Utilizing local carrier shipping services is key to efficiently delivering goods to your customers during peak season this year.
When COVID-19 shut down storefronts, consumers looked online to satisfy their latest wants and needs. And with this influx of online shopping, major warehouses quickly ran low on popular products and carriers ran low on capacity. Furthermore, although the demand for goods online skyrocketed, production of goods slowed due to social distancing guidelines and a decreased workforce.
Hence, we had a perfect storm. In the last 18 months, freight shipping rates to some regions skyrocketed a staggering 443% due to shortages, limited capacity, and the increased demand COVID brought to the scene.
Now, the world is opening its doors again. But while production may be back to full speed, global carriers like UPS are still fulfilling backorders, and carrier capacity remains limited. Given the ongoing carrier capacity issue, how should you prepare for peak season this year?
The answer: local carriers.
Read on to learn about local carriers and the benefits of integrating them into your shipping processes.
Local Shipping Carrier, Defined
Unlike a national or regional carrier that delivers goods from warehouse to doorstep, a local shipping carrier, sometimes taking the form of a last-mile carrier or “gig economy” fulfillment provider, delivers goods to your door from your local store. For example:
- If you’re a grocery store, you can partner with a local carrier service like
- Your customers can go on the Instacart website and choose your grocery store to buy goods online.
- Instacart’s integration will find a local carrier to shop for your food and deliver it to your door within the customer’s chosen time frame.
Local shipping carriers present a win-win for retailers and consumers. For the retailer, platforms like UberEats, DoorDash, and Instacart provide easy access to customers by promising instant gratification when large online shops are overbooked. And for consumers, favorite products are within easy reach.
Local shipping carriers are typically ideal for fulfilling orders such as:
- Sports equipment
- Restaurant items and fast food
- And more
Let’s look at the benefits of integrating your local brick-and-mortar store with local carriers.
Ensure On-Time Delivery with Local Shipping Carriers
Your online store in peak season is a crowded place. And with people ordering products nationwide, delivery times are more of a hope and less of a promise. For example, if a customer from California orders a Christmas present on December 23, and your closest shipping facility is in Texas, you may not be able to guarantee the gift arrives by Christmas Day.
However, if that same person can order the in-stock product from your store in their hometown and utilize a local carrier or gig economy fulfillment provider, it’s sure to be on their doorstep same-day – without braving the holiday crowds. Essentially, your customer follows their normal online ordering process and their satisfaction with the purchasing experience actually increases due to the speed of delivery and convenience.
Provide the Luxury of Convenience
One thing this pandemic has taught us? Most things in life can be done from home if you have the right tools. Case in point: according to a recent statistic, before COVID, only 17% of Americans worked fully remote jobs, and now 44% work remotely full time
With almost half of the American workforce at home completely and two-thirds working from home in some capacity, many are shopping online, ordering gifts online, and delivering food to their homes. Looking ahead to peak season, it’s important to consider this dynamic and ensure you have not only contracted with local shipping carriers but also that they are integrated with your shipping systems, so you can avoid any delivery hiccups and easily provide your customers with shopping conveniences such as same-day delivery.
Reduce Your Labor Force
When you use a local carrier, it’s more of a shift in labor than a reduction. More and more, consumers are buying online and during peak season, in particular, your warehouse and production lines are probably teeming with holiday help to meet your order demand.
But when you partner with a local shipping carrier like Instacart, you’re essentially outsourcing your order fulfillment to the local carrier. Most local carriers do the “shopping” and fulfillment in-store, so the only shipping responsibility you have to the customer is providing a local carrier solution.
Be Prepared for Peak Season by Integrating with Local Carriers
Though COVID-induced shipping backups will eventually subside, local carrier solutions are here for the long haul. More and more, consumers prioritize convenience – even over affordability.
If you’re still unsure whether local carriers are the right solution for your business in peak season, consider that multi-carrier shipping software will rate, rate shop, and automatically select the best carrier for shipping your products to delight your customer. This means you can have all the options at your fingertips and automatically select the best one for each order.
If you’re ready to learn more about the right solution for e-commerce shipping during peak season, download the “E-Commerce Checklist for Peak Season.”