applies the feedback it receives as soon and as effectively as possible.

4. Britain's exit from the EU has sometimes caused sellers concern over how their best practices need to adapt when shipping overseas. How does Shiptheory support and assist in these instances?

seller metrics

About nine months before the start of the transition period, we began working closely with our channels and carrier partners to ensure full compatibility between our systems while everyone was working on updating their operations and technical specifications to support Brexit. When we started building Brexit related functionality, there was no reliable information from the government or our shipper partners; thus, we were heavily dependent on intuition. 

We created several specialised tools to support our customers shipping to the EU, like our data checking tool that automatically identifies and highlights any issues or omissions in your product data and helps reduce friction when shipping internationally. Starting our preparation for Brexit so early has enabled us to remove considerable friction from our retailers.

At the same time, we began to advise our customers about best practices via a comprehensive Brexit Shipping checklist and a plethora of educational resources in our e-commerce and shipping blog and monthly newsletters. Starting our preparation for Brexit so early has enabled us to remove considerable friction from our retailers.

5. What are the current and forthcoming innovations in shipping and logistics that gets Shiptheory the most excited today? How does this relate to what you offer businesses who work with you?

packaging graphics

The pandemic has transformed commerce across the globe and massively accelerated the transition to digital channels already underway. However, for many e-commerce retailers, the best course for long-term growth lies in expanding their sales cross-border.

To successfully sell internationally requires not only having the proper logistical support but also necessitates data-exchange automation. One of the positive outcomes of the last year is that both retailers and carriers were forced to accelerate their digital transformation and become more tech-savvy.

We believe that automated dataflows are the way forward, and we are excited to see that sellers, platforms, and carriers are investing in it. Data exchange automation will help online sellers not only to stay on top of the ever-changing world of taxes, duties, and shipping regulations but to create a best-in-class customer experience as well

Unfortunately, logistics data standards have yet to become common practice across the industry, as carriers tend to store their data in different formats and places. 

Thus, another significant logistics innovation we are eager to see in the near future would be the creation of universal standards for the digitalisation of data and interoperability. These standards will dictate how data should be recorded, stored, and shared, making collaboration and insights extraction a simple and straightforward process.

Here at Shiptheory, we follow all the latest logistics innovations closely and implement them in our platform as soon as possible. That way, and by working closely with our channel and carrier partners, we can offer our customers the most advanced, up-to-date shipping management solutions.

6. What are the future goals and plans for Shiptheory going forward - and what would you like to inform both eCommerce sellers and your clients in closing?

shiptheory applications

We think we've done a great job solving the issues around outgoing shipping for our retailers. While we will continue to adapt as the industry continues to evolve, the next point of focus for us is return logistics. Customers will simply not buy from you if you don't have a flexible returns policy in place. However, to provide a robust returns policy, retailers need the infrastructure to back them up, and that's what we will be focusing on solving over the next year.

About Shiptheory

who sellers use shiptheroy

Shiptheory is a cloud-based shipping management platform that connects retailers with the world’s best carriers like Royal Mail, USPS, FedEx, DPD, and more, to automate shipping labels, manifests, and tracking. With Shiptheory, you can automatically import all your orders from your OnBuy account, allowing processing from a single platform that offers multiple-user support, advanced reporting features, and an excellent customer support team.

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