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How Flexible Carrier Selection Can Improve Your Order Fulfillment

Jake Rheude

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If you have your own account with FedEx or UPS for your eCommerce fulfillment, it might seem logical to stick with one carrier. That will help you get volume discounts, plus you only have to deal with one shipping bill each month. However, you miss out on the benefits of flexible carrier selection when you’re stuck with one delivery company. Here’s how you can take advantage of flexible carrier selection and why you should consider it. 

flexible carrier selection

What is flexible carrier selection?

Flexible carrier selection simply means choosing the best delivery company for each package. FedEx, UPS, and USPS each offer better prices on some parcels than others. For example, a USPS Priority Mail flat rate box might be the cheapest and fastest way to ship a small item cross country. Depending on the shipping zone and the size and weight of a package, FedEx or UPS might have more competitive pricing.

Also, flexible carrier selection lets you expand your delivery options beyond the big three U.S. delivery services. Red Stag Fulfillment has relationships with regional carriers who provide extra cargo space, which is particularly helpful when the major carriers have capacity limitations.

shipping zones

How your 3PL can help you use multiple delivery providers

To get the full benefits of flexible carrier selection, you need to be a high-volume shipper. If you ship enough packages with multiple carriers, you can negotiate favorable rates with each of them.

On its own, your eCommerce business might not ship enough orders to access the best rates with more than one shipping company. However, your fulfillment company does. A fulfillment warehouse will ship hundreds or thousands of orders every day. Your 3PL can negotiate lower shipping rates and lower dimensional weight factors than your company can. 

Red Stag Fulfillment has relationships with FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other delivery services. Our clients benefit from our discounted shipping rates. And now you can benefit from flexible carrier selection, too.

flexible carrier selection

Benefits of flexible carrier selection

Flexible carrier selection works in your favor in several ways. With flexible carrier selection, your 3PL can calculate shipping costs for each order and choose the best carrier for that package. Your customers won’t notice who dropped off their box, but they will appreciate the fast delivery and lower shipping costs.


A multitude of factors affects the shipping cost of a package. FedEx and UPS don’t designate their shipping zones in precisely the same way, so a package that’s Zone 3 for FedEx might be Zone 2 for UPS. In that case, the UPS shipping costs would probably be lower. Or your 3PL might have a better deal on shipping to remote locations via FedEx, so a package delivery to a rural address is cheaper by FedEx.

Delivery times

Speed is an essential factor in eCommerce deliveries. One consideration in flexible carrier selection is delivery time. Your 3PL can balance that against cost considerations and make the best choice for each parcel.

Flexibility is your backup plan

The only thing worse than slow delivery is no delivery. By expanding our carrier network, Red Stag Fulfillment was able to keep our clients’ orders flowing during the peak holiday season in 2020, when many orders were left on the docks waiting for space on a delivery truck. Flexible carrier selection is an excellent way to keep your customers happy, even when logistics are extra challenging.

flexible carrier selection

Why carrier flexibility is even more crucial during COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic has largely faded in the U.S., but it continues to rage around the globe. It could be months or years before we can say that we’ve entered a genuinely post-pandemic world. And it’s impossible to predict what that world will look like. Online retailers can expect supply chain challenges to continue, as COVID hotspots shut down manufacturing or transport in different countries. 

And, while COVID is creating unprecedented disruptions, a pandemic is just one of many things that can cause your supply chain to break down. Extreme weather events, civil unrest, and computer hacking can all bring your business to a halt. Flexibility is the key to keeping your supply chain and your eCommerce operation strong. 

You can’t control for every twist that life throws at you. For example, there may be times when your products are backordered or stuck on a ship in the Suez Canal. But once your inventory gets to the fulfillment center, flexible carrier selection can help your orders get delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible.

container ship

Red Stag Fulfillment gives its clients carrier choice

Fulfillment is not a one-size-fits-all service. At Red Stag Fulfillment, we work with each of our clients to find the fulfillment solution that delivers the best value for their company and their customers. 

With flexible carrier selection, we can determine the best shipping option for each package based on size, weight, and destination with flexible carrier selection. We specialize in handling hard-to-ship products, including oversized and heavy items. Our clients can often save money on shipping by using more than one carrier to deliver their orders. Our systems help you make those choices. 

And, when problems arise, Red Stag Fulfillment’s employees work twice as hard, so your customers will never know there was a delay. With our fulfillment accuracy guarantees and our same-day fulfillment services, we can deliver for you.

Red Stag Fulfillment helps you determine the most economical inventory management and shipping options for your business. With locations close to population centers on both coasts and Red Stag’s same-day fulfillment guarantee, your customers will be amazed at how quickly their orders arrive.

flexible carrier selection

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