Consumers want to be able to buy the products they want, how they want, when they want. And they want those products in their hands quickly.
These expectations mean that fast shipping is a must for ecommerce businesses. Businesses that don’t offer customers two-day or next-day shipping will have a hard time competing with online marketplaces like Amazon.
Less than truckload (LTL) shipping may be just the solution you’ve been looking for.
What is LTL Shipping?
Less than truckload shipping is a shipping model in which an outgoing shipment isn’t big enough to fill up an entire trailer. Typically, those shipments weigh between 100 and 10,000 pounds.
LTL shipping means you only pay for the space your shipment takes up in the truck. The other space in the truck is utilized and paid for by other merchants and their shipments.
What Are the Benefits of LTL Shipping?
Using LTL shipping for ecommerce can be an effective strategy with many benefits. Some of the benefits of combining LTL and ecommerce shipping strategies include:
- Lower costs: Because you will only pay for the space you need in the trailer; LTL shipping costs can be significantly less than other shipping methods. Additionally, LTL shipping carriers usually have better rates than parcel carriers for competitive reasons.
- Increased security: Typically, before being loaded onto a truck, LTL shipments are assembled on pallets. It’s much easier to keep a pallet full of packages secure than multiple individual units.
- Additional services: When you use LTL shipping, you may have access to additional services. These services may include liftgate service at delivery or pickup, non-commercial (residential) pickup or delivery, notification before delivery, inside delivery, freeze protection, and more.
- Improved tracking: LTL shipping providers offer detailed tracking capabilities using the bill of lading number, and other relevant information.
How Are LTL Shipping Rates Determined?
There are various considerations that go into calculating the LTL shipping rates. Here are the basic factors to keep in mind:
- Geography – The distance between pickup and delivery, or how far the shipment is going, plays a big part in the rates. Essentially, the longer the distance, the higher the rate.
- Size – The dimensions of the shipment, as well as the weight, determines the freight class of your shipment. The freight class directly affects shipping rates.
- Type – Shipments that require special handling will usually cost more. These types of shipments may include fragile, perishable, or hazardous items.
- Mode – If you require expedited delivery, LTL shipping will cost more.
When is LTL the Best Shipping Choice?
LTL shipping is often the best choice for smaller ecommerce companies who are scaling their business. These merchants may not have enough sales for a full truckload.
While waiting until a full truckload is needed may be a more cost-effective option, it’s not usually a convenient option. LTL shipments offer online businesses a way to keep products in transit to their destination without having to pay for an entire truck.
Final Thought about LTL Shipping
The ability to send smaller shipments at a cost-effective rate is appealing to many businesses, specifically newer companies and growing ecommerce retailers.
If you’re wondering if LTL shipping is right for your ecommerce business, contact a third-party logistics partner to help you determine your best course of action. You may benefit most from using a combination of LTL and other types of shipping to get your products where they need to go quickly, without breaking the bank.