How carrier optimisation can give your business the edge


When it comes to getting the most out of the extensive range of services, costs and delivery options in today’s fast-paced ecommerce market, there are three primary advantages of partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider: strong relationships, buying power and transparency and reporting.

Strong relationships

3PLs have a series of strong relationships with multiple carriers, along with a deep understanding of their various advantages and disadvantages for different brand requirements. This can provide brands with access to a much wider range of innovative and flexible delivery options.

Buying power

As a representative of multiple brands and businesses, 3PLs are in the perfect position to make your service and commercial arrangements work harder for you. It can also make them more cost-effective, particularly when they are handling larger volumes of products.

Transparency and reporting

One of the primary reasons so many brands stick with the same carrier is due to fear of change and disruption – ‘better the devil you know’. However, 3PLs can handle all of the administration processes. This means that, even when the most optimised solution requires you to work with a number of carriers, across different territories and product lines, you will keep one point of information, which is in real-time and tailored to your individual needs.

Start with planning…

To make the most of the options available, start with planning. Dedicate time to understanding what does and doesn’t work with your customers – think about the delivery options that increase sales and the factors that cause basket abandonment. Ask yourself, would your customers wait longer for free delivery? What is the price threshold for same/next day options? What are the expectations? Are free returns important?

Here are some key tips to ensure you keep your products moving, customers satisfied and costs down:

1- Interrogate the data

It’s all about the cost to serve. Interrogate the data you have available and keep options which can flex to minimise costs and maximise sales. A premium product favours a premium service, customers are not willing to pay high delivery charges for a low value product.

Customers want choice, and there is a growing range of options to explore, some of which can add to your environmental credentials, such as click and collect.

2 – Incentivise bulk orders

Incentives for bulk orders can help you to reduce last mile costs, as well as your overall carbon footprint. It can also give you the opportunity and information to select packaging options which optimise space on the van.

3 – Work with your fulfilment partner

Strive to match your customer insight with the delivery options you’re offering. Continue to find ways to optimise service and performance in ways which both are cost-effective and promote sales.

4 – Ensure marketing and operations interact

From a stock, fulfilment and delivery perspective, forecasting and forward planning can be a game-changer when it comes to effectively responding to peak, especially when thinking about promotions or discounts.

5 – Manage touchpoints and expectations

Monitor stock levels – both instore and online – closely, in real-time. Keep your customers onside and your logistics partner up to date.

6 – Choose transparency

Alongside choice, customers like access to clear real-time information about the location of their parcel and when delivery can be expected.

We are seeing increasing innovation amongst carriers and final mile logistics, as the government continues to scrutinise congestion and pollution. If you feel it could be time to rethink your options, and begin to leverage the full range of opportunities delivered by a 3PL partner, get in touch.