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Don’t get “carried away” with your decision.

If you’re looking to start an eCommerce business; or possibly already have one, shipping is often the last thing on your mind.

We get it. You’re waist-deep into website design, packaging decisions, and social media setup — you’re not thinking courier services.

Yet without a reliable and efficient shipping carrier, your business will not be able to operate, your logistical operation will become too much, and your business will plateau in its growth. 

So when do you know if it’s time to outsource your order fulfillment or find a new shipping partner?

To answer these questions and provide you with more tips on what you should look out for when choosing your next shipping carrier, we wrote this quick guide.

What To Consider Before Choosing The Right Shipping Carrier

ecommerce businesses
Weight of your product

This is purely based on your business and its shipping needs, i.e., how heavy the packages you’re going to ship are.

Knowing your dimensions and weight will be critical in assessing which shipping company best fits your business, as some shipping carriers have restrictions on the size and weight of the packages they accept.

This also means that if you plan to ship over that limit, expect to pay a premium.

Pro Tip: Your business has plenty of boxes and packaging that it keeps hidden in the storage — we all do. Inside those boxes, you can find a ton of bubble-wrap that can be set aside as extra packing material for the future. You don’t have to save every box, but picking out the appropriately sized ones (the ones closest to the packages your business ships) could add up to save you some cash in the future.

Shipping destination

The location for the drop, the endpoint, the final destination — okay, you get it.

Double-check your shipping regions and whether or not the shipping carrier you choose services them. Sometimes shipping local can be a cheaper option; other times, partnering with a 3PL will give you leverage to negotiate for lower shipping rates.

If you’re looking to ship internationally, combining international and local carriers will be critical in ensuring your packages get to your paying customers on time and in one piece. Of course, this means that you will have to do your research and find the region's local shipping carriers and make sure they can service your needs too. 

Pro Tip: Make sure to include increased rates for international or expedited shipping to customers so that you don’t have to eat those costs yourself.

Time of delivery

It’s 2021, consumers' expectations from brands are at an all-time high — they demand the best.

It’s also a gig economy, and instant delivery is no longer appreciated; it’s expected.

According to the ‘UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper’ Study, 46% of consumers abandoned their cart based on the date of delivery offered by the brand — don’t be that brand.

While delivery speed and flexibility rate very high with shoppers, order and delivery visibility is a close second.

So with that, make sure your carrier of choice is reliable, has the proper technology in place, and has a reputation to back it to ensure your packages get to their destinations on time.

Pro Tip: For many small businesses, saving money is top priority; budget is limited, and the marketing department has yet to be paid. If you sell products on your website, make sure your shipping page accurately reflects the amount of time it will take to get to your customer's front door, including processing time and accounting for the weekends. If you set up expectations appropriately, you’ll get the products out and delivered in a timeframe that suits your customer. 

Tracking options

We live in an age of technology, which means GPS tracking is a must in today's shipping world.

Find a shipping company that offers an excellent tracking service that can inform you, with real-time updates, on all sent-out packages, as well as notify you when they were delivered.

Technology matters, and if your carrier of choice still lives in the dark age, it’s time to move on.

Pro Tip: It’s key to build out a custom-branded tracking page for your customers to see when they want to know about their package's whereabouts. (Some carriers offer this option, so make sure to find out)

Shipping rates

Without a doubt, money matters, which is especially true for how much budget you can allocate to your shipping needs.

We recommend not skimping on the budget, but we might be a bit biased.

However, partnering with a 3PL can, in fact, save you money. Oftentimes, when dealing with multiple shipping carriers, the rates add up, cutting deeper into your margins. 3PLs can help leverage their experience and size to negotiate down the rates of the couriers’ services. This makes them an excellent choice for when you begin scaling your business, as they offer all the needed cushion to get you great premiums while also servicing your ground-level logistics — giving you time to focus on what matters, your business.

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