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Riding the wave of e-commerce: technology on demand

By Aaron Huff on September 5, 2014

Shopping for vehicles, boats, home appliances, and other large items online used to be a hassle for the buyer when it came time to arrange for shipping.

Through relationships with carriers, some merchants began to include shipping costs in the online transaction, but some uncertainty remained for the buyer. Could they have saved money by shopping around for the best rate?

uShip has one of the few, if only, spot-rate marketplace for shipping larger than parcel items. The marketplace is integrated into the “shipping” tab of eBay Motors for shoppers to access market rates for shipping vehicles, boats, motorcycles and powersports.

Later this year and throughout next year, uShip plans to expand its eBay relationship by adding instant market rates for more traditional less-than-truckload shipments. Instantly bookable rates will be available in the “Shipping” tab for eBay listings in the categories of Arts & Collectibles, Home & Garden and Sporting Goods.

To make this online shipping transaction possible, uShip added a new service last year, Instant Rates for LTL Carriers. To date, 45 carriers have committed to provide instant, spot-market rates to uShip’s platform.

Shippers — be they businesses or consumers — can choose instant rates from the uShip platform while shopping on eBay and other e-commerce sites. uShip also plans to interface its platform with software systems that merchants use to manage all of their orders from listings on various e-commerce sites like eBay, Amazon and Etsy. These software systems include ShipStation and Ordoro.

“The vision is to have rates from our marketplace integrated into their full order management system to book LTL the same way they book parcel shipments,” says Phil Strohl, uShip’s vice president of business development.

The rates listed in uShip’s Instant Rates for LTL Carriers platform are 100 percent carrier capacity, he says. Brokers are not allowed to publish instant LTL rates. When the buyer selects an instant LTL rate, the selected carrier gets a booking confirmation that contains information about the customer and freight to execute the pickup and delivery.

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