Acutrack: a better alternative to Amazon

Many of our clients described Acutrack as a mini Amazon! Although we are flattered, it also made us think of how do we really compare to Amazon. This short article/blog should help you. In this blog, we will share with you, how by working with Acutrack will actually give you more control of the fulfillment process vs Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) & Createspace services (Publishing of CD’s, DVD’s and books). Like Amazon, Acutrack offers fulfillment services for your products and publishing of CD’s, DVD's and books. However, we go beyond simply offering such services: we do what Amazon doesn’t by putting you back in control!

Createspace
    • Control your marketplaces: 
      When you work with Amazon: Amazon only helps you sell on their own marketplace. If you plan to use Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), then it is assumed that Amazon marketplace is your single sales strategy. Amazon’s FBA does not help you personalize and prepare your shipments to other distributors. In addition, you don’t get a dedicated account representative who knows your business needs and can help you expand into other marketplaces. When you work with Acutrack: Acutrack helps you sell on any marketplace. Amazon’s marketplace is wonderful, but why limit yourself to just one marketplace? We help personalize your logistics so that you can sell not only on Amazon, but also on your online store, retailers, Groupon, or any other marketplace where you wish to sell. Acutrack has a dedicated account representative who knows your business needs extremely well and can help you grow your business in the marketplace.

 

    • Control your brand: 
      When you work with Amazon: The Amazon brand is everywhere. Customers buy their products on Amazon’s website. Your product gets shipped in an Amazon box. Your customer service is dealt with by Amazon. Amidst all this, your brand gets lost. When you work with Acutrack: The Acutrack brand is nowhere. Your package gets shipped with your brand. We are your invisible publishing and fulfillment partner. We want your brand to be maximized, because we recognize that branding is crucial for companies to be successful.

 

    • Control your eCommerce: 
      When you work with Amazon: Amazon is your eCommerce and takes a percentage of the sales and then pays you the difference. When you work with Acutrack: You have the option to run any eCommerce platform. We are integrated with 50+ eCommerce platforms so you can choose the right one for your application. We don’t run your eCommerce. We don’t take a percentage of your sales. You manage your eCommerce and keep the sales. In addition to integrating with your shopping cart, we give you a full suite of our API for all aspects of order and inventory management.

 

    • Control your interaction with your customers: 
      When you work with Amazon: Amazon controls your customer service. While this may initially sound appealing at first (one less headache to deal it!), many business have reported to us that in the long-term, this has actually been a huge disadvantage. First, you do not hear the feedback from your customers, which makes it difficult to improve your product. Second, you do not interact with your customers at all, which makes it virtually impossible to sell them more products in the future. We all know that selling to an existing customer is much easier than selling to a new customer, but the Amazon model does not allow that. When you work with Acutrack: You control your customer service. You talk directly to your customers and establish a long-lasting relationship with them. You get feedback from them so you can improve your next product. You promote to your existing customers and grow your business. You can ask your customers to refer you to other businesses. In short, the Acutrack model allows you to communicate directly with your customers, because we know that strong customer relationship is the heart of any successful business.

Ultimately, you have to decide what strategy works for you. Amazon is undeniably an easy choice. If you are okay with one marketplace with a pre-existing eCommerce platform and someone else to take of your customer service, then Amazon is a good fit for you. If you are looking to expand into multiple marketplaces, maximize your brand, have the flexibility to run any eCommerce platform, and have relationship with your customers, then Acutrack is the perfect model for your company.

Can I have the best of both worlds? Yes! One solution many of our customers find appealing is signing up for Amazon Marketplace Pro. This allows you to access Amazon’s marketplace, but have another company like Acutrack manage your fulfillment - and give you full control over your company!

 

Are you importing goods into the United States?

If you are planning shipping goods to our warehouse, we want to make sure that these goods arrive at our warehouse custom cleared. This means goods must be DDP (Delivered Duty Paid, or free of all import taxes or customs clearance charges). Acutrack recommends working with a customs broker to import your products into the US. A licensed customs broker will help fill out paperwork and obtain the required documentation to complete the import. You have the option to work with a customs broker of your choice, or we can recommend one of our preferred partners.

importer of record
  • Who will be the importer of record?: You (not Acutrack) will the importer of record for anything we receive on your behalf. The merchandise we receive must be free and clear of customs duties in order for us to sign for it. In order to clear customs, the customs broker can help create a custom ID#. Of note, you don’t need a US Federal Tax ID number or mailing address.
  • Importer Security Filing (ISF): US customs require that you file Importer Security Filing 24 hours before the departure of the ocean shipment from the port at the origin. This filing is done by the importer of record. If not done properly or timely, it may cause penalty upon arrival at the destination port. To comply, customs wants a bond on file to secure that the penalties, if any levied, will be paid.
  • Custom Bond: You have the option of obtaining a "single entry" or "continuous bond". The type of bond you elect to obtain ultimately depends on how often you import into the U.S. For instance if you only import on occasion, the single entry bond is recommended. If you import frequently and through various ports of entry, the continuous bond is beneficial and economically the best choice.

Importing goods to the US is not a very straight forward process. You can manage this on your own working with an expert customs broker. However, it could be a frustrating experience if you are dealing with vendors who are not an expert, and you then become responsible for delays and expenses due to lack of their knowledge.

 

DVD should be an integral part of your content distribution

The decline of DVDs has been significant in the last few years, but does this mean that will soon go away like video cassette? DVD for video and digital content is still a major player. The rise of digital distribution has been significant and has to be an important part of any organization’s content strategy. While digital distribution is cheaper to deploy and an important revenue stream, it is just one piece of the puzzle. DVD should continue to be an integral part of your distribution if the content holder wants to maximize revenue and take the whole pie.

DVD on demand

While digital distribution is powerful and important, DVD will continue to play an important role. DVD on-demand production and fulfillment gives you an option to get their content on DVD which allows for brand exposure and increased revenue. DVD isn’t dead, it is here to stay.

  • DVD plays a vital role: Consumers remain hungry for content, but are finding more and more avenues to it. Electronic Sell-Through (EST), Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) or Transactional VOD have all amounted to the same pie, just sliced into more pieces. DVD is no more dead than the single-screen movie theatre or the hardcover book, both play a diminished but still vital role in the ecosystem.
  • Digital download has its shortcomings: It is true that mobile devices and tablets are being used for streaming, but when it comes to long-term usage, DVD is simply a better value. Watching movie on disc will remain the best and most reliable way to travel. We are still a long time away when every car has its own wi-fi hotspots or reliable and cheap network when you travel in airport, plane or hotels.
  • Combo-pack is now an industry cornerstone: When a consumer pays for a product it is crucial to reward the customer with multi-platform content. That means if you buy a disc you also get a digital copy. This multi-platform concept is very common in print industry. You subscribe to TIME magazine in print and you have an option for digital download for free. Rather than selling a digital download for $20 and a DVD copy for $20, you offer a combo-pack for $25. This concept is now an industry cornerstone and rewarding to both the consumer and content holder. Consumers don’t have to make the critical choice between digital or physical and as a content holder, you have an increased revenue.
  • Offer DVD on-demand in conjunction with digital download: DVD on-demand production and fulfillment is very similar to digital distribution. When you are offering digital downloads, there is no reason why you would not want to offer physical DVDs as well. DVD on-demand gives you the option to produce & fulfill DVD only when requested. Similar to digital distribution, there is no inventory, no upfront cost and no hassle. Give your consumer all the options, and it helps you to win the entire pie. Using Acutrack On-Demand, there isn’t a cheaper way to get your content to your customers on a physical product.
  • Great way to market your brand and products: DVDs are the standard. Everyone knows how to use them and has a way to play them in their homes. DVDs allow beautiful printing on both the disc and the DVD case. This is a great medium to wow your customers with something they can hold in their hands. Most importantly, DVDs allows you to promote your brand. DVD packaging can be personalized with your signature or client’s name. Many organization creates promotional DVD package with bonus content, limited edition, collector’s edition or expanded edition for marketing incentive. A physical product, like a DVD, produces a different experience and connection for customers.

They can touch and feel real ownership of a product. It is lot easier to sell a collector edition on DVD compared to collector edition as digital download.

 

 

Shipping rate cost increase of 2017

With 2017 comes a number of changes in shipping rates, which means that you must take some time to review your current cost and if needed make changes to your sales strategy. All three major carriers, FedEx, UPS and USPS, have changed their shipping prices. USPS has made significant changes on the prices of all their services and FedEx and UPS have made changes in the manner in which they calculate dimensional weight which in the end will affect you!
 

Impact of dimensional weight pricing from FedEx
FedEx has made a major change in their dimensional weight calculations. Dimensional weight reflects a package’s density, which is the amount of space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight. For each shipment, your charge is based off the dimensional weight or actual weight of the package — whichever is greater. It is best to place the dimensions of your package on FedEx’s weight calculator  which can be found on the FedEx website to calculate the actual weight. FedEx’s dimensional weight applies to both FedEx Express and FedEx Ground packages. When it comes to dimensional weight pricing, you have three options: accept the new rating method and pass the cost on to customers, reduce package size where possible without damaging merchandise, or explore an alternative shipping carrier. For example, the US Postal Service does not factor in dimensional weight into shipping cost.

USPS takes liberty to increase cost in less than one lb.
It’s important to remember that USPS talks about a one to two cost percentage increase, but this is only an average number. Based on the type of mail service you use, the cost could be higher or lower from the average increase. You need to look at the class, weight, zone, density, and special services required to see the true impact. USPS has a complete monopoly in the less than one pound market and they have taken the liberty to increase the cost from 0.4% to as much as 17.8%

We at Acutrack make it a priority to educate you about the changes and give you a comparative cost analysis so you know the current cost and also the best carrier for your shipping needs. You may check the latest price on Acutrack’s shipping calculator or speak to Acutrack’s support team who can assist you with your product fulfillment needs

 

The Importance of Finding the Right Fulfillment Partner

When running a crowdfunding campaign you need a long term, fulfillment partner.  You need someone who can fulfill rewards to your backers and also be your partner to warehouse and support your future fulfillment needs.  Having the right fulfillment partner increases efficiency, flexibility to allocate your resources, and brings outside expertise to help save you money. Consider Looking For A Fulfillment Partner Early In The Planning Process Of Your Campaign

  • The Right Fulfillment Partner Should Help You Make Accurate Cost Projections. There are many costs issues to consider including reward procurement and shipping.  When you set a value for each reward make sure that it is at least break even to the cost of procuring and fulfilling the reward.   If the procurement and fulfillment costs are higher than the reward level your crowdfunding project will have serious negative financial implications.  A good fulfillment partner will assess the cost of fulfillment and the cost of shipping both domestic and international. Depending on the nature of your reward the right fulfillment partner will be able to guide you by suggesting the right shipping method.
  • The Right Fulfillment Partner Should Help You Improve Quality and Efficiency. When you run a crowdfunding campaign you know you will wear many hats.  And it can be tough because each aspect requires time and skill to handle the various levels of your campaign.  The right fulfillment partner can bring their expertise in package design, help you showcase your brand, choose a cost effective shipping carrier and work behind the scene to give your campaign needed quality and efficiency.  A good partner gives you the flexibility to pick and choose the services or support that you need. They can give you the quality and efficiency to save your time and let you and your team to focus on everything else.
  • The Right Fulfillment Partner Should Keep Your Project On Schedule. Your backers want you to stay on schedule.  Crowdfunding campaigns are notorious for delays and difficulties during manufacturing and order fulfillment, but many of those issues can be solved or at least they can be partially prevented through proper planning. Collaborating and working with your partners can help to keep everyone on the same schedule and allows for efficient assembly and shipment of whatever you’re delivering to your backers. Compare this to trying to do everything internally only to stretch your resources too thin and risk the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build.
  • The Right Fulfillment Partner Should Be A Trusted Partner That Can Grow With Your Business. Your crowdfunding campaign is the starting point of your business.  Hopefully, you have raised money that can take you from ground floor to top floor.  You need a fulfillment partner who can scale and expand as your operation grows.  It is easier and less risky to test the skill and flexibility of a fulfillment partner from the ground floor.  Establish the relationship early and as your business needs grow you will already have a trusted partner.

There are many benefits of outsourcing your fulfillment needs.   The most important aspect is finding a fulfillment partner who saves you time, brings efficiency, flexibility and a long-term partnership.  In all these areas Acutrack is a trusted partner who has a proven track record of being able to expand to meet their customers needs as their business grows, making them your ideal fulfillment partner for your business needs.

Have a question?

Please contact us:

Toll-Free: 888-234-3472
Phone: 925-579-5000
Fax: 925-579-5001
sales@acutrack.com

Request for Quote!

Acutrack Contact

sales@acutrack.com
350 Sonic Avenue
Livermore, CA 94551
USA

Please contact us:

Toll-Free: 888-234-3472
Phone: 925-579-5000
Fax: 925-579-5001
sales@acutrack.com

Request for Quote!

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About Acutrack

Acutrack is a technology-driven eCommerce fulfillment company with a specialization in publishing any product needed for your business. With logistics center on both coasts of the USA, we serve as a one-stop logistic center for your business needs!
In this manner, we serve as a one-stop logistics extensionof your business.

Fulfillment centers:

Livermore, CA
Cincinnati, OH