• A single-carrier strategy eliminates flexibility and price and service competition from other carriers. 
  • A multi-carrier shipping solution allows users to take advantage of a wide range of shipping options and services.
  • Service disruptions are far less likely when you have multiple carriers as backup options.

Access better rates, more service options, and disruption-proof alternatives with a multi-carrier shipping solution. 

With the growth of e-commerce, businesses are under increasing pressure to provide fast, reliable, and cost-effective shipping services to customers — making shipping a key component of business operations. For companies with stable shipping needs or low volumes, a single-carrier shipping solution might make the most sense. But for those with more complex needs and a higher volume of parcels, it’s worth exploring a multi-carrier shipping solution. 

Why single-carrier shipping might not be the best strategy

Some businesses cite single-carrier parcel shipping as a means of streamlining shipping operations. Yet one of the biggest issues with a single-carrier strategy is lack of flexibility. 

Relying on a single carrier for all your shipping needs limits the range of service and pricing options that may be available from other carriers. In other words, you may not be getting the lowest rates or fastest delivery times. Further, if your chosen carrier experiences service disruptions, such as weather delays or labor strikes, your business is left without backup options — resulting in delayed shipments, unhappy customers, and lost revenue.

Shipping parcels through a single carrier also eliminates the competition for your business. With only one service provider, you miss out on carriers driving down prices and improving service to win contracts. This can result in higher shipping costs for your business, which eats into profits and makes it harder to match your competitors’ prices. It can also mean that the carrier may not be as motivated to provide excellent service, as there is no alternative to win the business away.

Single-carrier parcel shipping can also be limiting in terms of the types of shipping services that are available. For example, your chosen carrier may not have access to specialized shipping services, such as white-glove delivery, that other carriers offer. This can be a disadvantage for businesses that sell high-value or fragile items, as these items may require special handling and care during shipping.

As businesses grow and expand, their shipping needs may change. Being tied to a single carrier can stymie growth and block scalability if the carrier is unable to meet changing needs. Similarly, if a business is looking to expand into new markets, it may find that its single carrier is not able to provide shipping services to those markets. 

Why should you use a multi-carrier shipping solution?

Using a multi-carrier parcel shipping strategy allows users to take advantage of a wide range of shipping options and services, while providing backup options in the event of service disruptions. Let’s look at an example of a multi-carrier shipping strategy at work. 

A Chinese exporter decides that small parcels of product being shipped to Detroit, Michigan, should only use the global carriers UPS, DHL, or FedEx. As an additional requirement, these shipments need to reach the destination within 4 business days. A multi-carrier software will automatically rate shop across the three carriers and then assign the shipment to the carrier that can meet the delivery timeline at the lowest cost. Setting rules like this for recurring shipments automates rate shopping and allows for scaling, while customizing deliveries based on any number of criteria. 

By choosing a multi-carrier strategy, our Chinese exporter enjoys benefits beyond getting its packages to Detroit in less than 5 days for the best price. 

Here are 7 benefits to a multi-carrier shipping strategy:

1) Increased flexibility

A multi-carrier parcel shipping strategy allows you to choose from a range of carriers, giving you greater flexibility in selecting the best carrier for a particular shipment. This can be particularly useful for businesses that ship a variety of items with different shipping requirements, such as size, weight, and destination.

2) Access to competitive pricing

By using multiple carriers, you can take advantage of competitive pricing and negotiate better rates with carriers. This can result in lower shipping costs and better margins for your business.

3) Improved service

A multi-carrier strategy can provide backup options in case one carrier experiences service disruptions, such as weather delays or strikes. This ensures that your shipments deliver on time, even if one carrier is delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.

4) Access to specialized shipping services

Different carriers offer different types of shipping services, such as same-day or overnight delivery, white-glove delivery, and international shipping. Utilizing more than one carrier allows you to access a broader range of services to meet your customers’ needs.  

5) Scalability

As your business grows and expands, your shipping needs may change. Using multiple carriers provides the flexibility to add or remove carriers to meet evolving needs.

6) Reducing dependence

Reliance on a single carrier may make it difficult to switch to another carrier if there are service issues. A multi-carrier strategy reduces this dependence and gives you more control over your shipping operations.

7) Improved customer satisfaction

With multi-carrier parcel shipping, you can offer more shipping options to customers, such as faster shipping times, lower rates, and specialized shipping services. This can result in higher customer satisfaction and repeat business. 

Put simply, a multi-carrier shipping solution not only helps high-volume shippers decrease transportation costs. You also can tailor shipping operations by comparing transit times, rates, and capacity limits across multiple carriers, while positioning your business for scalability and growth.