E-commerce sales of furniture and home furnishings increased 49% year-over-year in Q1 of this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But big and bulky items still have a last-mile logistics problem — they are just difficult for traditional carriers to handle.
ShipStation, a web-based e-commerce logistics platform, has announced a new integration with SEKO Logistics, allowing ShipStation users to seamlessly schedule last-mile delivery of their big and bulky e-commerce items through SEKO’s LTL Home Delivery solution.
It is ShipStation’s first partnership with a less-than-truckload provider. The agreement enables ShipStation merchants to reserve space on a SEKO LTL truck.
“Recent ShipStation data shows that 77% of surveyed consumers are shopping online more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and because of this, merchants need more ways to get their products to customers — safely and efficiently,” said Krish Iyer, head of industry relations and strategic partnerships at ShipStation. “The combined power of ShipStation and SEKO LTL allows us to put more control in the hands of our users, providing essential capabilities to ship large or heavy products that don’t require a full truckload, all within their existing ShipStation dashboard.”
The integration allows users to manage the shipment, including payment, though the ShipStation Wallet. SEKO will send a truck to pick up the item and coordinate delivery to the home. ShipStation users receive full tracking and reporting of the shipment. SEKO has coast-to-coast coverage. Standard ShipStation features such as estimated rates are included in the integration.
Iyer told Modern Shipper that ShipStation users have moved large and bulky items on the platform previously, but the ability to have a dedicated partner that specializes in such moves is important.
“Depending on the size and dimensions, merchants have been able to ship some furniture items previously,” Iyer said. “Many carriers, however, have started clamping down on larger/heavyweight and oversized items with surcharges or simply not allowing them on their parcel networks; standing desks are a notable recent example of this phenomenon. Additionally, with many more sellers starting to sell furniture and large electronics, the need existed for a heavyweight service, especially one to ship to a residence.”
In addition, the partnership with SEKO allows for four levels of service options. In the standard service, the item is delivered to the outside of the residence; threshold service has delivery personnel bring the item into the residence; room-of-choice includes delivery into the desired room; and white-glove service includes room-of-choice delivery as well as unpacking and debris removal. All service standards also include an appointed delivery window.
“The delivery of oversized parcels is a benchmark for SEKO’s LTL Home Delivery solution — competing on price, but never on quality of service,” said Brian Bourke, chief growth officer at SEKO Logistics. “We’re excited to bring our LTL capabilities exclusively to the ShipStation platform to meet the increasing demand for merchants to be able to ship large items.”
Iyer said the formal integration is a result of requests from shipping customers as well simply to growth in online orders of large and bulky items.
“More end consumers are ordering these items, especially on marketplaces; consequently, the need existed,” he said. “Home goods and home and garden has always been a strong ShipStation merchant category; this offering allows us to penetrate this market even further to [add] more new sellers. Additionally, this offering allows ShipStation merchants to penetrate the burgeoning C2C [consumer-to-consumer] e-commerce ecosystem.”
Delivery times depend on the item and other factors, but the service is available nationwide.