Comparing USPS, UPS, and FedEx Rates on One Screen
By Ina Steiner
Online sellers know that the same package can cost different amounts depending not only on the destination and which carrier is used, but a host of factors. Complicating matters are the surcharges from UPS and FedEx.
For example, UPS will adjust its fuel surcharge on a WEEKLY basis effective February 6th, and it will have different dim weight rules than FedEx (which went into effective on January 8th).
It's impossible for most online sellers to compare the shipping rates of each of their orders every single day across all services within a single carrier, not to mention then comparing those rates across all carriers - yet doing so could pay off in a big way.
ShipRush is a service that lets sellers print shipping labels for FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other major US and global carriers. Founder Rafael Zimberoff said for the first time beginning last month, small business shippers can see real-time, side-by-side comparisons of parcel rates on a single screen using the ShipRush Dashboard.
The Rate Dashboard automatically receives merchants' orders from over 50 major shopping carts, marketplaces, payment systems and CRM/Accounting systems, so it knows the destination of every shipment. Package weights and dimensions are populated from business rules, ecommerce system data, or templates. The Rate Dashboard takes all this into account to show all the rate and delivery time options on a single screen.
And to make things even more streamlined, sellers can set up automation rules - for example, a merchant could set the service up to rate-shop three carriers and have it select the cheapest service that gets the package there within 3 days.
ShipRush costs $29.95/month, but merchants can test the service for 60 days with a free trial and see if the savings in time and shipping costs make it a worthwhile investment.
Even after 30 days of comparing the shipping costs of your parcels, you will no doubt have learned whether your assumptions about shipping rates are correct, especially this month when all the new shipping rate hikes (USPS, UPS, and FedEx) go into effect with their surcharges and dim weight changes.
ShipRush always uses weight and dimensions for rate calculation, and applies the correct formula based on carrier and service. Zimberoff said the program does not require dimensions for all shipments, but advised merchants to include them.
Some Rules of Thumb
Zimberoff provided EcommerceBytes 411 with some general rules sellers could keep in mind when comparing shipping rates, and we share them here.
First, he said, when lowest cost is the criteria, the winning service will vary considerably, based on zone and package weight and size.
Second: While Priority will win a lot on smaller/lighter parcels, UPS and FedEx Ground services will win a lot on larger/heavier parcels (e.g. 5 lbs and up).
Third: If you ship to both residences and businesses, the math gets that much more complicated.
Fourth: Priority Mail is three days to more destinations than you might think, Zimberoff said - it isn't always a function of distance. "To guarantee two-day delivery, a mix of Priority and services from UPS and FedEx will be needed. This might drive costs higher than you expect."
Zimberoff said customers can save between 3 - 8 percent per package using the ShipRush Rate Dashboard. "Since merchants need to offer free shipping to be competitive, this can make a big difference to their bottom line."
Visit ShipRush to learn more about the Rate Dashboard.
A version of this article appeared in the December 12th issue of EcommerceBytes 411.
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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