For the past two years, Shyp has been ramping up its efforts to appeal to businesses as a go-to, more simplified shipping service. That started off with a big partnership with eBay to help sellers ship their products. And that’s continuing today with a new model for business shipments that caters directly toward sellers looking to move a large number of products.
Starting today, Shyp is rolling out a few updates to its business tools, including lifting the total number of packages businesses can ship when they schedule a pickup. Now businesses can continue to ship their traditional package count — originally capped at 20 — or more than a thousand without having to call multiple couriers.
Business users used to basically set up several accounts and call multiple couriers in order to ship all the products they wanted to ship, Gibbon said. So in a sense, Shyp’s user base was bending the app in order to create a new use case that while painful to execute was still more convenient than traditional shipping methods. And when that happens, it usually means it’s time to call in the product team and figure out how to cater to those customers.
“From our business perspective it’s really, really important to go after a lot of these businesses and scale as they scale their business,” CEO Kevin Gibbon said. “Every business is really different and they are asking for different things. Right now where we’re at, we’re definitely in the lower end of the market. Even 1000 shipments per month are very low volume, but a lot of businesses are asking for different things. API access, a way to ingest a lot of orders in the same time, a lot of businesses who sell on multiple platforms. That’s something we’re not great at right now, but that’s something we’re gonna continue focusing on.”
Shyp’s been busy turning around its business in the past few months. From an extensive integration with eBay for sellers, to new packaging pricing and another fee for online returns, the company isn’t just a one-size-fits-all delivery service that charges just $5 per shipment. And that makes sense. Simply making money off the distance between the shipping fee and a bulk volume shipping discount isn’t necessarily enough to make up for a huge variability in kinds of shipments. It doesn’t make sense to charge the same thing to ship a TV as it does for a small gift, for example.
Shyp needs to increasingly cater to businesses. Instead of using the service a few times a year to ship something — like a Christmas gift — that consumers would normally do, businesses can ship hundreds (or thousands, or more) products every month. Getting all those packages at once, in one place, makes it easier to negotiate bulk shipment deals and reduces the logistical overhead to move stuff from A to B. That lowers Shyp’s overall costs, which the company has been trying to do for some time in order to prove it has a sustainable business model.
This all started with a pilot program to help eBay sellers get their products out the door more easily in the company’s core markets. The data it got from that is basically helping the company not only start building programs like this, but also to figure out where to next expand — with Shyp adding 21 new zip codes in its existing markets today. And for many sellers, eBay isn’t the single stop for their customers, so expanding beyond and managing multiple sales channels is going to be increasingly important for a company like Shyp.
Shyp’s traditional network didn’t make a lot of sense for going beyond those 20 package pickups. With couriers racing around the city, they might simply not have the capacity or capability to pick up more than 20 packages. Shyp basically has to rethink the whole process — one person can’t be individually picking up and labeling every single package if it’s a big bulk shipment for it to be operationally efficient for Shyp.
Like other startups targeting small businesses, the hope for Shyp is naturally to grow up with the customer. An individual Shopify seller might only ship a few products a month, but if they end up growing into a legitimate large business, that brand loyalty may keep them using Shyp even when they hit thousands of deliveries every month or more.
“You get a customer that’s not worth a lot of money to you initially, but as they scale it can be very meaningful,” Gibbon said. “For us, going after these businesses from a profitability standpoint is just a no-brainer. You’re able to spread a similar labor cost across much more items.