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5 Types of Shipping Methods to Consider In 2023

5 Types of Shipping Methods to Consider In 2023

Table of Contents

The way you manage shipping can make or break your business, so do your best to lower costs without sacrificing the customer experience. Not only do consumers want ultrafast delivery, but they also want it today. Every company has challenges, big or small, and overcoming them is necessary to keep the business afloat in a time of crisis. Selecting a carrier that provides additional services beneficial to your business is recommended. They might provide logistical assistance or help you manage inventory. Even if there are a lot of moving pieces, shipping doesn’t have to be complicated. 

The shipping methods are based on the carrier(s) you work with. You might want to have different shipping methods, such as: 

  • Local Delivery or Pickup

If you’re close to your market, you can offer local delivery or pickup. Local delivery means fulfilling orders in the same area – town, city, or region – and serves as an alternative to in-store shopping. In terms of e-commerce, local delivery allows a shopper to purchase things from an online store or web-based marketplace and have those items delivered to their doorstep. It doesn’t require too many packing materials, and the delivery time is fast. You can bypass shipping by allowing customers to pick up orders themselves. Indeed, this may take some extra legwork, but you’ll be surprised to see that many individuals are happy to do it. 

  • Freight

Shipping by freight is key for getting commodities, goods, and cargo to the destination on time, safely, and in a cost-effective manner. Bulk shipments, which exceed the weight and size restrictions for parcel packages, are transported via road, air, rail, or sea. In the freight industry, there’s a clear distinction between drayage and cartage. Drayage trucking is used to ship items over short distances, usually from the contained ship to the warehouse. Cartage is a method for moving freight from a container to multiple destinations within a certain area. Regardless of what you decide, you need someone who can perform these services to the best of their abilities. 

Another important distinction is between FTL (Full Truckload Shipping) and LTL (Less Than Truckload). FTL shipping is commonly used for shipping commodities, goods, or cargo that take up an entire truck (or at least close to it). You don’t have to worry about them changing hands at any time. LTL shipping is a better option for freight that weighs between 150 and 15,000 pounds. Partnering with a logistics carrier is an excellent option, especially when shipments have special requirements. Freight shipping is a core competency of many third-party logistics providers, so your supply chain partner will determine the best way to handle your shipments. 

  • Overnight 

Overnight shipping guarantees that the items will be delivered the next day by a certain time. If you partner with a logistics carrier that offers pre-negotiated rates, you can make substantial savings and appeal to more customers. No matter who is buying, you can sell more with options for expedited shipping. Equally, if you move your inventory faster, you require less storage space, which minimizes the chances of deadstock and obsolescence. Overnight shipping tends to be expensive, but you can negotiate better rates and ask for discounts and incentives. Keep in mind that the return process becomes tedious and time consuming, therefore, breaking the instant gratification cycle. 

  • International 

As the name suggests, international shipping involves the movement of freight between different countries. It’s affected by numerous factors, of which mention can be made of:

  • tariffs and taxes
  • package value
  • the cost of fuel
  • the shipping method
  • the delivery distance
  • weight and dimensions 
  • insurance and protection

Depending on the size of the freight and the shipping method, an international shipment can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. Even if you’re not able to provide an accurate calculation, provide an indication of costs to buyers. There are restrictions and prohibitions on how many shipments can enter a country at once.

If you don’t want your package to be held up in customs and cause customers unpleasant surprises, opt for Deliver Duty Paid (DDP). It’s basically an agreement by which you assume all the responsibility, risk, and costs associated with transporting the shipment until the buyer receives it. You can arrange for transportation through a carrier of any kind. It’s up to you to obtain the necessary approvals from the authorities in that country; in some countries, import clearance procedures are complex and bureaucratic, so it pays to have local knowledge. Thus, you need a solid strategy that’s based on a thorough understanding of the requirements and practical considerations. 

  • Expedited

Finally, yet importantly, there’s expedited shipping, which is faster than standard shipping, usually delivered by cargo. It can take between three and five days. For a delivery to be considered expedited, you must decide if you want to speed up the transport time, which tends to incur additional shipping costs. While some logistics carriers can move items overnight, others may not be so fast; the speed of the delivery can be affected by the weight, size, and destination of the package. If you send many expedited orders, you may be able to negotiate lower rates, but shipping might still be pricey. 

The Takeaway

To determine the appropriate shipping method for your business, consider customer expectations, shipping volume, product size and weight, destination, and returns and exchanges. You can use multiple logistics carriers. E.g., one for heavy items and one for everything else. Following a multi-carrier shipping approach, you can choose the one that’s best suited for each shipment – even if it’s time-consuming, it’s worth the effort. Needless to say, customers should know where their packages are at all times, so provide tracking information. Perhaps you can email people every time there’s a change in the order status. 

Depending on the value of your freight, you could insure with third parties to have coverage for packages that are lost, damaged, or porch pirated. With so many things that can go wrong, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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