Tony skinner 00:02
Hi, and welcome to the podcast channel with www.podcastsmybusiness.com.au. Make sure you subscribe and follow us for our business podcasts. And today we have Chris Madden from www.smartsend.com.au. How are you, Chris?
Chris Madden 00:21
I’m very well, Tony, how are you?
Tony skinner 00:23
I look, you know, I’m doing pretty well, we were talking before we started that yet. Okay, we’ll be upfront. We had COVID last year, and we’re still going through the effects of it this year. And it’s just one of those things, and how some businesses have done well, and some have not done so well through no fault of their own. And you’re on the bright position that you’re in one of those business that has done really well.
Chris Madden 00:50
We have, we have even done COVID has given a lot of non traditional online buyers to buy online. And that’s actually been really good, obviously, for us because we connect ecommerce to the transport companies.
Tony skinner 01:08
Right. Okay. And that’s a really important thing to think about is that, you know, yeah, sure, I buy stuff online, and it comes out and I’ve got this app, it tells me Actually, this is my question is that they have this app. And we all know the big player has several different companies that it uses, or that it’s branded as the app says that my item has been sitting in a warehouse for four days. How does that work?
Chris Madden 01:37
Well, I guess it comes down to resources, and, you know, whatever. The transport companies with COVID. And then leaving in leading into Christmas was, they were already full, pretty much at capacity. And then Christmas came, you know, after the amazon black Friday sales when everybody pretty piggybacks off these days.
And there was this huge influx of freight that just arrived into depots. And the reality is that you can only fit so much into a van or a delivery van at any given time. So it just sort of backs up in that situation, which is exactly what happened. And that thing delays, those, you know, later products coming in to get processed through, you know, look, I think in the end, you’d say Australia Post get pretty hammered, but they really did a pretty good job. In the end, at the end of the day, as did you know, TNT, some of them got hammered personal ways in Interesting. Interesting at Christmas time, because they don’t get freight every day, they only receive it from the east coast, twice a week, usually.
And then they’ve got to process that through. So they would have limited drivers. And then they’ve got these huge amounts of freight to process and get through. And that then becomes a backlog. And unfortunately, some companies have handled that better than others. And this year was very telling on you know, who could handle it and who couldn’t? Really.
Tony skinner 03:09
And that’s where you come in, because you take care of all of that without having to deal with the company’s direct. So tell us about your story.
Chris Madden 03:17
Okay, well, smart thing is owned by myself. I’m a 50%. Owner, and I look after the operations of the business and my business partner and I both worked for a transport company in Brisbane, back in the, you know, early 2000s, when eBay was really starting to emerge in Australia. And what we noticed was that people well, the transport companies didn’t want to deal with eBay, people that were selling from residential addresses.
It wasn’t their business model. And they didn’t want to really get involved. So they would charge fees, eBay sellers, huge amounts of money. And I guess the misnomer is that Australia Post will carry anything but like don’t. And they have restrictions. So for example, to give you some idea you think a golf club be pretty easy to send then it should go with Australia Post but Australia Post won’t carry anything that’s over made alone. And so a golf club is routinely about 1.2 meters long, so they can’t send that with Australia Post. And so they then had to go to transport companies to try and get them to deliver these items and right back in the very beginning. They didn’t want to do it.
You know, ecommerce really wasn’t on their radar, and they didn’t want to do residential pickups and deliveries. So that was really the hardest thing that we overhead to overcome in the in the beginning. So anyway, we this was happening and we were getting more and more people coming to us that wanted to use the service. How could they do that? How could they get a decent rate? And so we were having lunch one day, and I said to Steve, surely there must be a way that we can enhance all this and put it in one location to help these people get a fair deal. Because then the transport company is only dealing with one customer, and we’re dealing with all these other guys. And pretty much that’s how smart send started.
So that’s 15 years ago, we were the first aggravators in Australia. And it’s been a really interesting journey from there, Tony, we’ve, you know, morphed and evolved and grown with the market over that time and, you know, learnt a lot and, you know, we provide a service where we connect, um, Laura portal probably is a bit of work, where we connect ecommerce businesses or online sellers, eBay, you know, standalone Amazon, in some cases, where we connect this, the online seller, to a range of transport companies where they would get a better deal, then potentially, they’d be able to negotiate themselves.
Tony skinner 06:08
Well, that’s interesting, isn’t it, because these days, and especially with a boom of online, and it’s moved 10 years worth of growth in the online sector into nine months. So the world has changed, and it might change back a little bit. But I think online is certainly going to be bigger in the future. These days, people are working from home, they need to get things sent, they need to get things delivered. And there’s lots of people working for businesses working from home and not in the office and things like that. So one of the things I noticed on your website is that TNT made changes in relation to domestic deliveries, and you’re talking about the golf clubs. So that’s where you help as well. So step us through that.
Chris Madden 06:54
Okay, well, TMT have, at the end of last year changed their freight profile, and where they’re probably pulling away from doing residential pickups and deliveries. So they were not charging a surcharge for that. Which is, you know, good and bad, I guess. They are a premium service. But basically, what they don’t want is for their drivers to be running all over the place, it comes at a cost to them.
So they’ve made a business decision to which is disappointing from my perspective, but I think TNT great, pretty much my favorite Australian carrier, but they are now limiting what they can have. If you send a link over a certain length with TNT that won’t go down the conveyor belts, they will now charge a surcharge for that. So they you know, some areas, they’re just going in, I know, we want it more streamlined, and we’re not going to end if we do that service, then we’re going to cover more of our costs just provided.
Tony skinner 07:58
Well, okay, so that’s why we need an expert like you that can go along and go well, okay, you’ve got this item, and this is what you’re gonna get charged. And because we deal with these courier companies all the time, we’ve got lots of customers, instead of you paying $50 for that, because we can bulk buy, you’re paying a lot less than that.
Chris Madden 08:19
In certain cases, yes. Yes, not all, all transport, including us, you know, discount on volumes. So the more you send, the better, pretty much the deal that you will get. But the wastelands and really helps the most is that we have contacts. Because we’ve been in the industry so long, we have contacts within all of the carriers where we can help, where there are issues that we can help resolve them, you know, hopefully quicker.
Sometimes that’s not possible in very small amounts of cases, we also been in this industry so long now that we, you know, really ofay with the network into regional areas where we can help centers connect to those where we, you know, we would bring them directly then where they would have to deal with the, you know, General customer service that the carrier provides where we’d just go to the source.
So you know, we have a really clued up customer service team that are pretty much I would say, well, they all we all come from transport. So we all know the industry. And we all have different contexts in different areas. So that really is the step apart from smarts and I think that we do have this huge knowledge base that we can help our customers to get through that process. And, you know, I always think our customers, they’re better off spending their time working on their business to build their business on what they’re experts at, and then let someone Like us, who were experts in this last mile delivery to take care of that, so they can free up their own time then from dealing with transport companies all the time, that they can just communicate with us, and then just get on with their business. And we do all the hard work in the background to just sort out their deliveries and pickups and, you know, whatever the issues might be.
Tony skinner 10:24
Yeah, look, you know, I call that false economy is when you think you can do everything, even my myself, you know, do podcasts and marketing and what have you. And I think I can do this. And I can do that. And even I’m realizing even now, well, no, I can’t do everything. I will spend the time to research and whatever one it is pay someone who’s an expert that spends all their time on that, and is get damn thing done. So that really helps. Now, I like having some tips, and we’re talking about some tips. And you had a really good one, especially for startups and startups with quality control in relation to e commerce.
Chris Madden 11:06
I think the scary part, you know, running an e commerce business really is that you have to ship stuff, and to get it to your customer. But making sure that you pick the right delivery partner is a really scary thing.
Because once it leaves your hands, you lose control of it. So you need to be I believe, really careful about who you partner with, do your homework, make sure that you’re working with a company, whether it be someone like smart send, or you go directly to the company, that you understand their profile, you understand what they will and won’t carry. But one of the things that I see a lot of is, packaging is an issue.
And instead of thinking about it in investment in your company, some companies think about it as just another expense that they have to do and scrimping and saving on your packaging, in my opinion is not what you want to do you want to pack something, firstly, you want to pack something so as it arrives, as you want it to arrive, because, you know, damages and breakages or the box falling apart when it gets delivered. Whether the goods inside are damaged or not, is not a good image for your business. You want to delight your customers. So is when they open the package. They were like, wow, how good is this packed? This is fantastic.
Oh look, you know, it’s got some tissue paper in there. It’s got bubble wrap or whatever. And they open it and they and it’s sort of unfolds and it’s delightful and people are excited about it, your customer is excited about receiving it, you will receive far better feedback to build your business on then you will if you cheap, buy cheap cartons that don’t travel Well, they’re damaged when they arrive, it looks poorly, especially if you’re sending it on to somebody as a gift. You know, you want to delight your customers because you want them to come back. You don’t want them to go over that was a poor experience, I want to go or go and try someone else now. And we want our customers to be leaving great reviews, I want our customers to leave great reviews. And that’s what I believe a commerce, you know, with online, everything is reliant on feedback now, and you want your customers to give great feedback. And great packaging is one really good way of ensuring that you get really good customer, customer feedback. And they return.
Tony skinner 13:37
Yeah, it’s interesting you say that because I know that Apple go to such an extent that they have timed how long it takes for the box to pop up and open within like three seconds or something and it glides gently. And I’ve had stuff from eBay and Okay, didn’t need it all packaging that’s just been shoved in a bag and you open it up, it’s all scrunched up and you go Oh, that’s it?
Yeah, you’re right, it does make a difference. And it especially if you want to be at the premium end. Everybody wants to be at the premium end, but not have to pay premium but you know, everyone wants to get a premium quality product and service and your packaging is going to ensure that your product is received in a premium state.
Chris Madden 14:24
Yes, absolutely. It is. And you know, like sometimes I’m you know, doing some research when you’re introducing a product into your product line is really important to like, you know, if you’re in home wares, there might be glass and you need to make sure that the glass is packed well enough to withstand shipping. And most transport companies will not coverglass against breakage. So you know there’s all these little things that you need to be aware of when you’re researching the products to introduce and gear she can ship anything.
Get You know, I absolutely can, but some things are cheaper to ship than others. But you know, if you are, for example, a mirror. And it’s a premium mirror, then if it’s packed beautifully, it’s more likely to arrive intact than if it’s just jumped into a box. And we’re crossing our fingers in hopes that no one knocks and in transit or something, doesn’t knock up against it and break the glass. Again, that’s not good for it’s not good for my business. It’s certainly not good for the sender’s business either.
Tony skinner 15:31
Yeah, exactly. And you got to think about all those sorts of things. Okay. Look, thanks very much. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Chris Madden 15:38
Smart send has. We ran a blog site shop called shipping smarter, to provide information to e commerce, to give them tips and tools of how to do all of this stuff better. And we add content all the time, you know, we’ve got an E book about e COVID. And how that’s affected the industry and where we believe that it will go to from here, we also do a quiz, there’s a quiz there where people can go through and check on their shipping to make sure that they’re getting the right thing. And from that, through that blog site.
We also run an audit, where people that want to take it to the next level, they want to make sure that they’re doing everything right, that we’ll we’ll do a completely independent order, and give them some advice on how we think that they can improve it moving forward, which may or may not be using someone like smartphones, it is independent, so it’s not reliant on us drumming up business. It’s simply to help ecommerce, get it? Right. So everybody gets a fair guy, really to help them build their businesses.
Tony skinner 16:51
Great. Look, that’s good. I’m on that site . Yeah. www.shippingsmarter.com.au, and I’m sure we’ll be uploading the podcast and the blog from this podcast onto that site. So that’ll be good.
Chris Madden 17:03
Yeah, that’d be lovely.
Tony skinner 17:04
People will be able to find it there. That’s great. Okay, look, thanks very much for your time, Chris. And it’s Chris from www.smartsend.com.au. And also with shipping smarter.com that I knew the article will go up there as well.
Chris Madden 17:18
Yeah, it will. Right. Thanks. Thanks for your time today, Tony. It was a pleasure talking to you