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Jaidyn Farar

How To Step Up (or Start) Your Shipping Logistics Strategy

by Jaidyn Farar

Choosing carriers. Finding the best shipping method. Creating shipping labels. Providing tracking information. Doing everything again when the customer requests a return.

Needless to say, coordinating shipping logistics is a complex process. Whether you’re new to shipping or already know the essentials, this blog will help you take your shipping logistics strategy to the next level.

What is shipping logistics?

Shipping logistics is the process of transporting finished goods through your supply chain. It involves receiving goods at your fulfillment centers (inbound logistics), as well as coordinating transportation and delivering packages to end customers (outbound logistics). 

As you move products from point A to point B, your shipping logistics strategy determines which carriers you partner with, how you generate shipping labels, and what packaging materials you use. Shipping logistics is just one piece of your entire logistics puzzle, but it’s an important factor in customer satisfaction.

At this point, you might be thinking, “But aren’t shipping and logistics totally different terms?” To avoid confusion, we’ll explain the differences between shipping, logistics, and shipping logistics in the section below.

Shipping vs. logistics 

Although shipping logistics is its own concept, the terms shipping and logistics also have distinct meanings. 

  • Shipping is the process of transporting items from one location to another, usually involving various modes of transportation such as ships, trucks, trains, or planes.
  • Logistics is a broader term that refers to the systems, strategies, and processes used to coordinate complex activities.
  • Shipping logistics involves the strategies and processes used to transport goods. 

Main types of shipping logistics

Shipping logistics can be divided into three main categories: inbound, outbound, and reverse logistics. 

  • Inbound. Inbound shipping logistics involves moving products from the manufacturer to your fulfillment centers. This includes sourcing products, ordering inventory when stock gets low, and receiving shipments.
  • Outbound. Outbound shipping logistics consists of the processes used to move products from your fulfillment centers to customers. This can include processing orders, picking and packing, and using shipping carriers to complete delivery. 
  • Reverse. Reverse logistics, also known as returns, happens when customers return a product to your business for a refund or exchange. The traditional steps of the outbound shipping process happen in reverse as products are sent back to your fulfillment centers for resell, recycling, or disposal.

How a great shipping logistics strategy helps your business

Shipping and logistics play a major role in the customer experience, influencing both pre-purchase decisions and post-purchase satisfaction. 

According to one survey, 56% of shopping cart abandonments are related to the speed and cost of shipping. The same research found that although 62% of consumers believe delivery should take fewer than 3 business days, the average transit time for retailers surveyed was 5.5 business days.

If your shipping options don’t meet shopper expectations, they might decide not to buy. And if they have a bad delivery experience, they won’t become repeat customers. On the other hand, nailing your shipping logistics strategy gives you a competitive advantage, setting you apart from businesses that don’t offer fast, affordable, secure shipping options. 

Other benefits of a great shipping logistics strategy include:

  • Lower costs. Saving money is one of the most important perks of solid shipping logistics. Cutting out inefficiencies and streamlining processes not only cuts costs but also has a positive impact on other areas of your business.
  • Faster delivery. A great shipping logistics strategy will minimize delays, helping you gain the trust of your customers and avoid a torrent of frustrated emails or phone calls.
  • Safer packages. By using durable packaging materials, verifying customer addresses, purchasing shipping insurance, and training employees to pack boxes efficiently, you minimize the chances of your packages getting damaged or lost in transit.
  • Lower environmental impact. The best shipping logistics strategies go beyond cost-savings, speedy delivery, and package security. They also involve environmentally friendly shipping practices that reduce waste and carbon emissions.

How to get shipping logistics right in your business

Good shipping logistics doesn’t just happen—it requires planning, research, and the right tools. Let’s look at four things you can do to get shipping logistics right. 

1. Distribute your inventory

Distributing your inventory across multiple fulfillment centers can help you ship packages more quickly and affordably. When products are stored closer to your customers, carriers don’t need to travel as far to deliver them and can often use more cost-effective transportation methods like ground shipping. 

Start by analyzing your sales data to identify regions with high demand, then make a plan for establishing fulfillment centers in these regions. You could also consider partnering with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) that already has distribution centers close to your customers. 

2. Choose the right carriers

Your shipping logistics strategy is only as good as your shipping carriers! By partnering with reliable carriers that offer competitive rates and dependable service, you can improve shipping speed, reliability, and customer satisfaction. 

These tips can help you select carriers and manage carrier relationships:

  • Do your research. Research carriers thoroughly, considering factors like shipping options, coverage area, transit times, and pricing structures.
  • Get the best rates. Negotiate contracts with carriers to get discounted rates based on your shipping volume and needs. You can also follow the lead of major brands like Zenni Optical and leverage technology like EasyPost to integrate with multiple carriers and compare rates in real time.
  • Evaluate performance. Regularly evaluate carrier performance based on delivery times, package handling, and customer feedback.

3. Offer multiple shipping options 

While many customers are budget-conscious (32% always choose the cheapest shipping option), others are willing to pay for fast delivery. To accommodate both types of people, offer multiple shipping types. 

Consider the following delivery options:

  • Standard. Also known as economy shipping, standard shipping is the slowest and most affordable delivery option. It relies on ground transportation and generally takes between three and five business days.
  • Expedited. This option is slightly faster than standard shipping, taking between two and three business days.
  • Overnight. Also known as next-day delivery, overnight shipping delivers within 24 hours, or one business day. Some overnight services deliver as early as 8:00 AM the day after an order is placed.
  • Same-day. With same-day delivery, packages are delivered the same day they’re ordered. This shipping method is common in urban areas, especially when the business has ship-from-store capabilities.

Finally, consider providing a free shipping option. To do this affordably, some businesses implement a free shipping threshold to entice shoppers to spend more money on their purchases. 

4. Track and analyze shipping data

Tracking and analyzing data is essential for optimizing your shipping strategy. By harnessing data insights, you can identify trends, pinpoint areas for improvement, and make more informed decisions. 

Use shipping analytics tools like EasyPost Parcel Tracking Analytics to monitor delivery times, carrier performance, and more. This data will help you identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your shipping process—such as delays or high return rates—and develop solutions. 

Step up your shipping logistics strategy with EasyPost

As your business scales, higher shipping volumes can become overwhelming—and expensive. Enter EasyPost. Used by businesses of all sizes, from SMBs to large enterprises, the EasyPost suite of shipping APIs automates shipping management to save time and reduce errors.

EasyPost offers access to pre-negotiated shipping rates with major carriers such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. You can also use our optimization tools to choose the most cost-effective shipping methods for every package you send.

Step up your shipping logistics with EasyPost—it’s free for up to 10,000 packages per month!