The Top 8 Reasons To Offer Multi-Carrier Shipping
If you started your online business in a home office or a spare bedroom, like many do these days, you may have opted for a single carrier to ship your products. However, as your business grows from a side hustle to a full-time gig, you will begin to see the limitations of your model, and the benefits of offering multi-carrier shipping.
A single carrier provides simplicity and accountability when your business is still a side hustle. But, as your business grows, there are a number of reasons to consider shipping with multiple carriers.
1. Working with multiple carriers allows you to negotiate rates.
If you currently only work with one carrier, you may not even be aware that you are overpaying on some of your shipments. Every carrier’s prices vary when it comes to domestic vs. international shipments, package sizes and weights, and shipping speeds. By working with several carriers, you can utilize the best deals from each to find the most cost-effective mix.
A true multi-carrier shipping strategy looks at more than just the three big US shipping carriers. In addition to UPS, FedEx, and DHL, you may find carriers that can help you with specific niches, such as major metropolitan areas. If you have concentrated orders in certain locations, you may want to look into non-traditional providers as part of your multi-carrier shipping strategy.
2. Multi-carrier shipping reduces risk.
By shipping with multiple carriers, you can mitigate risk in case of an outage, back-up, or strike. Truck accidents, emergencies, and lost shipments happen. Splitting up your shipments between several carriers will protect you from major losses and delays.
While strikes sound unlikely, they do happen. UPS narrowly avoided a strike of 11,000 workers just before the holiday season in 2018. Imagine hearing that news just as you begin your biggest month of sales with UPS as your sole shipping carrier.
3. Working with multiple carriers improves your customer experience.
In a same-day shipping world, customers expect choices when it comes to receiving their order. They may want to sign for their package or waive signing for their package last minute by text. They may want it delivered on a certain day or at a certain time.
By shipping with multiple carriers, you can accommodate a variety of specific customer needs. A good third-party logistics partner can help you automate these decisions to save even more time. When good customer service is standard, you’ll need to provide a near-perfect customer experience to stand out.
4. You can find the best carrier for your return policy.
While you may think that all shipping is created equal, reverse logistics present unique situations for shipping carriers. Each carrier handles exchanges and returns differently and has their own policies for timing and cost.
Shipping with multiple carriers will allow you to find a carrier with reverse logistics that best fit your own policies for returns and exchanges.
5. Shipping with multiple carriers provides accountability.
Having working relationships with partners from multiple shipping carriers means you hold all the bargaining chips. If a carrier fails to meet your expectations or loses a shipment, you can hold them accountable for their mistake.
Shipping with multiple carriers means that you can quickly pivot between carriers to keep your stock moving while dealing with a mistake. It also means you have the bargaining power to leave a carrier if they continually overcharge or underperform.
6. Multiple carriers maximize your reach.
Multi-carrier shipping is your best bet at being able to offer one and two-day shipping to all of your customers. While the major players have shipping centers across the country, working with multiple carriers means being able to reach even the most remote customers quickly and accurately.
You’ll also need multiple carriers to maximize your profits when it comes to shipping internationally. Most carriers specialize in either domestic or international shipping, meaning that they can’t offer the best rates for both. Having a 3PL partner who will shop around for you can make a huge difference in your bottom line.
7. Lower shipping costs help to reduce abandoned carts.
High shipping costs is one of the most common reasons that people abandon their shopping cart while on your site. Shipping with multiple carriers allows you to offer competitive pricing that won’t give customers sticker shock.
Furthermore, multi-carrier shipping allows for greater options, meaning that you may be able to offer a free shipping option that will boost sales. For customers who aren’t in a rush, a 5-7 day free shipping option can make the difference between an abandoned cart and a completed sale. Just keep your budget in mind, as you may need to pay $1-2 a shipment for shipping in order to make those sales.
8. More shipping options keep customers connected.
Shipping with interactive tracking can get expensive. Shipping with multiple carriers allows you to pay for benefits (like interactive tracking) for products with higher price points. At the same time, you can still ship your lower priced items at their normal rate.
Mixing and matching carriers is key to getting the best value out of your shipping strategy. The individualized service options provided by different carriers will help you stand out from your competition and lower your overhead costs.
Ready to up your shipping game? Check out our full-service 3PL fulfillment model for a better shipping strategy and happier customers.