Gone are the days when partnering with a single carrier was enough to meet all your business’s shipping needs. Due to the recent boom in e-commerce sales and rapidly changing consumer expectations, business owners must rethink their shipping strategies to maintain a competitive edge and keep their customers satisfied. Multi-carrier shipping may be the solution.
What is multi-carrier shipping?
As its name implies, multi-carrier shipping involves using more than one carrier to ship packages to different locations. This method allows e-commerce merchants to choose different shipping carriers on a package-by-package basis depending on the available rates, the package’s origin, destination, weight, etc.
Benefits of using several different carriers
Some key benefits of multi-carrier shipping include:
- Cost-effectiveness: Shipping fees depend on several factors, such as delivery zone, package weight, speed, etc. A multi-carrier shipping system allows you to compare the prices of several carriers, and choose the most cost-effective option. Although companies that offer the cheapest shipping services are not always the best, this approach helps you find the perfect balance between efficiency and cost, keeping your order fulfillment process running smoothly.
- Flexibility: Assigning all your shipments to one carrier leaves you in a tight position if, for any reason, the carrier is unavailable to ship your packages. Multi-carrier shipping keeps you flexible by giving you a wide range of options to choose from whenever you need an alternative.
- Improved customer satisfaction: Multi-carrier shipping enables you to meet your customer’s specific requests in ways that a single carrier simply can’t. A customer may be willing to pay for the fastest delivery service available, while another will prefer a low-cost option to save money. Having various shipping options allows you to offer personalized shipping services to your customers. This will ensure that you satisfy their expectations in a timely manner.
Increasing shipments with multi-carrier shipping
As your business grows and your order volume increases, a multi-carrier shipping system helps to improve your delivery strategy and order fulfillment service. It prevents you from putting too much burden on a single carrier by distributing your packages across multiple shipping companies. This distribution keeps your supply chain working efficiently and ensures that your shipments are delivered on time and in excellent condition.
Drawbacks of using more than one carrier
Although multi-carrier shipping provides certain benefits that are unattainable with single-carrier shipping, the method is not without drawbacks. Using multiple carriers requires that you stay on top of all operational changes in each carrier. This process can be time-consuming since shipping companies change their routes and rates regularly and often without notice.
Another drawback of using multiple carriers is that it disqualifies you from receiving carrier discounts. Shipping companies usually offer discounts to businesses that ship a high volume of orders through them. However, multi-carrier shipping splits your shipments across several carriers, reducing the order volume going to each one. In many cases, when this happens, a single carrier does not handle enough of your shipments to consider you for a discount. This means you end up losing out on offers that can significantly lower your shipping costs.
Understand what each carrier does
Shipping carriers do not all offer the same services. Some shipping providers specialize in delivering full truck loads (FTL), while others primarily deliver less than truckload (LTL) shipments. There are also differences between long-range carriers that offer “door-to-door” services in every state in the US and regional carriers that only cover specific cities or areas. In addition, some shipping companies offer value-added services. Some examples include overnight shipping, same-day delivery, on-call pick-up, re-packaging, inside pick-up and delivery, returns management, etc.
With multi-carrier shipping, you must understand the specifics of a carrier’s offerings. This is important as it helps you know the kinds of services that they are most suitable for. With this information, you can play to their strengths and get the most out of their services.
Which carrier(s) are right for my business?
Choosing the right carrier(s) for your business is a crucial step in streamlining your shipping process. The best approach is to identify your business’s needs by considering various factors. This includes the kinds of products you ship, the destinations of your shipments, the average weight and dimensions of your packages, and your customers’ preferred delivery options. Then, you can evaluate several carriers to find the ones that’ll meet the needs you’ve identified.
Freight Shipping marketplaces like GoShip help e-commerce merchants find the best carriers for their businesses. Goship is a self-service platform that connects small to mid-sized businesses with thousands of certified shipping companies. The variety of choices on our platform ensures that every business finds the perfect carrier to meet its unique needs.
Visit our website today, and get a free quote from carriers offering the exact services you seek.