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Why should online retailers rely on multiple shipping service providers?


Published on: Jul 24, 2019

Whether online retailers offer their customers the choice of several shipping service providers is up to them. However, the decision for the right logistics provider(s) should be well considered, because here, too, the wishes and needs of the customers must be taken into account.

Keep shipping costs low

Many online retailers want to keep their shipping costs as low as possible. For this reason, they resort to the shipping service provider that offers them the best conditions. The wishes of the customers are often not or only insufficiently taken into account. They want reliable and fast shipping – at best without shipping costs. It is therefore important for online retailers to think outside the box and remember what is most important to their customers when it comes to shipping.

The status quo

What does it actually look like for the top 100 online retailers in Germany? Do the largest webshops offer multiple shipping service providers to choose from and which carriers do they actually use? Let’s take a look at the key findings of the parcelLab e-commerce shipping study.

Insights into the parcelLab E-Commerce Shipping Study

Selection of the preferred logistics provider

79% of the top 100 online retailers in Germany do not give their customers a choice. 15% let customers choose their preferred logistics provider, with costs remaining the same. 6% of the top 100 online stores let their customers choose, with varying costs. So there is still room for improvement here when it comes to choosing the preferred logistics provider. Customers usually don’t have a choice. But that shouldn’t be the case, because that can lead to them ending up ordering from the online store that offers them their preferred shipping service provider.


Which carriers do the top 100 retailers use


Here, the shipping service provider DHL is at the top of the list. 79% of Germany’s top 100 online retailers send their parcels via it. Hermes is in second place with 42%. 19% use UPS, 13% DPD and 6% GLS. So you can see that DHL is popular with online retailers – whether because of good conditions or the reasonable price.


How many carriers do the top 100 retailers use


Almost half of the top 100 online stores use only one shipping service provider. 34 out of 100 online retailers work with two logistics providers. 17% use three shipping service providers. Only one online retailer each uses four, five or six logistics providers. This means that most online retailers are strongly tied to a particular logistics provider and the associated conditions. Unfortunately, there is hardly any room for maneuver here.


Why should online retailers offer multiple shipping service providers?

The benefits for online retailers are enormous. They range from more customer loyalty to cost optimization to coverage of all delivery locations and countries. That’s why it usually makes sense to offer customers several shipping service providers to choose from. Online retailers can use shipping comparison websites to quickly and easily find the logistics providers that are right for them. Customers are more willing to buy from the online store that offers them the logistics provider they prefer to use and with whom they have had the best experience in the past.

Don’t forget shipping communication

Those who have finally decided on the appropriate logistics provider should not forget about shipping communication. For online retailers, it makes sense to take this into their own hands Why exactly? So they can decide for themselves what information they want to convey to their customers and when. They can react quickly to delivery deviations or delays and inform their customers proactively and personally about the current status of their delivery.


For both merchants and their customers, it usually makes sense to work with multiple shipping service providers. This way, customers’ needs can be met at best. Those who rely on multiple shipping service providers also always have an alternative at hand in case of problems. Even among the top 100 online retailers in Germany, there is still some catching up to do.

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