C.H. Robinson (NASDAQ: CHRW) is expanding the offerings available to shippers through its Freightquote by C.H. Robinson tool, giving businesses of all sizes access to more functionality and even help in getting their shipments packaged and transported through an integration with TaskRabbit.
The tech enhancements build upon the self-service options currently available through the online portal that is used by shippers to move everything from single packages to a truckload of freight. The new additions, C.H. Robinson said in a release, provide needed flexibility for B2B small businesses that are focused on growing their e-commerce businesses.
“We designed Freightquote by C.H. Robinson with easy-to-use technology, and are pleased that we are now unlocking even more automated opportunities to meet the shipping needs of our small business customers,” Mac Pinkerton, president of C.H. Robinson’s North American Surface Transportation division, said in a statement. “We know that many small business owners today face unprecedented challenges. That is why we built these new digital enhancements using our unmatched scale, information advantage and technology built by supply chain experts to make it easier than ever to meet their unique shipping needs today and in the future.”
The new additions add small parcel shipping and temperature-control truckload shipping to the platform and allows for the comparison of small parcel and less-than-truckload (LTL) rates side by side, giving the customer the information necessary to make the best choice for their operation, all with a single click of a button.
In addition, packages under 150 pounds can be instantaneously priced and booked with the tool. Pinkerton told FreightWaves this offering can lead to cost savings for shippers that utilize a small parcel carrier. There are no shipment minimums to participate.
“Small parcels can include multiple or single shipments, including e-commerce. What’s really helpful about Freightquote by C.H. Robinson is that it takes out all the guesswork for small business customers by giving them the ability to access the small parcel option, which can be instantaneously priced and booked within the tool,” he said.
Within the tool, users can select the option to pick-up or drop-off their LTL shipments by location using real-time insights on the most cost-effective and geographically favorable terminal locations, potentially avoiding situations that may require a specialized vehicle such as one with a liftgate, Pinkerton said.
There is also a new location service enhancement that will preemptively confirm carrier service to an area as residential or commercial. An interactive map tool allows users to see a satellite image of a location.
“Shippers are not always aware that they may be shipping to or from a residential zone, leaving them open to fees commonly added by LTL carriers when servicing these zones,” Pinkerton explained. “Freightquote by C.H. Robinson’s interactive map service helps inform users if they are in a residential zone ahead of completing their booking so they can account for all necessary services on the front end and avoid additional charges after the shipment has been delivered.”
To assist small businesses involved in e-commerce or small package shipping, Freightquote is also now integrated with TaskRabbit. TaskRabbit is a tool that allows customers to request help from “taskers” with various services. The integration with Freightquote, which is the first time TaskRabbit has integrated with a shipping partner, gives Robinson customers the ability to request help in packaging their shipments for proper and safe transport.
“C.H. Robinson often receives requests from small business customers to see if we have anyone who can help package and prepare shipments for pick-up. They often are not aware of how to prepare larger items adequately to ship through professional LTL carrier networks. This service now provides these users a quick outlet to source packaging assistance and leverage these carrier networks effectively,” Pinkerton said.
Users are directed to TaskRabbit through Freightquote and pay TaskRabbit separately for services, but it is an important integration to create a more seamless experience, Pinkerton said.
“The integration with TaskRabbit is another example of how we continue to meet the needs of small business customers with first-in-industry tech solutions and more shipping options than any other shipping provider to save them time and money. This is more important now than ever before as small businesses face unprecedented challenges,” he said.