Starting an online business is exhilarating. You get to be your own boss, sell products you love, and reach customers around the world. But then comes the shipping.

Getting your products from Point A to Point B can quickly become a huge headache.

Where do you find reliable carriers? How do you get the best rates? What about all that confusing paperwork and regulations?

To make matters worse, shipping delays, lost packages, and logistical conundrums are enough to make any small eCommerce business owner tear their hair out.

But here’s the good news – you don’t have to handle shipping on your own. Freight forwarders are logistics experts who make shipping faster, cheaper, and stress-free.

These shipping specialists will be your best friend when it comes to getting your products to customers smoothly. Let’s dive in and see how they simplify shipping and save you money.

What Is A Freight Forwarder And What Do They Do?

A freight forwarder is a company that handles the shipping process from end to end on behalf of exporters and importers. Think of them as your outsourced shipping department.

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They’ll arrange and book cargo transport by sea, air, rail, or truck. Key services freight forwarders provide:

  • Preparing cargo documentation such as bills of lading
  • Booking space with carriers
  • Warehouse storage and consolidating shipments
  • Tracking shipments door-to-door
  • Helping clear customs
  • Final delivery coordination

The main benefits of using a forwarder are convenience, cost savings, and leveraging expertise.

With an entire company dedicated to shipping, they can get you better rates and optimize the process in ways you can’t on your own.

Top Shipping Challenges For Small Businesses

As a small business owner, you are likely to face several key challenges when it comes to shipping your products to the end consumer.

Here are some of the most common:

  • Finding reliable carriers at good rates – Unfortunately, many large shipping companies don’t cater to small businesses. Locating reputable regional and national carriers that offer reasonable rates is tough. You end up stuck using whoever will take on your small volume.
  • Navigating complex shipping regulations and paperwork – From export declarations to bills of lading, the documentation is daunting, especially for beginners. Making sure it’s filled out properly takes up valuable time.
  • Tracking shipments and managing issues – Once a package leaves your hands, monitoring its status and troubleshooting problems is difficult without the right tools. You have limited visibility when things go wrong.
  • Identifying the most cost-effective options – Factors like package weight, delivery speed, and destination impact costs. Determining the optimal method is challenging with limited shipping experience. It’s easy to make the wrong choice.
  • Lack of experience and resources – You can’t realistically build an efficient shipping operation in-house. The systems and staff needed are costly. Attempting DIY shipping ends up being an expensive learning curve.

With so many complex components to coordinate, often across borders, it’s no wonder shipping logistics causes problems for small eCommerce businesses.

The effort it requires can take away from actually growing and running your company. 

How Freight Forwarders Solve These Shipping Pain Points

Now, let’s take a look at some of the ways that freight forwards can mitigate these issues and reduce the burden on small business owners. 

They Negotiate The Best Rates For Your Volume

By leveraging large shipping volumes across clients, forwarders can get significantly lower rates from carriers (than you could on your own). They have the leverage to negotiate discounts and pass the savings to you.

Forwarders also optimize routing and combine shipments to find the most cost-efficient delivery methods tailored to your business needs. Their buying power saves you money on every shipment.

They Handle All the Complex Documentation

No more wrestling with unfamiliar trade documents. Forwarders are experts on all the latest paperwork requirements and regulations across borders.

They’ll ensure every form and declaration is filled out properly to keep your shipments moving smoothly without customs delays or compliance issues.

Let them handle the bureaucratic logistics headache while you focus on your products.

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They Give You Real-Time Visibility into Your Shipments

Through their sophisticated tracking software, forwarders give you up-to-the-minute visibility on your shipment’s location and status.

No more mystery about where your packages are. The transparency lets you keep customers updated and address any issues promptly before they escalate. Real-time tracking brings peace of mind.

They Leverage Established Logistics Infrastructure and Know-How

Established forwarders leverage their decades of shipping experience and worldwide partner networks to identify the optimal solutions for your unique needs.

They have the infrastructure, systems, and connections to handle logistics better than any small business could. Let them put their expertise to work for you and benefit from their global scale.

Traditional vs. Digital Freight Forwarders

Traditionally, freight forwarders operated through manual processes, paper documentation, and often did not include shipment tracking.

You had to call or email your forwarder for updates and physically exchange paperwork. Relying on analog systems slows down operations and makes costs opaque.

With digital forwarders, the entire process is streamlined and automated through integrated software.

You get instant online access to book shipments, manage documentation, track deliveries, and analyze costs. Real-time data provides transparency while machine learning optimizes routing and rates.

The problems of the old manual forwarding model include:

  • Tedious communication back and forth
  • Increased risk of paperwork errors
  • Shipping delays from slow document processing
  • Limited shipment visibility after handoff

Digital freight forwarders address these issues through automation and bring shipping into the modern eCommerce era.

The seamless digital experience aligns with how online businesses operate. With so much riding on fast, affordable shipping, merchants need forwarders offering complete integration, visibility, and predictive analytics.

Final Word

Shipping products shouldn’t be a frustrating struggle when building your small business. Outsource the logistics heavy lifting to the specialists – digital freight forwarders.

Let them optimize costs, handle documentation, track shipments, and troubleshoot issues around the clock.

Focus your energy on crafting an incredible brand and delivering value to customers. And rest assured that your products will arrive right on time.