The age of e-commerce in the apparel industry has also brought about a slew of small startups that might have plenty of creative talent but can be challenged by logistics.
While there are companies that are serving various business needs, there’s probably none with a breadth of services for small businesses like The UPS Store.
“We know firsthand the kinds of challenges small business owners face and we offer solutions that work,” said Michelle Van Slyke, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the UPS Store franchise network. “Our goal is to make it easier for small business owners to run their day-to-day operations.”
The products and services available at the UPS Store are a perfect fit for small businesses, which often operate with minimal staffing and are short on time, a spokeswoman noted.
With 5,000 locations across North America, there’s a store within 10 miles of 84 percent of the U.S. population. Small business owners, often operating out of their home or a shared workspace, can leverage the convenience and expertise of the UPS Store as local small business resource centers, she said.
A range of services
There are basic services that all small businesses need. For those that want a professional address but don’t want to make their home information available for customers, the UPS Store offers business mailboxes. Benefits include easy access and security for mail and packages. For added convenience, the UPS Store can send customers text or email notifications when packages arrive.
Going deeper into the supply chain, UPS Store direct mail services can help small business owners market to prospective customers in specific locales.
“Direct mail can be an effective way for small businesses to advertise or run a promotion,” the spokeswoman said. “The UPS Store can make the entire process easier, from designing and printing, to targeted postcard mailing.”
There are also several more specific functions available at the stores.
UPS Store printing solutions can help small business owners get the word out. Whether a small business needs printed materials such as letterheads, manuals or posters to run their business or materials like postcards, flyers or brochures for marketing, the UPS Store offers professional results, online or in-store.
Among the newest offerings is the Print on Demand service, which rolled out earlier this year in 19 markets across the country. This service enables business travelers and small businesses to enter a print job online, have it printed at a local store and delivered to them within the same day once the project is completed. 3D printing for prototypes or one-of-a-kind items is another example of how the company has innovated, becoming the first nationwide retailer to offer 3D printing at some franchised locations.
Small business customers can also access secure shredding services at the UPS Store. Whether customers need to shred a stack of junk mail or boxes of sensitive information, secure shredding services from the UPS Store can help protect personal and business information.
Additional services include notary services, locker rental, and, in some cases, even inventory management solutions. This is in addition to the packing expertise and full range of UPS shipping services and delivery options available to meet the varying needs of customers.
The UPS Store is also constantly experimenting with ways to better serve customers by providing conveniently located services. In addition to traditional locations, the UPS Store has introduced alternate concepts including a store-in-store model, featuring small-footprint stores inside existing high-traffic retailers, like pharmacies, hardware and grocery stores. The “Main Street Model” is another modernization, offering reduced franchise fees for people who want to start a franchise in a rural or underserved location.
As the UPS Store brand evolves, customers continue to benefit from the innovation of its parent company, UPS, which is dedicated to improving the consumer experience with innovations like UPS My Choice and UPS Access Point services that provide customers control of how and when they receive their packages.
Through UPS Marketplace Shipping, a small business that sells through sites like Shopify, Etsy, eBay or Amazon, can have an order consolidation point. Businesses can pre-register all of their marketplaces and connect them all to that one platform. They log in at the end of the day and click a button and all orders from all four marketplaces are visible. From there, the orders can easily by organized by various criteria and they can click one shipping label, print it out and apply it to the order and have them out the door.