Global Distribution Strategies
“We saved 25 percent to 30 percent in postage costs by printing Boardroom’s books [with a] softcover, thereby lowering the individual fulfillment package weight by approximately 1 pound,” indicates Epperson.
Agora also learned that depending on the volume of product, local fulfillment can be more cost effective, and, according to Epperson, it also can significantly decrease delivery time and improve customer service. Because the cost to print books in the United States and ship to customers in Australia was extremely high, Agora prints multiple titles of similar lengths and sizes together in Australia to gain print efficiencies, and mails through the local postal stream.
Mailing within the country greatly shortens delivery time. For the remainder of the world, Agora notes that delivery can take four to six weeks. Epperson feels it is important to be up front about delivery times to head off customer service calls.
So it can more accurately estimate a delivery time, Agora also provides e-mail notification when the product ships to those customers who give their e-mail addresses.
Demand for newsletter subscriptions is scattered around the rest of the world and doesn’t command as large a volume per individual country, so Agora prints and mails subscriptions from the United States.
To maximize postal discounts, worldwide distribution of newsletters are mailed using the services of a consolidator. A consolidator benefits mailers by commingling smaller mail volumes that don’t have the ability to meet a postal administration’s requirements for mail preparation discounts.
Newsletters headed north to Canada, which commands its biggest mail volume, are printed in the United States, trucked to the border and mailed using Canada Post’s Publication Mail service. However, it currently is investigating the possibility of using a distributor in Canada because of problems with shipments being held up at customs (because of premiums). In the meantime, Agora adheres a sticker to each fulfillment package indicating the goods and services tax (GST) already has been paid and includes Agora’s GST number.