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Is It Time to Consider an Online Freight Platform?


Freight brokers can be a valuable helping hand to businesses, but in the demanding and data-driven landscape of modern retail, there may be a better option. Does an online platform provide a better shipping choice?

The digital revolution has now brought us some compelling online shipping options. Have you wondered whether it’s time for your business to look into them? Here are some pluses and minuses to consider.

Let’s quickly start with what a freight broker does for a shipper. Freight brokers are Third Party Logistics middlemen. (We took a closer look at the basic pros and cons of the 3PL model in our earlier blog).

Brokers help the shipper find a carrier that’s best-suited to handle the freight that needs to be hauled. Brokers will then assist in arranging a shipping deal while acting as a communications middleman who’ll keep the shipper informed about the ongoing status of their freight while checking in with the carrier for updates.

Regular updates and reliable communication regarding the freight’s journey are vital for a business because they provide the delivery data that’s make-or-break for today’s customers. It’s also up to a broker to vet potential carriers for the kind of quality of performance that won’t let the shipper down. It’s a very responsible position.

If done well, freight brokering can be very advantageous and take a big logistical load off a shipper’s shoulders by saving them time, effort and money. The problem to be solved is this: A business either must rely on a broker staying in regular touch or the shipper must waste precious time chasing the broker down for updates.

The key advantages of an online platform

  • The choice of parcel carrier really becomes yours – Working with a freight broker does put the choice of freight carrier into the shipper’s hands, but only to a limited degree. Since a business puts faith in the broker to gather a potential carrier pool and present what they view as suitable candidates, the shipper doesn’t get to see all possible options. With online platforms, a business can review more carriers and make a more-informed choice.
  • Faster service, more selection – Even the most diligently communicative freight broker sending emails, making calls or faxing can’t compete with the instantaneous on-demand data that online freight platforms provide. Customers may call at any time seeking updates on their shipment. A shipper can either reply “We’re waiting to hear from our broker, I’ll chase down my broker and get back to you” or “We’ll check the online updates right now.” Guess which one a customer prefers?
  • Price transparency and increased ability to plan – The best online platforms won’t only present a shipper with plenty of carriers to choose from. They’ll also let businesses know how much they can expect to pay to use each one. A quick glance online delivers the best price for your business, allows faster booking and lets shippers make more-informed financial decisions more quickly.

When it comes to the cons of online platforms, some businesses may feel that it takes away the human element of building a relationship of trust with a broker, and maybe even with the carrier. It’s true that some in the industry feel that digitization will ultimately spell the extinction of brokers who can’t keep pace with technology, but it’s ultimately a trade-off where businesses and their customers win out.

Online platforms bring the best qualities of technology and pass that positive impact along to shippers. You’ll be ahead of all those other businesses still waiting by their phone or inbox for updates they could easily get themselves. It’s an edge that matters in an eCommerce-driven world, and there are further shipping benefits waiting if you give a web-based freight platform a try.

How 71lbs can help you rate potential freight carriers

Remember when we mentioned that online platforms offer a greater choice of carriers? There are over 20,000 freight carriers in America, and 71lbs can help you grade them. From how many on-time deliveries a carrier has made to how many strikes they have against them, we empower businesses to make a transparent shipping choice – and our assistance doesn’t stop with simply dropping quotes in your lap.

Our extensive experience in the shipping industry becomes an asset for our clients along with the many other aspects of the shipping process our services can simplify and streamline. Our freight and LTL shipping options don’t just give you a broad range of carriers to choose from, we also provide shipping rates that save our customers an additional 14% average savings.

When you’ve chosen your freight carrier, 71lbs offers the best in freight tracking so you can monitor a shipment’s progress every step of the way. We gather every shipping metric into an easy-to-read online format that keeps your business informed and your carrier accountable. This wealth of data can also be passed on to your customers through our Premium Tracking option, which keeps them in the know while offering your business more opportunities to grow.

Lastly, there won’t be any need to chase us down to get details on how your chosen carrier is performing. Our team tracks your freight’s journey and monitors it for issues while fighting for you if any problems arise. Browse our other blogs to see how dedicated we are to ensuring the best carrier performance for our customers.

At 71lbs, we uncomplicate the shipping process for our customers, making it easier and faster for them to access refunds and reduce their expenses. Our automated platform gathers all your shipping information into one easy-to-use custom analytics dashboard. Drop by the contact page to get in touch.

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