Customer Stories | Apr 07, 2022

How Wild Ridge Plants Uses UPS® Shipping To Grow Their Business

Hasan Nabulsi

For many people, this time of the year means a few things. We wear shorts not realizing how pale winter has made us. We attend way too many weddings. And we wash the pollen off of our car at least three times a week. But for some, it means using UPS shipping through Shippo more than ever.

For e-commerce businesses like Wild Ridge Plants which are shipping plants across the country, spring means fulfilling as many orders as possible.

To do this effectively, they need a carrier that can handle the larger shipments, can deliver as quickly as possible, won’t break the bank, and a shipping platform that can connect to their e-commerce site and help them track orders. While it seemed impossible at first to achieve all of this, Wild Ridge Plants found the solution that worked best for them.

With Earth Day approaching and in the spirit of going green, we decided to highlight one of our greenest Shippos and see how they went from a strictly live person business to building out an effective mail-order business with UPS through Shippo.

Wild Ridge Plants At Their Roots

Based in Pohatcong Township, New Jersey, Wild Ridge Plants was founded by the down-to-earth husband and wife team of Jared Rosenbaum and Rachel Mackow.

Growing up as a city kid, Jared’s knowledge of the natural world was limited to squirrels, pigeons, and maple trees. But after moving to a rural part of NJ with Rachel, both of their passions for plant life were born. With a thousand acres of forest around them, it was an entirely new world in which they both planted themselves in.

Wild Ridge Plants 1
Photo Credits: Cari Hermann

They both began careers in conservation and took their interests a step further by collecting seeds in the wild, germinating them, and learning all about how to grow them properly. With this extensive knowledge, they are able to restore plants back in their natural habitats, work with non-profits to bring back more natural diversity into their nature preserves, and work with individuals who want to turn their back yards into something that is more welcoming to wildlife.

Their business started on the ground through community sales, hosting events with non-profits, and hosting people at their farm. Their website was mainly just a place where people could learn about plants. However, everything changed during the beginning of the pandemic.

With the inability to sell at live events, the two turned to selling plants online. However, learning how to ship plants was an entirely new field that took some studying as well.

How Wild Ridge Plants Was Growing Before

When Jared and Rachel first started embarking on building out a mail-order business, they were immediately faced by some common challenges many e-commerce businesses face.

Once they would make a sale on their website, they’d have to take all the information they had on that order and manually enter it to print out a label. The issue they found was that not only was it time-consuming to have to input that information for each sale, but it was also more expensive than it had to be.

Wild Ridge Plants wasn’t making enough sales to constitute a volume discount. But, while on the brink of giving up on their mail-order business entirely, a friend introduced them to Shippo.

How Wild Ridge Plants E-commerce is Blooming With UPS Through Shippo

When it came down to it, Wild Ridge Plants needed a few things to make their e-commerce business worthwhile. That included:

  • A shipping platform that would integrate with their e-commerce platform, WooCommerce
  • A way to track orders and shipments
  • The ability to create shipping labels in-house
  • Access to cheaper shipping labels

By signing up for a UPS account through Shippo, they were able to achieve all of that and more.

“Shippo does shipping really effectively, it’s a platform that leaves really little room for confusion. It does shipping and does it right,” said Jared Rosenbaum.

Wild Ridge Plants was also able to easily reduce their shipping costs by utilizing Shippo’s discounted UPS rates. Shippo offers discounted UPS shipping labels including up to 55% off UPS® Ground, 69% off UPS 2nd Day Air®, and UPS Next Day Air®, as well as up to 86% off of international services. If you’d like to see for yourself how much you can save on UPS shipping, sign up for a free Shippo account today!

Wild Ridge Plants mail order
Photo Credits: Cari Hermann

When it comes to how they deliver their plants, they accept orders throughout the week but it’s not until Monday that they actually drop off the packages at their local UPS® drop-off store. This is to limit the time they’re in transit.

But, once they’re dropped off, the plants don’t usually take long to deliver. By viewing their shipping metrics through Shippo, Wild Ridge Plants can see that their average shipping time is less than two days in transit.

“It comes down to simplicity and personal connections. UPS offered consistently competitive rates during our early research, for the relatively large packages we send within a circumscribed geographic area. We had a UPS delivery person we really liked who did package pickups with us early on, and also a friendly relationship with our local UPS® drop-off store where we take our packages now that our volume is higher. And who can say no to big chocolate-colored trucks,” said Jared Rosenbaum.

Wild Ridge Plants now sells more than 100 different plant species along with books and apparel that can be shipped nationwide. By using UPS through Shippo, they’re able to grow their customer base and reach audiences they never could before.

Anyone can take a similar route as Wild Ridge Plants. To find the nearest UPS drop-off point to your business, visit here. With more than 22,000 drop-off locations nationwide (including at partner stores like CVS and Michael’s), you’re sure to find one that is logistically feasible for you.

How UPS Helps With Eco-Friendly E-commerce

Wild Ridge Plants started with the goal of conservation and restoration of natural habitats. This is a goal that also aligns with the actions that UPS is taking for all e-commerce merchants. As per the carrier’s latest sustainability report, UPS has set a goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.

But, the steps to get there are already in place. UPS relies on suppliers that support sustainable forest management.

Another step UPS is taking towards sustainability is by making their transportation system greener. UPS has purchased 135 million gallons of alternative fuel, invested $1 billion in alternative fuel and advanced technologies, and will power 40% of ground operations with alternative fuels by 2025.

Wild Ridge’s Advice For Shipping With UPS

Wild Ridge Plants has now been shipping plants for two years and knows the difficulty when it comes to getting your e-commerce store’s shipping options set up.

“We have been offered some pretty good rates by UPS directly, but Shippo’s rates are just as good and the Shippo interface (and integration!) is much better. UPS works well for us as a carrier because of the geographic region we ship to, but other carriers are probably worth pricing out for merchants who are shipping in different areas or sending different package sizes than ours,” said Jared.

To learn more about what to expect when shipping with UPS through Shippo, check out our Q&A where we got a chance to speak with long-time UPSer Jason Robinson.

And on the topic of growth, if you know friends who could use some help with shipping, you can empower their business to grow by inviting them to use Shippo. Both you and your friend can also earn up to $500 each in rewards for doing so – it’s a win/win! Terms apply.

To learn more about our customer referral program and to join, click here.

Hasan Nabulsi is the Content Marketing Manager at Shippo.

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