Written by David Renwick
A multi-courier strategy is one of the best ways to run your retail shipping operation. You can optimise for costs, give yourself a safety net and add new delivery options as and when required.
In this article, we’ll explain exactly what a multi-courier strategy is and the benefits you can expect to see from implementing this strategy. We’ll also look at some leading Australian retailers who have found success with multi-courier strategies – as well as how you can get started.
A multi-courier strategy means using a combination of courier services (like Australia Post or DHL) so you can switch between different couriers based on your delivery requirements for each order. Requirements could include price, delivery location, speed and other factors like dangerous goods or large, heavy items.
In practice, a multi-courier strategy is the safest and smartest way to operate your shipping. You get the benefit of using the right couriers for each job, meaning you save money, and you gain security as you can swap out courier services that aren’t performing and add new couriers whenever you like. Let’s explore these benefits in more detail.
First and foremost, setting yourself up with multiple courier services means you’ll save money on every order you send out. Why? Because unlike a single-courier strategy, you can choose the cheapest courier for each shipment. In practice, if you were shipping a small number of large items, you might try and source a specialised courier for only those items, leaving the rest of your orders with a more standard courier service.
You can also shop around for new shipping rates as your business evolves. What works for you now may not work for you in a years’ time.
A multi-courier strategy also benefits your customers – and can give you an edge over your competition. When you’ve got more courier services available, you can pass that choice on to your customers through the delivery options available to them.
For example, when they’re at the checkout, you can offer options like standard, same day, evening express, overnight, weekend and more. With the right shipping software, you can even take this further (we’ll explore this more in the next section).
Working with companies like Dropoff courier or Uber for urgent orders, while having other partners on hand to tackle less pressing fulfillment duties, gives you the best of both worlds for pricing and flexibility.
When you use one courier, or a courier aggregator shipping platform, you’ve got very little control over your courier services – which can be a problem when they’re not performing.
This is yet another benefit of the multi-courier strategy. Here are a couple of reasons why:
Growing a business is always a balancing act; how much stock you should order, how many staff you should bring on – it never stops. However, you can make shipping easier by opting for a multi-courier strategy.
If you’re just starting out, you may find that a single courier meets your needs perfectly, but when you start to grow, you can then add new courier services as and when required. If demand ever falls, you can then scale back too.
Now, let’s look at a few retailers who use multi-courier strategies to grow faster and deliver better experiences for their customers.
Australian-based Shopify store EveryHuman sells fashion and lifestyle items adapted for people with disabilities. They use Starshipit to offer multiple courier options to their customers, as well as to add a level of security during peak season.
EveryHuman know that it only takes one negative delivery experience for a customer not to return, therefore, to deliver a great shipping experience every time they the track couriers’ performance and when one is not meeting their expectations, they switch to another.
“Using one courier for all your orders, you tend to get better rates, but it’s important to have at least one other option to diversify your shipping offering for customers. For example, this Black Friday, if you have issues with one courier, you must have another option.” – Matthew Skerrit, Founder.Read the case study
Sydney-based online store Urban Plant Growers makes it easy for people to order smart indoor gardens right to their door. They use Starshipit as the one dashboard to integrate with all of their platforms – including their couriers and Shopify.
"It’s easy for the warehouse team to use and fits well with a Shopify-based store and syncs perfectly with all our other platforms and is scalable for growth. It’s an effective platform with a lot of automation when you look at all the features."Read the case study
— Dilhan Wickremanayake, Co-Founder
Online grocery delivery business Bulkpantry provides Australian customers with an easy-to-use bulk goods delivery service. They used Starshipit to compare shipping rates from their different couriers, and the rules engine to auto-assign couriers to relevant orders based on things like location and type of product.
“Starshipit has helped us choose the most reliable and cost-effective courier every time. Integration with Starshipit means the customer’s address and contact details are pre-filled so it’s incredibly easy to create a shipping label for your customers!” – Alex Robinsion, BulkpantryRead the case study
A multi-courier strategy is one of the best approaches for any retailer wanting to optimise their shipping operation. As we’ve seen above, leading retailers use Starshipit to easily manage multiple courier services – and a whole lot more.
You need courier services if you want an effective multi-courier strategy. Starshipit supports 60+ couriers and eCommerce platforms – including all the major ones like Australia Post, FedEx, DHL, Shopify, WooCommerce and more. Starshipit also has an API if you need to integrate other applications.
This is the true value of a multi-courier strategy with Starshipit. Instead of needing to hop between different courier portals, cutting and pasting tracking numbers, you can manage all your courier services and print shipping labels from one central dashboard. Starshipit also features rich shipping notifications and branded tracking pages, meaning you won't have to manage multiple notifications from different couriers.
As we saw with Bulkpantry above, Starshipit’s rules engine let's you automatically assign couriers to relevant orders based on things like location and type of product. For example, you might want to assign all orders with Sydney postcodes to Australia Post, and all orders going to New Zealand to FedEx.
Rules let you do a whole lot more too, including adjusting the rates you display at checkout or set so that every order that has a value of more than $100 must be signature required.
While technologies like Starshipit can make the process of courier management significantly easier, it's also a good idea to build a strong relationship with your courier providers so you can more easily resolve issues if and when they come about.
One study from NZ Couriers found that despite tools making shipping much easier, many retailers still value relationships with courier partners.
If you’re growing an eCommerce business, a multi-courier strategy is one of the best ways to improve your shipping operation. By taking advantage of multiple courier services – and their various products – you can add a safety net to your operations, keep your customers happy and manage your shipping costs.
Interested in seeing how Starshipit can help you to save time and money on every order? Try out platform for free for 30 days (no credit card required) or book a demo with one of our helpful team members.
You can also check out more of our case studies to see how other retailers have used multi-courier strategies to grow faster and deliver better experiences for their customers.