Planning a shipping strategy for your ecommerce? What about different shipping methods? And carriers? Besides all of these, you need to decide how much money you want to invest in shipping and calculate how much you have to invest to ensure a high level shopping experience for a customer. You’d better opt for a well-balanced solution.
If shipping costs are too high, it may not be worth it as you will earn much less from every single purchase. On the other hand, when you pay almost nothing for shipping but it makes deliveries unpleasant and frustrating for a customer, it won’t pay off in the long run. Receiving a damaged package won’t encourage a person to purchase from your store ever again.
Ecommerce Shipping Methods, Rates, Types & Time
Let’s begin with types of rates that you could encounter.
The most popular option among the online merchants is flat-rate shipping. It means that a carrier offers a fixed delivery price no matter what you deliver. It’s the best choice when you have a standard product line with items of similar or exact same size and weight. At the same time, the flat-rate shipping becomes complicated and less efficient when you decide to expand your product line.
Real-time carrier rates
If you don’t want to spend much time on shipping-related issues, you can opt for real-time carrier rates. Advanced ecommerce platforms like Magento or Shopify offer multiple shipping integrations like FedEx, USPS, DHL and others. It generates live pricing and shipping options directly from the carriers. It allows your customers to choose a delivery type and decide how much they are willing to pay for it.
Depending on where your business operates, you may need to ship just locally or internationally.
Shipping locally is great if you aren’t able or simply don’t want to enter the international market. You set up the delivery border which is especially useful for small companies in big cities. If you can hardly cover the whole New York, you can specify the districts where you deliver. As a result, customers who are within your delivery area will be able to choose local delivery. Moreover, offering free local delivery, you can win more customers as most people are likely to pay more for a product itself rather than for delivery.
Want to reach a larger market and target people abroad? You need at least some kind of international delivery. Honestly speaking, it can be challenging for a business and, of course, expensive sometimes. Different countries have different regulations, trade laws, requirements and taxes. So finding a reliable partner – carriage company – is a must. A dedicated carrier will help you either navigate international shipping or provide appropriate shipping rates.
Then, we need to consider delivery time. Remember, that the faster you ship orders, the happier your impatient customers are.
Same day delivery
Same-day delivery is one of the most profitable shipping ideas for local business owners. 61% of customers agree to pay more if only you deliver the product the same day. To perform it right, you need lots of resources, a fast working delivery team and courier service. Not all companies can afford all of these.
This strategy allows your customers to order something one day and receive it on the next business day. It’s quite a popular shipping method that can help you manage orders without giving your customers a feeling that delivery took too long. However, this method is relatively expensive compared to a regular two or three day delivery.
Expedited shipping is basically any type of shipping which is faster than a standard one. Unlike previously mentioned deliveries, the exact turnaround for such orders depends on a carrier and shipping service. It’s also a really good way to reduce shopping cart abandonment, especially if your traditional delivery takes up to 30 days.
As a rule, offering a combination of shipping methods suitable for your business type can help increase conversions and, as it was mentioned before, reduce shopping cart abandonment. When the decision is taken, you need to pick a shipping company that will deliver your products locally or worldwide, or hire people to deliver your products from a warehouse.
Top Ecommerce Shipping Carriers
Keep reading the article to find out about the best shipping carriers for ecommerce. Here you will also learn what domestic delivery services to choose if you provide services in France, Canada, Germany and other countries.
United Parcel Service or UPS is an American is a national package delivery company and one of the most popular choices as a “shipping method”. It is considered to be one of the richest ecommerce shipping companies worldwide with the highest market share – 30%. According to the company’s financial report, UPS earned $4.440 billion in 2019, with an increase of 3.1% compared to 2018.
As a shipping company, UPS offers lots of delivery options, so you can choose delivery speed. Depending on finances, the company offers air, water and ground delivery. UPS has various shipping destinations and transit times. There are next day air delivery, second day delivery, 3-day delivery, and ground delivery. UPS also has same day delivery with UPS express option.
So, what about costs? The cost of delivery depends on package size and weight, destination, type of delivery – air- water, etc. The more information you can find on the official website, as well as calculate the exact costs using their online calculator.
United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the US federal government founded in 1775. It’s main duy is providing responsible postal service in the United States and outside the country. According to data, the company’s revenue for the year 2019 was $71.1 billion.
Originally, USPS was a mail service, but since then it has developed into a large shipping company. USPS provides three delivery models – to the door, to a centralized point that serves several addresses, and to a mailbox on the curb. If you are looking for the cheapest one option – a centralized model is for you. USPS also offers a retail postage price calculator for its customers. For example, to deliver a small package – up to 20 pounds – to Canada in 6-10 days, you will pay $67.05.
FedEx is also an American multinational delivery company, founded 1971. The company’s revenue is growing from year to year, and in 2019 FedEx’s revenue was $65.450 billion. Impressive, right?
FedEx is known for its overnight delivery that allows receiving packages the next day after order. The company was the first to allow companies tracking packages and provide real-time data on delivery location. FedEx offers ground, air and ocean cargo, express, and freight delivery. Speaking about business, FedEx also has logistic services and custom delivery for urgent and hazardous items shipping.
What about rates? For FedEx ground multi-weight delivery from Canada to the US, you will pay up to $40 per shipment. While home delivery costs $4 per package. More information is available on the official website.
Royal Mail is the leading postal service and courier company is the United Kingdom – almost 65% of the market share. The company was established in 1516, and provides delivery services not only in the UK, but also in Europe and North America. According to Wikipedia, Royal Mail’s annual revenue for the year 2019 was £10,581 million.
Royal Mail doesn’t have a wide variety of delivery options, but the service is really profitable for the UK businesses. They have only a special delivery service that guarantees a shipping by 1 pm or 9 am the next day for an increased cost . If you choose delivery to 9 am the next day, you pay £20.24 for 2 kg package. Moreover, the company has fixed prices for all deliveries on the territory of the UK no matter what package size you have. If you choose Royal Mail for international delivery, consider the following services:
- International Economy for up to 2kg package delivery from 2 weeks costs £1.26.
- International Standard – delivery from 3-5 days starting at £1.42.
- International Tracked, Signed, or Track & Signed from £6.41.
Dalsey, Hillblom and Lynn or DHL is an international GmbH is a German courier founded in the US. The company is considered to be one of the largest logistic companies worldwide working in over 220 countries and territories. Every year DHL delivers over 1.3 billion parcels per year. The company is a leader in the German ecommerce shipping market. And according to the annual report, DHL’s total assets came to €52.2 billion in 2019.
As a German company, DHL is not affected by US embargoes and sanctions. It means that in addition to Iraq, Canada, Afghanistan, France, the company provides delivery services to Cuba and North Korea. DHL offers a wide range of shipping services, including express delivery, air, ocean, road and rail shipping. They also have either domestic delivery or international for their ecommerce customers. The company also provides insurance for all their delivery services in case something happens. Like any other top shipping company, they have an online calculator to count the prices. For example, for a parcel XS up to 2 kg – 35 x 25 x 3 cm – you will pay €4.89.
Need a local Australian carrier? Australia Post or AusPost is the government company that provides postal services in Australia since 1901. Being a dominant shipping company on the Australian market – with over 67% of market share – the company is the best choice for local delivery services. According to the agency’s results, Australia Post’s overall profit for the year 2019 was $40.6 million.
For domestic ecommerce customers, Australia Post offers three shipping methods:
- Standard Delivery – 2+ business day delivery for parcels up to 2kg for $8.95.
- Next Business-Day Delivery – for parcels up to 2kg for $11.95.
- Same-Day Delivery – here prices vary, but the package might be delivered in 3 hours after order.
Comparing international delivery services, Australia Post provides Economy, Standard, and Express options for $10.20, $18.20, and $33.20, respectively.
Canada Post is a perfect choice for an ecommerce company that operates on the Canadian local market. It is the primary postal operator in Canada since 1867. The company provides services to over 16 million addresses and delivered nearly 8.4 billion items for the last year. In 2019, Canada Post’s revenue was over $10 billion, and its parcels revenue climbed by over $230 million last year.
Canada Post provides four domestic parcel services, which rates depend on distance, weight, and size. They accept parcels only up to 30kg. Domestic shipping services include:
- Regular Parcel – delivery from 2 to 13 business days.
- Expedited Parcel – from 1 to 13 business days.
- Xpresspost – 1-2 business day delivery.
- Priority – delivery within 7 business days.
Speaking about international delivery, they have air and surface variants, express shipping to the US, and expedited parcel US. The other international shipment services are provided with the FedEx and USPS partnership.
As the name implies, La Poste is a French postal service, founded 30 years ago. Being a leading shipping company in France by its market share, the company covers only one quarter of the market. The other part takes UPS, FedEx, and DHL. However, La Poste covers 15% share of the European ecommerce shipping market. Moreover, in 2019 La Poste generated revenue of €24.699 million.
La Poste provides 2 delivery services, called Colissimo – standard delivery – and an express service called Chronopost. Both services offer national and international deliveries. Choosing express shipping from France to the US, you might expect delivery in 7 days. For a standard transfer offer to France or overseas, you pay €5.58 per month for a 6-month commitment period, i.e. € 33.50 in total, to be paid at once.
Hopefully, the article’s given you a good understanding of ecommerce shipping carriers, so you can choose the perfect one for your business. Remember, that the majority of mentioned companies – DHL, UPS, FedEx, Australia Post, Royal Mail and others – can be integrated with your online store. As a result, you don’t need to waste your time on communicating with the delivery agency every time your customer wants to order a thing.
Have something to add? Feel free to share your ecommerce shipping experience in the comments below.