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Too often, shippers and carriers feel at odds with each other. Changing the way we view these relationships could benefit everyone. By Mike Comstock


he small parcel market is transforming rapidly based on the demands of e-commerce, omni-channel capability, and the bold moves of Amazon. Consumer demands are evolving, driven by Power Shoppers and Millennials. They are becoming more focused on not only cost but choice, control, and convenience of online shopping. This poses a challenge for shippers in their efforts to serve their customers. For example, Millennials are three times more likely to use an internet delivery service than non-Millennials, according to the 2016 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study. Carriers continue to evolve their services to provide more choices and flexibility, but pricing is complex and continues to increase, squeezing margins of online sellers. There is no shortage of insight and advice on how to sharpen one’s skills in negotiating small parcel carrier agreements. And while negotiating favorable discounts can drop more margin to a shipper’s bottom line, it must be remembered that the carrier is an extension of the online seller’s value chain that touches the customer. And carriers must

20  JAN-FEB 2017

PARCEL January/February 2017