At a2b Fulfillment, we constantly study carrier rates and programs. Earlier this year, we discussed the changes that affected 2017 with regards to major carriers. Specific rate changes by service, zone and weight and package size vary due to carriers’ response to market demand, target market share goals and an attempt to neutralize the very moves that our industry has enacted to lower shipping costs (or simply make them free).
We know keeping tabs on the changes can be a big (and expensive) effort. An experienced 3PL provider can leverage their volume for discounted rates and programs not readily available to lower volume shippers. Together you can understand the advantages and disadvantages with trade-offs between costs, speed of delivery, traceability and image/customer perception.
Here are a few other tips we put together to help effectively manage carrier rates:
Tip #1: Explore Alternative Shipping Methods with the Current Carrier
Your fulfillment partner can suggest other programs. A simple example is to trade down from a more premium shipping service to a lower-cost program. Understand the options — then you can decide if it’s worth making a change.
Tip #2: Consider Alternate Carriers
There is not one monolithic pricing program used by all carriers. Each carrier has its own set of dynamics and considerations that go into pricing structure. If your shipments place you in a high cost structure with one carrier, work with your fulfillment partner to explore shipping options and costs with other carriers.
Tip #3: Review Your Packaging
Consider using separate packages for consumer-direct and retail. With consumer-direct, it is critical to get your package weight and size correct, due to dimensional weight. A standard shipping box will work just fine in most cases. For retail, packaging has an additional objective. You’re your packaging needs to be colorful as opposed to your standard cardboard box. You’ll need something aesthetically pleasing should it be on display in a store.
At a2b Fulfillment, we work hard to take the load off clients by keeping track of carrier rate changes. We would love the opportunity to connect and show you how we can make your shipping process easier!