Most new ecommerce brands focus on big-name carriers when looking for shipping solutions — carriers like the USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL and others. And these large carriers are fantastic options. They offer huge delivery networks and reliable services.
But, as ecommerce brands grow, they soon discover the need for a diversified carrier portfolio. In some cases, there are great alternatives for ecommerce sellers to secure the fast, affordable, reliable delivery they need to delight customers and generate repeat business.
Regional carriers are often great alternatives.
Here’s a look at 4 reasons why your ecommerce brand should consider adding regional carriers to its portfolio, as well as a rundown of the regional carrier integrations available through ShipEngine.
1. Short Transit Times
Regional carriers specialize in same-day or next-day delivery within their regions. At a time when the global supply chain is stretched thin and transit times are often much longer than advertised, regional carriers are well-positioned to deliver quickly.
Short transit times can make a meaningful difference for your ecommerce business. When you deliver on time or early, you’re able to meet or exceed your customers’ expectations. Increased customer satisfaction generates repeat buyers, which can buoy any ecommerce business.
Imagine for a moment that your ecommerce buyer places an order with you and then places an order for a different product from a different online seller. Now, imagine your order arrives in a matter of days — just like you promised. But your buyer’s other order from a different seller is nowhere to be found. Which business is likely to receive a repeat order from that buyer?
That’s the power of choosing regional carriers. Their short transit times make your business shine in the eyes of your customers.
2. Competitive Rates
List rates for regional carriers may be higher than what you see from larger carriers. But regional carriers don’t often include the surcharges that have become so common with big-name carriers.
We’ve recently seen headlines about seasonal price increases and holiday-related surcharges, and larger carriers may add surcharges when you pass a certain volume. Regional carriers don’t typically add surcharges during peak season or for high volume. When you eliminate these surcharges, you unlock real savings for your business — savings you can turn around and invest in your products, your people, your technology and/or your customer experience.
3. Additional Shipping Volume
It’s always nice to have a diverse portfolio of carriers that you work with on a regular basis, because a diverse portfolio gives you options. Few ecommerce businesses are using regional carriers exclusively. But many have found that using regional carriers in tandem with larger domestic and international carriers helps them grow their shipping volume without increasing their per-shipment rates.
As noted above, some larger carriers are now assessing additional volume surcharges. When you pass a certain number of shipments, you start paying more. Savvy brands are moving a portion of their volume to regional carriers to avoid these volume-related surcharges. If you can find a regional carrier that supports your orders to or within a specific part of the country, you can work around these additional fees to save money.
Use regional carriers to supplement (rather than replace) larger carriers in your portfolio.
4. Local Knowledge & Expertise
Regional carriers don’t have enormous fleets of trucks and planes. They don’t have thousands upon thousands of employees. And they can’t promise delivery around the world. But their value proposition is no less compelling than what larger, better-known carriers offer: They offer local knowledge and expertise that can’t be beat. In other words, they specialize in specific regions of the United States, which allows them to develop an unmatched understanding of those regions.
As committed as regional carriers are to their regions, they are just as committed to their customers. Regional carriers tend to work with fewer businesses, which allows them to deliver high-touch, personalized services.
Meet ShipEngine’s Regional Carriers
Ecommerce brands and others using the ShipEngine platform have access to 70-plus carriers worldwide, including regional carriers. You can now connect to these 5 regional carriers through your ShipEngine dashboard:
Need help getting started? Our team of experts can provide guidance on choosing carriers and solving shipping for your ecommerce business. Contact us today.