Truckstop.com, the digital freight marketplace, and enterprise trucking carrier Schneider (NYSE: SNDR) announced the successful pilot of a new technology that allows carriers to secure loads from brokers at a guaranteed price with one click.
The feature, “Book It Now,” allows freight brokerages to post, assign and tender loads directly to approved carriers. The carrier can see the rate before clicking on it and win it without sending an email, making a telephone call or undergoing a negotiation. In some senses “Book It Now” resembles the “Buy It Now” feature on eBay, which allows buyers to skip the auction process and guarantee a purchase at a specific price.
The entire process takes place within the Truckstop.com mobile application. Brent Hutto, chief relationship officer at Truckstop.com, said that Schneider Logistics made sense as a partner for the pilot because the company is on Truckstop.com’s customer board and routinely gives advice on new services, and Schneider had the technical resources to help build it immediately.
Pricing on “Book It Now” loads during the pilot were set by Schneider, Hutto said, but he pointed out that any carrier deciding whether to book a load could easily check the offered price against Truckstop.com’s market rates to make sure that they were competitive.
This feature takes the concept of a private freight marketplace – used by brokerages to give their core carriers more transparency into their loads and accelerate time-to-cover – by offering specific carriers specific loads. Hutto said that “Book It Now” is a one-to-one offer, not a one-to-many offer; that should let brokerages and carriers agree on price faster and build more durable relationships.
“Our carrier customers say the number one thing they hate to do is negotiate rates,” Hutto said. “They would like to be able to find a rate they like and take the load then.”
A large majority of respondents – 75% – to a survey conducted by Truckstop.com said they were interested in a “Book It Now” feature. Truckstop.com plans a wave of additional partnerships before the end of this year and will launch “Book It Now” across its ecosystem in 2020.
Because of that interest, Truckstop.com gives “Book It Now” loads a higher ranking on its load boards, so that they get more impressions from carriers and drive liquidity in the marketplace.
The first driver to get a load from Schneider Logistics with “Book It Now,” Miguel Velazquez, who drives for SMM Transport, said that it only took him about 30 seconds to book the load and receive a rate confirmation. Velazquez said that he often spends time making telephone calls to look into a load, only to find out that it’s already been booked.
“Digital technologies have the ability to drastically improve the efficiency of how companies move freight, but relationships will always be a core component of our industry,” said Paris Cole, chief executive officer of Truckstop.com, in a statement. “Many of our customers built their businesses on the telephone – one call at a time. They want to work with people they know and trust and this technology allows them to do that, but with more efficiency. “Book it Now” functionality gives carriers the freedom to instantly accept loads from their trusted brokers with the click of a button so they can drive more and search less.”