Why a Retail Centre

Mark: Hi, it's Mark from TLR. I'm here with Mark Huggan of Phantom Couriers in Vancouver. One of the fastest growing companies in Vancouver, in BC, in Canada, expanding all over the place. Shipping and delivering packages, courier services right across the entire lower mainland and across BC. Expanding into Alberta and Toronto. Mark, how are you doing today? 

Mark H: We're doing good. Happy Monday. 

Mark: Yeah. So you guys have a retail centre that you recently opened up on Howe Street have I got that, right?  329 Howe Street. So what's the retail centre for? 

Mark H: It's set up just to be focused on overnight shipping for like US Express, Canada overnight, next day, Toronto and the rest the world. And then we're also focused on ground shipping to Canada and the United States. So any large packages that need to be there in five business days, we can facilitate that for them. It's a great place to just get all the international shipping focused and just have a person with an attention to detail on top of it all. For proactive tracking, address changes, any problems that come up because problems come up regularly and it takes the burden off the regular same day dispatch team.

Mark: So why would I come to the retail centre to look after that rather than getting you guys to pick it up or just using Canada Post or UPS or any of the competitors, that there might be in the world? 

Mark H: Yeah. Well, we will pick it up from you. That's not a problem. We have always done that. So any businesses doing regular shipping overnight we'll just come pick it up and consolidate and bring it into the centre for fulfillment.

A lot of people walk in off the street. In Google My Business it shows us up on the map. So a lot of people just come walk in with like, random stuff and we can just help them there. It's calm. They're not on the telephone. They can actually see what's going on and get a good understanding when it will be there.

And there's a nice attendant upstairs named James who works with people personally. So it's a good thing. So it has two points. So you can walk in. It's all COVID friendly. And then we can have it picked up by courier and brought to the shop. No problem. And the competitive aspect is that we have competitive pricing. We can work on pricing and we're trying to get a bigger market share just by making it easier for our customers. 

They only have to go to Phantom Couriers online portal to just put in the address. They don't have to print out waybills and wait, they just like, it's going to Joe Smith and Toronto. Here's the address? Boom. Done. We'll get it. We'll package it, manifest it, proactively track it and keep it on one invoice for the customer. So it makes it a lot easier. And then when problems arise such as address corrections, because we all know databases are only as good as, like on my list is like clean up your database, always. You know, Joe might might've moved last week. It's just like an oversight. And then we're able to like, Whoa, we've got some information. Let's change that now. Well, it's in the flow. Otherwise, sometimes it takes up to 48 hours to get an address correction. And we're more on point because that's what we do all day is tracking and tracing.

Mark: So you guys actually package stuff. Like if I bring in my widget, I'm an Etsy seller or Shopify, and I have some product that I need to ship to the United States because somebody purchased it. You actually have packaging and all the appropriate stuff there to get the package delivered. Peanuts and all rest of it.

Mark H: Yeah. So it is a shipping centre. So we've got lots of boxes there. We've got this great box that just can go from big to small. It's like, you just cut it out and it works perfectly. Then they've got all the craft paper upstairs for wrapping the packing stuff for insulating it, and then they pack it up, dim it out. We have a nice electronic scale. Everything's super accurate. And it goes.

 Like for instance, this Christmas, these people came in and they brought in all these tote boxes of like charcuterie boards, jams, chocolates, cards, and they were all loose and they just gave us a manifest and we just got the boxes ready. Did what we needed to do, loaded them up, cut them down, packed them tight, labeled them, shipped them. Boom done. We've had lots of other things like gift bags come in and you can't ship a gift bag. It will be totally destroyed. So we just do the exact same thing. Just line them up, pack them up, tighten them down because a gift bag, the dimensional weight of the gift bag, it's an odd shape. So when we consolidate it down and get it into a better dim size, the pricing goes down. 

Mark: So when you're talking about dimensional weight or dim size, maybe let's just quickly give us the short version of how that actually works. 

Mark H: So we all know like a cell phone weighs a couple of ounces, but if you put it in a shoe box, say you just thought, Oh, I'll just wrap it up and put it in the shoe box. Well, the dimensional weight increases because it's broken down by the square foot. So all international shippers, when you put something on an airplane, you're buying square footage. 

Mark: Or cubic footage. 

Mark H: Yeah. Cubic footage. Yeah. So there's a formula like length times, width, times height divided by, everybody's got a different number, and that gives them the cubic, like the actual weight of a pound and maybe the cubic weight or the square rate might be five pounds. So you want to make sure your packaging gets as small as you can. And you save a ton of money. 

So a lot of people get us to pick up a box with like, Oh, this is a big box and it doesn't weigh anything. So it was called the customer like, Hey, this box is going to cost you this. Maybe we should make it cost that. So it's good savings, because you know, we're shipping experts. Something, we look at all the time. There's not a lot of boxes in offices and when you're at home, you know, you're just going to grab the closest box. It might be a box of wine and you're putting something light weight in it, might as well get it in the right packaging.

A lot of times they can go into like, everybody's seen those like plastic bags, because they have a QR code on them. And so to envelopes, when they go through the sorting facility, they're registered at a certain rate. So it's up to like a pound in an envelope and it's up to like five pounds and sometimes 10 pounds in those bags. So if we can get something that's lighter in one of those bags, we're going to do it and save your money. And it's more efficient too. 

Mark: I went through a bit of a horror story with address changing with some products that I ordered, and I know that happens all the time. So how do you guys actually take care of address changes, corrections, making sure the product ends up where it's supposed to go? 

Mark H: Yeah. Well, we have a pretty big account, so we don't have to go to the call centre. Any of the people in the call centres are just busy, like crazy. So usually the chat is where customers would go usually. And they're like, Oh, I have an address correction, like hours typing in, but we can just go into our account and get that address corrected. There's never a same day address corrections anyways, because we all know that those root trucks are, they're not like, Oh, I'm just going back. But we can get the information to the centre when the truck returns, when it gets offloaded, because of the QR code, it's separated. Boom. And new address label goes on it. And then a lot of times we can contact people. They might have just moved and the package just maybe signed for by the person moved to the house because they're like, Oh, I'll sign for that. And so we can make arrangements to go pick it up. 

We've even had our own staff go into Toronto, a big company in Vancouver, big tech company sent out a bunch of stuff and their CSV file shifted by one cell. So Mark Bossert was getting Mark Huggans package, Mark Huggan was getting like Joe Smith's package. And it was just one of those things. Right. And it was an important delivery. So we had Matt and Toronto just like, okay, look at the list. And he basically went out there and played the memory game by driving around and starting at the first person to tell him he'll be back at the end of the day with the last person on the packages package. But you know, that's hard work that needs to be done. So we did it we did it same day. It was difficult. Otherwise you'd have to wait two or three days because everything would have to be, if it was signed for it, we'd have to make arrangements to go pick it up, get it figured out and then redo it. But Matt was able to be proactive. It was a pretty good success. So that's the kind of thing we can do.

Address corrections all day. 

Mark: Yeah. Yeah. And you guys are, you're dealing with it all the time. A lot of times we'll order things and you get the little notice saying, track your package. Which seems really weird to me because now I'm on the hook for tracking whether they screwed up. Is that how that works? You guys do that for people though? 

Mark H: A hundred percent. Yeah. So if somebody is not home and they get that little track the package thing, we get it first, before you even get back home. So we would track the person who was supposed to receive the package down and make arrangements for them for like a specific time to get it. And the time is pretty big. So we have to, you know, you have to be considerate of everybody's sides. When we tried to narrow the focus down and get it to them on their schedule as best we can, but that happens all the time. 

But luckily we get the notice first. Before you even arrived home and yeah, you're right. If you have to track it yourself, you're just like, well, where is it now? And then you're making phone calls. And then they say to you, are you the shipper? No, I'm the receiver. Well, you can't call us. But since we're the shipper and we consolidate hundreds of customers a day as their shipper, we can reach out to all those different ones and get the job done super fast. Nothing more confusing than address corrections when it seems so straightforward. But yeah. It's just one of those things needs to be done. 

Mark: Absolutely. Another thing you mentioned, kind of whipped through there was the ground shipping versus overnight, and there's quite a difference in terms of what it costs to ship packages. 

Mark H: Yeah, it's huge. It's like a 40% discount. Well, I wouldn't say discount price difference. And on ground, you know, it starts off at a heavier weight. So right off the hop, you're getting a better thing. If you were to do an express shipment of say a  a 10 pound box street rate to Los Angeles express is $92. And then we could get that box like that's a 10 pound box is 92 bucks. So if you want it to go ground on that, you're probably looking at around $55. So it's a huge difference. So if you don't have to ship it overnight, you might as well ship it in five business days and get the better price.

Because a lot of people don't know what they're doing and they ship it out express and they're like, Holy 92 bucks. So we manage that. We always ask questions like, are you sure you need that there tomorrow?

Mark: So if you need shipping simplified to the United States, across Canada, overnight, ground shipping, anywhere in the world, actually, the guys to call are Phantom Couriers. You can reach them at (604) 899-5447. Go to phantomcouriers.com. You can book online right there. They'll come and pick it up. They'll make sure it gets where it's supposed to go. No matter what craziness might be going on in the world or you, if you're outside of Vancouver, +1 844-899-5447. They'll look after you. Thanks Mark.

Mark H: You're right on, man. Thank you.