Rate Shopping: The Silent Champion of Efficient Shipping

Rate Shopping: The Silent Champion of Efficient Shipping


In the cutthroat world of print on demand and customized manufacturing, where margins can be thin, every cent counts. A frequently overlooked aspect of the equation? Shipping. When it comes to determining profit or loss on an order, the cost of shipping will often tip the balance. Enter rate shopping, a concept fast gaining traction, and for good reason.

What’s Rate Shopping?

Rate shopping isn’t about trawling malls for the best deals; it’s about finding the best shipping rate for a given package. When you have a shipment to send, you know its size, weight, destination, and how fast it needs to get there. What you don’t have yet is the best courier for the job. With rate shopping, you take this information and get quotes from multiple providers. The aim? Pin down the most efficient and cost-effective option in advance, then simply consign with that provider.

Why Should You Care?

For simplicity of pricing structures, it’s common for print on demand and customized product businesses to offer a fixed shipping rate, sometimes irrespective of the destination. While some companies have tried to introduce a semblance of flexibility based on weight, dimensions and service types, it’s often tethered to a single provider’s pricing matrix. With rate shopping, you shatter this limitation. Instead of accepting a single provider’s shipping costs outright, you’re essentially throwing down a challenge to multiple couriers, turning every shipment into a competitive auction. And competition, as we know, drives down costs.

It’s a tempting proposition to keep adding providers to your pool, hoping for more competitive rates. But it’s essential to find a sweet spot. If you spread your shipments too thin across many providers, you might compromise on the volume-based benefits that a single provider might offer. Too many cooks, after all, can spoil the broth.

ZenSmart’s Approach to Rate Shopping

In the thick of this shipping revolution, ZenSmart subtly yet significantly stands out. The platform inherently understands the nuances of each shipment, automatically eliciting quotes from all your configured logistics providers. And it doesn’t just stop at collecting quotes. ZenSmart auto-selects the most economical one that meets your shipment criteria, generates the consignment, and then handles all the nitty-gritty details, from printing labels to creating daily manifests.

Every step is geared towards efficiency, ensuring you always pay the best rate available and this is critical in industries like print on demand and custom manufacturing where SKU count is high and there are many product-shipping combinations.

Operational Benefits of Rate Shopping: “Don’t be Average”

So, what are the benefits?

  • Flexibility: Say goodbye to being tied down by a single provider’s limitations. Rate shopping ensures that you can adapt to real-time demands and conditions, choosing the best deal every single time.
  • Cost Efficiency: Consistently nabbing the best shipping deal can drastically reduce overheads in the long run, bolstering the bottom line.
  • Dynamic Adaptability: The beauty of rate shopping is its ever-evolving nature. As you introduce more providers, the system becomes even more robust, continually striving for that best quote.


In an era where efficiency is king, rate shopping is an unsung hero. For print on demand and industries where shipping costs are a significant portion of the expense sheet, the ability to consistently secure the best rates is invaluable. And with platforms like ZenSmart, the process is streamlined and made even more accessible. The end game? Delivering agility, cost benefits, and a strategic edge in a fiercely competitive market.

Want to Learn More?

If you would like to know more about ZenSmart rate shopping and the benefits for print on demand and custom manufacturing, then find us at zensmart.ai and send us an inquiry via the form located at the base of each page.

Sammy Brent

Sammy Brent is the CIO of ZenSmart, a leading workflow automation platform that streamlines manufacturing in On Demand plants across the world.



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