How small businesses can level the playing field

Five winning strategies to help your growing business compete with industry giants.

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If the thought of going up against bigger competitors with deeper pockets seems daunting, there’s hope. Here are five simple ways you can to provide better customer service, increase sales, and look just as professional as any big enterprise shipper.

1. Make your software systems talk to each other. Fast-growing Solar Recover, which makes skin-care products at a small facility in southern California, did just that. Its three full-time employees and 12 part-timers couldn’t keep up with demand. So the company integrated its ordering and accounting software. “Staff can now process 50 shipments in the time it used to take to process 10,” UPS marketing manager Tom Langa says. That big-time savings helps you get shipments out the door and delivered to customers faster.

2. Create a professional, customer-friendly e-commerce website. Even if you don’t have an in-house developer, you can still integrate your shipping, tracking, and billing into your online storefront. UPS Ready® providers can add shipping applications to your site, so all the key info your customers need is easily accessible. Being able to guarantee your deliveries within a certain date range can even lead to increased sales.

3. Keep your customers in the loop about their orders. Send customers proactive alerts so they know when their order has shipped. Your customers will also appreciate an expected arrival date and tracking number. It’s an easy way to improve your customer’s experience. Plus, you’ll cut down the “where’s my order?” calls, which can save you lots of time.

 4. Set up a convenient returns program. Another way a small business can differentiate itself is by making returns simple and easy, maybe even free. Consider allowing your customers to print return labels online so they can easily send something back to you.

 5. Gain credibility with your international customers. International customers don’t care about the size of your business—they only care how smoothly and swiftly your shipments cross borders. If you sell online, you can use UPS tools and technologies to make sure your shipments are compliant with international regulations and move easily from one country to the next.

The moral? Focus on streamlining and processes gaining efficiencies, which will help your business grow.

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