Choosing a Carrier: From Shipping to Delivery
by Lori Boyer
We all know it’s true - choosing the and delivery is absolutely crucial to your business success. The carrier you select can directly impact your company's bottom line by affecting your supply chain efficiency, customer satisfaction, and overall brand reputation. With the rise of ecommerce, customers expect fast and reliable shipping, making it critical for your business to partner with a carrier that can deliver on these expectations. When you throw in ever-changing factors such as shipping rates, delivery times, tracking capabilities, and customer service it’s easy to see how the selection process can become downright challenging, regardless of how experienced you may be. By carefully evaluating your options and selecting the right carrier, you can ensure that your shipping operations run smoothly and efficiently, ultimately enhancing your overall business performance.
What is a Shipping Carrier?
A shipping carrier is a company that provides transportation services for goods. Shipping carriers use a variety of methods, such as air, ground, and sea freight, to get goods from one location to another. The most common shipping carriers are USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Check out to dive into the pros and cons of some of the biggest carriers out there.
How to Choose the Right Carrier
Choosing the right carrier for your ecommerce business is a critical decision. There are a few key factors to consider when choosing a shipping carrier.
Location, location, location
When it comes to selecting a carrier to ship your products, location is a great place to start. Knowing which states, countries, and regions you are shipping to and from most frequently will help you determine the best carrier delivery options available to you. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Shipping distance: The shipping distance between your business and your customers can affect both your shipping rates and delivery times. Carriers may charge more for longer distances, or may have different delivery times depending on the location.
- Shipping zones: Carriers often have different zones based on the distance between the shipping origin and destination. If you frequently ship to certain zones, it's important to consider carriers that specialize in those areas or offer competitive rates.
- Local carriers: In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to work with a local carrier, especially if you frequently ship to nearby areas. Local carriers may offer faster delivery times and lower rates than larger, national carriers.
- Shipping infrastructure: The shipping infrastructure in certain areas may impact your carrier selection. For example, if you frequently ship to rural areas or areas with limited shipping infrastructure, you may need to work with carriers that have specialized delivery capabilities.
Keep in mind the product type
When it comes to shipping products, the type of product to be shipped is an important thing to consider. For example, if you’re primarily shipping alcohol or perishable items, this will be crucial in selecting the right carriers for you. Different carriers specialize in different product types, so it is important to know which carrier is best suited for the product being shipped.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a reliable and economical choice for shipping small and lightweight items. Examples of items that are best suited for USPS shipping include books, DVDs, small electronics, and jewelry. USPS services are cost-effective for these types of items due to their lower weight. Additionally, USPS offers several different shipping options, including First Class Mail and , which allow customers to select the service that best fits their needs.
For larger, heavier items, UPS is the best option. UPS offers a variety of services, including ground, air, and . These services can be tailored to meet the needs of the customer and they are designed to ensure that items are shipped quickly and safely. UPS is also well-suited for items that require special handling, such as fragile items or those that need to be kept at a certain temperature.
FedEx is a reliable option for shipping both small and large items. FedEx offers a variety of , such as Express, Ground, and Freight services. FedEx is well-known for its fast delivery times, and its services are designed to ensure that items are delivered quickly and securely. Additionally, FedEx offers a variety of additional services, such as signature services, which provide an extra layer of security for items that require special handling.
When it comes to shipping products, the number of items being shipped is an important factor to consider. Knowing how many products you’re shipping can help you choose the best carrier for your needs. Most carriers offer discounts for bulk shipments, so it’s worth looking into if you’re shipping a large number of items.
To make the most of bulk shipping discounts, it’s important to count the number of items being shipped accurately. This isn’t always easy, as some products come in multiple sizes or shapes. If the products are similar, it might be easier to count them in bulk, but if they’re different, then you’ll need to count each item individually. It’s also important to consider the total weight of the items you’re shipping, as this can affect the cost as well.
Once you’ve got an accurate count of the items you’re shipping, you can compare the different carriers to see which will offer the most cost-effective solution. While carriers may offer discounts for bulk shipments, the discount may not be enough to offset the cost of shipping. Be sure to compare services from different carriers, including things like delivery time, insurance coverage, and any other features that may be important to you.
When considering bulk shipping discounts, it’s also important to consider the type of product you’re shipping. Some carriers may offer discounts on certain types of products, such as perishables or hazardous materials. While these items may be more expensive to ship, the discounts may make them more cost-effective.
Finally, it’s important to consider the size of your shipment. Some carriers may offer discounts for large shipments, but the cost can add up quickly if you’re shipping a large number of items. In this case, it’s worth looking into other options, such as splitting the shipment into multiple packages or using a different carrier.
The weight of your product is an important consideration when choosing a carrier for shipping. The weight of your products can affect the cost of shipping, the available shipping methods, packaging requirements, and handling capabilities of carriers. Heavier packages may require more handling and may take up more space on the carrier's vehicle, leading to higher shipping rates. Some carriers may have restrictions on the weight of packages they can handle or the types of delivery methods available for heavier packages. Additionally, heavier packages may require additional packaging materials or different packaging methods to ensure safe delivery. It's important to work with a carrier that has the expertise and equipment to handle your shipments safely and cost-effectively.
How quickly do you need your items to be delivered? Different carriers offer different delivery times. Knowing your desired delivery time can help you identify which carriers are best suited for your needs.
What is your budget for shipping? Different carriers offer different rates. Knowing your budget can help you identify which carriers are best suited for your needs. Be sure to read on using automation to find the best rates for your unique business.
Quality of Service
When selecting a carrier for shipping, the quality of service they provide is another important factor to consider. The service quality offered by the carrier can directly impact customer satisfaction, shipping reliability, communication, problem resolution, and cost-effectiveness. A carrier that provides reliable and timely delivery, effective communication, and is responsive to your business needs is key to ensuring your packages are delivered in good condition and on time.
To determine a carrier's quality of service, there are several factors to consider. Online reviews from customers and businesses can help identify the carrier's strengths and weaknesses in real-world situations. Additionally, contacting the carrier's customer service line can provide insight into their responsiveness and level of customer service. Evaluating delivery times and reliability statistics can also indicate the carrier's reliability. Reviewing the carrier's tracking capabilities, such as real-time tracking and notifications, can provide transparency on their shipping operations. Lastly, understanding how the carrier handles shipping issues and their responsiveness to your business needs can indicate how effective they are at problem resolution and ensuring customer satisfaction. By evaluating these factors, you can choose a carrier that provides the quality of service your business needs to ensure successful deliveries and positive customer experiences.
Other Important Things to Consider
Regional and International Shipping Solutions
The world of shipping and logistics is a complex and ever-changing landscape. It’s important to consider both regional and international shipping needs when choosing a carrier, as the solutions offered by different carriers vary greatly. Regional shipping is when goods are delivered within a certain region, such as within the United States, while international shipping is when goods are delivered to another country.
When choosing a delivery carrier, companies need to consider both regional and international shipping solutions. Regional shipping solutions can vary greatly, depending on the size of the region and the specific needs of the company. For example, a small business shipping goods within the United States may require a different regional shipping solution than a larger business shipping goods across Europe.
In the case of regional shipping, companies should consider the scope of their regional delivery needs and select a carrier that offers a regional shipping solution that fits their needs. For example, a company shipping goods within the United States may opt for a regional shipping solution offered by UPS, FedEx, or USPS, while a company shipping goods across Europe may opt for a regional shipping solution offered by DHL or TNT.
International shipping solutions also vary greatly, depending on the size of the shipment and the specific needs of the company. Companies shipping goods internationally should consider the size of the shipment, the shipping destination, and the regulations governing the shipment. Companies should also consider the transit time and cost associated with international shipping solutions.
In the case of international shipping, companies should consider the scope of their international delivery needs and select a carrier that offers an international shipping solution that fits their needs. For example, companies shipping goods from the United States to China may opt for an international shipping solution offered by UPS or FedEx, while a company shipping goods from Europe to Africa may opt for an international shipping solution offered by DHL or TNT.
In addition to regional and international shipping solutions, companies should also consider special shipping services, such as expedited shipping, freight shipping, and customs clearance. Companies should also consider the customer service offered by the shipping company, as customer service plays an important role in ensuring the smooth delivery of goods.
When choosing a carrier, companies should consider all of their regional and international shipping needs, as well as the services offered by the carrier. The right carriers can help ensure that goods arrive on time and in good condition, while the wrong carrier can lead to costly delays and damaged goods. Companies should take the time to research different carriers and select the one that best fits their needs.
EasyPost’s Shipping Solutions
EasyPost is a shipping API that integrates with all major delivery carriers, so you and your customers have access to the best rates instantly. With EasyPost, you can easily and choose the best carrier for your needs. EasyPost also offers real-time and easy access to , so you can easily keep track of your shipments. In addition, EasyPost offers a range of customer service options, so you always have access to the help you need.