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Learn how tech startup Postal has allowed companies to streamline their corporate gifting thanks to ShipBob, while experiencing rocketship growth.
Postal is an offline engagement company that helps over 500 brands automate offline marketing to drive brand loyalty, improve conversions, increase employee satisfaction, and more. By offering products such as handwritten notes, egift cards, corporate swag, and physical gifts, Postal helps businesses provide a unique and memorable brand experience to recipients. Postal recently secured Series B funding from investors OMERS Ventures and Mayfield Fund.
- 10x growth YoY
- Shipping from 3 of ShipBob’s international fulfillment centers: Canada, Poland, and Australia
- $34M in funding
- Provide service to clients such as Cisco Meraki, Yelp, Teladoc, and more
Erik Kostelnik, the founder of Postal, made a poignant observation during his time in the tech industry: offline marketing, or the sending of direct mail, corporate gifts, swag items and other physical items, was a proven channel that companies couldn’t seem to crack the code on when it came to scaling.
Yet marketers, sales, customer success and people operations teams continued to do it in the often manually tedious and logistically heavy way they had always done it because they believed it was impactful to their business.
Postal was created to fill that need and offer solutions to help facilitate that offline engagement easier and at scale. What makes them different at their core is that they’re a tech company first and foremost. Postal’s technology allows their clients in the B2B tech space to stay connected in the age of global, remote work.
The Postal Platform gives brands flexible solutions that best fit their needs in two main areas: The first is a robust, easy-to-use technology that helps automate and integrate offline touchpoints into their marketing and sales process. Integrations between systems like Salesforce, HubSpot, Outreach, Marketo, and more help Postal customers not only ensure offline touchpoints are automatically sent at the most opportune time in the sales cycle, but also allow sales and marketing to see the ROI impact of their offline sending programs—something that was historically never possible.
The second is the Postal Marketplace, a curated marketplace of local and small-business vendors. Clients add funds to spend on gifts and experiences for their customers, prospects, and employees. Postal sends an email to the recipient, they fill out their personal information and address, and the gift is shipped directly to their doorstep. In the end, recipients get a beautiful gift and Postal provides a wonderful experience in the process.
Learn more about Postal and how they’re utilizing ShipBob’s global fulfillment platform to ship their customers’ orders all over the world.
Launching a product that increased connectivity during COVID
As told to ShipBob by Ben Jablow, VP, Alliances at Postal.
Postal launched in beta the same week that the world shut down in March 2020 because of COVID. One of the things that we saw right off the bat – and something that had a huge impact on how we operated – was that corporations had to change the way that they did business.
Businesses could no longer send gifts and packages to people’s offices like they could pre-lockdowns. Instead of hunting down addresses in order to send a gift, Postal helped businesses actually find out where people were working and simplified the gift-giving process. For corporations, it was a no-brainer to work with a solution like us.
At Postal, we’re focused on our strategy and product; we knew we didn’t want to get into the logistics area ourselves. The best way for us to meet our clients’ needs was to partner with best-in-class fulfillment experts. That led us to ShipBob.
Prior to partnering with ShipBob, we heavily relied on our partners to send gifts. At that time we didn’t offer the ability for our customers to send out their own items. Anything a client wanted to send had to be purchased through our platform.
Because so many people were working remotely since the onset of the pandemic, our clients had goods in their own home office or closet. We heard over and over again: “We have all of these items sitting in a closet in our office that we’d like to send out.” It became a no-brainer to tell customers that we could be their swag closet in the cloud.
Building into ShipBob’s API
Unlike traditional businesses seeking out fulfillment relationships, we needed a tech-forward fulfillment platform — not a typical pick-and-pack warehouse. When we came across ShipBob’s Developer APIs, it was game over. We could build custom code from our proprietary platform to ShipBob’s, and have ShipBob fulfill all those orders.
We built an integration directly into ShipBob, so our clients would have a seamless experience. Pre-COVID, we were all accustomed to walking into a supply closet, pulling out a FedEx envelope, stuffing it with an item, and sending it out. Now with Postal and ShipBob, our clients can log in to the Postal dashboard, make a click or two, and the item gets sent out in 3-5 business days.
“Because we’ve built everything from our system directly into ShipBob’s API, our customers never know – or need to know – that ShipBob is shipping their orders. They just know Postal is getting the job done, and their customers are happy.”– Ben Jablow, VP, Alliances at Postal
How the ShipBob and Postal integration works
We enter all of our products in the backend of the Postal marketplace. We set up ShipBob as a vendor, which in our case means “distributor.” When a product with ShipBob as the vendor is ordered on our platform, the order is immediately sent to ShipBob to be fulfilled. We create a warehouse receiving order (WRO) in the ShipBob platform for all of the items for a particular client. The level of automation makes the process really seamless for us.
The Postal team manages a lot of the inventory receiving details for our clients. We enter in the receiving order, send the client the shipping labels, and the clients send their items into ShipBob. Then, ShipBob receives the items and their team inventories it. Once the items are stocked, the products show up in the Postal platform for our clients to see.
When a client sends out branded swag, they go into the Postal platform, just like they would to place any order. The difference is when they check out an item that has ShipBob as the vendor, we send the recipient’s information through the API and ShipBob picks, packs, and ships the order. Once that’s done, ShipBob sends the shipping information back through the API to us. By taking this headless fulfillment approach, our client doesn’t have to interact with ShipBob – or even know they exist. This is entirely done through the Postal dashboard, making it a seamless experience for the client.
In the future, we’re going to be working on some things that will make that even easier, such as moving the WRO creation process to the Postal platform using ShipBob’s Receiving APIs.
Going global with help from ShipBob
We’re not only leveraging ShipBob as a domestic partner, but a global one too. ShipBob is helping us expand internationally and navigate a lot of the technical kinks that come along with that growth.
No one will tell you that going global is easy. But we feel like our partnership has helped alleviate many of those pain points. ShipBob has demonstrated its commitment to our partnership by making the international fulfillment process easier for us.
Because of the tech industry’s global nature, we needed to be able to ship swag items to the customer’s’ employees or clients across the world. With ShipBob, our clients are able to store their inventory anywhere in the world that ShipBob’s fulfillment centers are. In the Postal platform, they can see their inventory and with just a click, send an item to their recipient, having ShipBob fulfill it from the location closest to that recipient.
“We currently use ShipBob fulfillment centers in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Global fulfillment is a huge need in the corporate gifting market and a necessity for our clients. At Postal, we’re building and actively executing an international strategy. There’s no way we’d be able to do this ourselves – but ShipBob’s combination of tech-forward APIs and logistics expertise allows us to scale globally with ease.”Ben Jablow, VP, Alliances at Postal
When it came to shipping and fulfilling international orders, we needed someone who could be an expert on things like duties, importer of record, and VAT taxes. Our customers don’t care about those various challenges — they just want their items to arrive on time and for the process to be effortless. ShipBob helps us provide that enhanced customer experience for international customers. That’s just one of the many benefits of working with ShipBob.
International shipping has also become much easier through ShipBob’s strategically placed global fulfillment centers and ShipBob’s relationship with FlavorCloud. Now we can ensure that DDP shipping is included for items we send internationally so recipients don’t have to worry about paying customs on items they are sent as a gift.
International shipping and fulfillment used to be a pain point for us, but now it’s a strength.
How ShipBob stacked up against competition
When we were initially talking about the type of partnership we needed from a fulfillment company, ShipBob came up.
“We spoke to different ShipBob competitors and did an analysis that included considerations like pricing, quantity of locations in the US, and international locations. After doing the analysis, ShipBob was head and shoulders ahead of competitors.”Ben Jablow, VP, Alliances at Postal
ShipBob’s pricing is set up in a way that is very appealing to us based on the way we pass pricing onto our clients. Postal offers clients a flat platform fee to use the tool for a year. Because ShipBob’s fees are so easy to calculate and break out by receiving, warehousing, and fulfillment/shipping, we only have clients pay for shipping. It’s a much more efficient way to allow our clients to use this option through Postal.
Additionally, we definitely saw advantages in the number of ShipBob’s international locations and the various features associated with being a global company. We have DDP shipping enabled for all of our international orders – that’s currently one of our favorite features. We now have peace of mind that we can actually get things sent and delivered worldwide without having to worry about duties. People will reach out and say “Wow, that’s already done?” And we tell them, “Yep, it’s done.”
We also love the ShipBob team. Kevin Marvinac’s knowledge and expertise and dedication to getting involved has been really amazing. ShipBob has great institutional knowledge about global fulfillment, international expansion, and its technical capabilities. We’ve definitely deferred to the ShipBob team for some of the questions we get from clients.
We recently got a chance to meet with Kevin in Chicago to walk through ShipBob’s Cicero, Illinois fulfillment center and dive into processes. Additionally, Kevin has come out to our headquarters in San Luis Obispo, California to meet with our team and go through our day-to-day operations. We’re totally aligned in vision. We want to get to a point where all of our clients are using the ShipBob and Postal solution.
Postal and ShipBob, one year later
As told to ShipBob by Ben Jablow, VP, Alliances at Postal one year after the original conversation from above.
Since we last spoke, Postal has grown a lot. We have over 500 clients, many of which are mid-market and enterprise brands due to our partnership with ShipBob. It’s a huge part of our business, used by one-third of our clients.
It’s important that we have 3 of our team members allocated to this relationship because we are submitting up to 10 POs on a daily basis. We have so many different items being shipped to so many different places, so we’re constantly communicating with our account management team at ShipBob multiple times per day.
“Our clients don’t think about the warehousing and fulfillment of their items. When our clients think about Postal, they think of it being an all-in-one service. They don’t realize ShipBob is completing order fulfillment on our behalf and that’s exactly what we want. For a lot of these companies, using Postal as fulfilled by ShipBob centralizes everything. It helps them save money, time, and effort. We hear that a lot.”Ben Jablow, VP, Alliances at Postal
These companies are able to work smarter, not harder. For example, our clients used to send thousands of branded shirts to a conference or event to hand out. Now, they’re having attendees scan a QR code where they fill in their details and shipping information to place an order on our platform. By the time they’re back from the conference, ShipBob has already shipped their swag item and it’s waiting for them in their mailbox.
This time last year, we wanted to implement an integration that automates the creation and flow of replenishing inventory to ShipBob from each of our clients, and we’re really excited that it’s coming to fruition. The ShipBob team does a great job of taking our ideas and creating efficiencies. They’re always looking for ways to make processes better for the both of us. ShipBob is also in the process of building a parent-child format for the dashboard. Having the ability for the parent (Postal in this case) to separately manage all of our clients will be hugely beneficial for us.
White-labelling fulfillment for a win-win partnership
I like the white-labeled powered by ShipBob concept. Using ShipBob to essentially white-label our fulfillment significantly simplifies the process for us and our clients. ShipBob really makes a very difficult process much easier for those who send out products on behalf of other clients on a daily basis.
Postal’s partnership with ShipBob has been a huge competitive advantage for us. Our biggest competitor has all of their clients’ items shipped to their warehouse, where items are opened, repackaged, and then sent out. In that model, it could take an item 3 weeks to get to a recipient. With ShipBob, Postal is able to get items to one of our customer’s recipients in just a few days.
“Standing out from the competition in the tech space in regards to capability, functionality, and ease of use (especially internationally), is incredibly important. It’s crucial for us to have a partner like ShipBob that values our relationship, supports us when we need to be supported, and makes a lot of these processes easier.”Ben Jablow, VP, Alliances at Postal
Being a logistics company is really hard, so we are thankful for our partnership with ShipBob because it simplifies so many processes for us and allows us to succinctly communicate our story to clients. Our partnership with ShipBob is invaluable, and the benefits are invaluable for our clients. We’re excited to see where the partnership takes us a year from now.
Postal’s team at ShipBob
Kevin is ShipBob’s VP of Strategic Partnerships and has been instrumental in developing the API that connects Postal and ShipBob.
Joel is the Senior Enterprise Account Executive who helped Postal get onboarded with ShipBob.
Catherine is the Senior Merchant Success Manager at ShipBob who assists the Postal team.
As ShipBob’s Director of Platform Partnerships, Manisha provides guidance and support to Postal’s fulfillment powered by ShipBob.
Get in touch with ShipBob
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