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What is a shipping aggregator or courier aggregator?

What is a shipping aggregator or courier aggregator?

5 min read
What is a shipping aggregator or courier aggregator?

India’s eCommerce industry is expected to reach $111 billion by 2024. The recent rise in digital literacy and shift of Tier 2 Tier 3 city consumers towards online shopping has led to a surge in the eCommerce industry in India. One of the major aspects of the eCommerce market is its logistical operation, some sellers might ship 200 - 200000 shipments per month or more. The need for flexible shipping provisions has emerged, which shipping aggregators seem to fulfill very conveniently.

What are shipping or courier aggregators?

Shipping aggregators are companies that integrate with multiple courier partners to streamline the shipping needs of ecommerce sellers. These aggregators simplify the order shipping process for sellers by managing store integrations, contracting, rate card negotiations, and account opening easier. 

Shipping aggregators typically integrate with a range of shipping carriers and logistics providers, enabling users to access order management systems, better rates, and much more along with the flexibility to adapt while scaling. This can help businesses and individuals to make more informed decisions when it comes to choosing the most cost-effective and efficient shipping option for their needs.

Overall, shipping aggregators can provide a valuable service to businesses and individuals by simplifying their pre and post-shipping processes.

Advantages of using shipping aggregators

Shipping aggregators don't only act as a shipping enabler for the company but they also help them to grow their business, scale, improve customer satisfaction, etc. Several benefits come up with using a shipping aggregator rather than shipping through a single courier service. Here are a few of these advantages:

1. Easy Onboarding

One of the biggest advantages of shipping aggregators is their easy onboarding process, letting sellers easily integrate their sales channels and start shipping multiple courier partners in an instant. The seller can create an account, verify their KYC and start shipping in less than 5 mins.

2. Access to Multiple courier partners

Shipping aggregators allow you to leverage multiple courier services on a single platform. You can easily ship through couriers like BlueDart, Delhivery, DTDC, Smartr, Amazon ATS, etc with aggregators like Swift.  Different courier services have different expertise some might be very good in same-day delivery, some might be very efficient and others might be comparatively cheap. With the aggregator, model sellers can select the best courier according to their business needs or based on the shipment's delivery location ensuring efficient shipping and customer satisfaction.

3. Wide pin-code coverage

If you are shipping through only one courier partner then the pincode serviceability will be limited to the coverage of that particular courier only. There are close to 30,0000 pin codes in India but none of the couriers serves all of them. With an aggregator, you get to ship collectively to the serviceable pin codes of all the courier partners integrated. For example, Delhivery and BlueDart serve both serve around 20,000 pin codes, Smartr is serviceable only in approx 11000 pin codes and Ecom is serviceable in more than 27000 pin codes. This allows you to never miss on any customer and ship across the whole nation. 

4. Faster COD Remittance

Courier services usually take 12 to 14 days to remit the COD amount once the order is delivered. Shipping aggregators with programs like Early COD help sellers by providing them with COD amount in less than 2 to 3 days post delivery. This ensures a running cash flow enabling them to plan and procure their inventory efficiently. Early COD remittance removes the need to take a loan or credit line resulting in better financial health.

5. Multiple Channel Integrations

One of the major advantage that comes up with Shipping or logistic aggregators is multiple integrations. Most of the 3PL courier companies provide very limited provisions for integrations that prevent sellers from selling on multiple sales channels or lead them to use multiple platforms to manage their shipping, for example - Bluedart does not provide their sellers with any kind of dashboard to manage shipments. With shipping aggregators, you can integrate multiple sales channels like Amazon, Shopify, Magento, Presta Shop, WooCommerce, Opencart, etc. Aggregators also allow businesses to integrate courier companies that serve across different shipping models like Intracity, Express, or air, for example, Dunzo, Smartr, Delhivery, BlueDart, etc. and add integrations like tracking, etc.

6. Reduction in returns

Returns is one of the major problems that eCommerce sellers face in their businesses. Shipping aggregators provide you with tools like NDR management, fraud detection, rule-based communication flows, and many other data-driven features that ensure that eCommerce returns are reduced. This improves the successful delivery rate, avoids losses, and improves customer satisfaction

7. Data Analytics and Reporting

Once the business starts to grow and the no of orders increases, Data plays a major role in optimisation and creating new opportunities for the business. Shipping aggregators allow you to create and analyze multiple types of reports for your business. These reports can majorly be segmented into sales channel, courier, and customer related. You can get reports related to all the sales channels used for selling, returns percentage, Average Delivery time, etc for your courier companies and data related to customers like their persona, preferred payments, shipping addresses, etc. This kind of data analytics can be leveraged for better user experience and high-end reporting for investors and other stakeholders.. 

8. Single Unified Dashboard

Managing multiple sales channels and courier partners can be a complex and arduous task for business owners. Coordinating with various couriers and ensuring timely deliveries can take up a significant amount of time and effort. Additionally, keeping track of multiple contracts and integrations can be challenging and prone to errors. Fortunately, logistic aggregators offer a convenient solution to this problem. They provide a unified dashboard that allows business owners to manage all their logistics integrations and contracts in one place. With the help of a logistic aggregator, sellers can easily keep track of their shipments and monitor their progress in real-time.

9. Better Shipping Rates

It is often challenging for businesses to negotiate favorable rates with each courier company, especially when they are just starting. Shipping aggregators provide a solution to this problem. By aggregating the shipping volume of multiple businesses, they can negotiate better rates with courier companies. As a result, shipping aggregators can offer cheaper shipping rates to businesses that use their services. 

Furthermore, shipping aggregators also have contracts with courier companies, allowing businesses to access these rates without needing to negotiate individual contracts themselves. This saves businesses valuable time and resources, allowing them to focus on growing their business rather than managing logistics.

10. Smooth Shipping Operations

Aggregators not only help in streamlining shipping but also gives sellers an account manager who can help in following up with the courier partner in case of any defaults on your behalf, saving a lot of time. Since aggregators have large teams and well connects with courier companies they can help out resolve issues on a priority basis.

11. Shipping Insurance Cover

Shipping insurance can help sellers minimize the financial risks associated with shipping. If a package is lost or damaged, the seller may be responsible for the cost of the item and shipping fees. With insurance, the seller can transfer some of this risk to the insurance company. Offering shipping insurance can increase customer confidence in the seller and the product, as it shows that the seller is willing to take responsibility for the package during shipping.

Why choose Shipping aggregators vs 3PL courier partners?

Now once you get insights into the potential advantages, it is also essential to know the major difference between aggregators and courier companies. This will help you in choosing the right approach for your business shipping:

Shipping or Logistics Aggregator
3PL Courier Partner
Pin Code Serviceability
There will be wider pin code coverage when it comes to Aggregator because you will get access to all the pin codes of all the courier partners that the aggregator is integrated with. For example, you can ship to serviceable pin codes of Bluedart, Delhivery, DTDC, Ecom, Ekart, and others.
Pin-code coverage will be limited to the serviceability of your courier partner. For example, if you have partnered up with Delhivery then you will only have access to their serviceable pin codes.
Unified Dashboard
Shipping aggregators enable you with a single dashboard for all your integrations and contracts.
You will have different dashboards for different courier contracts. This makes management and reporting very difficult.
Shipping Rates
Shipping aggregators can provide better rates especially when your business is in the initial phase and your volume is low.
Courier companies do not negotiate on the rates until your business has good volumes.
Ease of Integration
Shipping aggregators allows you to integrate with multiple sales channels and courier partners easily with a single click integration.
There are a lot of limitations on integrations, courier partners don’t usually allow multiple integrations and if they do, there will be a complicated process.
There is a single dashboard from where you can track your orders irrespective of which courier partner is used for shipping.
Every courier partner has a different tracking mechanism, therefore in the case of multiple courier contracts keeping track of orders becomes very difficult for the sellers.
NDR Management
With aggregators you get a single integrated NDR dashboard and rule-based triggers that can be used to convert NDR into successful delivery.
You need to handle NDR individually with all the courier partners. Here the process is not usually automated and need to repeat the same process multiple time manually.
Early COD Remittance
COD remittance period with the shipping aggregators can be as low as 2 to 4 days with a minimal fee.
The COD remittance period for courier companies is usually 12 to 14 days.
Customer Support
Your account manager from the logistics aggregator follows up with the courier company on your behalf in case of any issues. Since these account managers are industry experts and have good contacts with partners, there is a better chance of the issue getting resolved.
You need to follow up directly with the courier partner in case of any issue. Also, you might need to add extra staff for this once the business scales leading to extra cost for your business.
Customer Experience and Brand Loyalty
Shipping aggregators provide sellers with provisions through which you can have your branding in terms of order tracking and tracking updates across communication channels like SMS, WhatsApp, Email, etc.
All the communication goes through the courier's branding across limited communication channels available.

A shipping or courier aggregator helps ecommerce sellers by providing a centralized platform that allows them to easily compare and select the most cost-effective and efficient shipping options for their products. 

By integrating with multiple shipping carriers and services, the aggregator provides sellers with access to a range of shipping options at competitive rates. Additionally, the aggregator can streamline the shipping process by automating tasks such as label creation, tracking, and notifications. This can save sellers time and money while also improving the overall customer experience by providing reliable and timely delivery of products.

Since there are multiple shipping or courier aggregators in the market, choosing the best one for a business can be tricky. Therefore, a curated list of the best shipping aggregators in India for eCommerce sellers, along with the top 10 factors to be considered while choosing them. Check here.

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