How to Choose the Right Shipping Carrier

Launching an online business entails a lot of hard work. During the initial stages, you’ll tackle fun and exciting aspects like designing your website, creating a logo, and uploading products. Eventually, however, you’ll need to face the not-so-appealing task of choosing a shipping carrier.

Fortunately, you don’t have to limit your shipping carrier to just one. Customers like having choices, and depending on the size of your online store and the types of products you’ll be transporting, your store may require the services of anywhere from two to six carriers.

Type of Products

One of the first factors you’ll want to consider in your search for the right carrier is what type of product(s) you’ll be shipping to customers. When reviewing different carriers, carefully examine sizes, shapes, and offered services to best determine which ones will meet your needs.

You may encounter certain restrictions that will serve as hindrances, as well as policies that may not be suitable for your products, such as if you’re selling food supplements or perfumes. You may even encounter carriers that exclude services for very expensive or fragile items. As such, it’s essential to take note of such relevant factors when consulting with the various carriers you’re considering.

Location

Are you going to ship locally or do you expect to have international customers too? If you plan on offering both, your store will need to incorporate both international and local shipping carriers/methods as available options.

Reputation

Reputation is an important element to consider when choosing your shipping carrier. If you select a shipping carrier based on their cheap rates alone, you may end up in deep waters if an item gets lost or if delivery is delayed. To avoid the likelihood of such instances occurring, take time to conduct a background check on the carriers you’re considering and ensure they have an excellent track record.

For instance, the most popular and reputable international shipping companies today include FedEx, DHL, UPS, and the United States Postal Service (USPS). There are also many locally renowned services in different countries worth mentioning – Parcelforce Worldwide from UK, Japan Post Service from Japan, and Royal Mail from London, to name a few.

Speed

Online shoppers want to receive their products as quickly as possible. To meet their demands and expectations, it’s important that you review the expected speed of delivery from local and international carriers. You may decide that it’d be best to include local carriers that offer same day shipping at a slightly more expensive rate, if only to present your customers with the convenience of additional options.

When it comes to international shipments, you might be looking at a period of three days to two weeks, depending on the countries and carriers involved.

Tracking Services

A general rule of thumb is that it’s always better to choose a carrier with remarkable tracking services. Most reputable shipping companies have a website where customers can use their provided tracking number to check on their package’s delivery status. Tracking allows customers to know if their package is on the way, already delivered, or if there’s been a delay. It’ll also allow you to monitor deliveries and easily coordinate with customers if a shipping or delivery concern arises.

Insurance

It’s important to note that not all shipping carriers provide insurance. If this is an essential shipping feature for your business and products, take some time to conduct a bit of comparison shopping to find a carrier that offers an affordable rate. Offering insurance is rarely a bad idea – most merchants and customers greatly benefit from the peace of a mind such a simple, and typically low-cost feature can provide.

Convenience

If you’re balancing a busy and hectic schedule, it’s a wise idea to select a shipping carrier that can pick up packages from your house, office, stockroom, or warehouse. Going this route will allow you to save time, money, and effort in traveling or even waiting in line.

Lives Rates

As a merchant and a consumer, odds are you’re well acquainted with the automatic computation of shipment rates based on the weight of products, destination, and other provided details. This is what’s referred to as live rates, a feature most of today’s shoppers demand from online stores. If the carrier you’re considering doesn’t offer live rates, it may be a good idea to start looking elsewhere.

Pricing

Pricing will undoubtedly play a major role in deciding which shipping carriers to offer. If you intend to offer free shipping, this will be especially crucial for computing profits and potential losses.

Offering your customers the best shipping rates will also go a long way toward securing their trust and loyalty. You may discover that some carriers charge an exorbitant sum for certain services, and are more affordable when it comes to others. As such, research could lead to your store offering multiple services from varying carriers, which will allow you and your customers to get the most bang for their buck.

Conclusion

If you’re new to the industry, try not to be overwhelmed by all of the above factors. Take time to browse through the various features and services of eminent and reputable shipping carriers and make eliminations according to the elements discussed above. If you want to further reduce your choices, try looking deeper into your business’s particular needs and priorities.

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