What's the difference between an aggregator and enabler?


Written by Starshipit

Every online retailer, regardless of what they sell, asks themselves the same question: "How do I get my orders out the door?"

For some retailers, the answer is a shipping aggregator. An aggregator brings multiple carriers into one platform to provide online retailers with lower-than-normal shipping rates. It gives retailers greater visibility across the pricing of many courier providers, which helps them choose the cheapest one.

In the early days of a business, a courier aggregator is seen as a great option because it’s a plug-and-play one-stop shipping shop which takes care of everything shipping-related. Retailers feel like they save time by not having to contact multiple carriers. And with their fulfilment taken care of, business owners have more time to focus on making money.

As a company becomes more established, savvy business owners should be looking at how to save money while scaling. Just because a courier aggregator is quick and easy, doesn’t make it the best choice long-term. In fact, long-term, an aggregator will actually cost you money.

What are some of the problems with shipping aggregators?

Pricing mark-ups 💰

In order to make money, a shipping aggregator marks up its couriers’ prices then clips the ticket, which means you have to pay for your shipping plus the convenience of getting that ‘lower’ price. It might look like you’re getting a good deal but if you went straight to the source, you’d get it even cheaper.

Limited number of couriers 🚚

An aggregator is also restricted by the carriers it partners with. For example, if a courier aggregator advertises pricing for 10 couriers, what’s to say that other providers can’t offer better pricing? The numbers might look good in the moment, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best numbers out there.

Cheap ≠ best

Just because one carrier is cheaper than another, doesn’t mean they offer the best service. An aggregator ranks carriers in order of price, not reputation, so if you’re only making your decision on how much you’ll save you may end up with a negative experience further down the track.

Aggregators vs enablers

Another way to get the best shipping pricing for your business is to hunt around for pricing yourself. Of course, no one’s got time for that; that’s why you signed up with an aggregator in the first place, right?

To really save money and hassle, a fulfilment enabler is your best bet. While an aggregator passively serves up pricing, an enabler empowers businesses to negotiate the best rates direct.

An aggregator marks up their pricing and profits on the difference, while an enabler gives their retailers real-life savings that they can pass onto their customers or keep for themselves. An aggregator restricts retailers to selected carriers, but an enabler has great relationships with a wide range of domestic and international carriers that offer them different ways of doing things.

The main benefit of a shipping enabler

The greatest benefit of an enabler is their relationship with couriers. An enabler doesn’t just send orders a courier’s way like an aggregator does; they work with them in partnership. Because they have such good relationships with the couriers, an enabler can send a customer directly to a rep to start the negotiation process, instead of going in blind via a generic email address.

These relationships take the pain out of negotiating rates direct, so as a retailer grows and scales they can save money and improve efficiencies in parts of the business that matter.

Starshipit manages everything

The best courier enablers are the ones that manage the whole fulfilment process for you. We’re not just talking about pricing; we’re talking about automating the entire process so the technology works for you, not you for it.

Starshipit is the leading provider of integrated and automated shipping solutions for online businesses of every age and stage. Integrating with a large range of couriers and eCommerce platforms, Starshipit streamlines every step of your fulfilment process, reduces handling time, minimises human error, and improves customer experience.

Save on shipping costs

The main motivation of connecting with a courier aggregator is the ability to save on shipping costs – and do it quickly. But it’s cheaper to go direct to the couriers, so while using an aggregator might save a little time, overall you’ll pay more per shipment and are limited by the services they provide.

Starshipit does so much more than save you money. Starshipit connects eCommerce retailers with their preferred domestic and international carriers, like NZ Post, Australia Post, Royal Mail, DHL Express and UPS, to simplify the process of fulfilling orders. With more than 25 couriers on our books – and more on the way – we don’t restrict retailers to a limited selection of couriers; we give them a wide range of options that suit their domestic and international needs.

We have the relationships

Our team has ongoing, face-to-face relationships with each of our carrier partners – both a strength and benefit that we pass onto our customers. These great relationships mean that retailers who use Starshipit can negotiate the best pricing with their carriers directly, based on the services they need rather than simply choosing the cheapest face value option.

Customised pricing solutions straight from the source

A one-size-fits-all shipping solution doesn’t take a business’ unique needs into consideration. That’s why customisation is key when it comes to finding the best pricing to suit your business’ unique shipping needs.



Starshipit is the best practice shipping and fulfilment platform that helps retailers save time and deliver great shipping experiences.

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