As a sometime seller on eBay, I find myself hunting for answers to questions I couldn't imagine caring about in my pre-eBay days. Why do so many people in Japan want an Emerald the Enchanting Witch doll? And the follow-up, now that I'm $160 richer, what's the easiest and cheapest way to get a doll-sized package to Japan?
I guess only a pop culture expert can answer the first question. (My theory: She looks like an anime character.) For help with the second, though, I can turn to a growing number of resources designed to simplify shipping, including two I wrote about last year, UPS Paperless Invoice and Fulfillment by Amazon. And now there's the new One-Stop-Shipping tool from RedRoller, introduced at the recent eBay Live! conference in Chicago. Like all of the coolest new applications, it's delivered via a software-as-a-service model.
The service allows SMBs to compare services and rates for multiple carriers on a single screen, reports eWEEK, and also print labels, view order history and perform other shipping-related activities via a Web browser. The tool supports shipments from and to multiple locations, and offers the ability to select addresses and custom-configure packaging with no need to re-enter data every time. It also integrates directly into eBay and Microsoft Outlook.
In addition to SMBs, the tool is a good fit for large companies with multiple remote office locations, says RedRoller founder and president Bill Van Wyck.
Shipping is a chore most online sellers probably don't realize is such a pain until they find themselves having to do it on a regular basis. Which is why tools such as One-Stop-Shipping offer real value. Says IDC analyst Merle Sandler:
You can compare rates of different vendors in one place, and do things like print labels," Sandler said. "Before, a small company would have to drive to their local delivery service provider, so you save on gas. It's simple, affordable and won't break the bank.