Both B2B and B2C companies need to ship their products efficiently, provide ways for customers to track their orders and provide multiple shipping strategies so that customers can choose shipping methods based on budgetary concerns, speed of deliveries and other factors such as climate control. Offering only one of two standard shipping methods is too risky. These carriers are often viewed as company agents, and if a carrier messes up the delivery, customers will blame the eCommerce company even if it didn’t cause the problem. That’s why it’s increasingly important to integrate multiple third-party carriers on a company’s eCommerce website. Customers can choose their carriers and connect with each shipper directly. If something goes wrong, customers know that the carrier they chose is at fault and not the eCommerce company.

Clarity has been building platforms with integrated shipping carriers for years and knows all the problems and opportunities that development can generate. Handling LTL carrier integration for multiple shipping methods can be expensive, but Clarity has perfected the process by handling hundreds of carrier integrations and out-of-the-box custom freight calculations. That means faster development, fewer problems to troubleshoot, lower prices and experience with working out the bugs.

Common Shipping Problems for B2B Companies

LTL, or lighter-than-load, shipments often cause shipper frustration because of poor communications. Some of the general problems of LTL management include: [1]

  • Getting accurate freight quotes
  • Controlling transportation when multiple carriers are used
  • Tracking shipments
  • Managing documentation
  • Handling freight claims expeditiously
  • Classifying goods accurately and efficiently
  • Managing losses and damages
  • Adding an accessorial when needed

According to one expert, five common shipping mistakes that shippers make include: [2]

1. Estimating Weight Incorrectly

Estimating weight--especially for large B2B orders--can generate disastrous errors. With an integrated site and a direct connection, customers don’t need to estimate sizes and weights but can get accurate, real-time information.

2. Concentrating on the Lowest Price

The price of shipping is just one thing to consider. There are also tariffs, discounts, accessorial charges, fuel charges and FAK issues to consider. FAK, or freight all kind, is how different types of goods are separated into categories that ship at the same rate.

3. Neglecting Freight Brokers

Freight brokers can often negotiate better deals based on the empty trucks that are available. Brokers can often find big savings or better service, based on a company’s shipping needs.

4. Failing to Insure Freight

Anything can happen when shipping products. It’s important to limit risk by insuring big or expensive shipments.

5. Lacking the Right Software and/or Software Integration

Software and integration can automate and consolidate all LTL needs and help to optimize loads, provide easier tracking, schedule logistics and storage if needed and manage other aspects of shipping and managing the supply chain.

Benefits of LTL Carrier Integration

CRM software can be customized during the integration process to manage the smallest shipments, the largest orders and any in-between, which are the most common for B2B shipments. Integrating with LTL and other carriers enables customers to connect directly with shippers while they have accurate specs, weights and sizes in front of them. Integration reduces errors, speeds scheduling deliveries and shifts responsibility for shipments directly to the carriers. Other benefits of carrier integration include:

Increased Sales

  • Transparency of shipping costs helps increase conversion rates. Many B2B buyers worry about hidden shipping charges that can make low-margin items unprofitable. When customers can connect directly with shippers, they worry less and convert at higher rates.

Lower Shipping Costs

  • The biggest benefit of LTL shipping is that customers can save money. Shippers only pay part of the cost of using a truck, so they get better rates. Finding an empty truck on part of a run often results in big discounts for shippers that can give the empty trucks a return load for a bigger profit margin. The situation is a win-win for B2B companies, customers and shippers.

Better Logistics

  • LTL shipping allows customers to schedule their shipping based on costs, handling practices and other details.

Automated Routing

  • An integrated site can easily route shipments optimally and automatically. That frees up staff from having to schedule each delivery.

Improved User Experiences

  • The whole buying experience is enhanced when B2B buyers can schedule their deliveries down to the last detail while still on the company’s website. Expanded self-service and carrier options deliver an optimal online experience that customers will want to use again and again.

Staying on Top of Shipping Trends

Building a robust and integrated platform not only enables custom freight calculations and LTL carrier integrations but also makes it easy to respond to new trends and opportunities in shipping. According to Forbes, the transportation industry is experiencing record truck shortages and high shipping demands. [3] That’s why new shipping alternatives are emerging such as Uber delivering packages in many cities. Government mandates, like ELD, also affect shipping by limiting the hours that drivers can work without getting some rest. Shipping rates are steadily increasing, but online marketers often need to offer discounted deliveries or free shipping to stay competitive. These changes in shipping greatly affect online companies now and in the near future, and a robust platform can integrate multiple shipping solutions as soon as they become available such as Uber deliveries, deliveries by autonomous trucks and matching shippers with carriers to get better rates.

Getting a Development Partner for Shipping Integrations

Getting an experienced development partner like Clarity can solve many of the coding and integration issues that your company faces. In the B2B sphere, shipping is a critical issue that needs to take a central role. Clarity has many custom and out-of-the-box solutions for custom freight calculations and carrier integrations. Give us a call today to discuss your shipping need.

References:

[1] Legacyscs.com: LTL Transportation Best Practices

https://legacyscs.com/ltl-transportation-best-practices/

[2] Afs.net: Common LTL Shipping Mistakes

https://www.afs.net/5-ltl-shipping-mistakes-made-shippers/

[3] Forbes.com: The Four Biggest Freight Transportation Trends To Watch For In 2018

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2018/02/08/the-four-biggest-freight-transportation-trends-to-watch-for-in-2018/#615b40a6f16a

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