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Shipping zones and carriers: critical determinants of fast order delivery
Shipping trends

Shipping zones and carriers: critical determinants of fast order delivery

Yukta Anand
February 8, 2023
mins read

Imagine a scenario where orders shipped as soon as they are placed and delivered in just a few hours or on the same day! You must be thinking that this is an ideal scenario and very difficult to implement. Well, here’s some good news- all of this is possible by creating a unique shipping strategy.

In the hyper-competitive ecommerce industry, it is critical for ecommerce brands to have a robust strategy for streamlining the entire warehousing and shipping process. One way to do so is through understanding shipping zones and their role in fast delivery and cost savings. Often ecommerce sellers are confused by this technical term and fail to use it properly.

This blog shall help you easily grasp the meaning of shipping zones and how they impact fast delivery. You will also learn about choosing a shipping carrier that is right for your ecommerce brand.

What is a shipping zone?

Shipping zones are geographical regions within the country which are categorised for transportation and delivery purposes. Generally, courier companies decide their own zones across the country. Shipping zones can be divided on the basis of postal code or geographical area and are used to determine delivery times and shipping costs.

How do shipping zones affect delivery speed?

Shipping zones can significantly affect delivery times as they determine the distance an item travels from the point of origin (ecommerce warehouse) to the final destination (a customer’s doorstep). Orders that are shipped within the same shipping zone have a faster delivery time compared to products shipped between different zones, as they have a shorter distance to travel.

Moreover, the shipping cost for orders shipped within the same zone is less than the shipping charge for orders shipped between different zones.

Let’s understand this with the help of an example: Your inventory is stored in an ecommerce warehouse in Gurugram which is in the north zone. You receive an order from Bengaluru in the South zone. In this scenario, you will ship the order from Gurugram to Bengaluru, i.e. from the north to the south zone meaning higher shipping fees as the distance the order will travel is quite large. Suppose the order was from Delhi which is in the north zone. In this case, you would ship the order within the same zone, meaning lower transit time and distance and, consequently, lower shipping costs.

Pro tip: You can split inventory across multiple ecommerce warehouses spread across different zones to speed up delivery time and lower shipping costs.

For example, Eshopbox has 2 fulfilment centres in the North zone- Haryana and Dwarka

2 FCs in the South zone- Bangalore and Hyderabad

2 FCs in the West zone in Mumbai

1 FC in the East zone- Kolkata

“We have managed to implement multi-location fulfilment with Eshopbox using their regionally spread network of FCs. 60% of our orders are through express delivery now owing to better product visibility for customers.”                                                     Shruti Agrawal, Head Marketing- Linen Club, Aditya Birla Group

Eshopbox has a distributed network of fulfilment centres across the country
Eshopbox has a distributed network of fulfilment centres across the country

You have understood what is a shipping zone and its importance in increasing delivery speed. Let’s now see how ecommerce brands can transport your orders from these zones to the customers.

What is a shipping carrier?

A shipping carrier is a company that delivers orders from an ecommerce warehouse to a customer’s doorstep. Courier companies pick up orders from ecommerce warehouses and transport them to a customer’s location. They are responsible for picking up and delivering orders in a timely and safe manner. Some shipping carriers in India are Blue Dart, FedEx, and Delhivery.

How to choose a shipping carrier?

Choosing the right shipping carrier is essential for ecommerce brands as the carrier would be responsible for the safety of packages and ensuring that orders are delivered on time. The right shipping carrier will help you delight customers, but partnering with a shipping carrier that doesn’t fulfil your requirements may increase operational costs and tarnish your brand’s reputation.

Ecommerce sellers should choose a shipping carrier that fulfils their brand’s unique requirements. Let’s look at certain factors that can help you choose the right shipping carrier:

1. Location

The first factor in selecting the right carrier is the location to which you will ship orders to. You can analyse historical sales data to determine which zones you ship orders to. You can check whether most of your orders shipped nationally or within the same region. For example: if most of your orders are from remote areas, it would be beneficial to partner with a shipping carrier with expertise for such deliveries.

Tip: It is advisable to partner with multiple national and regional shipping carriers to get the best shipping rates and ensure lightning-fast delivery.

2. Reputation

It is also important to partner with a shipping carrier with a proven track record of safely and timely delivering orders.

3. Technology

Technology has a strong grip on almost every industry, and shipping is no different. The use of technology to handle business processes reduces the chances of manual errors and increases overall efficiency. It is advisable to partner with a shipping carrier that uses advanced technology to track shipments and deal with shipping exceptions.

4. Cost of shipping

The cost of shipping orders is arguably the most important factor in choosing a carrier. The cost of shipping depends on two major determinants-  the distance an order has to travel and the weight of the package. Ecommerce brands can assess the charges of various companies and choose the one that fits your budget.

Tip: As your brand grows and more orders pour in, it is best to partner with multiple shipping carriers to reach a wider customer base and deliver orders faster.

How Eshopbox uses multiple shipping carriers for faster shipping?

Eshopbox uses a proprietary carrier algorithm to automatically select the most optimal carrier based on customer satisfaction and delivery speed in an effort to optimise shipping costs.

Eshopbox has strong tie-ups with multiple leading shipping carriers to deliver orders in 29,000+ pincodes across India. Eshopbox’s shipping carriers include:

1. Hyperlocal delivery partners

Hyperlocal delivery partners deliver orders within a small geographical area. In such deliveries, products are generally picked from local sellers and delivered to the customer within a few hours. Eshopbox’s hyperlocal delivery partners are:

1. Wefast

Wefast is one of the leading same-day delivery companies with a record of safe and timely order deliveries.

2. Dunzo

Dunzo delivers groceries and essentials within a few hours and has a separate service to pick up and deliver orders in the same city.

3. ExpressBees

ExpressBees is a reputed logistics provider offering on-time delivery across India.

Hyperlocal delivery partners
Hyperlocal delivery partners

2. National delivery partners

National delivery partners transport and deliver orders across the country. Eshopbox’s national delivery partners are:

1. Delhivery

Delhivery is a national shipping carrier offering a range of services.

2. Bluedart

Bluedart is a courier and express delivery services company.

3. Amazon Transportation Services

Amazon Transportation Services (ATS) is a delivery service offered by Amazon.

4. Ekart

Ekart is a national shipping carrier that delivers millions of shipments every month.

5. IndiaPost

IndiaPost is a government-owned national courier service.

National delivery partners
National delivery partners

3. Remote area partners

Eshopbox also has tie-ups with shipping carriers that deliver orders even in remote areas.

1. Loadshare

Loadshare is an Indian startup offering delivery services in remote areas.

2. Gati

Gati offers a range of shipping services across the country and even in remote locations.

Hyperlocal delivery partners
Hyperlocal delivery partners

Summing up

Shipping zones and shipping carriers are two elements that ecommerce brands must understand to streamline their shipping process. While building a shipping strategy can be a challenging task, partnering with a robust 3PL like Eshopbox can make it a cakewalk.

Connect with our fulfilment expert today.

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