It is more important than ever to implement a multi-carrier shipping strategy.

2020 presented parcel shippers with a unique set of challenges. From already booming e-commerce business to an unprecedented disruption in supply chains due to the global pandemic, businesses of all types had to adapt to a quickly evolving shipping landscape. On top of that, consumers relied heavily on online shopping as many city and state orders mandated closures in response to COVID-19, creating a nearly year-round peak season.

In the past, companies negotiated exclusive shipping contracts with major carriers to handle all of their parcel shipping to customers, partners, distributors, and more. The advantage of these arrangements was that companies benefited from predictable costs and delivery guarantees, and carriers could more easily forecast volumes and revenues.

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The problem with single-carrier strategies in 2021? With only a few carriers to choose from, you may not be able to offer customers the premium shipping options such as same-day or next-day shipping at checkout. You also minimize your ability to choose a better shipping option at a lower cost, which is most important when peak surcharges are implemented. On top of that, single-carrier contracts can (and will) be terminated due to continuous maximum capacity breaches, and national carriers are not always the best choice for omnichannel fulfillment.

Why It’s Important to Diversify Your Carrier Mix

Even though the pandemic will eventually come to an end, there is no denying that e-commerce has been forever changed. Customers who rarely shopped online prior to COVID-19 will continue to embrace it for both convenience and the fact that it typically provides access to more than what can be offered in brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, 47% of baby boomers plan to increase their online shopping even after the pandemic. That means a comprehensive carrier mix is crucial to your success now and in the future. Carrier additions, such as regional carriers, allow you to ease capacity restraints, avoid certain surcharges, and increase shipping options to customers.

Customer Expectations are Changing – Can You Keep Up?

As we stated previously, customers are relying on shipping more than ever before. With that, the line between brand and shipper is blurred, making shipping part of the overall brand experience. In fact, 84% of consumers would not return after a single bad shipping experience. That is why it is more important than ever to implement a multi-carrier shipping strategy with the right multi-carrier shipping software. Not only does this allow you save on shipping costs and avoid risky capacity constraints, but it also allows you to thrill your customers, build brand loyalty and position your company to thrive, through 2021 and beyond.

This article was recently published in PARCEL magazine in January of 2021. See the original here.