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Choosing a shipping carrier for your business

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Whether or not you are an eCommerce seller, you are probably familiar with the major carriers—USPS, UPS and FedEx. In this section we’ll look at some of the key decision criteria for selecting your carrier(s), and provide some key details on each of the major players.

Selection Criteria

  • Markets: domestic, international or both
  • Tracking: importance of trackable services
  • Weight: average package weight? Maximum? Minimum?
  • Package Dimensions: average package dimensions? Maximum? Minimum?
    • New dimensional weight measures – will these apply given the above?
  • Insurance: average order value and extent to which included insurance will cover?
    • Cost of incremental insurance if applicable?
  • Signature: preference for signature confirmation and incremental cost applied
  • Ship to Address Type: will you primarily be shipping to residential or business addresses?
    • Some carriers apply a surcharge for residential delivery
  • Pickup preferences: where on a route is your business and what is the estimated pick up time, daily?
  • Pickup fees: does your volume meet the minimum or will a pick-up fee be applied to your monthly cost?
  • Software: does the carrier provide shipping software or will they pay a monthly subscription to a multi-carrier shipping solution if you require one?
  • Supplies: does the carrier provide free supplies relevant to the type of shipping you do?
    • This might include boxes, envelopes and labels.
  • Saturday delivery: to what extent is weekend delivery important?
    • Some carriers have significant surcharges for Saturday delivery.
  • Address Accuracy: Does the carrier charge for a non-deliverable package? Can you update an address after you’ve shipped?

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