Your shipping carrier speaks volumes about the type of services you offer and how you deliver to your customers. Utilize the best carriers for your eCommerce products to ensure smooth order fulfillment and customer satisfaction that guarantees their loyalty.
But while you choose a shipping carrier that ships to your customers fast, you also want to get the best deal on shipping costs as well. USPS, FedEx, DHL, and UPS are the most reputable carriers in the U.S. But will they meet your shipping requirements while saving on shipping expenses?
We explain the Big 4 carriers in the U.S. and the best choice for your eCommerce products.
Overview of the 4 Major Shipping Carriers
At first glance, you might think the four major carriers, USPS, FedEx, DHL, and UPS, offer completely similar services. However, each has its strong points and specializes in a different area of the shipping industry.
1. USPS Shipping
USPS has distinguished itself as a carrier for universal services at affordable rates. It is the only shipping carrier allowed by law to handle every mailbox in the U.S. and has developed an unmatched network to ship to every household. USPS mainly handles small and lightweight parcels such as cosmetic, apparel, and book packages that are less than 20 pounds.
It offers shipping rates based on the outer dimensions rather than weight through discounted services dubbed Priority Mail Cubic. Therefore, a business that uses online shipping software to purchase discounted postage can access the premium service.
2. UPS Shipping
UPS is ideal for large and bulkier packages up to 150 pounds, such as pre-assembled furniture, television, and more. Ecommerce sellers can enjoy numerous express services in UPS at affordable rates but often higher than USPS.
You can utilize UPS Express Critical, an emergency delivery service that is great for emergency shipping under 24 hours globally. UPS's maximum package insurance value is $50,000, making it the preferred carrier for delivering high-value and luxury items such as rarities and high-end watches.
3. FedEx Shipping
FedEx is reputable for overnight and express shipping services when you need to send something fast but not necessarily an emergency. It is usually a selected shipping carrier for B2B eCommerce. FedEx is also known for shipping temperature-controlled goods and perishable food products. It offers special boxes that maintain a controlled temperature without using gel packs or dry ice. Therefore, it can be a good deal for an eCommerce business that delivers pre-packaged meals.
DHL is known for including parcel, freight, document, and international mail shipping services. The Express service level delivers parcels below 154 pounds to international destinations but does not service domestic destinations.
DHL provides domestic shipping services to business clients sending many B2C or eCommerce materials within the U.S. Additionally, DHL requires companies or individuals to create a business account with DHL eCommerce. Therefore, it may be inconvenient for a person who wishes to assess DHL's domestic rates since you must create an account.
DHL is a cheap and fast option for international shipping.
When you compare the four carriers in terms of shipping costs, they can be ranked differently depending on your needs. Many eCommerce brands prefer USPS since they offer shipping discounts even to small startups. However, you may save costs by using USPS but lose a lot due to lower service standards and delayed deliveries than the other carriers.
Other shipping carriers could be offering better shipping options for your eCommerce business. The smartest move is to consult with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) that calculates and compares the different carrier prices to help you choose the fastest and cheapest option.
But how do you cross that bridge?
Partner With a 3PL
A third-party logistics partner such as Rakuten Super Logistics allows you to accomplish more with the infrastructure and tools to automate retail order fulfillment. Outsourcing your eCommerce logistics to a reliable 3PL partner will ensure a smooth process from fulfillment to warehousing to on-time shipping, every time.
This is the most effective way to scale your eCommerce business since a 3PL company has established partnerships and contracts with major and regional carriers. RSL gets exclusive partnership discounts with all the major carriers since we ship at such large volumes that would otherwise be unavailable to individuals or smaller startups on their own.
Integration of Shipping Carriers With a 3PL
Any eCommerce business owner recognizes the integral role that order fulfillment has on their operations. However, as the business grows, fulfilling customer orders can be overwhelming unless you have partnered with an experienced eCommerce fulfillment company. At RakutenSL, we make sure this is never a problem for you.
Below is our 3PL process:
Unlike other 3PL providers, we are transparent with our warehouse locations. You ship your inventory to our fulfillment center closest to your customers for storage in the eCommerce fulfillment warehouse. This way, when an incoming order is accepted, it is easy to locate, pick, and pack for shipment.
When your customers place an order, our SmartFill system will communicate with the fulfillment center that receives the details and begins packing the products.
We pack the ordered items for shipping securely. After that, our team attaches the shipping label and scans the package updating your inventory levels in real-time.
The ordered items are then shipped and delivered to your customer. At RakutenSL, we partner with major shipping carriers, including USPS, DHL, UPS, and FedEx, as well as local carriers so that you and your customers can accurately track orders.
Moreover, you can use Xparcel to choose the best shipping service with minimal transit time and shipping costs. Xparcel calculates and compares different carrier shipping methods and determines the fastest and cheapest option for you.
Returns are an unfortunate part of any eCommerce business. If a customer returns an order, RakutenSL will be there to ensure a smooth returns process for you and your customer.
Partner With Us Today
Learn how Rakuten Super Logistics can improve your bottom line by outsourcing the fulfillment process that saves on shipping costs and delivers fast and accurate fulfillment. Whether you’re a new eCommerce brand or are an established company, you may find new opportunities to lower your shipping costs by partnering with an experienced 3PL. Contact us to request a quote.