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Listen in on Nathan Resnick’s conversation with Stephen Ma, Head of Inside Sales at EasyShip. Learn more about what global shipping can do for your brand and how EasyShip can help it by tuning in on the podcast.

Nathan :

Hey, what’s going on with Nathan Resnick. Welcome back to another episode of product sourcing stories brought to you by Sourcify. Today, we have Stephen from Easyship. We were just jamming about his crazy adventure down in Zion where he rode his bike in like 110 degree heat all across Utah, which is crazy because that’s where I’m based right now. Stephen, you’re a wild man, and it sounds like you are a shipping expert. Thanks so much for joining us.

Stephen:

Thanks for inviting me, Nathan. I’m super excited to be here.

Nathan :

Yeah. Yeah. It’s my pleasure. So before we jump in, I really want to understand how you got into the e-commerce shipping world. I mean, obviously you’re at Easyship, which is the go-to platform to help merchants and crowdfunding campaigns handle their shipments, but how did you get into the industry?

Stephen:

Yeah, that’s a good question. I think, for me, I saw that e-commerce was the future. I think brick and mortar is going away, and that human element is… Brands are figuring out better and more creative ways to build such a human story and a human experience through e-commerce. So I knew I wanted to be in that sector. Now why shipping? I think primarily because that’s the worst part of shopping online, it’s that shipping aspect, right? How am I going to get my product? How am I going to pay for this? It’s typically like the one thing that might even hurt conversion just in terms of if shipping is too expensive. So I saw what Easyship was doing in terms of optimizing shipping, figuring out different ways to make global shipping seamless just like domestic shipping. So that’s really how I got into it because I saw what Easyship was doing, and I knew exactly that this was exactly what e-commerce needed.

Nathan :

And so for those that don’t know Easyship, what is the main problem that Easyship solves?

Stephen:

Yeah. So we basically answer that one question in terms of how do we ship this from point A to point B, and B being anywhere in the world, right?

Nathan :

Got it.

Stephen:

From an Easyship standpoint, we believe every brand, no matter how big or small, should be shipping internationally. The world’s getting smaller, and there’s no question about it.

Nathan :

Right. That makes sense. So I guess I’m curious, for those listeners that don’t ship internationally yet or don’t have customers that are shipping internationally, what’s the difference between let’s say shipping a product domestically and shipping from let’s say someone’s warehouse or apartment in New York to Germany? I mean, what goes into handling international logistics for an e-commerce merchant?

Stephen:

Yeah. No, that’s a really good question. I do want to talk about one point that you mentioned. There are always customers internationally that want a brand’s stuff. It’s just, there’s no question about it. And I think before Easyship, from an international side, it gets incredibly complicated because there’s custom paperwork, there’s commercial invoices. If you’re shipping something with like a battery, for example, there’s special documentation that you need on that or special solutions that you need. And the list goes on, to be honest with you.

Stephen:

There’s actually a lot of different variables that come into play because when you’re shipping internationally, you’re going to have to take that package, put it on an airplane and ship it out, right? And because of that, there’s a lot of regulations behind that.

Stephen:

A company like technology, like Easyship, what makes it so much more seamless is that we do that automatically. So depending on which country you’re shipping it to, we automatically will pre-fill the customer paperwork, the commercial invoices. We’ll even display specific solutions for you to ship that optimized to that location, depending on the package size as well as what type of stuff that you’re sending, whether it has a battery or a liquid.

Nathan :

Got it. That makes a lot of sense. And someone might ask, “Well, why don’t I just ship through DHL or something like that?” I mean, so the… I guess the main benefit around Easyship is that makes that whole process in customs clearing just a lot smoother and easier to manage?

Stephen:

Yeah. So from a technology aspect, that yes, exactly. So we streamlined the documentation part of the headaches of shipping internationally.

Nathan :

Got it.

Stephen:

But I think the other thing that we do is that… I think that’s a really great point. Why don’t we just ship it out with DHL? Or why don’t we just ship it out with FedEx? Right? And what we’ve seen is that FedEx, DHL might be the best solution to ship to Canada, but it might not be the best solution to shipped to Australia or Hong Kong or Europe, right? And what Easyship does, and companies like Easyship, what we’re doing is that we are putting together real solutions. So for Easyship, we’ve partnered with about 50 different couriers, and we offer over 250 different shipping solutions to a customer or to a merchant. And all of a sudden, you’re able to optimize your shipping, and you don’t need to play this game in terms of, okay, I can either ship it with DHL, that’s going to cost me an arm and leg, or I’m going to ship it with this other solution that has no tracking, and it’s going to take six months to get to the customer.

Nathan :

Right. Right. That’s interesting too. One of the questions that comes up a lot within our community is just shipping pricing in general. I feel like it’s a very… It’s an industry that has very little transparency. If you and I go to a shipping company, they might get you a rate that’s 30% less than me. Does Easyship help with that in terms of rate transparency? Is that kind of part of the process?

Stephen:

That’s right. That’s exactly it. So with Easyship, what we do is, number one, we have about little over a 100,000 clients kind of in our book of business. We are operating out of seven different countries. So with that, it kind of allows us to have a lot of buying power and a lot of kind of pull and push with our partners. So we offer very, very competitive rates to merchants of all sizes. And they get benefits from that from a shipping cost perspective.

Nathan :

Got it. That makes a lot of sense. I want to kind of touch on just your personal opinion on rate transparency because it’s a topic that is really controversial in regards to some people seeing that couriers are kind of ripping off some small businesses with rates that are higher than volume shippers. I mean, what do you think about just rate transparency in general?

Stephen:

Rate transparency in the sense that they’re going to charge some clients more than others, basically?

Nathan :

Right. Exactly.

Stephen:

I think it’s… From my opinion, couriers do that because there’s a lot of… There’s ignorance around how what that actual shipping cost is, right? Now, the reason why is because, especially in the US market, when we’re looking at international shipping, DHL, FedEx, UPS, they’re usually the ones that kind of control the thought patterns in any kind of merchants’ heads in the US, right? So when we think about international work, we’re gravitating towards one of those big companies or a USPS solution, which usually at times can be kind of a lower quality solution because it’s a postal solution.

Stephen:

However, there’s over hundreds and hundreds of different couriers that are going in and out of America to other different countries, right? So for example, one of our biggest partners is SF Express. So they have a direct link to the APAC region, to Southeast Asia and Hong Kong and in China, as well as other places around Asia. And it’s much cheaper, and it’s a great solution to ship your products out of. But again, people don’t know that. So they just… They’ve never heard of SF Express because they don’t live in Hong Kong. They don’t live in these places, so they wouldn’t know. But if you go around Hong Kong and you ask like, “Who’s SF Express?” Everyone’s going to be like, “Oh yeah. We use them all the time.”

Nathan :

Right.

Stephen:

So with kind of pricing transparency or shipping rates transparency, it really comes to knowledge, right? And what Easyship does is provide a lot of solutions for every kind of specific place around the world.

Nathan :

Got it. That makes a lot of sense. I want to touch on fulfillment and shipping for crowdfunding campaigns. I know we’re both going to be at the Crowdfunded Summit by LaunchBoom, really excited for that. What do you think is the best approach for someone that’s launching on let’s say Kickstarter to handle shipping and fulfillment. I mean, what route do you see being the best in today’s world?

Stephen:

Yeah. I think there’s no cookie cutter approach towards things. It really depends on your product. That being said, I think for people who are watching this, you have to understand that shipping’s about complexity, right? And every kind of variable adds complexity to it. So the bigger the product is, it’s more complex, right? So all of a sudden, prices will go up. If you add a battery in there, all of a sudden, it’s more complex to a courier because it limits the amount of options or the specific planes that they can use to ship it out. So all of a sudden that comes into play. And there’s many different factors. I think what I’m trying to say here is that for a campaign, you have to realize that you should really look at shipping costs almost immediately. And every time you make a change to that product, which is very common in the crowdfunding world, you should always revisit those shipping rates because any sort of change can basically spike up the price, at times exponentially.

Stephen:

So for example, if you add a battery, which is very common… Like you have a product, and all of a sudden you’re like, “Hey, look, this is going to be awesome. We just put a lithium ion battery in it.” Well, that really does all of a sudden limits the amount of shipping solutions that a client can use because not every shipping solution can ship a lithium ion battery. And these are certain things that, from my experience, working with a lot of different crowdfunding campaigns, the ones that have done their research are in a really great place to provide a really great experience to their backers. And those that did not do the research they’re in a place where they’re making some really tough decisions in the sense that “Should we sacrifice customer experience for shipping costs? Or should we basically get in the red by paying a little bit more for better shipping solutions because all of a sudden, we did not know that adding a battery has created such a difference in shipping costs?”

Nathan :

Right. Got it. That makes a lot of sense. So wrapping up here, two last questions. One is more tied to current times. With everything going on with COVID-19, shipping couriers seem to be like flooded with shipments, and the e-commerce industry is booming. I mean, what do you think is just the future of these shipping couriers? Are rates going to continue to increase? I mean, what are you guys seeing at Easyship?

Stephen:

Yeah. Actually, I would say that at the height of COVID when everything was just kind of going haywire two months ago was where we experienced the worst kind of price spike that we’ve ever seen before. It was insane how expensive it was. And the reason why was because there was a decrease amount of planes up in the sky, certain couriers just completely turned off. And because of that prices just spiked, naturally, because of that. I think things are stabilizing. You’re going to see a little bit of a price spike again because we’re approaching peak season with Q4 coming along. But what I would… I think what we’re seeing is stabilization. Of course, that is kind of all else equal because we don’t know if there’s going to be another kind of COVID surcharge. I mean, not COVID surcharge, a COVID surge within the United States or anywhere else that will have negative impacts towards price.

Nathan :

Got it. That makes a lot of sense. Last question here, more of a fun one, but you work with so many brands at Easyship. What’s your favorite? Is there anyone you can shout out or one that you love that people should check out?

Stephen:

Oh, man, there’s so many., There’s so many man. I feel… I mean, I think this is the part of the job that I absolutely love, especially working with crowdfunding campaigns. You talk about really passionate entrepreneurs putting things together and making a product that they’re really proud of. And all of a sudden, you have a community that’s behind you, and they’re like, “Oh my God, this is exactly what we’ve been thinking about.” And it’s so rewarding just talking to these entrepreneurs and seeing them kind of put this stuff together and then from there, having a flourishing e-commerce business. I’m prolonging the question, but basically, if I can just shout out a couple of different brands, I would shout out Link. It’s a great brand, a great team, great everything. MATE.Bike, which is a fantastic e-bike, and it’s done so well building such a cool brand. And of course, Nomad Lane. I think what they’ve done is nothing short of extraordinary. And of course one of our favorite, if I can just name one more, Tropicfeel out there in Barcelona. They’ve done such a great job building such an awesome shoe company out of few campaigns. And they’re really… Yeah. I see them all over New York City.

Nathan :

That’s amazing. [crosstalk 00:15:31] Australia too. There you go. That’s Epic. That’s amazing. Well, Stephen, thanks so much for joining us on Product Sourcing Stories. If people want to get in touch with you or check out Easyship, where can they find you?

Stephen:

Yeah. Just go to easyship.com/contactus.

Nathan :

Awesome. Well, there you have it. Thanks again for joining us.

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