What is a multi-carrier platform and what makes it so useful?
The reasons for a multi-carrier platform
Discerning online shoppers are looking for convenience, and a multi-carrier platform can provide it. But what does that mean in practice? For example, letting your customer choose from one or two carriers may seem like a lot, but these days it’s not enough. Consumers are spoiled in 2021. That is certainly true in the Netherlands where next-day delivery and free returns are pretty much the norm.
Choosing to use a multi-carrier platform lets you not only serve your customers better but also more sustainably. So, what is a multi-carrier platform and what makes it so useful?
A multi-carrier platform helps improve the customer experience
Consumers really appreciate it when webshops provide everything they need. Convenience, smart suggestions, selecting and purchasing in just a few clicks, paired with fantastic after-sales service: that’s what it’s all about, and that’s what defines the customer experience. It’s no coincidence that this experience is the main reason one company grows through e-commerce and another does not. Gartner Research also shows that 89% of all companies expect to be competing solely on the theme of Customer Experiencee soon. Multi-carrier platforms play a more important role in this regard than many people think.
Few companies are big enough to be willing AND able to manage all their activities in the field of delivery, track & trace, and returns themselves.
Automate a range of activities
There are several situations in which you might choose a multi-carrier platform. For instance, you might do so if you want to quickly add new transportation channels and delivery options, or if your shipping volume is growing rapidly.
Platforms help you automate all kinds of activities that require way too much time (and money) to handle manually. A platform continuously shows you the best service and price based on user-defined business rules. You only have to enter these rules once; after that, the platform automates your options and prices for all markets. This takes the burden off your e-commerce platform and eliminates the need to make manual updates in your Salesforce, Magento or other e-commerce environment.
Customers can choose their preferred delivery option: cheap, fast, or sustainable. Ultimately, a multi-carrier platform is the most convenient ‘solution’ for the vast majority of large webshops. After all, few companies are big enough to be willing AND able to manage all their activities in the field of delivery, track & trace, and returns themselves.
Give consumers wider choice and more flexibility
Your customers should feel like they have a wide range of choices, while you also provide guidance in making that choice. An example is that customers want to use their preferred payment method, as well as their preferred delivery method. Lack of choice in this regard can lead to a bad shopping experience. A whopping 77% of all consumers have cancelled a purchase at some point because there were not enough shipping options.
Then there’s the issue of flexibility. Not only is it a bonus to let customers choose from a variety of delivery options during quieter periods, but you want to do the same during peak periods. Suppose your webshop has agreements with two or three carriers and they suddenly reach capacity during the peak period? Then it’s convenient, and business critical, if you can quickly offer a few more options.
Sustainability is an increasingly important aspect of online shopping, and a multi-carrier platform clearly offers more possibilities than a single-carrier solution.
Show how sustainable each delivery option is
Sustainability is an increasingly important aspect of online shopping, and a multi-carrier platform clearly offers more possibilities than a single-carrier solution. More and more e-commerce customers expect webshops to show them how ‘green’ their delivery process is. For each delivery option, you can show whether it really is sustainable, based on CO2 emissions or other relevant sustainability data. Consumers appreciate, and come back to, webshops that work with a platform that can show them a range of sustainable solutions from multiple carriers.
Conclusion: Happy customers come back
If the customer is happy, you’re probably doing something very right in terms of convenience, sustainability, and transparency. Not only for your customer, but also for your business.
From an operational perspective, it’s extremely important that things like checkout, shipping, track & trace, and returns run smoothly. A multi-carrier platform is ideally suited for this purpose. It gives you access to hundreds of shipping options worldwide, while making it easy and cheaper to connect with those services. The data this provides is easy to view and easy to use when it comes to implementing improvements and thus improving the customer experience. That sounds useful, doesn’t it!
Paazl is a leading shipping service provider (SSP) for brands & retailers in e-commerce. Its all-in-one, multi-carrier platform unburdens the delivery process across webshop, warehouse, customer service and returns. Paazl enables logistical flexibility, consumer loyalty, cost transparency and (inter)national growth. Customers include industry leaders such as G-Star Raw, Rituals, VanMoof, Tag Heuer, Leenbakker and Under Armour.