For eCommerce vendors, shipping is one aspect of their sales cycle that they cannot control once their product leaves their facility. Will the product deliver to the customer when the delivery carrier states or will it get delayed in transit?
There are plenty of delivery services available to e-commerce vendors. Many offer a variety of services to meet any delivery window or move any size package. With so many shippers to choose from, let’s take a look at the five best carriers for e-commerce vendors:
FedEx is one of the largest shippers in the U.S. and a lot of that has to do with the service they provide. According to FedEx, their average daily shipping volume is more than eight million packages and you don’t have to go to a FedEx office to ship your product through them.
In addition to almost 2,000 FedEx locations, they offer their shipping services through 6,500 authorized ship centers and retail locations, plus another 8,250 on-site locations with FedEx ship & receive lockers. In addition to their wide outreach, they offer an online tracking system and Saturday deliveries.
As good as FedEx is, they are usually a little pricier compared to other carriers. It’s hard to get an accurate idea of which carrier is the most or least expensive because different types of packages can alter the price. FedEx does offer a pickup service, which is great, but you will have to pay a fee in order to have them grab your shipment.
One of the many services UPS offers that benefit e-commerce vendors is guaranteed express shipping. This option provides vendors with a sense of relief, knowing their product will deliver to their customer on time without issue. Many shippers provide an online tracking system, but UPS online tracking is the gold standard. It gives the vendor and customer information on location, remaining transit time and when the product has delivered.
UPS is great for e-commerce vendors, but does not make Saturday deliveries for free. If a vendor is put in bind and needs a Saturday delivery, they’ll pay the price going through UPS. The express or guaranteed delivery services also are a more costly compared to other shippers.
Some e-commerce vendors have a bigger challenge than others when trying to select their carrier. For example, if a vendor sells electronics online, fragility becomes a concern. For these vendors, there’s no better carrier to use than the nation’s top electronics shipper – Ship Smart. On top of being the top electronics shipper, Ship Smart has over 300 crating and shipping companies nationwide that have been trained and certified to custom pack or crate appliances, hospital equipment, servers and all other types of electronic equipment.
One of the cons to using Ship Smart is their weight pricing. They will come out and give a price quote on an estimated weight but if the weight is more than they guessed, then there will be an additional charge for the extra weight.
If your e-commerce business ships small items weighing less than a pound and a half, the USPS is the shipper for you. Their pricing for small items cannot be beaten by other shippers. It’s also one of the most dependable shippers out there. USPS is the only organization in the country that has the resources, network infrastructure and logistical capability to regularly deliver to every residential and business address in the nation.
However, one of the issues for e-commerce vendors using USPS is there’s no guaranteed delivery. Many other carriers guarantee some of their express shipping options but the USPS will not take that step. The customer service from USPS is generally lacking as well. Most people try to avoid their post office whenever possible and the same usually isn’t said about other carriers.
International shipping can be a sore spot for a lot of carriers, but not for DHL. If your products are selling overseas, then DHL should be one of your top options. DHL is able to give quotes with limited information for international shipments. All you need to get a rate is the country’s name, along with the weight and dimensions of your package. DHL has 37 international hubs, compared to 12 for FedEx and UPS combined.
There is no comparison to DHL when it comes to international shipping, but their presence in the U.S. is lacking. They do offer domestic services, but their reach is not nearly as large as some of the other shippers on this list.
Each carrier listed has their pros and cons but between these five shippers, any vendor should be able to find the perfect fit for their e-commerce business.