How Regional Shipping Carriers Work & Improve Your E-commerce Business

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regional shipping carriers

Last Updated: April 2024

Exploring the realm of regional shipping carriers can be a game-changer when optimizing your e-commerce shipping strategy.

Did you know that 47% of consumers abandon their carts due to high shipping costs?

Understanding how regional shipping carriers operate could be the missing piece in reducing shipping expenses and boosting customer satisfaction. These carriers, often overshadowed by giants like FedEx or UPS, offer unique advantages.

Delve into the intricate web of logistics and discover how leveraging regional shipping carriers can revolutionize your e-commerce business, streamlining costs and enhancing delivery efficiency.

regional shipping carriers

What are Regional Shipping Carriers?

Diving into the realm of regional shipping carriers offers a peek into a dynamic segment of the e-commerce shipping landscape. These carriers, unlike the industry titans such as FedEx or UPS, function on a more localized scale.

But what sets them apart?

Picture them as specialized delivery partners with a focused geographic reach. They operate nimbly, attuned to the nuances of their specific operational zones.

While they may not command a global presence, their strength lies in tailored services, swift deliveries, and often, cost-effective shipping solutions for businesses within their region.

Let’s uncover how these regional shipping carriers can redefine your e-commerce logistics game.

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Regional Shipping Carriers – Operations

Regional shipping carriers function as localized shipping partners, operating within specific regions or areas. They establish a robust network comprising local distribution centers and a fleet of vehicles to handle deliveries within their designated zones. Their expertise lies in navigating intricate local routes, ensuring quicker and more efficient last-mile deliveries compared to larger carriers.

During peak seasons, like holidays or sales events, these carriers prove invaluable. Their agility and familiarity with the local landscape enable them to manage increased shipping demands adeptly. They offer flexible solutions to accommodate surges, often providing quicker turnaround times and maintaining service quality even under heightened shipping pressures.

Collaborating with regional carriers during these peak periods ensures smoother operations for your e-commerce business, meeting customer expectations for timely deliveries amidst heightened demand.

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The Top Four Regional Shipping Carriers

In this section, we’ll delve into an in-depth analysis of the leading regional shipping carriers, spotlighting their unique service offerings, coverage areas, and the advantages they bring to the table for your e-commerce logistics.

1. CDL

regional shipping carriers

Meet CDL, your gateway to exceptional last-mile logistics in the Northeast to Mid-Atlantic regions. With over 60 years of industry prowess, CDL stands as a paragon of fast, flexible, and first-class delivery services. Their commitment to excellence resonates through their specialized divisions, catering to a diverse range of industries with precision.

CDL prides itself on its “Last Mile Solutions,” offering a spectrum of services including same-day delivery, next-day services, overnight options, and more. They specialize in going the extra mile, ensuring your packages reach their destination promptly and reliably.

With CDL as your regional shipping partner, expect tailored solutions that optimize your e-commerce logistics, ensuring swift and seamless deliveries for your customers.

Key Features

    • Rapid Regional Delivery: Guaranteed next-day and overnight delivery within NY, NJ, CT, PA, DE, DC, MD, and VA at rates lower than national carriers.
    • State-of-the-Art Warehousing: Perfect warehousing facility ensuring seamless storage, management, tracking, and distribution of your goods.
    • Advanced Tracking Capabilities: Harness an advanced tracking API offering real-time integration. Web-based tools empower you, putting you in command of the process and your customers’ experience.

2. United Delivery Service (UDS)

uds - regional shipping carriers

Experience professionalism and reliability with United Delivery Service (UDS). Count on them to ensure your packages, documents, meal kits, store purchases, or valuables arrive on time, every time. UDS boasts a vast network across 15 locations in the Midwest, offering tailored delivery solutions that cater to the unique needs of every industry.

From same-day to next-day deliveries and freight services, UDS excels in getting the job done promptly and efficiently. Their commitment to dependable service makes them a trusted partner in the realm of regional shipping, guaranteeing your peace of mind as your valuable shipments reach their destinations seamlessly.

Key Features

    • Transparent Tracking and ETAs: Real-time tracking and ETAs offer your customers complete visibility into their deliveries, ensuring peace of mind.
    • Visual Proof of Delivery (VPOD): UDS provides visual proof of where the package was left at your customer’s location, enhancing delivery transparency.
    • 24/7 Customer Service Support: Count on UDS’s dedicated customer service team, available round the clock, and ready to assist with all your courier needs.

3. Lone Star Overnight (LSO)

regional shipping carriers

As a leading overnight delivery and shipping company, Lone Star Overnight (LSO) has commanded the regional parcel delivery landscape across the Southwest, proudly headquartered in Austin, Texas, for over 30 years. Choosing LSO means embracing the same service standards and reliability as a national carrier but at a remarkable cost savings of up to 40%.

LSO’s array of services includes next-day Express Service, 2nd-day Express Service, E-Commerce solutions, Overnight Ground Shipping, and Parcel service, covering a vast consumer base of over 30 million individuals across Texas and Oklahoma. Expect nothing short of exceptional delivery efficiency and reliability, making LSO your trusted ally in optimizing your e-commerce shipping strategy.

Key Features

    • Convenient Online Pickup Scheduling: Schedule pickups online across most locations, eliminating the need to make trips to the post office, and saving you time and hassle.
    • User-Friendly Online Tracking: LSO offers an easy-to-use online tracking service, allowing your customers to follow their shipments eagerly and stay informed.
    • Austin-Based Dedicated Support: Enjoy dedicated service from LSO’s Austin-based team, connecting you with live representatives instead of automated systems, ensuring a seamless and personalized shipping experience.

4. OnTrac

ontrac - regional shipping carriers

OnTrac stands as a leader in last-mile delivery and e-commerce parcel services, boasting remarkable efficiency. They outpace national carriers by an impressive 1.9 days while offering enticing cost savings averaging between 10-35%.

With the most extensive 1 and 2-day ground footprint, OnTrac excels in faster deliveries, aligning with your customers’ expectations and nurturing brand loyalty. Specializing in handling small packages exclusively, they optimize facility space and transportation, translating into reduced shipping costs for your business.

Covering 36 states along with Washington, D.C., OnTrac’s expansive delivery network ensures widespread coverage, making them a strategic partner in elevating your e-commerce shipping operations.

Key Features

    • Package Size Guidelines: Adherence to size limits: Max for any one dimension – 42 inches, Max total size – 10,000 cubic inches, Max weight – 50 pounds.
    • Assurance and Compliance: Delivery partners equipped with adequate insurance and satisfactory motor vehicle reports for enhanced reliability and security.
    • Personalized Account Management: Enjoy the support of a dedicated account manager, collaborating with you to grasp your objectives and prioritize a fruitful partnership.

Benefits of Using Regional Shipping Carriers

According to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey, 40% of people mentioned they’d be willing to pay more for same-day delivery.

regional shipping carriers

I. Cost Efficiency

Utilizing regional shipping carriers often translates to significant cost savings. These carriers, operating within specific geographic areas, streamline delivery routes, and facilities, resulting in lower shipping expenses compared to larger national carriers.

II. Faster Deliveries

Regional carriers excel in last-mile delivery, leveraging their localized expertise to ensure quicker turnaround times. With a more focused operational scope, they navigate local routes adeptly, enabling faster deliveries, which is pivotal in meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

III. Tailored Services

They offer more personalized and flexible services to accommodate specific business needs. Whether it’s same-day deliveries, specialized handling, or custom delivery options, regional carriers often provide tailored solutions that cater to the unique demands of e-commerce businesses.

IV. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

By partnering with regional carriers, you can offer improved delivery experiences to your customers. Quicker deliveries, reduced shipping costs, and reliable service contribute to heightened customer satisfaction and loyalty, crucial factors in the competitive e-commerce landscape.

V. Scalability and Adaptability

Regional carriers are often more adaptable to fluctuations in shipping demands, especially during peak seasons. Their flexibility allows for quicker adjustments, ensuring smoother operations and scalability for your e-commerce business without compromising on service quality.

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When is the Right Time to Use Regional Shipping Carriers?

1. Geographic Focus

When your customer base predominantly resides within specific geographic areas or regions, opting for a regional shipping carrier makes logistical sense. Their localized expertise and networks can efficiently cater to these targeted regions.

2. Faster Delivery Needs

If your business requires faster delivery times, especially for same-day or next-day deliveries within specific regions, regional carriers’ expertise in last-mile delivery can be invaluable.

3. Cost Optimization

Also, while aiming to reduce shipping costs without compromising service quality, leveraging regional carriers often offers more competitive pricing compared to larger national carriers, especially for localized deliveries.

4. Flexibility and Customization

For businesses needing tailored services such as specialized handling, unique delivery options, or accommodating specific delivery preferences, regional carriers tend to provide more flexible and personalized solutions.

5. Peak Season Demands

During peak seasons or high-demand periods, when shipping volumes surge, regional carriers’ agility and adaptability can ensure smoother operations and quicker adjustments to meet increased demands.

In fact, a McKinsey study shows that 45% of people were concerned about delays in shipping.

holiday delay - regional shipping carriers

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When is Not the Right Time to Use Regional Shipping Carriers?

I. Nationwide Coverage Requirements

When your business caters to customers across vast geographic regions or requires nationwide coverage, relying solely on a regional shipping carrier might not suffice. Regional carriers typically focus on specific areas and may not offer extensive coverage across the entire country.

II. Remote or Underserved Areas

If your customer base extends to remote or underserved locations that fall outside the operational scope of regional carriers, it might not be the ideal choice. Identifying these areas often requires mapping customer addresses against the service coverage provided by the carrier.

III. Specific International Shipping Needs

Regional carriers might not possess the infrastructure or capabilities necessary for seamless international deliveries. Businesses with substantial international shipping needs may combine global carriers with regional ones.

However, doing so may lead to certain disadvantages:

    • Operational Complexity: Coordinating disparate systems and procedures between carriers leads to tracking challenges and potential communication issues.
    • Increased Administrative Load: Managing multiple contracts, billing systems, and resolving disputes adds to administrative burdens.
    • Potential Cost Escalation: Combining carriers could lead to higher overall shipping costs due to elevated international rates.

IV. Urgent Time-Sensitive Deliveries Beyond Coverage

For urgent deliveries outside the coverage area of regional carriers, relying on alternative services, such as expedited services from national carriers, might be more suitable to meet strict delivery deadlines.

V. Identifying Service Limitations

To identify areas where regional shipping carrier services might not be available, businesses need to cross-reference the carrier’s service maps or coverage areas with their customer databases.

This comparison helps in pinpointing areas that might fall outside the reach of regional carriers, ensuring you can employ suitable alternative shipping strategies for those specific locations.

Additionally, you can consider partnering with a 3PL (Third-Party Logistics) provider that grants access to established ties with various shipping carriers, encompassing regional and international networks.

Through these partnerships, the 3PL negotiates competitive shipping rates due to their bulk shipping volumes, passing on these cost savings to your business. This collaboration allows you to benefit from reduced shipping expenses while ensuring access to a diverse range of carrier options for your shipments.

Nevertheless, check out tools like Saufter for automated shipment tracking and returns management to provide an elevated proactive customer support experience to your customers. Read about it in detail in the following section.

Recommend read: Small business shipping tips: Complete Guide

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Saufter – Automated Tracking & Returns Management


Experience the efficiency of Saufter, an automated e-commerce returns management software designed to seamlessly track orders and provide proactive customer support as needed.

The added advantage?

Enjoy 6 months of free credits, allowing your business to fully explore and benefit from Saufter’s capabilities without an immediate financial commitment.

This trial period empowers you to assess the platform’s effectiveness in enhancing customer experiences and operational efficiency before making a financial investment.

Key Features

  • Automated Shipping Issue Detection: Saufter detects shipping delays and order issues, enabling you to proactively address concerns and impress your customers with swift solutions.
  • Effortless Returns and Exchanges: Customers can easily select items for returns or exchanges following your policies and complete the transactions smoothly.
  • Instant Return Labels: One-click label generation for quick downloads by both team and customers.
  • Platform-Specific Automation: This is the only helpdesk software that provides you with an integrated portal that automates Shopify, Magento, and Woo-commerce returns.
  • AI-Powered Refund Reduction: AI-driven strategies offer personalized deals, reducing eCommerce refunds.
  • Unified Helpdesk Solutions: All-in-one software covers email, live chat, social media, and Shopify integration.

Recommend read: 10 Order Tracking Software For Online Stores In 2023

Last Words on Leveraging Regional Shipping Carriers

When it comes to running an online store, using regional shipping carriers can really step up your game.

Did you know that a big chunk of people, more than 60% of shoppers want next-day delivery from brands, and more folks are starting to prefer getting their stuff on the same day?

That’s why these carriers are so crucial—they help keep customers happy by delivering stuff fast.

If you’re looking to level up your shipping strategy, think about teaming up with Saufter. It’s a tool that tracks shipments, helps with customer support, and organizes your helpdesk tasks. And hey, they’ve got this 15-day free trial so you can give it a spin and see how it works for you.



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