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It’s been over two years since we have updated the Shipwire Terms of Service and Business Policies and we’ve made a lot of changes to our service offerings since our last update. Today, we’re giving notice to our users about updates to our Terms and Policies. The updates will be effective on May 1, 2014.

The new Terms of Service and Business Policies are available here. For reference, the old Terms can be found here.

We know how important these types of updates are to you and we want to help you understand them. Here is a walk-through of some of the major changes:

We hope you’ll read the complete and updated Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Business Policies, and that you’ll agree these simplifications make the information more approachable. Rest assured, we have not changed any of our commitments to serve your business and we will never sell your personal information.

And of course, your feedback is important to us! If you have feedback please submit it here for our legal team to review.

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Shipwire Customer Angry Birds on the Main Stage (Copyright Magento)

Magento Imagine 2013 is Magento Commerce’s annual conference in Vegas. They put on a great show in 2012. They sold out this year so it should be similarly awesome.

Nate and Evan from Shipwire will be in attendance at Magento Imagine this year.

It is going to be exciting to learn from keynotes including Daily Grommet’s CEO Jules Pieri, pretty much all the Magento family executives and it looks like we’ll figure out if Purina Marketing eats its own dog food.

We’ve been attending this event for years and in 2012 we even shot this awesome video with Rovio’s Niklas Kari as he was being bombarded by Angry Birds.

Shipwire will be there representing our popular Magento fulfillment shipping module. If you are thinking about outsourced warehousing and want to plug into Magento, check out our newly rebuilt Magento integration page (link above).

Viva Las Vegas

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It seems that every second day you see a new negative press mention of USPS being bankrupt, closing a branch, arguing with congressional regulators over how to manage the business, or making a case in the press that their pension costs are being incorrectly allocated (aka, we are not bankrupt). The end result has been confusion, and probably some difficulty for regional postmasters everywhere in working with their customers.

Today, the USPS did something fantastic. They saved Saturday parcel deliveries.

Yes, I know they ended Saturday letter mail deliveries. Some important mail like pension and social security checks come on Saturday. But, it’s mostly junk mail being delivered on Saturday. So today the USPS said “we love you” to ecommerce.

Why is this so important that I think it’s fantastic? Simple: the USPS was the best low-cost option to deliver an ecommerce order on Saturday without paying UPS or Fedex Saturday delivery fees. This means that for the largest growing part of the USPS revenue – small parcel – they have loudly declared, “we are going to be the best!”


My bet is that now the regional postmasters and many of their sales teams will be more able to work with parcel shippers and global carriers with much more certainty.

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The carriers have a holiday gift for all their loyal shipping customers – rate increases.

Just like last year, and 2011-10, and (2009), and…wait for it…2008.

It’s the same dance every year

Step 1: Announce rate increases in January, with very small discount in fuel surcharge.

Step 2: Sometime between May and June, eliminate the fuel surcharge discount when summer comes. Effectively claw back the fuel surcharge “discount” earlier in the year and hope nobody notices that the fuel surcharge will actually increase for the year (hint…we notice).

Bonus Step 3: Hope everybody forgets by the holiday season so next years rate hikes can be announced (usually in November) and the dance can start over.

How do you reduce costs?
Years ago, we wrote a missive on how to cut your shipping costs, that is still accurate. A few year’s later we wrote about tactics to
reduce shipping costs.

Here are the rate increases this year:
This year UPS and Fedex are increasing ground parcel shipping rates by on average 4.9%.

Internet Retailer, summed it up nicely:

that the lighter the package, the higher the rate increase. And because most online retailers ship packages of 30 pounds or less, their average rate increase will run higher than 4.9%… “Overall, most e-commerce retailers will have a rate increase of about 7% or 8%,” he says. For shipments forwarded by UPS and FedEx to the United States Postal Service for local residential deliveries under the USPS’s Parcel Select program, the USPS is increasing shipping rates by about 9%, effective Jan. 27, the USPS says.

In addition, UPS and FedEx are increasing for 2013 surcharges and accessorial fees, such as surcharges for delivering to residential addresses and fees for handling packages with incorrect address labels. …UPS and FedEx will impose a surcharge of $2.80 for delivering to a residential address, up about 10% from $2.55 in 2012. The shipping carriers also tack on additional surcharges for residential addresses in remote areas. Other surcharges in 2013 will include $12 for correcting an address, up from $11 in 2012

UPS will also increase its rates for air and international shipments by 6.5%, which will drop to 4.5% with a two percentage point reduction in the fuel surcharge.

At FedEx, air shipments via FedEx Express will rise by an average of 3.5% after decreases in fuel surcharges, the company says.

More links

  • UPS 2013 rate increase change end of December 2012
  • Fedex 2013 rate increase change in January 2013
  • USPS 2013 rate increases change in January 2013
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    Each year we polish our crystal ball, meditate on the audacity of Nostradamus and swing for the fences with our annual e-commerce predictions. The big trends are continuing to be social, mobile, and local, with a healthy dollop of curated commerce with a free shipping cherry on top. But there are some other big trends that we see a lot of users experiencing.

    Predicting the future is fun because nobody really gets ruffled when you miss it a bit. Last year I put together some e-commerce predictions for the last year, hit a few, missed a number. Feel free to take a gander and let me know how I did.

    1. E-commerce #WINNING
    “Did you know that in the past few years they have added an additional 36 hours to the last shipping cut off date for online orders to arrive before Christmas?” was the question posed to me my stepfather, Bailey, at the Christmas dinner table. I’m rarely surprised by a shipping quote; but, this one made me raise an eyebrow. I haven’t been able to find the data point; but, his point is pretty valid – you can order later, carrier cut-off times are later, and delivery is faster for best-selling items. It pretty much sums up why e-commerce is winning. Today it is a better experience and more convenient than offline. And Bailey isn’t even an Amazon Prime subscriber. Three people at the table (of 6) subscribe to Prime, they accounted for 75% of the consumer spending and a rough poll of their holiday spending habits shows almost all non-foodstuff being bought online with a huge percentage coming from Amazon. All digital goods came from Amazon and two Kindles were gifts. Is it game over for traditional offline retailers in 2013? Or will they live a few more years? The impact is going to be huge and it’s not just for retailers. Jeff Jordan (A16Z.com, eBay fame, very in the know) just wrote Why Malls are Getting Mauled, where he discusses the impact on commercial real estate.

    2. The world won’t end in 2013… but it will be volatile.
    Plan accordingly. The Mayans predicted that they would need to etch another calendar sometime around 12/21/12 to plan for the new epoch. Great, new calendar for a new year… makes sense. In the present we get to look back at the last 5 years, tighten our seatbelt a little, and strap in for another wild ride. The markets are volatile, economies are heavily subsidized, countries are touchy about manufacturing, and taxes and the big online players are hungry and sitting on war chests. We’re also seeing consumers getting increasingly well-informed, e-commerce sites getting more intelligent, and capital markets looking for winners. Expect to see the Titans continue to clash and e-commerce is going to be a scorched earth battle ground in 2013. It will be awesome and consumers will be the winners.

    3. Target and personalize to me, don’t bury me with options… oh and make that deal sweet right now because I’m a VIP member.
    New online-only retailers that have garnered a lot of sales over the past few years have been curated commerce companies. We all know about Fab.com, OneKingsLane, and Gilt. But vertical-specific companies like The Clymb and Huckberry are carving out their own vertical niche. In 2012 we saw a few new ones like sneakpeeq.com sprint out with new flavors of crowdsourced and socially-driven curated commerce. Part private-sale, part curated-commerce, part flash-sale, and part social commerce, sites like these are innovating quickly and attracting product brands to their distribution channels. The key is motivating buyers to look for deals on great pre-selected inventory and motivating immediate buying at the cross section of limited inventory and great deal with free shipping. The more personalization in the catalog, the better. Shoppers want sites to know their past purchases, know what their friends bought, and the initial page looked at to have the right product for them… followed by quick checkout. They won’t buy until they know others have liked the product with reviews and social reinforcement. Sites like Fab realize the value of curated e-commerce and so do others, which has even led to the recent lawsuit of Touch of Modern by Fab. The real future here is anticipating my needs based on past buying behaviors and inspiring me to think I want it…”Inception Commerce” anybody?

    3D printing growth

    4. Custom, on-demand, and just for me… now you’re talking.
    One size doesn’t fit all and one style just isn’t for me. People don’t often talk about Shapeways, Bonobos, and Indochino in the same sentence, but there are similarities around inventory risk that makes for a better business model. Bonobos has a catalog that is niche and targeted with exceptional value-add with Zappos shipping speeds, costs, and support. Vertically integrated from design to manufacture. Shapeways and Indochino take it a step further: they are growing e-commerce sites that allow the buyer to dictate exactly what they want and the company has ZERO inventory risk with just-in-time manufacturing to fit the desires of the buyer. Shapeways prints on-demand using 3D printers (How cool is that!). Indochino custom-makes me a suit and shirts in 28 days. Neither company invests in inventory (other than materials). I like them both because I get to specify what I want in exchange for a small delay to get it.

    5. Sell it, then build it… and lets get all of our friends to pay for it.
    In a similar vein to custom on-demand commerce, if your inner entrepreneur has a great product idea, you no longer have to gamble all on your own to bring it to life. Welcome to crowdfunding with Kickstarter, Indigogo, and RocketHub. Ideas are becoming global brands before they ever get built. Take Pebble and Elevation Dock, two products that have raised millions of dollars in funding, and gained huge renown for creating great products. This model will only keep gaining traction. Product innovation is no longer only in the hands of huge multinationals. Don’t think this will be huge? Think again, the Federal government just passed special legislation in the Jobs Act to loosen securities and exchange requirements for startups to attract funding from groups of individual investors. Crowdfunding is here to stay and I for one am really thankful that Kickstarter tightened their requirements for projects so risks are more apparent. Crowdfunding is growing up fast and going global.

    Forrester online commerce growth6. Local isn’t just for food and services. I also support local “small business” brands.
    Local deals were all the rage a few years ago (just think Groupon, Living Social, etc.) and marvel at the velocity of the local deals growth. But local is also very important for product sales. Just look at the huge press given to Amazon, eBay, and Google Same Day Delivery. Local Curated Commerce is more than just “products near me”; it’s products with a local flavor that are niche, special, curated, and reinforced with trends like social reinforcement and curation that I mentioned above. Enter Scoutmob.com and the daily deal sites going local (see Giltcity.com). I open Scoutmob emails because they have an eye on the trends that are going to run me over on my block. I also really like what my friends over at GoodEgg.com have going to create a platform for local food to go right to my taste buds. Local will always have a part in commerce, it’s nice to see it getting attention and investment.

    Hubspot research... buying on Facebook not there yet7. Social and mobile commerce is in its infancy and it’s already huge.
    F-commerce wasn’t a failure… it’s just sitting there waiting for somebody to figure it out. Same with Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest commerce. The eyes and wallets are hanging out there like a school of fish waiting for a lure to bite on. Soldsie.com is turning every comment into a sales opportunity. Payvment tried a mall, now they are trying a wall with Lish.com. The shopping carts are feeding catalogs, images, and Buy Now buttons into social networks. Want to see explosive growth with social and mobile? Check out PoshMark.com – they just turned every woman’s closet and iPhone into a giant clothing swap. Mobile commerce isn’t huge, it’s freaking gigantic. Every retailer in the game has got a play and even the word ‘mobile’ is changing faster than you can say “iPad sales this year crushed all expectations.”

    8. Buy today, get it yesterday… aka, I forgot I subscribed to that.
    A few years ago for April Fools we announced we had invented predictive commerce – buy today and get it shipped with second day before yesterday shipping service. Hilarious, except it’s now here. Look beyond the same-day-delivery being tested in major markets by retailers and you see subscription commerce. Amazon has subscribe and save. There is also Shoedazzle, Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, Beachmint, Foodzie… the list just goes on and on. Special shout out to my neighbors TheThingQuarterly.com who give the whole subscription model an artistic publication flair. So what is the trend? “Outsource my thinking.” I thought I wanted something today but my subscription service put it in the mail two days ago and I just need to open the door and check the mail (bonus points for not tripping on it as I get out the door in the am).

    9. Wait, I’m paying tax on that online purchase?
    States are broke and e-commerce is taking a lot of revenue from sales taxes. A collision has occurred and the states want a cut of what gets bought online. We’ve watched Amazon be a skillful boxer over the past few years as they bobbed and weaved around online taxes. Last year, they didn’t give up – they went all in. They traded taxes for local commerce and delivery times. Local retail will never be the same. Lockers to pick-up goods, Amazon Prime, Kiva robots, and massive warehouses full of product right outside of most major metropolitan areas all mean there is a sea of change about to happen in local commerce. Walmart, Target, BestBuy, and every local retailer sees it coming and probably still won’t know what hit them. Who will be the winners? Consumers.

    2011-2017 Global e-commerce growth is huge.10. There is a whole world of sales out there and it’s actually right next door.
    Brands will continue to realize their customers are everywhere, even if there’s a different language getting in the way. Barriers to entry for more and more smaller brands are being eroded by availability of cloud-connected storage and fulfillment locations all over the world. Case in point: Fruit Ninja is created by an English-speaking firm in Australia, but more than 2/3 of all their merchandise customers are in China. If they hadn’t explored internationalizing their products they wouldn’t be where they are.

    11. Brands and retailers deepen their coopetition.
    They need each other. One innovates for products, the other innovates for distribution. They both want to push risk and costs back and forth. Direct-to-consumer e-commerce continues to evolve and retailers are hacking at each other and asking trusted product partners for unique products and variants. Just look at Target asking its product suppliers to offer unique product variations so walk-in customers stop storefronting. For the last few years we’ve consistently emphasised that brands should throw their weight around more by developing better direct-to-consumer experiences and rely less on retailers. It’s happening… slowly.

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    Some of us at Shipwire have grown some whiskers this year in support of “Movember”. If you feel up to it, it’s a great cause and you can make a small donation to the Shipwire Movember page.

    What is Movember?

    As explained to my mother over Thanksgiving by my good friend (and favorite Australian raised in New Zealand) Zoe:

    “A bunch of Auzzies got sloshed one night in a bar and thought it would be a great idea to grow mustaches for 30 days to bring awareness to male health issues. They called it Movember. It was just ridiculous enough that it caught on with other guys in bars and some years later is a worldwide phenomena. And that is why your son has come to Thanksgiving dinner with that ridiculous looking mustache, that you can’t even really see, and he’s very proud of it.”

    Absent the clear jib at my inability to grow facial hair, Wikipedia basically agrees with that definition of Movember.

    Want to participate?
    We are entering the end of November and while it is a blessing for all itchy noses everywhere to shave this thing off soon, we wanted to take a few minutes to show our progress (or lack there over) and offer you a chance to participate.

    Movember is all about awareness. If there is one thing that anybody can do, it’s to talk to your loved ones about male health issues such as prostate cancer.

    • Donate to Movember, their site clearly indicates where all the money goes.
    • Talk to your fathers, brothers, uncles and friends about getting a checkup. Especially if they are over 40.
    • Go to a Movember event, or just forward out this blog post.

    Ready for some ridiculous facial hair?

    Shipwire is proud to present our Movember team – Jeremy, Nate, Dimitri and Charlie. Yup, you have to have some faith to see Nate and Charlies…but it’s there…really!

    Given the poor lighting for that photo, Charlie and I thought a few closeups should be merited.

    "It's right there"

    "How could something so not visible itch so much?"

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    Maybe it was the idea of camping in a bar? Maybe it was our love of partying in loft spaces? Maybe it was the idea of gathering in the “spring” in New York City? Perhaps it was that we’ve seen a lot of requests for a PrestaShop connection?

    It was actually all of the above.

    Shipwire and PrestaShop are getting ready to party together … on many levels. A PrestaShop connection is in the works and the Shipwire team will be at PrestaShop’s BarCamp 2012 in NYC this March 20th.

    Module is coming soon
    Very soon Shipwire and PrestaShop will release a module that connects a PrestaShop powered store to Shipwire.

    If you want to be invited to the beta of this module and get the announcement of its general availability please take 30 seconds and sign up for the notification list. PrestaShop Order Fulfillment list.

    We appreciate your patience. We very much appreciate your tweeting this, sharing this and generally helping us raise the awareness level.

    BarCamp…Party Time
    If you have never been to a “BarCamp” or “unconference” you will be impressed. I’ve found that they go deeper into issues than traditional conferences and have a much higher level of participation. The overall day is structured; but, the coordination and the audience are empowered to take the conference topics in new directions…based on the audience need.

    Here are the relevant details for PrestShop’s BarCamp in March. If you are in NYC in March consider dropping in.

    This will be PrestaShop’s first BarCamp in the USA. The 5th one globally. It will be hosted in New York City’s 82Mercer. There will be presentations and workshops all day.

    Sign up for free on the Barcamp website!

    The program looks rock solid and Shipwire’s own Kenny Lim will be talking about methods to globalize your shipping. Take my word for it, that the workshops at BarCamps are really amazing. PrestaShop really wants this to be a hands-on experience.

    See you in New York.

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