One of the most powerful ways to prep for peak season fulfillment is to enable multiple carriers for your orders. That way, you’re spreading out volume and reducing threats from congestion or capacity crunches. Red Stag Fulfillment makes it simple for our partners to use multiple carriers for their order fulfillment, based on preferences around speed, pricing, and carrier service level. Expanding those partners can seem daunting, but in truth, it’s a quick and straightforward process. Let’s look at those few steps and how quickly you could improve your chance for a happy holiday fulfillment season.
Set up rate shopping
Let’s say your business wants to consider using multiple carriers, whether that’s just the national brands or also a mix of regional partners. You’ll need to enable rate shopping on your account. This holds true for using multiple carriers on almost any platform, not just through us at Red Stag. We can enable this for you with just a quick conversation or email if you prefer.
Rate shopping is the practice of comparing carriers and their shipping rates against each other to decide how to ship an order. Companies can compare elements such as shipping speeds, service options, costs, and more. Typically, once enabled, rate shopping and service selection are automated to speed up order fulfillment. It’s also a requirement for using regional carriers. These often offer better rates for smaller orders because they don’t cover the entire U.S. So, the automated system needs to have options that can reach all your customers.
Your customers get general information, such as ‘two-day delivery’ or ‘free ground shipping,’ without seeing a massive list of options. This simplicity enables your business to offer the shipping methods your customers want while choosing the costs best for your operations.
Consider your shipping methods
Once rate shopping is enabled, you’ll need to ask a couple of different questions:
- What shipping methods do you want to consider using?
- What do you promise (such as delivery speeds) on your website?
Answering those questions can help you know what to select for rate shopping. Or, your Red Stag expert can help you include options that meet those customer promises and business constraints. It’s a core part of setting shipping expectations for shoppers during the holidays and beyond.
Creating your rate card
Knowing these, we can configure the merchant rate group — essentially a carrier profile — that showcases methods and their fees. Red Stag brings every viable option from your selected carriers to flesh out a rate card based on the costs you can expect from national and regional carriers. Using our accounts can help considerably. We’re generally able to negotiate a better rate from carriers by leveraging our entire shipping volume.
Red Stag creates a high-quality rate card with carrier savings for each of our partners. We can create or update cards quickly, making it easy for you to enable multiple carriers partners. It only takes a short conversation for us to know who to add to your card. Then, you can easily have access to new rates, such as those from regional carriers.
Flipping a switch to enable multiple carriers
First, you share your requirements and preferences for shipping methods and review the rate card. Then, Red Stag can then add any of our carrier partners to your account. We’ll confirm these additions with you, but the system has quick toggles that allow our platform to consider a variety of carriers.
It really is as simple as flipping a digital switch to enable multiple carriers on your account. Then we’ll work together to ensure that everything is operating correctly and making appropriate selections. That last steps can vary based on the system you’re using and how you integrate your tech stack. For example, if you’re working through the Shopify plugin, we can toggle the shipping codes from our end.
Custom APIs will require a little more teamwork to ensure things are operating correctly. Red Stag collaborates directly with every partner to ensure integrations are running smoothly. We’re happy to discuss capabilities, requirements, or any specific concerns in greater detail.
You can learn more about fulfillment integrations and modern APIs with our free eBook here: Your Complete Guide to ECommerce Integrations
Sending and testing shipping codes
If you’re using a custom API or have a complex technology stack, we’ll ask you to send us a specific shipping code. These are often labeled as the “shipping_method” parameter in your software. This confirms your preferences for shipping method selection. Multiple criteria are available. So, you can to stick to a specific carrier, meet a delivery estimate, or have other requirements.
For example, if you select the “cheapest_ALL” code, our system knows to look for the cheapest rates from every carrier and select your based option. Thankfully, it will automatically apply order details like destination ZIP code, package dimensions, and any discounts you have. That ensures you’re choosing the cheapest option based on the final, total cost of shipping that order.
Red Stag Fulfillment’s platform supports a variety of shipping codes, allowing you to control choices and find the right mix of speed and savings for your business. Modern eCommerce and order platforms are smart enough to include a broad set of shipping data, so there are options that account for delivery promises you make to customers. You can use “on time” settings to select the cheapest shipping method that will arrive on time based on carrier service promises.
After this feature has been updated, the system will automatically choose between all appropriate options. It’s that easy to enable multiple carriers for your order fulfillment. And when you make changes, we’ll monitor and test these options to help you ensure that things are working appropriately.
Enable multiple carriers for Q4 and beyond
As part of our peak season preparation and support efforts, we’ve been encouraging many partners to consider adding a mix of carrier options to their accounts. New options, such as regional carriers, may help you find more affordable shipping for some orders, or ease some demand if national carriers bring on restrictions as they did in 2020.
What’s good is that our system can help you make these changes very quickly. Contact us to discuss new carrier options, and we’ll update your rate card, generally within a business day. From there, you can turn on these settings and send us the new shipping code, and often be ready to use new carrier options later that week.
In our discussions with regional partners, we’re hearing that they’re willing to take on new companies and volume during the 2021 peak season. That means you likely still have time to shift some orders and take advantage of discounts or new options. It isn’t too late to enable multiple carriers, which can be intelligent protection for the year-end shipping season.
Learn more about that benefit and how we’re working to make peak season more dependable for our partners by clicking the image below to see our lessons learned from 2020.