As the world continues to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, the upward-trending number of ecommerce sites will continue to grow, giving more opportunity for direct-to-consumer brands than ever before.
But, for merchants either looking to launch a brand or grow their existing online store, it’s no secret that shipping has become more complex and expensive.
While most business owners would rather spend their time building a business strategy, planning creative marketing campaigns, and launching new products, they often get caught up in the intricate web that is shipping.
Luckily, multi-carrier shipping software solutions for 2021 simplify shipping, so that brands can focus on what’s most important — growing their business.
Read on to learn how multi-carrier shipping software can help you grow your brand by taking the complexity out of shipping.
What is multi-carrier shipping software?
Multi-carrier shipping software is like the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. It’s technology that works behind the scenes to provide you with everything you need to ship ecommerce orders, all in one place.
Ecommerce merchants quickly find that trying to compare rates using each individual carrier’s website can be a time-consuming and fragmented process.
Instead, multi-carrier software syncs to your online store to pull in real-time order information automatically, compare rates from a robust network of carriers, and present all of your shipping data together in a singular dashboard.
All you have to do is input the size, weight, and destination of where the package is going to compare carriers, service-levels, and rates.
From there, you can purchase and print labels, add shipping insurance, track orders, get ahead of returns, and more. As you scale and ecommerce your sales ramp up, having a multi-carrier shipping software will be crucial in saving you time and money to focus on other aspects of growing your business.
What are the benefits of using multi-carrier shipping software?
Right off the bat, one of the biggest benefits of using a multi-carrier software is the ability to compare, purchase, and print shipping labels across a large carrier network.
Being able to streamline the label printing process gives you the freedom of choosing a shipping option that best suits your business’s needs, whether that’s shipping speed, cost, or another factor.
Moreover, you’ll also have access to other benefits that combine to make shipping customer orders a much more streamlined process.
Reduces shipping costs
As mentioned earlier, being able to compare rates will allow you to choose the carrier and service-level that makes the most sense for your business. If you’re simply looking for the cheapest rates, multi-carrier software can provide significant discounts on shipping labels and reduce shipping costs overall.
For example, implementing a multi-carrier shipping software such as Shippo can provide up to a 90% discount on certain shipments. Over time, these discounts can save online retailers hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, year over year in shipping costs.
Faster delivery times
Having the proper multi-carrier software allows you to optimize your shipping strategy by offering faster delivery at the most affordable rate.
Today, most online shoppers expect their products to be dropped at their door in two days or less. With multi-carrier shipping software, you can choose the carrier with the fastest last-mile delivery option if that’s what matters most to you.
Since multi-carrier shipping software services give you access to a robust carrier network, you’ll be able to directly compare service levels all in one place.
For example, depending on the product and the destination, one carrier might have a better option for local deliveries (e.g., regional parcel carriers) over a carrier that specializes in international shipments (e.g., DHL).
Track orders efficiently
Multi-carrier software helps you stay organized when it comes to shipping orders. Not only will you be able to track where your packages are, but you’ll also be able to track where your orders are coming from, how much you’re spending on shipping, and more.
With order tracking done all in one place, you can easily share tracking information with your customers or look up their order status quickly, which builds greater trust and confidence in your business.
You can also easily collect and analyze shipments, so you can optimize shipping performance.
Integrates easily with your supply chain
The best multi-carrier software solutions connect directly with the rest of your supply chain technology stack so your end-to-end workflow doesn’t skip a beat.
You can connect multi-carrier software to your online store so that all of your orders are centralized in one place, then compare and purchase the best shipping labels for each package.
Some multi-carrier platforms also allow you to implement shipping automation rules, i.e., applying a certain carrier and service-level to specific package weights or order SKUs. This enables you to print labels up to 50% faster by speeding up the process and reducing human error, saving you both time and money.
Minimizes human error
While we always do our due diligence when it comes to fulfilling orders, the truth is we’re only human and we’re prone to making mistakes, especially as our business scales and we have more orders to fulfill.
Maybe someone on the team didn’t have their coffee one morning and now your product is being sent to Manchester, England instead of Manchester, New Hampshire — but the point is, manually keying in data for every individual order can not only be time-consuming, it can also be a recipe for human error.
Multi-carrier shipping software automates manual processes so you can focus on other important tasks without having to stress about potential mishaps.
Eases international shipping
It’s no secret that we live in a global economy where merchants from anywhere can sell their products across the world, but the laws and regulations regarding shipping vary from country to country — making international shipping a complex process.
One of the best features a multi-carrier shipping service can provide is a way to ensure your packages are able to adhere to compliance standards and pass through customs with just a few clicks.
The icing on the cake is that because international carriers are included in their network, they can also provide your business with the most cost-effective shipping labels for any international orders.
3 important features every multi-carrier shipping software needs
If you’re looking to take advantage of the benefits offered by multi-carrier shipping software, there are a few features that cannot be overlooked.
1. Shipping labels
Comparing, purchasing, and printing the right shipping labels for all your ecommerce orders is the most important feature of a multi-carrier shipping software.
There’s no need to go to the post office or visit individual carrier websites to efficiently deliver orders to your customers — all you need is a reason to ship and a reliable printer.
The multi-carrier shipping software cream of the crop will also give you the option to automatically generate return labels with shipping labels — even if the return label isn’t used by your customer, simply having the option gives them reassurance that purchasing from your ecommerce store will be a smooth, seamless, and easy process.
2. Multi-carrier support
Every new software comes with a bit of a learning curve. When looking for a multi-carrier software solution for your ecommerce business, having quick, reliable support is a must.
Having insightful, knowledgeable human support will help you make the most of the software by navigating you through the process, end-to-end.
Whether you need help understanding the specific requirements of a carrier or troubleshooting an integration issue, a reliable support team can help you at any step of your order fulfillment journey.
3. Automation potential
You’ve heard the phrase “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” But what if you could teach a multi-carrier shipping software to fish? Automation is what makes multi-carrier shipping software an effective solution.
Here’s how it works: you set the parameters for the software to abide by, and it will follow the rules every time. So whether you have a preferred carrier or always want to select the cheapest shipping option every time, you can simply save those preferences using the software’s shipping automation features.
With the best multi-carrier shipping software solutions, you can set up “if-then” label generation rules based on factors such as order weight, SKU, order quantity, or shipping destination.
For example, if your company sells shirts, you can set up automation rules so that shirts delivered to a specific zip code are always assigned to a specific carrier.
Shippo: a multi-carrier shipping software
Shippo is a premium multi-carrier shipping software designed for ecommerce businesses, online marketplaces, and platforms. It works by integrating shipping with multiple carriers through their API and web application.
To see first-hand how multi-carrier shipping software can save you time and money, sign up for a free Shippo account and instantly connect your store with a network of 85+ carriers.
Shippo + ShipBob
Did you know ShipBob’s fulfillment technology leverages Shippo? ShipBob is a tech-enabled 3PL with premium technology, an international fulfillment network, and best-in-class customer support. If you outsource fulfillment to ShipBob, you can take advantage of Shippo’s rate shopping and also set up automation rules.
“I was most impressed with ShipBob’s commitment to driving improvement and technology, which drives reductions in delivery time. I knew a shorter transit time was going to become more and more important.”
Michael Peters, VP of E-Commerce Operations at TB12
If you’re looking for an end-to-end retail fulfillment solution, click the button below to learn more about ShipBob.
Multi-carrier shipping software FAQs
Here are answers to the top questions people have about multi-carrier shipping software.
What are the benefits of multi-carrier shipping software?
The most compelling benefit of multi-carrier shipping software is the ability to compare rates and transit times from across all carriers large and small, around the world, simultaneously.
Other advantages include lower rates sourced from master account access, shipment tracking services, simplified returns, and data and analytics dashboards to keep track of shipping spend and other key fulfillment metrics.
What is multi-carrier shipping?
Multi-carrier shipping offers access to multiple carrier options at once so you can compare rates and find the best price, transit time, and/or service-level to meet your specific shipping needs.
Which are the best multi-carrier shipping software options?
The best multi-carrier shipping software options provide an all-in-one shipping solution. This means they:
- Connect you to the best shipping rates across carriers.
- Help you track your shipments and shipping costs.
- Integrate seamlessly into your workflow.
- Scale along with your business.
- Provide experienced, reliable, and quick customer support.
How do multi-carrier shipping solutions work?
Multi-carrier shipping software connects almost all aspects of the broader shipping ecosystem. These solutions sync directly with your ecommerce store so you can view your order info, compare and purchase the best shipping labels from a wide range of carriers, track your shipments, notify customers of their shipping status, easily enable returns, and more.