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Smart Send has spent the past 16 years making parcel deliveries as simple, safe and cost-effective as possible for customers around Australia, and now it’s tailoring its services to assist bike retailers.
The Brisbane-based courier aggregation service has recently launched a new website and accompanying features to help bike retailers easily find cost-efficient options to deliver any type of product.
Its online booking system quickly provides real-time quotes for a range of options, automatically generates the necessary paperwork, and then tracks each package on the customers’ behalf – promptly following up if any items fall behind schedule.
Smart Send founder and Director Steven Visic said it’s all about saving retailers’ time, getting their products delivered safely, on time and for the best prices – while helping to make them look good to their customers.
Smart Send can deliver on these goals because of its unrivalled relationships with many of Australia’s leading transport companies and their innovative solutions to seamlessly and effectively connect retailers to these carriers.
“Our systems simplify and streamline the process of matching each package with the most suitable carrier and service for that item,” Steven said.
With access to seven of Australia’s major carriers, including premium carriers such as DHL Express, Star Track and TNT/Fedex – providing more than 50 domestic services and over 10 international express services – Smart Send removes the need for retailers to shop around for the best option.
Smart Send and its customers are reaping the benefits of Steven and his co-founder Chris Madden being early movers in the courier aggregator industry.
Both had a mountain of experience in the transport industry and identified the opportunity 16 years ago when eBay entrepreneurs and other e-commerce started to gain momentum.
Chris and Steve were working together at Brisbane courier company Hunter Express and constantly encountered customers who were selling items on eBay but were battling to ship their goods cost effectively or easily.
“They were paying top dollar for transport because their items were too big for Australia Post and they couldn’t get a fair deal with other freight services as they were only shipping low volumes,” Steven said.
“We came across it day after day and we thought ‘why can’t we offer a service to these people?’; so we started Smart Send.”
“Hunter Express gave us a go with some prices and services and the business quickly built from there.”
Chris moved into the venture full-time six months later and Steven joined her soon after.
Equipped with plenty of transport industry insight and empathy for the challenges faced by carriers, Chris and Steven steadily built a network of connections with other transport companies and the variety of services Smart Send could offer.
Those relationships with carriers have become increasingly valuable to Smart Send – and its customers – as e-commerce booms and the premier transport operators choose to stick with tried and tested courier aggregator operators.
“Carriers like Startrack, Toll and TNT don’t want to work with aggregators they don’t know. With COVID and e-commerce going through the roof, they have more than enough freight, so they are only going with people they can trust,” Steven added.
“We were the first online aggregator service and we’ve continued to build our relationships with those major carriers.
“I’ve been in the transport industry for over 30 years, Chris has been in the industry for 20 years and all our staff come from the transport industry.
“We understand the potential issues that can happen with parcel pick-ups and deliveries and we take every step to make things happen easily and correctly. Some operators in the industry don’t have the same level of care and support for carriers and, as a result, carriers can be wary of who they deal with and what they’ll transport.”
While Smart Send’s duty of care and attention to detail lifted them above the crowd, Chris and Steven realised a few years ago they needed to step up their operations.
A proliferation of aggregator operators in the small-parcel, low-volume markets – and an improved performance by Australia Post in this area – has made it tougher in recent years.
“We brainstormed our operations and identified what we do particularly well,” Steven said.
“That included our work with bike retailers. We had a growing number of bike retailers using our services, from around the country, and some of them had been with us for over 10 years.
“One of our strengths is dealing with larger and heavier items because of our track record of ensuring correct bookings, packaging and labelling with our customers.
“The carriers trust us. While a lot of transport companies are shying away from oversized items, we have carriers who will move these products at a price that makes it workable for all parties.”
While Smart Send’s track record has built a strong client base that currently includes 37 Australian bike retailers, it’s the company’s continued focus on innovation that is set to significantly build that number.
It is launching a series of industry-leading initiatives that assist bike industry clients.
They include a new website landing page for bicycle retailers, outlining the service options and providing an online calculator that swiftly identifies and prices transport options.
“Retailers just have to jump on our website, put in what they are sending, add the weight and dimensions to the calculator and it instantly comes up with a range of options,” he said.
“The beauty of what we bring to the table lies in the different strengths of the carriers we work with. If a retailer needs to transport a small parcel, our system knows which carriers will offer the best prices and services. When they need to send a whole bike, and to a different part of Australia, we provide a great price for that too.
“It saves retailers the time and effort of jumping from one website to another, spending an hour to find the best price.”
The manager of Roll Cycles in Tasmania, Byron Wallis, said: “We can ship B2B or B2C with Smart Send through a range of road or express services which provides us with competitive shipping options for our customer base and allowed us to ship products we previously weren’t able to send due to their size.”
In the first half of 2022, Smart Send will also launch its ‘proactive customer support’ (PCS), using AI to proactively monitor shipments.
“If retailers have thousands of shipments going out over a month, they don’t have time to check on every one of them. PCS will monitor each of them and make sure they are all on track to be delivered within normal time frames,” Steven explained.
“If they get behind those timeframes, the system automatically lodges the issue with the carrier to find out what’s going on. We will then contact them every day and notify the customer with updates throughout the process until the item is delivered.
“It’s something no one else is doing and it will be a game changer. It helps every brand to look good to their customers. It keeps them ahead of the game, rather than being reactive when a delivery is not made on time.
“The customer is kept up to date and it will help prevent bad reviews on social media for bike retailers.”
Smart Send’s tech services include an application programming interface (API) to align with retailers’ own websites, smoothing the way for real-time quotes and tracking for their customers. There are also pre-built apps/plugins for the Shopify and Woocommerce ecommerce platforms that can be installed in minutes with minimal or no developer experience required.
“Shipping quotes can be provided in real time at the checkout on your site so customers get a range of shipping options to choose from when completing their order,” Steven said.
“Fulfilling orders is just a couple of mouse clicks and that order is fulfilled with us for pick-up and delivery, including shipping label generation and tracking number updates.
“The retailer can track deliveries themselves and an email/text is sent to the parcel recipient so they can follow its progress.
“The API’s particularly benefit bricks and mortar guys who are just coming online. Establishing an online presence is a big thing and there’s so much to learn.
“It’s important retailers’ websites and online services don’t portray them as online novices.”
It’s a subject addressed at length in a how-to guide written by Chris and Steven, Shipping Smarter – A Guide to eCommerce Shipping. The book has become a No. 1 best seller on Amazon since its release in mid-2021.
To find out how Smart Send can assist with your shipping, contact Steve Visic on 0434554677 or at email@example.com, or visit www.smartsend.com.au/bicycle-shipping/ to sign up and get started immediately.
Smart Send can be found in the online YearBook bicycle trade directory.
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