How Big Data Is Shaping Shipping Strategies


Shipping’s not like it used to be.

And it’s rapidly changing even now.

We’re looking at even having goods delivered to your pinpoint location some day via Drone.

Who would have thought you could eventually be on the top of Denali and get the newest iPhone delivered to you.

These changes and the tremors they bring mean we have to ship up our shipping strategies.

And today we’re looking at some ways big data is changing those.


1. Big Data And Shipping Strategies: Cost Optimization And Knowledge Of Delivery Expectation Times 

It’s getting hairy out there folk. People have expectations, and they aren’t getting any lower.

We’re talking delivery performance expectations. According to a survey, delivery expectations are 42% higher than they were two years ago. 

Also, 91 percent of customers who ordered a package want to know when it will arrive.

And companies like Amazon and UPS are totally willing to cater to that.

This means that other companies have to compete and come up with their own ways of kowtowing to consumer demand. 

If they don’t they get left behind in the woods eaten by the wolves of unpopularity.

And lost product sales due to possible slow shipping times isn’t a myth. A 2016 comScore study showed that if shipping times weren’t up to snuff, 46% of customers would abandon their virtual shopping cart.

You can hear the phantom wheels creaking in the wind, can’t you? It’s lonely, isn’t it?

But that’s where big data comes to the rescue. 

We’re looking at big data helping out shipping strategies by using forecasting abilities and predictive pattern insights.

These provide more specific delivery time estimates. They also allow small businesses the ability to give their customers an exact delivery time window. And it can tell small business optimal times to ship a package.

A lot of places offer a one to three-day delivery timeframe for expedited delivery options. 

Small businesses are now able to know a package’s average time in transit and fulfillment through the examination of past data. This gives them the advantage of giving customers a much narrower window for delivery, thus improving their shipping strategies.  

With big data, you can predict when the mail stream will be clogged with packages before it happens. And you can circumvent that high traffic hour.

People used to only know that major times of the year were going to clog the shipping lines. But now, with big data, we can shape our shipping strategies year round.

Shipping strategies can now be formed around the best times to drop off a package at the post office. Or around whether a certain shipping option is worth the extra money.

Delivery companies offer “faster” options. But if the delivery route isn’t flowing like usual and is inundated with packages, that option might be just as slow as the cheaper option.

If you’ve been to the post office to send a package lately, the nicer clerks will look at their data made available instantly to them to tell you if an option is right for you or not.

This saves both businesses and consumer time and money in their shipping strategies.


2. Know All About Warehouse Locations

Knowing your supply chain and in and out can greatly enhance your shipping strategies.  

But we’ve not always been able to do this. 

It can be quite hard to find the right mix of warehouse location and stock inventory options to give the best customer experience and optimize cost. 

Big data hones in on the best mix of these by allowing you to avoid draining funds in low-potential geographic locations. 

They can instead change their shipping strategies and redirect spending to other more profitable areas of their business. Big data can really cut out the fluff of the fulfillment process.

Big data can also give you deep knowledge of your supply chain. This is important in forming educated shipping strategy business decisions. 

It’s completely possible to use package data and predictive analysis for this purpose. You can know where to place a warehouse to improve the delivery for the customer. And this through forecasted costs of shipping and transit times.

You can look at where products get shipped and the time it takes them to arrive. You can place your warehouses in the most profitable place without too much risk.

Big data eliminates the costly research involved in classic market research and implementation. No more costly surveys. The data is already there being collected.

It’s time to form your shipping strategies around that big data.


3. Big Data Is Speeding Up Order Fulfillment

Humans are, well, human. We make mistakes. We drop things, break things, let things go when we should have held on, held on when we should have let go.

And the order fulfillment industry is full of humans.

Amazon is working on making that less so with the robots they’re now employing in their warehouses. But most fulfillment companies are still run by and operated by messy humans.

And big data makes that absolutely fine. It’s OK to have messy humans running things because big data can predict human behavior.

Through this kind of big data, we can predict the shipping carrier behaviors, their service lag times, and know all the add-on. 

This allows a computer with machine learning algorithms to automatically create shipping labels and ship out at the right times.

Predictive software shows how big data can give you awesome results. It can predict massive amounts of order delivery times accurately.

And it can decrease order processing and delivery times with great efficiency.



Big data and machine learning are awesome technologies. And now is the time to get on board with using them to further enhance your shipping strategies.

If you don’t you could be left in the dust wishing you had listened to the wise sages of your time.

Have you already begun to see the benefit of big data in your shipping strategies? Let us know in the comments below.