Love the Zone You Ship

Posted on Feb 15, 2018 6:07:21 PM

Understanding how to use zone shipping to your advantage will make you fall back in love with your shipping provider.

What is Zone Shipping?

Zone shipping is a common practice that shipping carriers use when creating fee structures for their customers. Rather than showing costs based on a map of US state borders, a zone map will divide regions and countries not specific to the state borders, but rather taking into consideration the surrounding megaregions (see megaregion map below.) Essentially, the cost of shipping is determined by how many zones a package must cross when traveling from its original origin.


Megaregions, or US population centers, are large metropolitan regions that share economic systems, transportation systems, and natural resources where population continues to grow. With distribution centers located in these largely populated areas, the distance a package travels might be a shorter distance to the destination than you think. OnTrac focuses resources in megaregions in order to be able to provide the very best advantages at the very best price.

Why is Zone Shipping important?

According to research done by The Colography Group, Inc., over 70% of packages stay within Zone 4, which is up to a 600-mile radius of the shipping origin. For regional carriers like OnTrac, who also service Zone 5, that percentage climbs to over 80%. In addition, the majority of these packages actually stay within Zone 2 (approximately 47.9% according to the below chart.) This means that the majority of packages shipped by companies stay within their general geographic region. Implementing a regional carrier, like OnTrac, will provide companies with a significant price savings with less fees and surcharges than the national carriers.


According to VISIBLE Supply Chain Management, “United States e-commerce sales reached $396 billion in 2016, and sales are estimated to grow beyond $684 billion by 2020; that’s nearly double the sales in just four years! Over 53 percent of global Internet users made online purchases in 2016—about 1 billion people. As a result, growing companies that aren't proficient in shipping could lose thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Employing strategic shipping strategies that take zones into account will become increasingly important as e-commerce sales continue to grow."

How to save with Zone Shipping?

Since zone shipping is used by all major shipping providers it is wise to fully understand how each carrier prices their zones. Rates will vary depending on the carrier and the shipping service that you select. Thankfully, OnTrac Ground uses the same rate zones as National Carriers, allowing a more accurate comparison of fees, surcharges and transit times. For example, did you know that OnTrac is 36% less for residential deliveries that require a signature compared to national carriers?

Plus, OnTrac can save multiple transit days for a single package to compared to the national carriers. Below is a Transit Day map that shows how much faster packages travel from Reno, Nevada throughout the OnTrac service region. Speaking of megaregions, OnTrac’s innovation has synchronized supply and demand specifically in the populated Reno area.

Transit Days from RNO.png

Using a multi-carrier strategy will allow for an overall greater shipping experience. For more information on how a regional carrier can set you up for success, continue reading here

OnTrac provides the benefits of next-day delivery at ground rates! To learn more about how OnTrac provides faster transit times and reduces shipping expenses, click here.

Topics: faster time in transit, Time in Transit, Zone 4 deliveries, save a transit day, ZIPTools, Zone Shipping

Reduce Transit Time and Shipping Spending with OnTrac

Posted on Jul 1, 2014 2:06:00 PM

As eCommerce sales continue to rise, OnTrac remains in a position to save its customers time in transit and boost their bottom line.

It’s no secret that faster time in transit is the key to keeping businesses competitive – the largest online retailers are able to get products delivered quickly, setting an industry standard and giving customers high expectations for their online shopping experience. They want their ecommerce orders delivered as fast as possible, for as cheap as possible.

According to a recent comScore study, at least 42% of online shoppers reported abandoning their shopping carts because of delivery timing estimates. Two-thirds of shoppers choose the most inexpensive shipping option, more than 40% expect to see the availability of 2-to-3 day delivery and nearly a third want the option to choose overnight shipping. A third of shoppers said they most often choose to pay a fee for faster delivery.

In that same study, 48% of online shoppers said they are not willing to wait more than 5 days for packages to be delivered.

With OnTrac, consumers notice a reduction in both transit time and shipping expenses. As a regional carrier, the company utilizes its regional hub-and-spoke model to provide next-day delivery at Ground rates to more than 60 million consumers in the eight Western States.

In the more than 20 years OnTrac has been in the business, the company has come to know just how important the need for speed is, but they also recognize the need for a great customer experience, as well.

That’s why we provide all the same characteristics people have come to expect of their delivery companies – tracking, software integration, live help and an intuitive, easy-to-use website.

If you have any questions about our service, or are looking to get started with OnTrac, simply call our Customer Service number at 800.334.5000 or visit our Welcome Center at



Topics: competitive advantages, online delivery, ground rates, online shopping, fees, eCommerce, comScore, free shipping, faster time in transit, Time in Transit, save a transit day, OnTrac Shipping, deliveries, lowest cost shipping, fewer fees

When Free Shipping Is Not Enough!

Posted on Oct 9, 2012 9:25:00 AM

Regional parcel carriers give you the next-day delivery edge!

Last week our Director of Business Operations, Mark Magill, spoke at the Council of Supply Chain Management, where more than 3,000 professionals in logistics and supply chain management met at the Annual Global Conference to learn how to cut supply chain costs, network with colleagues from all over the world, and discover new and innovative supply chain ideas.

Mark MagillHis presentation included information on the online retail industry and gave shippers an idea of what to do when offering free shipping is not enough.

The online retail industry passed the $200 billion mark in the 2011 revenue estimates released last month. Projections show it will grow by another 60 percent in the next five years and cross the $300 billion threshold by 2016. These are staggering figures when you consider that e-Commerce still only comprises about seven percent of retail sales.

This has had a profound impact on the parcel delivery market. An industry once dominated by the commercial segment has been inundated by business to consumer deliveries. At last count, it had exceeded 40 percent of all shipments and it is relentlessly approaching the halfway point. The fiercely competitive e-Commerce landscape has caused free shipping to become an almost standard offering on most websites. This has caused the volume of postal consolidators to spike up sharply because they are the lowest cost shipping method. But what are your alternatives when free shipping is not enough to satisfy the demands of your customers?

The seven to ten day delivery commitment offered by postal consolidators may be a satisfactory option for inexpensive items ordered online (sometimes humorously referred to as “cheap and cheerful’). But what are the realities when your customer is ordering an expensive piece of apparel like a $700 leather jacket? Is it worth the risk of buyer’s remorse with that type of high margin item? And what about the risk of shopping cart abandonment if they need the apparel for a special occasion and balk at the high cost of the express shipping option on your website? These issues become even more critical when dealing with the Generation Y/Millennial consumers who have an expectation of overnight delivery without being willing to pay extra for it.

However, there are viable solutions to these issues in major metropolitan areas of the United States. To gain a sharper insight into these solutions, let’s first examine the term Mega-region.  A Mega-region is a geographical area where a large portion of the U.S. population is concentrated. A good example of this is California. It is home to more than thirty seven million people.  Other examples are the Phoenix Sunbelt, Cascadia (the Seattle/Portland I- 5 corridor), the Front Range of Colorado and the Boston to Washington D.C. Corridor. The population of these Mega-regions totals nearly 200 million consumers and the overwhelming majority of e-Commerce deliveries are shipped to them.

The solution to your faster time in transit requirements are the regional parcel carriers that are located in most Mega-regions. These carriers have a next-day Ground delivery footprint that is much larger than that of UPS and FedEx. They offer guaranteed next-day delivery to Zone 4 destinations as far as 800 miles from point of origin. For example, with a distribution center in Reno, NV, you could provide your customers the option of, not only overnight delivery in Nevada, but overnight shipping from Seattle to Phoenix. The best part about it is these overnight deliveries are performed at Ground rates. This makes free shipping with faster time in transit a much more cost effective advantage to offer to your customers.

OnTrac Service AreaLast year I had an in-depth conversation about online delivery needs with the vice president of a very large e-Commerce company. When I asked him his opinion about regional parcel carriers, he mentioned that the regional carriers should talk about nothing but faster time in transit because it has become such a competitive factor. He wanted me to talk about , or ground shipping in Arizona. The largest Internet retailers are continually raising the bar with faster deliveries. Not every company can afford to locate a distribution center in every state, but every company that wants to remain competitive can strategically place two distribution centers in the most effective locations to take advantage of the faster time in transit that the regional parcel carriers provide. Some of the regional parcel carriers linking those Mega Regions are OnTrac in the seven largest western states, Eastern Connection in the Northeast, Lone Star Overnight in Texas and SpeeDee Delivery in the Midwest.


To learn more about our overnight delivery service, please visit any one of our OnTrac Ground information pages.

Topics: postal consolidators, regional parcel carriers, online delivery, overnight deliveries, overnight delivery in CA, overnight delivery in NV, OnTrac Ground, next-day ground, guaranteed next-day delivery, ground shipping in Arizona, eCommerce, free shipping, faster time in transit, logistics, Time in Transit, parcel delivery, overnight shipping from Seattle to Phoenix, deliveries, lowest cost shipping, California, overnight delivery, faster