1) Overview of Shipping Carriers
Shipping carriers play a critical role in the ecommerce experience. Not only do they deliver products to the customer's doorstep, but they can also affect customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Business partnerships can heavily influence how well you do in the long run. If your partners deliver on time, maintain transparency, and help you achieve your goals, your ecommerce business will naturally prosper. Therefore, it is essential to pay attention when selecting shipping carriers.
In today’s blog post, we’ll explore the best shipping carriers. We’ll also take a look at how each carrier rates when it comes to cost, speed, and reliability. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each carrier, you can make more informed decisions about which is right for your business. Let’s dive in!
2) Top 10 Shipping Carriers for eCommerce [2023 Updated List]
FedEx, with its headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the largest shipping carriers in the US. FedEx is loved by ecommerce brands worldwide because of its ubiquitousness. It is also known for its plethora of shipping and tracking services.
FedEx allows merchants to ship domestic and international orders through its various services - overnight, ground, international, freight, flat-rate, and same-day shipping. Sellers can print shipping labels directly from the FedEx website and find estimated shipping costs from the FedEx shipping rate calculator.
Moreover, its tracking service allows online sellers to track upto 20,000 shipments across mail classes, view detailed tracking reports on each, and notify customers about their order status in real-time. Merchants can also demand proof of delivery to ensure timely deliveries and reduce paperwork.
If you want to save on shipping costs, USPS should be the carrier of your choice. Apart from being extremely reliable, USPS is also one of the top shipping companies in the United States in terms of reach and serviceability (shipping to over 190 countries).
Being one of the cheapest US shipping carriers on the list, it’s worth noting that the services provided by USPS go above and beyond to meet every ecommerce seller’s needs. Services like Global Express Guaranteed (1-3 days international money-back guaranteed delivery), Priority Mail Express (3-5 days international delivery with guarantee), and Priority Mail International (6-11 days international shipping), offer every online merchant the option of both cost-effective and expedited deliveries.
Businesses can buy packaging materials and boxes of varied measurements from USPS and offer real-time tracking to their customers. Orders can be picked up and dropped off at the doorstep or the nearest post office.
The only concern remains with shipping huge packages because every USPS mail class has its weight and package restriction. Therefore, USPS is not the best fit for ecommerce businesses that typically ship heavier and bulkier products.
2.3) UPS (United Parcel Service)
UPS is one of the largest courier companies in the world. This US-based Fortune 500 shipping carrier provides premier courier services to 220 countries across the globe. From small ecommerce startups to large enterprises, United Parcel Service has something for every type of business.
UPS provides ecommerce companies with a complete business solution that takes care of everything from shipping and tracking to returns, growth, and brand promotion. The UPS Marketplace offers integrations to some of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world - Amazon, and eBay.
UPS delivers orders even on weekends and holidays. Moreover, with the UPS Access Point locations, online sellers can provide or pick up shipments from local stores near their customers, making it an incredibly flexible delivery option for customers. UPS supports batch shipping across borders and has a solid tracking system that notifies shoppers in real time and allows them to check order statuses on a branded tracking page.
German logistics and supply-chain giant, DHL, is among the top shipping carriers in the United States for ecommerce orders, and with good reason. DHL provides tailor-made logistics solutions to both ecommerce SMBs and large enterprises.
Apart from offering the usual fare like shipping, tracking, and delivery, it also provides more customized services. Warehousing, transportation management, integrated logistics, and customs clearance are only part of these services.
With warehouses scattered worldwide across 220+ countries, DHL makes time-specific deliveries a breeze. Businesses can delegate distribution and warehousing to DHL for faster delivery and reduced need for the workforce.
This will allow complete end-to-end visibility of their orders through DHL's Smart Sensor Service. Businesses can also implement its Resilience 360 service for total risk assessment. For larger ecommerce enterprises, DHL also provides consulting services to streamline supply chain operations.
2.5) DB Schenker
DB Schenker is one of the world's leading logistics companies. They offer a wide range of services to help ecommerce brands streamline their fulfillment process. DB Schenker has experience shipping products to over 190 countries worldwide. So they know how to get your products to your customers quickly and efficiently.
In addition to its global coverage, DB Schenker also has an extensive network of warehouses and distribution centers that can accommodate any size order. If you're looking for a partner to help you take your business to the next level, DB Schenker is worth considering.
2.6) Royal Mail
The correct delivery partner can be the difference between a satisfied customer and one disappointed and likely never to shop with you again.
Royal Mail offers comprehensive shipping services, which means they can meet the needs of any business - no matter how big or small. Plus, their prices are competitive, making them an affordable option for businesses of all sizes.
With more than 500 sorting offices around the UK and a network of postal partners spanning more than 220 countries, the Royal Mail can help get your products to their destination quickly and reliably.
2.7) Blue Dart
Blue Dart is one of the best shipping carriers in the world, with an extensive logistics and distribution network in over 220 countries. As part of the DHL Express, Global Forwarding, and Supply Chain group, Blue Dart offers a vast spectrum of delivery and supply chain management solutions to ecommerce companies.
Through its advanced logistics technology, Blue Dart offers some of the best shipping services like air express, freight forwarding, land shipping, expedited delivery, customs clearance, etc. This is accompanied by its real-time order tracking and notification feature that helps every customer know where their order is and when it will be delivered.
Blue Dart also guarantees temperature-controlled deliveries for perishable goods. Ecommerce shippers can also contact Blue Dart for its packaging and warehousing services.
Established in 1990, DTDC is one of the largest parcel delivery companies in the world. It has a direct presence in 21 countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, China, and more. It partners with local shipping carriers to provide B2B and B2C shipping services in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Kuwait, Thailand, and many other countries.
DTDC’s most outstanding services include last-mile delivery, returns management, multi-vendor shipping, ecommerce fulfillment, warehouse and inventory management, etc.
DTDC operates out of its 5 lakh sq. ft. warehousing space to bring customers the fastest possible delivery times. With DTDC’s integrated shipping solution, ecommerce brands can connect with various selling channels, catalog their inventory for easy management, and add payment gateways at store checkouts.
2.9) Canada Post
Canada Post is the premier postal service provider in Canada. It’s also one of the best shipping carriers in the world for ecommerce orders. It offers tailor-made shipping solutions to small, ecommerce, and enterprise-level businesses.
Canada Post is a proper end-to-end logistics solution. It assists newbie ecommerce businesses in setting up their online store, connecting with storefronts and payment gateways like Shopify and PayPal, and scaling up their business with helpful performance metrics.
To help manage your ecommerce business operations, Canada Post displays real-time shipping rates to customers so that they can make better purchase decisions. It also reduces RTO cases (Return to Origin) by verifying delivery addresses before checkout.
Additionally, it can print shipping labels, track shipments in real-time, notify customers, and efficiently manage product returns.
2.10) Australia Post
AusPost is a government-owned postal service operator in Australia. AusPost can simplify your ecommerce processes by managing supply chain operations, providing extensive packaging options, helping with returns management, and offering several deliveries and pickup points.
Store owners can calculate postage or shipping costs right on the AusPost website. They can also learn more about shipping prices from their guide and download shipping labels. They offer international and domestic shipping. You can integrate your ecommerce site with AusPost for easy order management and send automatic notifications to customers about order status changes.
To ship with AusPost, you must create a business account. An AusPost business account qualifies you for more discounted shipping rates as well.
3) How to Choose the Best Shipping Carriers for Your Online Store
It might appear paltry compared to the other points here, but only those things do well if your carrier delivers on what it promises. We paid super keen attention to this aspect, which is why our list only contains the best shipping carriers that are reliable and worthy of your trust. You can’t do business with your partners without trust and dependability.
3.2) Locations Covered
A crucial part of the job of a shipping carrier is to increase your audience base by making your products available to several locations worldwide. The above list contains some of the best international shipping carriers in the world. But, it would be best if you looked at the serviceability of the above carriers per your needs. Moreover, many countries impose restrictions on deliveries from and to other countries during the pandemic. So, checking before you sign an SLA with a shipping partner is always better.
The goal of every business is to grow bigger and become more profitable. Since ecommerce businesses grow much more rapidly than their counterparts, it’s essential to tie up with a shipping carrier that can handle that scale of operations and allow you to prosper further. This means looking at the number of orders a shipping company can manage daily or monthly, enquiring about delivery times, checking for the possibility of manual errors, etc.
3.4) Shipping Rates
This is usually the most significant factor when selecting the best e-commerce shipping carrier for your business. Shipping rates may vary from carrier to carrier, but many of the shipping companies mentioned in the list above offer various bulk shipping deals and discounted rates which can help you lower your costs. While USPS is the cheapest international shipping carrier, it’s not great for heavy packages. On the other hand, while shipping carriers like FedEx and UPS can accommodate shipments of varied types and dimensions, they are also a bit costly.
3.5) Live Shipment Tracking
Real-time order tracking is necessary to provide the best shipping and delivery experience. Your customers are less likely to feel anxious about their order status if your shipping partner sends them real-time tracking updates on every order milestone.
This can be done via email, SMS, or WhatsApp. Each shipping carrier we selected for you offers its version of order tracking. But even if you choose a courier that’s not on the list, check whether they provide live order tracking notifications.
3.6) Returns Management
Product returns in ecommerce are widespread. That’s why online sellers must have a plan to handle those returns and cut losses from logistics costs. A shipping carrier that provides returns management can make your business run much smoother by ensuring that return orders are picked up and shipped back to the warehouse on time. In most cases, they update your inventory to reflect the returned product so it’s immediately available to the next buyer.
3.7) Expedited Delivery
The introduction of Amazon Prime delivery has forced carriers to up their delivery game to satisfy rising consumer demands. Most customers today expect orders to reach them within a maximum of 3 - 5 days. If your ecommerce store wants repeat customers, it needs to deliver orders within that time frame. The best shipping carriers offer a range of expedited shipping options for domestic and international orders. Yes, those services cost more than the standard shipping options, but it’s better than losing customers to your rival.
Most ecommerce businesses often overlook shipping insurance. But it shouldn’t be. Accidents and mishaps are common in shipping, especially if it’s a long distance. Companies must partner with a shipping carrier offering insurance to avoid significant losses from such unforeseen events. Doing this is even more crucial if you deal in precious items like stones, watches, jewellery, etc., as the loss/damage of even one product can cost you a fortune.
3.9) Add-on Services
Services that do not relate directly to shipping and delivery can be termed add-on services. These include warehousing, inventory management, packaging, bundling, kitting, performance analytics, and integrated logistics. While these services may not be necessary from the get-go, they are undeniably important when scaling up your business operations. Therefore, the best shipping carrier is one that comes along with these additional services.
Remember that in most cases, any add-on services will require you to pay extra on top of your selected shipping plan. So plan accordingly!
3.10) User Reviews
Customer reviews are a great way to gauge whether the shipping carrier you’re planning to partner with performs well. Most shipping carriers will have a few customer testimonials displayed on their website. But, the best way to find authentic reviews is from sites and Google.
If most of a carrier’s previous customers speak highly of their services, you’re good to go. However, if you come across primarily negative reviews, it’s better to steer clear of that courier. Rest assured, all of the shipping carriers listed above have been handpicked after thorough research and will guarantee you a great shipping experience.
4) Final Conclusion
In this blog post, we’ve outlined the best shipping carriers for ecommerce businesses. We’ve also discussed some of the pros and cons of each service. If you are looking for a more in-depth analysis, be sure to check out our comprehensive shipping guide. Do you have any questions about which shipping carrier suits your business? Let us know, and we would be happy to help.
5.1) Which is the best international shipping carrier for ecommerce orders?
The best international shipping carriers for ecommerce orders are FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL. All of these shipping carriers provide international deliveries in 220+ countries.
5.2) Which is the cheapest ecommerce shipping company for small businesses?
The cheapest international shipping company for small businesses is USPS (United States Postal Service). It provides standard and expedited shipping at highly affordable rates.
5.3) Which is the best way to ship when selling online?
When selling online, the best way to ship is by tying up with a reputable shipping carrier that provides domestic and international deliveries. By doing this, online sellers can reduce logistics costs and manual errors and provide faster deliveries to customers.