Running a business that ships products to customers is much different than it was a decade ago. That may be an extremely obvious statement, but it serves to highlight the reality of doing business today. There once was a time when customers would come to a store or visit a website, and it was as simple as connecting them with the products they wanted. Perhaps business was limited to your city, your region, or just your country. With changing technology and consumer habits, however, getting products into the hands of past, existing and prospective customers is something that is constantly changing and developing.
With an increasing number of sales channels, the Internet is literally opening up new markets for selling. And because of the challenges of managing all of this, shipping platforms have had to adapt to better serve businesses as they try to meet the demands of their customers. Traditional players have adapted their business models, while new competitors have entered the industry.
Plus, with the growing number of needs amongst businesses that are expanding their customer base and retail channels, shipping platforms have had to offer additional services and value like inventory tracking, payment gateways, automatic shipping estimates, instant shipping label generation, and more.
There is also more than one way to get a product out to customers. For example, drop shipping – which is when businesses don’t actually have the inventory of the products themselves and instead field orders from customers for order fulfillment and direct shipping from manufacturers and/or warehouses – has grown in popularity due to the explosive growth in the e-commerce space. International customers may require unique shipping methods to get products to them wherever they may be in the world. All of this can be a huge source of frustration and stress.
Shipping software handles complicated logistics and manages many of the most time-consuming tasks associated with shipping products. These services can help trim costs, while simultaneously providing the best level of service to customers who simply want to receive products at their doorstep as fast as possible and at the lowest price-point.
Perhaps the most common reason that many business owners prefer using comprehensive shipping software is that they want to simplify all of the moving parts that go into running an e-commerce store. Not only do you need to manage e-commerce shipping, but you also need to take care of managing a digital storefront, calculating international taxes and costs, printing labels, and collecting payments. When you consider all of these things separately, running an e-commerce business can be stressful and confusing. Thankfully, with the right shipping software, all of these features can be conveniently rolled into a single, user-friendly platform that’ll help streamline processes and keep things more organized than ever.
When it comes down to it, shipping is one of the most important parts of an e-commerce business. You can have a fantastic marketing plan, exceptional customer service, and the best sales staff in the industry. But if you can’t get your products out to customers at an affordable rate and within a timeframe that’s competitive with other players in the market, your business will not succeed.
And, if that didn’t sound like enough of a challenge, there are literally dozens of shipping carriers and platforms to choose from, all of which offer their own unique features and services.
Check out our guide on E-commerce Order Fulfillment and Shipping
Why do e-commerce businesses need shipping software?
The most obvious answer is to this question is to get products into the hands of customers, and hopefully, earn their repeat business. But there’s so much more to shipping than just getting products from point A to point B.
To develop a competitive advantage
One of the main reasons to find the best shipping software is to develop a competitive advantage. Online shoppers today are savvier than ever, and they know what to look for when comparing products online. Not only do people want the best deals, the highest quality products, and the best features, but they also want to save on shipping costs and receive their purchases as fast as possible. Shipping software helps e-commerce businesses provide great shipping services at the lowest cost possible so they can present a competitive offer to customers who are considering their products.
In fact, 88% of customers are more likely to buy a product if the shipping is free. Of course, free shipping for customers doesn’t mean free for a business owner, which means identifying ways to keep costs down so that you can continue to offer enticing features, like free shipping on certain qualifying purchases.
To save time and money
Not only can the best shipping software for e-commerce help keep costs and prices low, but it can also save time when it comes to processing orders. It wasn’t too long ago that you had to generate your own shipping labels, pay for each individual label, schedule a pick-up or/or drop-off time, and then ensure that the product was packed and ready to go. While shipping software can’t tackle all of those tasks, it can cut out a lot of the menial, time-consuming work that goes along with shipping. By automatically finding the best rates and shipping timelines, and then creating the labels, shipping software saves time and stress. Plus, as a business grows, this time savings will prove to be incredibly valuable, especially as a few orders per day turn into hundreds.
Shipping platforms also keep costs low by creating efficiency in business operations. As many businesses grow, they may need to bring on more staff. If certain tasks are automated in the shipping process, however, they may be able to hold off on hiring additional staff and/or limit future hires, which will improve the bottom line considerably. What’s more, the money saved on new staff can be redirected into other efforts to help grow the business, like expanded advertising and marketing campaigns.
To streamline operations
It’s important to understand that the shipping process isn’t complete once the package is en route to a customer. Customers want accurate tracking and delivery estimates. Plus, in the event that an order doesn’t meet their needs, they want a simple return process that won’t cost them money. This is all compounded by the fact that trying to meet so many demands can capitalize on both time and money. Shipping software can manage returns and provide accurate estimates for customers, which gives busy business owners more time to focus on other areas of their business.
To ship internationally
The growing market for online shopping also means that for many businesses, their shipping needs may end up expanding beyond their borders. Unfortunately, international shipping can become very complex, very quickly. There are duties to consider, special international shipping rates, and additional logistics with processing orders and returns. Trying to take all of this on, in addition to everything else, is a recipe for disaster. Shipping platforms make it easier to ship internationally, while still taking advantage of the best shipping rates possible. What this means is the ability to ship internationally, without having to commit a disproportionate amount of time and energy to do so.
To sell across multiple platforms
In addition to shipping to a number of different countries, many e-commerce businesses sell on a number of different platforms, like their own website, Amazon, eBay, and other online stores like Etsy. Luckily, many shipping software solutions are prepared to handle multi-channel orders, and even offer multi-carrier shipping software, which means the ability to access a single hub for all shipping needs, regardless of where products are big sold or what preferred shipping carriers are.
When does an e-commerce business need a shipping software platform?
To put things quite simply, shipping management platforms are needed whenever ecommerce businesses plan on shipping products out to customers. Of course, the unique needs of each business will vary depending on the size and volume of business, areas served, services needed, and the types of packages being shipped.
When just starting out
The most obvious time to begin searching for the best shipping software is when an e-commerce business is just starting out. While initially, this may seem stressful, the benefit of conducting all of this research when first starting out is that there’s a clean slate to work from. Since there are no existing businesses practices in place, business owners can shop around for the best deal that will include all of the services required to successfully get products out to new customers.
If you’re just starting out, you will want to consider everything beyond just the actual act of shipping product from point A to point B. So, for example, how will inventory be managed and tracked? Will you even hold physical inventory? What’s the order management process going to look like? Is the ability to ship internationally important? Answering all of these questions early on will result in a short-list of shipping software options that make the most sense.
When brick-and-mortar businesses decide to sell online
Of course, not every business in need of shipping software is a brand-new business. There are countless businesses moving their brick-and-mortar operations into the online space. When this occurs, finding the right shipping management platform may prove to be easier – or perhaps even a bit more challenging – than a brand new business just starting out.
For example, there may already be a satisfactory inventory management system in place, and all that’s needed is a solution to manage online shipments. At the opposite end of the spectrum, however, could be the desire to completely overhaul existing operations, so that inventory management and shipping are both rolled into an all-in-one solution that’s easier to manage, and scale.
When curious what other options are available and/or are looking to expand
If you already have an e-commerce business with established shipping practices, it never hurts to explore what options are out there. For example, perhaps you have been selling online through your own online store, but are looking to expand into other online markets like Amazon and eBay. After all, Amazon is, hands down, the world’s largest online shopping platform, and you may have come to the conclusion that your business needed to present there to be even more successful.
The question then becomes how to manage the expected volume increases, and address the varying shipping needs from multiple selling channels. In a scenario like this, identifying shipping software that works well with Amazon, but that can also handle some of the other retail channels as well, is a must.
You may also find yourself in a situation where you have an established shipping partner but want to make a change. Perhaps you have been taking on more of a role in managing your own shipping by generating and printing labels yourself and would like to have this process automated. Or maybe you’re looking for a shipping partner that can offer you the best rates on international shipping. There are countless reasons why you may want to find a new shipping platform that’s more suited to your current needs, as well as the realities within your growing business.
How to choose the best shipping software for e-commerce
There are many important features to consider when comparing shipping software, and the final decision will ultimately depend on the features that are important for ensuring business success, as well as customer satisfaction. Here are a few things to consider.
Is there multi-channel support? What about international shipping?
The first things to consider are what selling channels are being used, as well as where products are being shipped. Some shipping software platforms only offer shipping solutions within a specific country, while others offer numerous international options. In addition, it’s important that customers on multiple different retail channels can all be served quickly, regardless of where they choose to shop. These are probably the two most important things to keep in mind when evaluating shipping software options.
Even if you don’t currently sell on multiple channels, you may find that changes in the future. Having the ability to easily add new retail channels as a business grows and changes is a nice feature to have. Plus, with many shipping platforms, payments are made based on the number of orders completed, so it doesn’t initially cost anything out-of-pocket.
Taxes and duties are always a major concern and can become complicated very quickly once you’re shipping beyond your own borders. This is especially true if you’re shipping to a number of different international locations. Some shipping platforms will calculate fees, so that manual calculations and tracking are a thing of the past. More importantly, these platforms stay on top of changes to international taxes and duties so that e-commerce business owners aren’t bogged down with staying up-to-date on international tax laws.
Is inventory management an option?
Many of the best shipping software platforms also offer inventory management solutions so that it’s easier to monitor and change inventory. This is especially helpful if selling products across multiple channels. Once a business starts selling on multiple retail channels, inventory management can quickly become a time-consuming task since inventory levels must be manually adjusted across all channels being used.
If products are selling quickly, keeping up with inventory management can easily turn into a full-time job in itself, and perhaps even require that additional staff be hired. Many shipping platforms now automatically update inventories so that business owners know when it’s time to place a new order. This prevents customer service issues from occurring, like when someone orders a product, only to find out that it’s sold out or backordered. When this happens, if someone wants a product quickly, they may cancel their order all together, and the poor experience could convince them never to order from that business again in the future.
What’s the order fulfillment process like?
Of course, the most important part of a shipping platform is actually fulfilling orders. If manually managing orders, once you receive an order, you need to generate and print labels yourself. If you’re receiving a high volume of orders, this can consume a tremendous amount of time. It also leads to potential errors, like address typos, especially if printing a large number of shipping labels manually.
Having shipping labels generated automatically can save a lot of time, and also prevent poor customer experience issues. Even if you aren’t currently shipping a high volume of orders today, you never know how fast your business will grow. Having this feature in place will allow you to scale quickly and easily, without having to make major adjustments at some point in the future.
Is it a native application or SaaS-based model?
What makes the most sense for a business: an installed shipping software or a web-based management solution? There is no right or wrong answer when evaluating both options, but there are pros and cons to each. For example, a web-based platform tends to be a more out-of-the-box solution that simply plugs into an existing website. On the other hand, installed software must manually be added to a website in order to work correctly.
There are some platforms that offer a complete solution that includes a website, hosting, domain name, inventory management, and shipping management. Of course, there are additional costs when opting for a package with such a comprehensive suite of features, but the convenience and ease-of-use may be a nice benefit if time is of the essence and it’s important to get up and running quickly.
What other options and add-ons are available?
If having a shipping management platform does more than manage shipping, it’s important to consider whether or not the platform allows integrations through the use of third-party apps or plugins. Some of the most popular plugins are abandoned cart notifications, discount codes, and marketing apps, all of which can help increase sales. Of course, it’s important to factor in the additional costs to install and/or use some of these third-party features prior to making a final decision.
If interested in a platform that handles more than just shipping, it may be wise to consider partnering with a shipping software that offers a complete shopping cart experience, which will make it easier to manage orders and create a cohesive experience for customers. This will cut down on processing time as well, since there will no longer be an additional step between sales being processed and generating the shipping labels.
Finally, there are a number of features that may be unique to some platforms which may or may not find helpful. Generally speaking, these additional features cost extra money in some way, shape, or form. However, they may be worth the additional cost if they are actually used. Things like guarantees for late or missed shipments allow for better customer service to buyers. Design and ease of use for the platform is also something to consider, especially since a cluttered UI can slow things down to the point where it’s almost cost-prohibitive. It’s all about better time-management and efficiency, so choose something that’s comfortable, intuitive and easy to use.
What are the costs associated with shipping software?
Now, let’s get down to the dollars and cents of shipping. The cost of shipping is a huge expense for e-commerce and will require that margins are low or prices are increased to absorb some of the cost. Ultimately, the whole purpose of trying to identify the best shipping software for e-commerce is to improve efficiency and reduce costs. This makes pricing perhaps the absolute most important feature when it comes to choosing a shipping platform.
There are a few different pricing structures available when it comes to shipping solutions. And ultimately the best option will depend on your specific shipping needs, access to certain features and volume, as well as other factors, like international shipping.
Tiered fee pricing
One of the most common pricing structures is built around a tiered fee system, plus the costs of shipping. Many shipping providers base their tiered pricing on the number of orders processed. As businesses sell more products, they pay a higher fee for services. What’s nice for new businesses is that most providers have a free tier available, so that the first base tier of orders won’t cost a dime. The most appealing part about a tiered pricing structure is that it’s flexible and makes it easy to scale when busy and save money when sales are slow. So, for example, if you operate a retail business, you can expect to pay a higher tier price around the holidays and a lower-tier price during slower months outside of the holiday season.
It’s important to understand, however, that tier-based fees are only one part of the equation. The real cost comes from the costs associated with actually shipping products. Most shipping management providers will compare costs between the largest shipping companies like UPS, FedEx, and DHL, as well as international shipping providers, and then generate the most cost-effective shipping label that meets the shipping requirements a customer has paid for. Business owners then pay for these labels, which is where the most significant part of shipping costs comes from. So essentially you are paying for the shipping service, as well as the services of the shipping software platform to identify the best price and then handle label printing.
Another common pricing structure is a pay-per-label structure. One of the biggest drawbacks with this approach is that these types of services typically don’t search a number of different shipping providers or integrate with multiple retail channels to automatically generate shipping labels. As such, there’s no upfront monthly fee, but there is also no guarantee of getting the best shipping rates either.
The difference in cost may, however, be offset by the lack of an upfront monthly fee. With these platforms, there’s a little more legwork involved since shipping labels must be generated in-house. With that being said, however, it’s typically a pretty easy process, and many services accept exported order details from the top e-commerce companies so there’s no need to manually enter the information for each order. Instead, simply export the data, and then upload the orders to the shipping software platform.
Monthly subscription for full-service e-commerce experience
There is also a pricing structure that requires a higher upfront monthly subscription cost in exchange for a full-service e-commerce experience. These types of platforms offer pricing tiers based on the value of your sales, but the tiers are much larger than the narrow tiers offered by companies that charge based on the number of orders completed. Where the increased cost comes from is in the increased services and features being offered. While the increased fees may be shocking at first, there is typically a lot of additional value and customizable features packed into these type of services.
For example, a complete e-commerce experience typically includes features like an e-commerce website, credit card processing, inventory management, multi-channel retail support, domain registration, and hosting, as well as all of the shipping features required to get products into the hands of customers.
Like all of the other shipping management companies, there’s still a fee paid per shipping label generated, which is where a large portion of costs will come from. Having the ability to have all of the e-commerce features work together – from inventory listings to final shipment label generation – can be a huge time saver and value proposition. While the upfront cost is higher, there is no need to combine multiple services and their associated costs, which can certainly simplify things and keep total costs low after all services have been considered.
Associated extra costs
Also keep in mind that there will be some extra costs that need to be considered, regardless of which shipping provider used. Accessories like label printers and scales are often necessary to complete the shipping process, which means paying for supplies like ink, labels, and paper. It’s also important to consider the costs of transporting packages to the shipping depot once everything has been packed and labeled. Unfortunately, there is no way to really predict these costs, but they do need to be factored in when establishing prices for products.
The best shipping software
BigCommerce is one of the most well-known names in the e-commerce space, so it should come as no surprise that they have taken their shipment management to the next level in order to help the businesses using their platform grow and provide better customer service. BigCommerce integrates with some of the top shipping carriers – including USPS, UPS, and FedEx – to provide competitive, discounted rates. Customers can also be presented with a variety of shipment options that fit within their budgets and their timelines. In fact, when enabled, real-time prices for shipping are displayed right in the cart at checkout so that customers can pick an affordable option that also fits their preferred delivery timeline.
If you’re already using BigCommerce for your e-commerce store, then it may make sense to use their shipment manager as well. Easy integration makes it an obvious choice, but pricing may provide some pause for smaller businesses, especially since BigCommerce’s shipping integrations are geared towards medium and large businesses with higher volumes and unique needs like split shipments and multiple warehouse fulfillment. Smaller businesses may be better served by a more affordable and simpler plugin that can also easily integrate with BigCommerce.
Shippo is a web-based platform with a clean UI that makes shipping feel simple. If managing shipments is a major source of stress, Shippo is here to eliminate it. Their free pricing tier is one of the most generous free tiers amongst e-commerce shipping software platforms and allows for up to 200 orders per month with no monthly base fee. It’s simply 5 cents per order, plus the cost of shipping. This is a great option for small businesses that are just starting out on a budget. Paid tiers unlock additional features designed to make the shipping experience even more positive.
Like many other platforms, Shippo automatically integrates with e-commerce stores to automatically pull in orders and provide discounted shipping quotes on them. Shippo will even import Shopify product details like weight and dimensions so that shipping costs are accurate. What’s more, you can link to a number of different shipping carriers, and customs forms can automatically be generated for international shipments.
Shopify is, hands down, the most popular e-commerce platform available today. And sending shipments from Shopify is simple since it integrates seamlessly with e-commerce stores built using the company’s baseline framework. Customers are shown real-time rates as they checkout so that they have the ability to decide which shipping option is right for them, while sellers can pick and choose which carriers they want to use in their stores.
Shopify shipping does lack some of the more advanced features of other shipping software platforms on this list, but will likely be a blessing for e-commerce business owners who simply want an easy-to-use and affordable shipping management platform for their e-commerce business. Of course, Shopify also integrates with brick-and-mortar POS systems too, so you can enjoy multi-channel inventory management, in addition to the native Shopify shipping offering provided by the world’s top e-commerce platform.
ShippingEasy is a web-based shipping system that, as the name suggests, aims to make shipping products as easy as possible. The clean interface is very easy to use and there’s not much clutter, which eliminates confusion while navigating to various areas of the software platform. ShippingEasy has made transferring orders to the platform simple as it integrates with many of the top e-commerce stores like Shopify so there’s no need to manually transfer orders. The number of features packed into ShippingEasy and the low monthly cost makes it a very competitive platform for those who want a turnkey solution with little setup required.
Where ShippingEasy really shines is in the pricing. It compares pricing across the top shipping companies and offers deep discounts on USPS services. These savings can be almost half as much as if you were to simply walk into a USPS store and pay for shipping yourself. They also make streamlining the shipping process simple, with automated shipping rules to decrease the time spent on shipping-related tasks. There is a free plan available for low-volume businesses, but the most powerful features come with the paid tiers, which include multi-channel inventory management, email marketing, and priority customer support.
Ordoro is a cloud-based shipping software platform that makes it easy to access shipping services from anywhere in the world, provided there’s an Internet connection. This is great if you’re running an e-commerce business on-the-go or work with a distributed team. There is a free plan available from Ordoro for businesses with less than 50 monthly shipments but many of the most important features are only available on paid plans. Pricing is also broken up into two different types of tiers, with the Express plans offering shipping services only and Pro plans introducing additional features like inventory management, dropshipping, and more. Perhaps the best feature of Ordoro is the powerful interface that doesn’t sacrifice ease of use. Using analytics and generating reports is simple and intuitive.
Like other cloud and web-based platforms, Ordoro directly interfaces with many of the top e-commerce platforms like Shopify. After store integration, automated shipping presets can be created to streamline the shipping process and automate label generation, which eliminates the need for manual input. Pro tiers also come with the ability to manage inventory across multiple channels like Shopify, Amazon, and eBay, all from right inside the Ordoro dashboard. Ordoro also integrates international carriers for businesses that send products outside of their own borders. Plus, it can be further integrated with services you may already be using, like an in-store POS system and your favorite accounting software.
ShipperHQ is an extension that integrates with many of the top e-commerce platforms including Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce. As far as features go, it’s hard to find another shipment management platform that allows for the level of customization that ShipperHQ offers. With that customization, however, comes a bit of a learning curve, which may be a deterrent to people who are interested in a simpler experience or just lack the tech-savviness required to successfully navigate through everything. ShipperHQ connects with the top carriers for domestic and international shipping and then allows you to create detailed rules for each. Do you want international shipments handled by one carrier and domestic shipments handled by another one? They can do that. Would you like one carrier to do pickup at your business while another waits for you to drop off packages? That’s possible as well. The customization options available with ShipperHQ are cutting-edge and best in the industry. Best of all, custom rule changes can be made quickly and instantly.
Pricing for ShipperHQ is competitive, although a little more costly than comparable extensions. They do offer additional features, however, like a consultation service for $500, which can assist in ensuring that everything is set up to meet the unique needs of your business. And ShipperHQ works well with your brick and mortar operations too, giving customers the ability to pick up products in-store if you choose to enable the feature. If you’re ready to get your hands a little dirty during setup to get the most customized experience possible, ShipperHQ may be the right fit.
WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform for WordPress users and comes jam-packed with features that go well beyond shipping. Perhaps the most important thing to understand about WooCommerce is that it offers an unprecedented level of flexibility when creating online stores. When you choose to build an e-commerce store with WooCommerce, you have access to inventory management tools, professional themes, product filtering, blogging, and reviews. Of course, shipping is one of the most important parts of the overall package, and WooCommerce offers plenty of flexibility when it comes to getting products out to customers. With WooCommerce, you can even enable multiple shipping options for customers to choose from, with clear pricing on the checkout page for each one.
Perhaps the major downside to using WooCommerce for shipping is that it doesn’t actually manage the shipping process. So, unless another shipment management platform is integrated with your store, you will be responsible for printing labels and getting products to the carrier of your choice. This may be fine for smaller businesses but may present issues for larger companies that are shipping a lot of volumes every week.
A lot of the shipping platforms mentioned here focus on smaller shipments for traditional e-commerce stores. Of course, this is of little help for businesses that need larger shipping options for some of the products you’re selling. This is where FreightView comes to the rescue, by providing discounted rates on freight shipping through their affiliated partners. Their platform promises easy set up that’ll have even the most tech-challenged up-and-running in 2 minutes or less. Once an order is received, simply compare their freight shipping rates and select one that fits your budget and needs. From there, print the shipping label, schedule a pickup, and track the shipment, all from a single UI.
While freight shipping may not apply to many businesses, if you’re in the business of shipping large packages, then you are painfully aware of how costly it can be. FreightView keeps freight shipping costs low and provides a wide range of additional features to help make the shipping experience as pleasant as possible. Best of all, because FreightView presents the best rates, you’ll be able to stay competitive in your industry without sacrificing your margins as a result of shipping costs.
ShipHero is a powerful platform designed for medium and large businesses that manage their own picking, packing, and shipments. Unlike a fulfillment platform, ShipHero essentially gives ecommerce business owners the ability to become their own fulfillment centers with industry-leading tools and technology. Start by integrating ShipHero with retail channels like Shopify, Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. From there, ShipHero pulls in orders automatically and updates inventory instantly across all channels in real-time as orders are placed by customers. From there, warehouse staff can use the ShipHero management app to pick and pack orders and then mark orders as ready for shipment.
Getting the best rates on shipping for both domestic and international carriers is also easy, as all integrate seamlessly with ShipHero. Essentially, ShipHero covers all of the details so that warehouses work more effectively and inventory management is a quick and painless process. Unfortunately, however, the major sticking point for many businesses with ShipHero is the cost. This is not a platform for small home businesses that only process a handful of orders each day. Rather, medium and large businesses with their own storage spaces should consider ShipHero to bring together their e-commerce channels with their shipment workflows for more streamlined and effective operations.
FedEx is arguably the most well-known name in shipping worldwide. Many people think of large enterprise business solutions when they think of FedEx, but FedEx Fulfillment aims to change that perception. FedEx Fulfillment is the logistics giant’s small and medium business solution that couples FedEx shipping with the most popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. FedEx Fulfillment is designed with multi-channel businesses in mind that need to pack and fulfill orders from various online retailers including their own website, Amazon, WalMart, eBay, and more. With FedEx Fulfillment, you can manage and monitor inventory, have FedEx employees pick and pack your orders as they need to be sent out, and enjoy discounted FedEx shipping rates. The big advantage of this service is that orders are fulfilled quickly by FedEx itself and sent out quickly to ensure fast delivery and customer satisfaction.
FedEx Fulfillment aims to replace services like Fulfilled by Amazon and can help manage inventory and orders without having to maintain on-site staff to pick and pack orders, or store product. Of course, all of these features do come at a cost, so FedEx Fulfillment is not a great option for low-volume shippers. In addition, since FedEx uses their own shipping services, there’s no way to compare rates from different carriers, which means shipping costs may end up being more expensive in the long-run. With that said, however, it’s a very competitive alternative to FBA and backed by the name recognition and reliability of the FedEx brand.
Another web-based shipping software platform that has grown in popularity is ShipStation. This platform manages keeps costs low while increasing operational efficiency. The tiered pricing system is very affordable but, unlike some competitors, ShipStation does not offer a free pricing tier for low-volume businesses. Live chat and phone support also aren’t available with the lower tier plans which means if having instant access to support is important, you’ll need to spring for a more expensive pricing tier.
One of the best features of ShipStation is the massive number of integrations the service offers. Shopping cart integration from many of the most popular e-commerce platforms comes standard, and product weight and dimensions can be added and shipping rates automatically calculated, right inside the shopping cart itself. What’s more, the shipping label generation process can be automated if orders meet certain rules that were previously established. This saves time and reduces errors that may result from having to import or complete orders manually. ShipStation also focuses on smaller details to help make the customer experience more cohesive. Things like custom shipping labels and packing slips add that extra personalized touch that makes opening a package from your business feel just a little more special.
Stamps.com is a popular service that many e-commerce businesses use for affordable shipping options. It’s meant to save business owners time when buying postage and shipping products with USPS. Instead of waiting in line to get labels and send out shipments, simply pay for and print labels in advance, and then drop shipments off at the post office. Stamps.com also provides a scale that connects to PCs and Mac’s via a USB, which ensures that proper postage amounts are being assessed to each package. The scale is free with the flat rate monthly subscriptions. The biggest drawback about Stamps.com is that there’s a very limited feature set, especially in comparison to more integrated shipping software platforms.
What’s more, discounts for shipping services via Stamps.com are not as significant as other shipping software companies in the market. But to be fair, their monthly pricing is lower as well. Generally speaking, Stamps.com is designed for smaller businesses with a low volume of shipments to send each month and is an affordable and easy-to-use option for these types of basic shipping needs.