How to choose the best carrier for your online sales

CONDIVIDI SU

The right carrier partnerships are a decisive factor in the e-commerce landscape, because they determine the satisfaction of your customers, boost operational efficiency and can affect the reputation of your brand – consequently your sales too!

So, how to choose the best carrier? Which elements should you consider when partnering with a carrier service? In this guide we will navigate through this decision-making process to understand how you can align your partnership with your needs.

 

What is a shipping carrier?

A shipping carrier bridges the physical gap between e-commerce businesses and customers, transporting goods from sellers to buyers. 

 

Long-range carriers

They offer comprehensive door-to-door services, with a wide range of shipping options, and cover vast geographical areas, often nationally or internationally. Long-range carriers often have advanced technology integrations that allow customers to track orders in real-time. Because of their broader reach and services, they may have higher rates.

 

Regional carriers

Regional carriers are smaller carriers that cater to more localized markets, covering specific cities or regions. Their rates are often more competitive and affordable, making them an attractive option for local deliveries. They are very popular for “last-mile” delivery, the final step of the shipping journey, which is critical for timely deliveries and maintaining a positive customer experience. Some regional carriers may have less advanced technology integrations compared to long-range carriers.

 

Critical elements to consider when choosing the best carrier(s) for your online sales

 

Location

Your customer base and the regions you plan to serve will significantly influence your choice of carrier.

Local deliveries: for local deliveries, regional carriers or national carriers with strong local networks could be a good solution in terms of speed and cost.

International deliveries: for international deliveries, you need to choose carriers with a robust global presence, customs expertise, and who offer competitive international rates.

Package size

When choosing the right carrier(s) for deliveries to your customers ​, the weight and size of your packages are decisive in determining the shipping cost. Some carriers may offer better rates for lighter and small packages, while others may have better tariffs for heavier or larger items. Moreover, some carriers may also have extra fees for oversized or overweight packages. These surcharges can significantly increase the cost of your deliveries, so it’s important to be aware if the carrier applies potential surcharge fees when comparing its different services.

Remember to watch out for dimensional weight charges / DIM weight! This refers to how much space your package takes up on a carrier’s truck, instead of the actual weight of the package itself. Imagine a company shipping 20 beach balls. These beach balls, when inflated, are quite large in size but very light in weight. On the contrary, if they are shipped deflated, they can be packed compactly in a small box, without much variation in the weight of the box. Let’s assume that for some reason the company decides to ship inflated beach balls; now, even though the actual weight of the box doesn’t change much, the volume of space it occupies on the carrier’s truck increases drastically. So, if DIM ends up being a high number, it will cost the company a lot extra to ship those products.

Shipping speed

Speed is obviously a critical factor, especially in a market where fast delivery is a true competitive advantage. It also depends on the type of products you sell. For example, if you ship perishable items you don’t have much choice than offering express shipping. On the other hand, if you are selling non-perishable goods like clothing, electronics etc., the urgency for express delivery may be less. However, the market trend leans towards faster delivery, driven by giants like Amazon setting customer expectations in this sense.

Shipping costs

Shipping costs impact your pricing strategy and ultimately, your profitability. The main goal is finding carriers that deliver at competitive rates while offering a reliable service. Some carriers may have competitive rates based on the types of shipments that they have to handle or others may offer advantageous tariffs based on volume or long-term partnerships.

Service range

For an e-commerce business, it is essential to cater to the different preferences of their customers by choosing carriers that offer different delivery options. Real-time tracking has become a must-have but also Cash On Delivery, flexible delivery options, local pickup point or scheduled deliveries. 

Insurance and restrictions

Even though most carriers have some form of insurance or give the option to purchase one, there is often a limit on the amount that can be declared. Therefore, it is important to keep this in mind, especially if you are shipping valuable or fragile items. ​​

Moreover, some carriers have restrictions. Therefore, make sure your carrier handles the products you intend to ship, especially in case of hazardous or special goods like pharmaceuticals. They may not accept certain packages in the first place or may require a different handling service (ergo different cost).

Scalability

Market demand may vary in different periods, so your shipping needs may change in time. It’s essential to partner with a carrier that can scale with you, handling increased volumes of deliveries and potentially expand to new service areas.

Reputation

Last but not least, it is always a good idea to check customer reviews before partnering with a carrier service to understand if they have a solid reputation. Reviews can provide insights into a carrier’s reliability, customer service quality, and overall satisfaction among similar e-commerce businesses. 

Build a winning shipping strategy with eLogy’s multiple carrier selection

As a 3PL company, eLogy has partnerships with multiple reliable carriers worldwide to ensure e-commerce businesses are empowered with optimal shipping solutions for their customers. 

Carrier integration

Our logistics platform integrates with a wide range of shipping carriers to provide a centralized dashboard from which businesses can manage their shipping, having a complete overview of real-time tracking, pricing, and service availability.

Automatic selection of fastest carrier at best price

Our algorithm automatically selects the fastest carrier at the best price based on shipment and location.

Automatic route planning

Our advanced algorithm plans the best delivery route for every shipment, allowing you to save on transportation costs and reduce the emissions of your deliveries while ensuring speed, as well as efficiency.

Multiple warehousing

By utilising our network of strategically located warehouses, you will always be able to offer fast shipping at lower transportation costs, precisely because products will be located closer to your customer base.

Streamlined operations

Save time and money by speeding up all manual operations, thanks to our advanced logistics platform. Generate shipping labels, documents and return labels automatically for an error and hassle-free fulfillment.

Last-mile delivery optimization

eLogy’s partnerships with regional carriers for last-mile delivery optimization ensures faster and cheaper delivery to the end customer.

Real-time tracking and analytics

Our logistics platform automatically provides real-time tracking and analytics for every shipment: customers stay informed and business owners can evaluate the performance of the different carriers.

Customer support

Our logistics platform allows you to assist your clients anytime, by enabling customer support through Whatsapp or Chatbots or even take advantage of a 24/7 call center support

Conclusion

Partnering with the right carrier(s) is instrumental in achieving a robust and customer-centric shipping strategy, as they are the extension of your service to your customers. The right or wrong choice of carrier can significantly impact your business.

Deciding which carrier to partner with depends on the nature of the items you’re shipping, the origin and destination of your shipments, the size and weight of your packages, and the price point of your products.

Every carrier has a unique set of advantages and drawbacks but the key is finding the right carrier(s) that align with your e-commerce venture.

If you don’t want to stress out and want to make sure you have everything under control, start leveraging eLogy’s carrier selection! Our platform will automatically  select the best carrier for each shipment, streamlining your shipping process while optimizing costs and resources.