7 minute read

Why Regional Parcel Carriers Are an ECommerce Game Changer

Regional shipping carriers can save eCommerce businesses time and money on their shipping operation. Learn more about them now!

regional-parcel-carriers

Want to make delivering to your customers quick and efficient? Use Circuit for Teams to plan, track, and manage your delivery operation without any hassle.

In recent years, the eCommerce industry has witnessed a huge increase in demand due to the increasing popularity of online shopping. 

In fact, eCommerce shopping has increased greatly since the pandemic. Twenty-two percent of all retail sales were made online in 2022, up from 15 percent in 2019.

This surge has led to a significant rise in the demand for efficient and reliable shipping services. 

While global shippers like FedEx and UPS have dominated the market for decades, the emergence of regional parcel carriers has transformed the eCommerce landscape. 

A regional parcel carrier is a shipping company offering services in smaller geographical areas than national carriers. 

Regional parcel carriers can benefit eCommerce businesses by offering cost-effective, fast, and reliable shipping solutions that meet their unique needs.

If you plan to manage deliveries yourself, consider using Circuit for Teams to get your product in customers’ hands quicker and with less hassle. 

In this article, we will discuss how regional parcel carriers can help your eCommerce business and why online retailers should consider partnering with them.

Key takeaways:

  • A regional parcel carrier is a shipping company offering services in smaller geographical areas than national carriers. 
  • Regional carriers can offer reduced shipping costs for ten percent to 40 percent less than national competitors.
  • Regional carriers consistently outperformed national carriers in terms of on-time delivery rates across all package sizes and shipping distances.

When choosing the best regional parcel carrier for your eCommerce business, it's important to consider factors like your product’s specific needs, the carrier's delivery area, cost, delivery options, and available customer service.

Circuit for Teams is a simple software for optimizing routes with multiple drivers. Click here to start your free 14-day trial.

What are regional parcel carriers?

A regional parcel carrier is a shipping company that operates in a specific geographic region, typically covering multiple states or a particular part of a country. For example, the regional carrier United Delivery Services only serves the Midwest.

United Delivery Services offers faster, more cost-saving delivery options than national carriers. It’s a great option for growing eCommerce businesses with local customer bases. 

For example, a meal delivery company offering fresh and perishable goods to customers in their local area would benefit from a regional parcel carrier that can handle timely and reliable meal delivery, so food arrives fresh on customers’ doorsteps.

Regional carriers cover more than 85 percent of the US population, specializing in short-haul deliveries that range up to 500 miles.

Last-mile delivery — the very last step of the delivery process, when a package moves from a transportation hub to its final destination — is the most important step in the delivery process. Regional carriers can make that process more seamless. 

Regional parcel carriers often offer customized shipping solutions to meet unique needs. They also better understand the local area’s traffic patterns, helping them avoid delays and improve delivery reliability — ultimately leaving you with happy customers.

How do regional parcel carriers work?

how regional parcel carriers work

A regional parcel carrier works with eCommerce businesses like yours to meet your needs. They begin by consulting with you to understand your product shipping needs, delivery time frames, and budget.

The carrier then gives a range of shipping options based on this information, including different delivery time frames, packaging options, and pricing tiers.

Once you select your shipping options, the regional parcel carrier will schedule pickup times or designate a drop-off location for the packages. 

They transport the packages to a local sorting facility, where they sort packages by destination and delivery time frame. 

The carrier handles all aspects of the shipping process, from transportation to delivery, and gives ongoing support to make sure it’s a smooth shipping experience. 

The carrier gives tracking information throughout the shipping process, so you can monitor package statuses in real time. 

6 benefits of regional parcel carriers for eCommerce

Regional parcel carriers can offer several benefits to your eCommerce businesses (if you ship products). 

These benefits include cheaper shipping costs, faster package delivery times, higher on-time delivery rates, more shipping customization, consistency during busy seasons, and flexibility.

By taking advantage of these benefits, you can improve your shipping operations, increase customer satisfaction, and grow your business.

Cheaper shipping costs 

Regional parcel carriers can offer lower shipping costs to eCommerce businesses because they focus on smaller areas. This allows them to create more efficient routes and lower overhead costs. 

Regional carriers include Dicom, LSO, OnTrac, Spee-Dee Delivery, Lasership, and Pitt-Ohio/US Cargo. 

These carriers can offer reduced shipping costs that are ten percent to 40 percent lower than major carriers like UPS, DHL, USPS, and FedEx.

These regional carriers also only move shipments between distribution centers and end customers, allowing them to avoid extended transit times and fees. 

Many regional carriers also have fewer accessorial fees and surcharges than national carriers. For example, regional carriers may not charge for rural deliveries, while national carriers may charge based on ZIP code. 

This keeps customers’ overall shipping costs down no matter where they live in your region. 

Our software, Circuit for Teams, can help keep your shipping costs down thanks to reduced fuel costs from optimized routes.

Faster delivery times 

Since regional parcel carriers focus on a specific geographic region, they can offer faster delivery than their national competitors. Same-day or next-day delivery is typical for regional carriers. 

For example, the regional carrier OnTrac offers ground delivery services that arrive the next day (compared to two days with national carriers). 

National parcel shippers often ship only full truckloads. This means that orders aren’t shipped until the truck is full (unless the customer pays for expedited shipping). 

On the other hand, many regional services offer different freight options. They can give you the choice of full truckload (FTL), less-than-truckload (LTL), or partial truckload options, allowing for faster package shipments at lower shipping rates, no matter the parcel volume. 

Faster delivery times mean happier customers, which is beneficial to any business. 

With Circuit for Teams, you can increase your delivery speed thanks to our ability to add a list of drivers and deliveries. This allows for the fastest routes, saving you hours each day.

Higher on-time delivery rates 

The Pitney Bowes Shipping Index found that regional carriers consistently outperformed national carriers in terms of on-time delivery rates across all package sizes and shipping distances. 

In 2020, regional carriers had a 97 percent on-time delivery rate, while national carriers had a 92 percent on-time delivery rate.

Regional carriers use logistics and route planning software solutions to make sure deliveries are timely.

If you’re looking to handle your own deliveries, Circuit for Teams allows you to plan, track, and manage routes in real-time. 

Circuit for Teams is a cost-effective route planning software that results in more efficient routes, less driver backtracking, and fewer missed deliveries.

More shipping customization 

Regional parcel carriers have a smaller operational footprint, allowing them to offer more customized shipping options and services tailored to the unique needs of customers in that region.

Regional parcel carriers can offer more flexibility in terms of package size and weight restrictions, delivery times, and pickup options. 

Many regional carriers also offer value-added services. A “white glove service” is great for high-value shipments, where the customer expects a little more delivery care and attention.

They can also offer customized services like same-day, evening, and weekend delivery. This is especially important for businesses needing fast and reliable parcel shipping.

Use Circuit for Teams to customize shipping for your customers’ needs, including scheduled delivery times.

Consistency during busy seasons 

Regional parcel carriers often have more control over their operations than national carriers, letting them respond quickly to changes in shipping volume. 

This enables regional carriers to beat congestion that major carriers, like Amazon, deal with during times like the holiday shopping season.

Regional carriers may also have more flexibility to adjust their staffing levels, routes, and parcel delivery schedules to accommodate increased demand.

Since they serve smaller areas, regional parcel carriers can sometimes offset congestion experienced with major carriers, especially during peak season. This is thanks to their knowledge of the local area they serve.

Circuit for Teams can help you manage deliveries during busy seasons with optimized routes for multiple drivers. 

Flexibility 

Since regional parcel carriers don’t have to worry about offering the same service on a national scale, they can be flexible with their offerings to meet customer needs.

Regional carriers’ customer service levels are also more individualized, unlike national carriers, which tend to have automated help centers.

Because they don’t use a central hub to route packages, regional carriers can offer customers multiple pickup times and windows without sacrificing delivery speed. 

The ability to be flexible and fit within a customer’s specific needs also allows regional carriers to improve their customer experience. 

Circuit for Teams lets you edit routes in real time and offer dynamic or fixed delivery windows for greater transparency and flexibility. 

How to choose a regional parcel carrier

how to choose regional parcel carrier

It's important to consider several key factors when choosing the best regional parcel carrier for your eCommerce business, including:

  • Delivery area. Look for a carrier that can offer fast and reliable delivery times within your area. Check the carrier’s specific market, as some may only operate in places like the Northeast, Midwest, or East Coast.
  • Delivery options. Check to see if the carrier offers a range of delivery options, such as same-day, next-day, or weekend delivery.
  • Delivery costs. Look at different carriers to find the most affordable option that still meets your shipping needs.
  • Your products’ needs. Choose a carrier that can meet the needs of the specific product you are shipping, including whether the carrier can handle packages’ size and weight without additional fees or restrictions.
  • Customer feedback. It’s always good practice to look at carriers’ customer reviews, as this is a way to see honest reviews of their experience.
  • Insurance. Look for a carrier offering adequate insurance coverage and liability protection for your shipments.
  • Tracking. Find a carrier that gives tracking details for packages, so your customers get shipment status updates.
  • Customer service. Consider the level of customer service and support the carrier offers, including available communication channels and problem resolution.

By considering these key factors, you can choose a regional parcel carrier that meets your unique needs and helps you optimize your shipping strategy and operations.

Alternative: In-house delivery with Circuit for Teams

Are you handling product delivery yourself? With Circuit for Teams, you can confidently plan, track, and manage your delivery operation without any hassle. 

Circuit for Teams even offers a Pro version that allows you to analyze your delivery data and improve delivery efficiency.

About the author

Heather Reinblatt
Heather ReinblattContributor

Heather Reinblatt is a managing editor currently living in St. Louis, Missouri. She spends her free time reading, trying new recipes, and cuddling her cat Paisley. You can find Heather on LinkedIn.

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