It is a hard task for an Ecommerce business owner to choose the right shipping partner. There are dozens of them in the world and each of them provides different rates and conditions. We created a list of the most popular shipping carriers and described what Ecommerce solutions they offer. Now you can choose your favorite shipping method and carrier to sell locally or globally.
If shipping costs are too high, you will earn less from every single purchase which can be a significant amount in one month or year. 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 describe different types of shipping methods according to the rate, location and time of delivery.
The most popular option among online merchants is flat-rate shipping. It means that a carrier offers a fixed delivery price for boxes of different sizes. You can ship any weight as long as it fits in the box. It’s the best shipping option for small business or when you have a standard product line with items of the similar or same size and weight. At the same time, 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 can set up the delivery border which is especially useful for small companies in big cities. If you can hardly cover the whole of 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, by 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. It can be challenging for a business and 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.
Same day delivery
You need to consider delivery time. Remember, that the faster you ship orders, the happier your customers are.
Same-day delivery is one of the most profitable shipping ideas for local business owners. 41% of customers agree to pay more for same-day delivery. 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 any type of shipping that is faster than a standard one. Often, to ensure faster delivery, the shipping vehicle moves from pick-up point to the delivery directly without any stops. 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 different types of shipping methods or a combination of them can help increase conversions and, as it was mentioned before, reduce shopping cart abandonment. As people can choose whether they want to get the purchase quicker for extra pay or wait for standard delivery time for less to no payment.
Top Ecommerce Shipping Carriers
There are four globally known shipping carriers: UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL. We describe them more for you as well as tell more about domestic delivery services to choose from if you provide services in the UK, France, Canada, Germany, and Australia.
US Shipping Providers
Top shipping providers in the USA are also market leaders all around the world.
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 $84.6 billion in 2020.
As a shipping company, UPS offers lots of delivery options, so you can choose the delivery time. Depending on finances, the company offers shipment via ground, air, or water. 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 the UPS express option.
Let’s dive deeper into UPS shipping solutions for Ecommerce.
This solution is targeted at small businesses: you send your goods to UPS and the carrier pack and ship everything to your customers.
The solution offers 1-3-day delivery, standard, and economy shipping across the USA. You pay a bundled price: base rate + rate per pound. The exact price depends on the territory of shipment, chosen tariff, and package size.
There is also a price for storage, which starts from $0.92/ft3. To ship one dollhouse locally (within the state where the USP warehouse is located), you will pay about $10. You will find more details here.
A UPS company on-demand warehousing and fulfillment solution are suitable for customers with strongly pronounced seasonal activity. This plan adapts to your business: you can choose different warehousing, products to fulfill, and transport.
The solution is perfect when a business has already made deep analytics and knows how to create an efficient warehousing and fulfillment network.
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Flexible delivery solutions
UPS has an Access Point Network that you can join and allow your customers to pick up the parcel at the nearest pick-up point. So they can choose neighborhood shops, which are a part of the network, and get their purchase there. The solution is more comfortable if you don’t have enough brick-and-mortar stores.
Worldwide shipping network
The solution for businesses who want to sell across the whole country or go global. Here you can choose among dozens of services to organize efficient and fast delivery for your business including package and freight, ground and air services.
You can calculate the exact cost of any delivery on the UPS calculator, but if you want a constant partnership, it’s better to create an account, choose a solution and get a quote from the sales team.
United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the US federal government founded in 1775. Its main duty is providing responsible postal service in the United States and outside the country. According to data, the company’s revenue for 2020 was $73.1 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,
- to a mailbox on the curb.
If you are looking for the cheapest 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 – from the USA to Canada in 6-10 days, you will pay $67.05 and for 1-3 Business Days and flat-rate pricing inside the USA, prices start from $8.
USPS has three shipping solutions for Ecommerce:
- Click-N-Ship — the first one is for small businesses that deliver less than 10 pieces a month.
- Click-N-Ship Business Pro — for Small businesses with more than 10 deliveries per month
- Business Customer Gateway — for medium to big businesses that need to manage volume mailing and shipping.
There is another interesting thing why businesses should consider picking the USPS as its shipping partner: the company is the best at last-mile delivery in the USA. This last step of shipping is the most expensive and time-consuming for businesses as it includes lots of stops with low drop sizes. The truth is that sometimes UPS and FedEx even use USPS for the last-mile delivery step. Even when your customer gets a FedEx labeled parcel the last step of the delivery can be carried out by USPS.
But as USPS stands for United States Postal Service there are some disadvantages when it comes to international delivery. To ship the package overseas the company partners with other local carriers and due to that combined shipment, you can lose some tracking transparency.
FedEx is also an American multinational delivery company, founded in 1971. The company’s revenue is growing from year to year, and in 2021 FedEx’s revenue was $83.960 billion. Impressive, right?
FedEx is known for its overnight delivery that allows receiving packages the next day after the order. The company was the first to allow 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.
FedEx provides solutions for local and international shipping:
- Domestic shipping — the business owner can choose between more cost-efficient solutions and fast solutions. Cheaper solutions are those that deliver in 1-5 business days to any address in the USA. Faster solutions are Overnight options that can deliver the package the next business day after the order was placed.
- International shipping — businesses can choose the cheapest FedEx International Ground solution for shipping to Canada, to deliver overseas they have to use Economy and Priority plans.
What about rates? For FedEx ground multiweight 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.
UK Shipping Providers
Royal Mail is the leading postal service and courier company in the United Kingdom – more than 50% of the market share as of 2021. 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 2020 was £10,870 million.
Royal Mail doesn’t have a wide variety of delivery options, but the service is beneficial for UK businesses. They have only a special delivery service that guarantees shipping by 1 p.m. or 9 a.m. the next day for an increased cost. If you choose delivery to 9 a.m. the next day, you pay £20.24 for a 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.
They have several types of shipping for businesses:
- Click & Drop — the solution does not require a business account. You can pay for postage online, print a label and drop it in the Royal Mail Customer Service Point or postbox. It is a good way to integrate all the marketplaces if they use different storefronts.
- Royal Mail Pro Shipping — the option for larger businesses that send at least 100 items a day. Like in Click & Drop you can create shipping labels but here you can create multiple accounts for the managers.
- API Shipping — this is also the solution for businesses sending more than 100 parcels a day, but you can integrate Royal Mail with whatever tech solution you already have for order fulfillment.
- Bespoke Shipping — option for corporations sending at least 3,000 items a day. Here businesses can integrate the solutions with their system and create conditions that are most suitable for them. But you need a tech team to create a solution that you can fully control.
- Third-party partners — the option offers you third-party services to manage and fulfill orders as well as labeling and reviewing your finance information.
If you choose Royal Mail for international delivery, consider the following services:
- International Economy for up to 2 kg package delivery from 2 weeks costs £1.45
- International Standard – delivery from 3-5 days starting at £1.70
- International Tracked — delivery from 3-4 days costs from £6.75
- International Signed — shipping from 3-5 days starting from £6.85
- International Track & Signed — delivery from 3-4 days costs from £6.85
Royal Mail also owns GLS Group company based in the Netherlands, and Parcelforce Worldwide — a UK-based international postal service.
German Shipping Providers
Dalsey, Hillblom, and Lynn, or DHL is a German courier company 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 DHL’s total revenue came to €66.806 billion in 2020.
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 both domestic and international deliveries for their Ecommerce customers. The company 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.
DHL Ecommerce solutions vary by region.
- Within Europe they offer DHL Parcel Connect local and international. You can manage last-mile delivery or order the shipment between European countries.
- In the Asia Pacific region that includes India and Australia, DHL focuses on commercial deliveries only both within the country or internationally.
- In North America, DHL offers the delivery six days a week, but their main focus is international shipment between the USA and Canada.
Hermes Europe GmbH
The company was founded in 1972 in West Germany, and by 2010 it had expanded to the UK, Austria, Italy, and Russia. To deliver in France, Hermes cooperates with local company Mondial Relay. In 2019 the company reported a turnover of £749.5 million.
As their Ecommerce services, the company offers two solutions:
- Worldwide shipping — Hermes Group claims to provide speedy shipping at a comprehensive price. The prices start from 9,90€ for a small package in the neighboring European countries.
- Shipping locally — the company provides shipping within Germany, UK, Austria, France. The prices for Germany start from 3,70€.
Australian Shipping Providers
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 75% of market share – the company is the best choice for local delivery services. According to the agency’s results, Australia Post’s overall revenue for the year 2020 was $7.5 billion.
For domestic Ecommerce customers, Australia Post offers three shipping methods:
- Standard Delivery – 2+ business day delivery for parcels up to 2kg for $9.30.
- Express Delivery – for parcels up to 2kg for $12.30.
- 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, Express, and Courier options for $8.90, $18.20, $30.20, and $90.20, respectively.
For Ecommerce customers, Australia Post has two main solutions for small businesses and corporations:
- MyPost Business — solutions for companies that sell at least 8 parcels in 8 weeks. The solution provides the pricing where the more you send, the cheaper is the delivery of one parcel. For example, if you send at least 40 parcels in 8 weeks your discount is 25% for one parcel, with 80% in 8 weeks you get a 30% discount.
- Delivery for enterprise — the approach for businesses that sell at least 2000 parcels a year. Here Australia Post is ready to negotiate unique conditions and give businesses personalized prices.
StarTrack is a subsidiary of Australian Post. The company was founded in 1974, and it became a part of the Australian Post in 2003.
The company offers solutions for B2B and B2C businesses as well as third-party logistics. It has warehouses all around the country and claims to deliver to more Australians than any other company. You can also benefit from labeling services and inventory management.
CourierPlease was founded in 1983 to provide local delivery services in Australia. The company is a subsidiary of Singapore Post (SingPost). It now offers domestic and international courier solutions and specializes in small parcels. For Ecommerce customers, CouriersPlease provides:
- API integration between your applications and CouriersPlease systems
- Scanner Technology with phone and data capability
- EDI Gateway despatch system for large clients.
Canadian Shipping Providers
Canada Post is a perfect choice for an Ecommerce company that operates in the Canadian local market. It has been the primary postal operator in Canada since 1867. The company provides services to over 16 million addresses and delivered nearly 6.2 billion items for the last year. In 2020, Canada Post’s revenue was over $7,4 billion.
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 10 business days.
- Expedited Parcel – from 1 to 8 business days.
- Xpresspost – 1-3 business day delivery.
- Priority – delivery within 2 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.
For Ecommerce customers, Canada Post provides all needed solutions: labeling, storage, parcel pick-ups and delivery, tracking, returns. The rates will be displayed in your shop in real time. A business provides item parameters, and the customer can choose a suitable option in real time in your online shop.
French Shipping Providers
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, La Poste covers only one quarter of the market. UPS, FedEx, and DHL take the other part. However, La Poste covers a 15% share of the European Ecommerce shipping market. Moreover, in 2020 La Poste generated revenue of €31.185 million.
Customers of La Poste Ecommerce partners can choose among three delivery services, called Colissimo – standard delivery, an express service called Chrono Relais, and Proxi Courses – delivery by courier. The first two services offer national and international deliveries, the courier delivery is possible only locally.
Choosing express shipping from France to the US, you might expect the parcel to arrive 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.
La Poste owns such delivery brands as DPD, Colissimo, and Chronopost, Seur, and BRT.
The company is one of the leading shipment providers in France. It was founded in 1997, and now it also works in Belgium, Luxemburg, Spain, Portugal. It also partners with other companies to ensure delivery in Germany and Netherlands.
Mondial Relay’s main feature is its Point Relais — the system of pick-up points in France and other European Countries. For example, the company partners with 11,000 merchants only in France to organize the networking. The pick-up points include supermarkets, newsagents, dry cleaners, florists, opticians.
The prices depend on where and what you are shipping. The shipment of 5 kg package within France will cost about €9.90
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 can be integrated with your online store. As a result, you don’t need to waste your time communicating with the delivery agency every time your customer wants to order something.
Picking up providers, note the country they are working in. For faster and more careful delivery, choose local providers.