Shipping 101: What shipping carrier is best for your ecommerce business?

Since we work with all of the shipping carriers, we’re often asked, “which carrier is best?”  We know that sounds like a basic question and it seems like there should be an easy answer, but there isn’t. It all depends on your business, what your shipping and where you’re shipping to.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself that will help you determine which carrier is best for your business.

  1. What do you sell?  This question may seem basic, but your plan will take shape as you start to think through this answer. Look at the item(s) you ship the most. How much does it weigh? Is it a box or envelope? If it’s a box, is it big and light so that dimensional weight pricing is important? Is it fragile? Will it need extra padding? Will it need refrigeration?
  2. Where do you usually ship items to? Knowing this answer will help you determine if you should consider using a regional or international carrier, or if it’s better for your business to use a carrier that delivers throughout the U.S.
  3. What are your customers’ expectations? Do your customers expect to have next day delivery? Do they expect free shipping? Once you determine your customers’ greatest desires, you can tailor your shipping services to meet their needs.
  4. Does the shipping provider you’re considering charge any extra fees? Watching your shipping costs is important. Dollars and cents add up as your volume increases, so make sure you understand all fees as invoiced by your respective carriers.
  5. Can you get a discount on shipping? Discounts are often available in a variety of ways that range from using an online shipping provider to shipping volume discounts. Talk to the carrier you’re currently using and the carriers you’re researching and see if you’re eligible for any discounts.

Want to learn more about shipping? Check out part 2 of our Shipping 101 series, or download our free eBook: An Essential Guide to eCommerce Shipping