If you're a business that sends out a lot of orders every day, you'll probably be doing it through an external carrier such as Royal Mail. Processing each one individually on your website's CMS and then separately on the carrier's site to print off the label can be a long winded operation. Thankfully Bluepark has partnered with NetDespatch, UK's leading SaaS parcel data management platform for postal and parcel carriers, to make this so much easier and we are currently the only UK based ecommerce provider to do so.
At the end of 2015 NetDespatch was acquired by Royal Mail which makes this partnership a great opportunity for UK based businesses to use a fully integrated system to better manage the shipping and tracking of parcels. Bluepark currently integrates with just the Royal Mail carrier but NetDespatch offer many other carriers including Collect+, APC and UK Mail which will be added in the very near future.
And what's better, NetDespatch is completely FREE! All you need is a Royal Mail account, a free NetDespatch account and have a Bluepark website either on the Business Park or Enterprise Park package.
Setting Up Your Free NetDespatch Account
Before using this integration, you will need to create an account with NetDespatch which is done by filling out an approval form to get permission from Royal Mail to use NetDespatch to processes your shipping. Don't worry, if you do not have a Royal Mail account, you can still need to fill in the form and Royal Mail will contact you.
Configuring Your Shipping Methods With The Correct Carrier Tariff
Before getting started with your despatching, the first thing to do is make sure you have the correct order processing type set. To do this go to Site > Configuration > Order tab and set Order Processing to Advanced (picking).
Next you will need to set each shipping method with the carrier type and tariff it will use. To do this go to the Shipping Manager and click into the first shipping method. You will see a NetDespatch tab where just the Carrier option is displayed. Choose the one that is relevant to the shipping method.
Add in the user ID and password as supplied to you by NetDespatch and add in your Royal Mail account ID.
Next select the correct tariff for this shipping method from the drop-down. You will find each type set under standard headings such as Tracked 24 and Tracked 48. Enter the cut off time for the final time of collection.
If there is a general weight that most packages are shipped by then set this within the Default Packaging Weight (kg) field. This can be overridden at the time of despatching each parcel, so don't worry. Tick the box underneath if this value equates to the total weight of the parcel, disregarding the weight of each individual product.
Repeat this process for each shipping method you intend to use through NetDespatch.
Processing Your Picked Orders
To start despatching your orders you will need to pick them in your usual way, either in bulk via the Order Manager, or individually in the Order Processor, and the despatch notes can be printed at this time. Once this is done the person doing the despatching will need to go to Orders > Despatch Manager. As always, admin accounts can be set so the user can only access the Despatch Manager if this is their only job within the CMS.
As with the Order Manager, there are several ways you can look for the despatch notes you want to process. These include the search box at the top middle where you can search by despatch number, name, order number and etc. You can also filter what is shown by using the filter drop-downs on the top left.
The Send Emails and Take Payments tick boxes can be unticked before continuing through the despatch process to stop confirmation emails going out to customers and deferred payments being taken if needed.
You can view the despatch note prior to processing by clicking on the despatch number or on the print icon. If you are using NetDespatch it is recommended that your despatch notes are configured to show despatch number bar codes. This can be done via Site > Configuration > Order tab > Bar Code Images on Despatch Notes. The Despatch Number and Picking list option is recommended.
Each despatch note represents one package and is therefore processed individually. To do this either type the despatch number into the search field and press go or click on the green despatch note icon under the Action column. If you are using a barcode scanner this can also be done by scanning the barcode on the despatch note.
The shipping tariff and package weight are all auto-populated by settings within the Shipping Manager but can be changed within this screen if necessary. A tracking number will automatically be applied at the point of shipping if it is relevant to the tariff used.
Click on the Ship Despatch Note button once the package is ready to be shipped.
The delivery confirmation email will automatically be sent to the customer at this point and the despatch label will be ready to print. For Royal Mail, you can print this on a 6.4" thermal label as supplied by them or to a laser printer label.
Please click here for information regarding the Velocity Connector to enable automatic label printing, then contact NetDespatch Support to request that "connector printing" should be enabled for your account
Just repeat the despatching process for each individual despatch note and that's it. Just remember to watch out for new carriers being added in the coming months which can be used alongside the current Royal Mail carrier.