The shipping of products is a crucial function for most every ecommerce merchant and there’s no company more prominent in the shipping business than UPS. UPS has recently upgraded its “UPS Ready” program and we invited Jordan Colletta, vice president of customer technology marketing, to tell us about it. Colletta has been with UPS since 1975, and he is currently responsible for all ecommerce marketing functions for the company.
PeC: UPS has recently upgraded its “UPS Ready” program. What is that program and how can it help ecommerce merchants?
Colletta: “UPS Ready” enables third parties to integrate UPS technology into their applications and websites so they can make UPS available to the customers [such as ecommerce merchants] they serve. This technology includes things like shipping, tracking, generating labels, international shipments and more, all without having to go somewhere else to get it arrayed or to execute a transaction. The upgrades include paperless invoice capability as it pertains to international shipments and something we call international returns, which allow returns to happen seamlessly so that the return request and the associated documentation happen at one time.
PeC: Is there an extra charge for the paperless invoice and the international return features?
Colletta: There’s no charge paperless invoice. For international returns, we charge only for the return shipment itself.
PeC: How can an ecommerce merchant know if a particular vendor or shopping cart is UPS Ready?
Colletta: UPS Ready participants typically display the UPS Ready branded logo on their site. There’s also a list of certified UPS Ready vendors at UPS.com.
PeC: Is there a fee to participate in the UPS Ready service?
Colletta: There is no fee [payable] to UPS, but there is a third party that certifies a merchant’s product to make sure it is up to the right standard. That third party does have a charge for the certification.
PeC: Can a merchant independently work directly with UPS to get the benefits of UPS Ready or is the option only available via approved vendors?
Colletta: Merchants can go right to Ups.com to apply to the UPS Ready program and go through the process to become UPS Ready.
PeC: How long does that typically take?
Colletta: It depends on what the merchant is going to adopt. We have some merchants that only need rating and tracking. We have others that need everything. So the majority of the time it takes is the merchant looking at their application, thinking about and working through the critical integration points that are going to bring the most value to their end user.
PeC: Anything else you would like our readers to know about UPS or the UPS Ready program?
Colletta: UPS has a wide range of participants, including Zoovy, MonsterCommerce [now Network Solutions], eBay, ProStores, Intuit, Yahoo!, NetSuite, Peachtree and ShipWorks. The UPS Ready program can help fortify a large company to improve its product, but it also can take a smaller ecommerce merchant and help it provide the type of services and solutions that consumers today expect from both big and small online retailers. For more details, just go to Ups.com and look up UPS Ready.