Many people have a large percentage of their business tied up in shipping. Whether your business is all about shipping products or you part-time on eBay, you’re doing a lot of packaging. Things that are sent expedited are usually sent through UPS and FedEx and it’s estimated that 10% of those packages are late, but most shipping refunds go unclaimed. This amounts to something like $2 billion a year in the U.S.
There are a lot of Internet tools available for those who do a lot of shipping, but few of them are focused on those (often) illusive refunds. That’s changing as the economy pushes small business to find more ways to tighten the belt. One new startup in this arena is PackageFox, based in Boston.
To compete in this specialized arena, they offer a paid-for-performance service, which means they only get paid when funds are recovered. In this case, as a percentage of the recovery. It’s a good example of how the technology surrounding the shipping industry is parsing into niches.
Most would wonder why this sort of service isn’t integrated into the shipping software likely being used by those who do enough package freight to have a need for a refund sleuth. That’s a good question, but it’s easily answered: a large portion of those who use package services like FedEx and UPS use the shipping software those companies provide free of charge. Software which, obviously, has little concern with expediting refunds.
The online systems of FedEx and UPS allow third-party applications to access your account if you authorize it, so recovery sites like PackageFox can use your account directly. This more or less allows automation of the process, which means it’s convenient and costs less for the shipper to use. All of those can mean bottom line savings.
We live in a world that is continually finding new ways to connect us, no matter how far flung we are on the map. At the same time, the market keeps finding new ways to create efficiencies in business, whether it’s the corporate conglomerate in the sky rise or the new startup in the basement in the suburbs.