Shipping is vital to a successful eCommerce business. Stated simply, it’s impossible to scale or gain loyal customers without an effective shipping solution.
This raises the question: what makes for a quality shipping company?
An ideal shipping partner enables you to ship affordably and reliably to anywhere in the world. Moreover, the best shipping companies offer a balance of cost savings, key integrations, and robust features to enhance the customer experience while streamlining operations.
How do you find these reliable, affordable shipping companies? Just conduct a bit of research with an eye for the nine factors discussed in this article, including:
Table of Contents
To fast-track this process, try our Courier Comparison tool. This lets you compare shipping services for multiple couriers in just seconds. Meanwhile, read the following article to learn the 9 must-haves for your best shipping company.
1. Cost Savings
Your best shipping company will help you reduce shipping costs and pass the savings to customers.
This is important because consumers now expect cut-rate shipping options, thanks to Amazon’s free two-day delivery service. Confirming this, research from PayPay found that 43% of consumers have abandoned a shopping cart due to perceived “high” shipping costs.
To offer affordable shipping yourself, you need a partner that offers competitive rates. But what’s competitive, anyway?
Look at the pricing model of prospective partners. Are you required to sign a contract for a minimum volume? Do you subscribe monthly or annually? What about added fees for pick ups, fuel, weekend delivery, or package handling?
Beware fee-driven shipping solutions. These costs add up quickly and undercut profits. Since shipping volumes vary from month to month, it’s important to pay only for what you use.
Subscription-based shipping companies without minimum or hidden fees are the most cost-effective. Easyship, for example, is free to use and offers varying levels of monthly subscription. With flexible access to upgrades, you can ship as needed without overpaying.
2. Single Courier vs. Multi Courier
You can’t fault merchants for being loyal to a proven courier such as FedEx, DHL, or UPS. Why fix what isn’t broken? That said, using a multi-courier shipping solution offers two clear advantages: more competitive rates and faster shipping with fewer delays.
Say you’re a DHL loyalist who needs to ship to a region where DHL has less coverage than, say, FedEx. Well, you risk overpaying. And unless you meet certain volume thresholds, it’s difficult to negotiate cheaper rates when using a single courier.
By contrast, accessing shipping rates from competing couriers ensures you get the lowest rate in any global region. Multi-courier solutions also lessen the chances for reputation-damaging delays in the last mile, as there’s always a partner on standby.
Using a hybrid shipping solution like Easyship gives you direct access to the cheapest rates and the best coverage around the globe. Partnered with 250+ shipping companies and directly integrated with FedEx, our automated platform is the complete tool for merchants who want access to all best shipping companies in one place.
3. Number of Shipping Options
Shoppers differ in their shipping priorities. By accessing a wider courier network, you can enhance the customer experience for everyone.
John in Cleveland, for example, wants two-day shipping and is willing to pay for it. On the other hand, James in Seattle is happy with standard shipping because it saves money. Jane in Baltimore, though, needs slightly faster shipping since she leaves for vacation on Friday, but also needs delivery tracking and insurance.
Allowing customers to personalize their delivery cost, time, and perks is a key step in improving your brand experience. With a full network of couriers at the ready, you can better ensure your packages arrive as requested and on-time. If any unexpected arises, just switch couriers – it’s that easy.
Here’s the takeaway: consider how many couriers a shipping company can provide. More courier partners translates to more choices for customers, more savings for you, and fewer delays for everyone.
Try our Courier Comparison tool to compare shipping services for multiple couriers in just seconds.
4. Delivery Tracking
Given the uptick in porch piracy, people demand greater visibility into the delivery process. According to Narvar, a customer experience platform, more than 4 in 5 (83%) of shoppers expect regular updates about their order.
This makes order tracking capabilities a must-have when choosing a shipping company.
Fortunately, the best shipping companies list their order tracking capabilities among their shipping services. Working with top providers lets you share real-time tracking details about package status and location with customers. Doing so allows you to better manage expectations, curb delivery anxieties, and promote a rewarding post-purchase experience.
5. Label Generation and Printing
Manually preparing shipping documents is a laborious and error-prone process. Wouldn’t it be nice if your shipping company allowed you to generate key shipping documents in seconds?
You guessed it: Easyship gives you all the tools you need to automatically generate shipping labels, packing slips and customs declarations. Whichever shipping company you choose, it’s best to go with one that saves you time on manual data entry.
6. International Shipping Capabilities
With eCommerce booming, you might want to expand your eCommerce business to include international customers, if you haven’t already. According to research firm Statista, worldwide retail eCommerce sales are projected to grow by 53.9% by 2023.
Online shopping has become one of the most popular activities worldwide. As a result, your chosen shipping company should excel in international shipping and fulfillment.
Global shipping coverage allows you to leverage the widest audience to grow your business. To this end, make sure that your shipping partner services the international markets you’re targeting.
Additionally, evaluate a prospective company’s track record with cross-border shipping. Reliability is key, and won’t do much good to choose a shipping company with international coverage but spotty service.
You can research shipping by country here. And if you want guidance about import duties and customs, click here. Our blog contains a comprehensive set of free shipping rate calculators, customs duty calculators, and resources to help you ship globally without overspending.
7. Attentive Customer Service
Your daily experience with shipping solutions is important. Moreover, your customers expect timely deliveries. An ideal shipping company offers top-notch support both to eases your mind and ensure a rewarding customer experience.
Imagine that one of your packages goes missing en route to Amsterdam. Ok, problem. But here’s another problem: your shipping company hasn’t answered your email and the customer is irate. What should you do? What can you do?
This scenario illustrates why prompt and thorough customer service is essential to a successful shipping partnership. Every item you ship puts your reputation, and therefore your growth potential, on the line.
Conscious of your needs for immediate support, leading shipping solutions offer a range of customer service options, including:
- Live chat
- Phone support
- Social media
Evaluate a shipping company’s reliability before you sign up to avoid unnecessary headaches.
8. Third Parties (3PLs) &. Warehouses
One way to lower shipping costs is to access a network of warehouses and third-party providers (3PLs). Your top candidate for shipping partner should provide this access.
Shipping gets cheaper (and easier) when you have fulfillment outposts distributed across the globe. Say you’re shipping an inflatable giraffe to Italy. One shipping company has a warehouse in Rome, while the other has warehouses in Milan, Naples, Rome, and Venice.
Of the two, who offers the faster, cheaper, and more reliable shipping? You guessed right. The partner with multiple warehouses offers better service because they have multiple fulfillment locations. This cuts costs for the final mile plus shortens the delivery window.
Easyship offers global fulfillment center partners to help you reduce logistics costs, shorten delivery timelines, and you delight buyers.
9. Webstore Checkout Functionality
Does your shipping partner offer live shipping rates at checkout? This is a crucial feature that automatically displays pre-calculated shipping rates to customers based on product features like item category, weight, dimensions, as well as the shipping destination.
As mentioned above, shoppers increasingly want versatile and cost-effective shipping options. Live rates at checkout lets people decide how they want to receive their packages. This easy-integrate feature helps to:
- Boost conversion rates
- Reduce cart abandonment
- Ensure successful deliveries
- Strengthen customer loyalty
Want to try this feature for yourself? Check out our Shipping Rates Calculator. This shows you what buyers see when they use live-rate checkout: the cheapest, fastest, and best-value shipping options available from all the top couriers.
How to Pick The Best Shipping Company
Your choice of shipping company directly impacts your operational efficiency, customer experience, and growth potential. This makes finding a streamlined and reliable shipping solution is a key step in optimizing your eCommerce business.
As you consider your options, look for features and services that simplify your workflows while saving time and money. The right technology is out there, it’s up to you to decide what's best for your business.
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll probably like Easyship.
Sign up for a free Easyship account and let us show you how we can empower your business with better shipping.