Being a shipper today is tough. It is also busy. As COVID-19 gripped the world, more shoppers looked online to make purchases. COVID-19’s accelerated shift to eCommerce has created a prolonged peak shipping season. Carriers’ space is limited, they must make more residential deliveries, and they are passing the costs along to shippers in the way of increased surcharges and volume restrictions.

This is a trend that should outlast lockdowns and become part of the new normal.

According to a Pitney Bowes study, 73 percent of consumers say they have enjoyed shopping online during the pandemic more than they expected. Additionally, 28 percent of online shoppers spend more time searching for new brands or eCommerce websites they have never visited before.

3PLs Shifting to Omnichannel and Last-Mile Fulfillment

UPDATE: In 2020, last-mile fleets serviced 21% more stops than in 2019, according to Omnitracs. The fourth quarter of 2020 saw skyrocketing revenue for last-mile giants such as UPS and XPO logistics. The North American last-mile delivery market is expected to reach nearly $45 billion by 2024 (CAGR 16%), according to market research company Technavio.

Another aspect of the new normal is a shift for many third-party logistics (3PL) providers moving into the retail and last-mile delivery space as they become entrenched in the retail omnichannel shipping landscape.

The impact of COVID-19 on retail has driven more 3PLS into last-mile delivery as they expand from their more traditional freight and warehouse services to help retailers and e-tailers meet growing demand. The global 3PL market was valued at around $1trillion in 2020 and is expected to grow by 8% to more than $1.75 trillion by 2026, according to a report from Mordor intelligence.

The Right Software for 3PLs to Manage Parcel Shipping

However, a 3PL’s ability to appropriately capitalize on these opportunities is driven by having the right technology that allows them to integrate via APIs and meet growing customer needs while also managing many shippers.

A multi-carrier shipping system platform with multi-shipper management capabilities offers retail solution providers more complete control over end-to-end multi-carrier shipping system deployment, configuration, and support. This is vital as 3PLs move from traditional freight logistics to individual parcel and last-mile shipments.

To learn more about the shift of 3PLs to the retail omnichannel shipping strategy, download our eBook, “Why 3PLs are Adding Parcel and Becoming a Bigger Part of Retail’s Omnichannel Logistics.