December 30, 2010, 2:47 PM

How saves on shipping

The web-only apparel retailer splits shipping between UPS and Streamlite.

Lead Photo has switched all of its standard ground shipping from UPS to Streamlite Inc. while keeping only its expedited shipments with UPS. The online retailer, which sells print-on-demand apparel products that customers can customize with logos or other designs they upload to the retailer’s web site, has cut its shipping coats by about 10% since making the move, says Mark Venezia, the retailer’s vice president of global sales and marketing.

Dealing with UPS for all ground shipments was too complicated and costly, Venezia says. “The rate grid was too complex and the price increases too high, and we didn’t want to pass on the extra costs to our customers,” he says.

Streamlite, formerly known as MailExpress, operates 20 distribution facilities across the United States. It contracts with independent carriers to pick up loads from multiple clients to consolidate shipments to a U.S. Postal Service facility for final local delivery to residential as well as commercial addresses. By consolidating shipments for multiple shippers, Streamlite and other third-party shipping services firms can get volume discounts from carriers that retailers often can’t get on their own.

In addition to letting shippers log onto a web site to track shipment status, it also provides Spreadshirt with the option of Saturday pick-ups so weekend orders don’t have to wait for Monday shipments. “It’s a small surcharge for Saturday, but it’s worth a little extra cost to get orders shipped two days earlier,” Venezia says.

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