If you don’t ship orders quickly and accurately, you will have a lot of dissatisfied customers on your hands. On top of that, if you choose the wrong shipping carrier, it can further impact your business’s bottom line.
Finding the right shipping carrier will keep your customers happy and your business running smoothly. However, with so many options, it can be difficult to determine which carrier is right for you, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
Luckily, we’re here to discuss the factors that go into choosing a shipping carrier and help you make the right choice.
What Factors Influence Shipping Price?
There are several aspects of shipping that can influence price. You must consider each one individually when choosing the right shipping carrier. A combination of these four factors typically drives higher shipping prices:
- Size: The size and weight of the products you intend to ship are some of the most important factors influencing shipping price. Large, bulky, oddly shaped, heavy items take up more space and require more labor, so these types of items often cost more to ship.
- Timeframe: The speed at which your products need to arrive at the customer’s doorstep is another factor to consider. Some shipping services offer expedited shipping, and shipping times are also dependent on where the package is being shipped.
- Shipping Services: Carriers often offer services like tracking or delivery confirmation. These services are an asset to both customers and sellers alike, though they often result in additional shipping costs. However, many ecommerce sellers find that these services are worth the cost because customers like seeing tracking information, and delivery confirmation verifies that packages arrived as promised.
- Surcharges: When deciding on a shipping carrier, it’s important to inquire about any potential surcharges that the company may require. These costs have the potential to add up, so it’s best to know what they are upfront.
- Free Shipping: If you offer customers free shipping, it will cost you more. However, it can be worth it if you’re competing with other sellers like Amazon Prime who offer it.
Consider What is Being Shipped
One big consideration to think about when choosing a shipping carrier is exactly what you will be shipping to your customers. For example, if your business ships smaller-sized products, it might be wise to opt for flat rate shipping, where you pay a fixed rate to ship each package. Then you know exactly how much you’ll pay in shipping charges.
The cost of shipping larger products is typically determined by the distance the product will need to travel and the weight of the package itself. Some carriers have restrictions on the size/weight of items they’re willing to ship, so if you specialize in large or heavy items, it’s important to be aware of these regulations. Large and/or heavy products also often result in additional fees from shipping carriers, adding costs to shipping rates.
There are a couple of reasons why the locations you intend to ship to are important when choosing a carrier. First, if your products are being shipped locally, you may want to look into local shipping carriers, as they may be able to offer lower rates when compared to larger shipping companies.
If you plan on shipping nationwide or internationally, you’ll probably end up utilizing both local and international carriers to ensure your products reach their proper destination on time. The locations to which you wish to send products can also influence the shipping options offered to your customers, resulting in faster or slower arrival times.
Look to Reviews
Feedback can tell a lot about a company and whether or not their customers are satisfied with the services they provide. Reviewers are never shy about pointing out issues with shipping companies (lost or damaged items, delayed shipping times), which can help you avoid problems down the line.
Additionally, positive reviews may give you a better idea of why using a certain shipping company may benefit your business. It’ll give you a perspective from customers who run similar businesses to your own as well. While most companies receive both positive and negative reviews, looking into the companies you consider working with will give you a better idea of what to expect with the carrier you end up choosing.
Think About Shipping Times
With online shopping on the rise, quick shipping times are more important than ever. Customers don’t want to wait long to receive their products. Instead, most customers look for various shipping options and want to know when they can expect their items to arrive.
Different carriers will often offer several shipping options for your customers, typically including one or two-day shipping as well as a “no rush” option that can take longer but costs less. Carriers who don’t offer expedited shipping options should often be avoided, as their inflexibility has the potential to drive customers away.
Don’t Forget Tracking
While not all carriers provide tracking information to their customers, utilizing one that does can be a great benefit to your company. Tracking provides both you and the customer with updates throughout the delivery process. Customers receive notifications at specific times during shipping, such as when the package arrives at the shipping facility when it is en route to its destination, and when it arrives. Additionally, both you and the customer can view the package’s location throughout the entirety of the shipping process.
Shipping Carrier Options
Now that you know what to look for in a shipping carrier, you need to know your options. There are numerous shipping companies you can choose from, including the following popular companies:
- USPS – The US Postal Service is the most economical choice if you’re shipping packages that weigh less than two pounds. The USPS offers First-class, Priority, and Express shipping options, allowing you to provide your customers with the shipping time and cost they want.
- UPS – If you ship heavy packages, UPS will likely be your least expensive option. They allow you to send parcels weighing up to 150 pounds and offer the best rates for these heavy items. UPS is also very reliable; they nearly always deliver on time.
- FedEx – FedEx is another reliable option. They are known for getting shipments to their destinations quickly. They’re a bit on the pricier side, but FedEx is the best option if you need a package shipped overnight.
- DHL – This German-based shipping carrier is the best choice if you ship internationally. It offers the most comprehensive coverage worldwide, and it’s reliable with accurate and timely tracking.
Final Thoughts about Choosing the Right Shipping Carrier
Choosing a shipping carrier for your business is a big decision. There are many factors to consider, including the size and weight of the products you intend to ship, the locations you plan to ship packages to, and the services offered by individual carriers. Once you have all the information you need, choosing a shipping carrier ends up looking a lot less intimidating.
Once you’ve made your decision, an ecommerce shipping software solution that helps automate some of your shipping tasks, like the one offered by ecomdash, will often save you time and money – and most importantly, keep your customers satisfied.