The Transporteca platform was developed to make it easy for freight forwarders to start selling their services online, and to make it quick and simple for transport buyers to find transport for their shipments.
Imagine receiving courier bookings without having spent any time on sales, negotiation or even preparing a price or trying to establish applicable surcharges. Then picture the shipping information in a standardized format ready for automatic handling, or perhaps even automatic generation of shipping labels – which are automatically transferred to the shipper with proper instruction, without the involvement of anyone in your team. What if you do not need to spend time invoicing the customer, or following up on payments – if an accurate booking invoice was generated and paid, at the time of the booking?
This is what you can expect when selling courier and express services online with Transporteca. Below we explain how we do this, and what it takes to get started.
Courier and express services
When we discuss express and courier services in this article, we refer to transport services procured from courier companies, such as DHL, TNT, FedEx or UPS. Traditionally, for these services, your role as freight forwarders is that of a reseller, where the actual transport is performed by the selected courier provider, but the commercial and ultimate operational responsibility – in the eye of the customer – remains with you.
Courier is an exciting transport product from the perspective of a freight forwarder because it does not require assets. Moreover, the freight forwarder with aggregated volumes from current and potential customers can often achieve a strong bargaining power and consequently attractive margins compared with other products. The drawback is that courier bookings are on average often small compared with other transport products and hence cannot allow much manual intervention to remain profitable.
At Transporteca, we use technology for reducing manual labour in pricing, customer service, finance teams and management of freight forwarders, while improving the customer experience for the ultimate transport buyer. We have a strong focus and a proven track record of doing just that, for freight forwarders offering courier and express services.
How does it work?
When signing up with Transporteca, you get access to a dedicated online application, where you manage services and pricing offered online. All pricing on the platform is instant, without any manual intervention, and all bookings are sold at spot rates with upfront customer payments. For the initial set up of your courier services, you should expect to spend approximately one hour.
The pricing model for courier and express services
The pricing model used on Transporteca for courier services is cost-plus. We offer two solutions for setting up your costs:
- API interface with your courier provider
- Upload of Excel pricing sheets
If your account with your courier provider supports API access, adding your pricing credentials while setting up your courier services, will allow the technology instant access to your negotiated rates and applicable surcharges with the courier provider. While this is the fastest way to get your services online, be aware that if you do not already have API access supported, the process of enabling this access can take weeks (or even months) for established courier companies.
The alternative model, which ensures full control and instant addition of your rates, is pricing sheets. In this model, you update the contract country and zones as per your contract with your courier provider, after which you can upload a spreadsheet with your negotiated base rates. Furthermore, there is a list of surcharges for additional services offered by the courier provider, where you can add your negotiated rates from your contract. The technology ensures that base rate calculation is carried out in accordance with the methodology of the specific courier company and that relevant surcharges are correctly applied.
The final component of your pricing is your markup. The application offers you real-time access to setting your markup based on common principles from the forwarding industry, such as a fixed percentage of cost or a fixed markup per shipment or per item.
With your tariff for the base rate and surcharges and your pricing for markup, you can test how the technology instantly calculates sales price for any request. When you are satisfied with the results, simply click ‘publish’ to put your rates and services online.
Receive bookings from three channels
There are three ways of receiving bookings from Transporteca:
- This web portal, offered in 11 languages, with more than 100,000 visitors per month
- Sending Quick Quotes to your current and potential customers
- A dedicated website, hosted by Transporteca, branded by you
The Transporteca portal
When you have published your courier and express services, they will immediately be available to visitors on the Transporteca portal. When a user makes a search for transportation, your courier services will be displayed if they match the users’ transport needs and if the pricing your offer is competitive.
If several freight forwarders offer the same courier product from the same courier provider, only the best-priced product will be shown to the customer. So, as a rule of thumb, you should expect to receive bookings from this portal only in the trades where you have a competitive service.
The Transporteca online application offers you a second option for receiving bookings. You can leverage the power of the pricing calculator to develop Quick Quotes and send to your current and potential customers by email. Granting your sales or customer service teams access to the application will enable them to produce quotes in response to customer requests in seconds.
The email to the customer will include a link to the quote, where the customer completes the booking and pay you securely online, either by credit card or bank transfer.
Transporteca offers a white label solution as a dedicated website with your branding, so users can find and book your services online. The website can be either on your domain or on the Transporteca domain, but the entire technology run off the same engine which power the Transporteca portal and Quick Quotes through your application. Launching a dedicated website where your customers can search for and book your transport services online, therefore, requires no technical integration.
We actively market your services on the Transporteca portal. For Quick Quotes and your dedicated website, we deliver the technology for automated pricing and online bookings, but it is up to you to promote the use of these sales channels in your organisation and to your customers.
Receiving your payments
Your application includes a real-time financial balance, where you can keep track of payments received for bookings. When a customer books your courier or express services from any of the above channels, Transporteca instantly issues a self-billed invoice (credit note) to you, and the value is added to your balance. Your balance thereby grows throughout the month as you receive bookings.
At the end of the month, you (or your finance team) receive a transfer notice summarizing all the self-billed invoices for the month. On the 15th of every month, we automatically initiate the bank transfer of your ultimo balance from the last month.
Given that Transporteca issues self-billed invoices for every shipment, and automatically transfers the balance to your bank account, you need not to spend any time on invoicing or following up on payments. Write-offs and management reporting on bad debt is non-existent with Transporteca.
Lastly, when receiving bookings from Transporteca, the booking notice will include the breakdown of the base rate calculation, applicable surcharges and your markup for the courier shipment. This enables quick and easy validation of invoices received from your courier provider.
Start selling courier and express services with Transporteca
Getting started is easy. If you have agreements with established courier companies, and you would like to try selling your courier and express services online, send us a short introduction of your company and the services you intend to offer online to [email protected].
Once received, we will get in touch to set up your forwarder profile on the Transporteca application, and to help you get started. When you have received your login details, you should be able to have your courier and express services online within an hour – given that you have your courier contracts ready.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Read more about selling transport online.