The shipping process is one of the most important aspects of running an ecommerce business. After all, you want to make sure your orders reach your customers safely and quickly.
It’s essential that you have a reliable shipping software solution in place to help manage your orders, shipments, and inventory.
While there are many options out there, I’ve compiled the seven best shipping software for ecommerce so you can find what works best for your online store.
What Does Shipping Software Do?
Shipping software makes it easier to process all your ecommerce orders to customers. The ideal software:
- Integrates with your online store to print labels with ease
- Integrates with your chosen shipping carrier to make tracking expenses simple
- Helps you capture shipping discounts compared to dealing with the carriers, or allows you to use pre-negotiated carrier discounts.
- Makes it easy to track customer orders and handle returns.
Fulfillment Software vs. Shipping Software
Fulfillment software is:
- Designed to manage and streamline the process of storing, packing, and delivering products to customers.
- Includes features such as:
- Inventory management
- Order processing
- Returns handling
- Sometimes even customer service integration.
It’s particularly useful for businesses that handle a large order volume or have complex fulfillment needs (like multi-location storage or international shipping).
Popular fulfillment software options include ShipBob and Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA).
Shipping software, on the other hand:
- Focuses specifically on the delivery aspect of the supply chain.
- Helps businesses:
- Calculate shipping rates
- Print shipping labels
- Track packages
- Manage carrier relationships.
Shipping software can integrate with multiple carriers so you can compare rates and choose the best option for each shipment. It also offers tools for tracking shipments and managing customer returns. Well known examples include: Stamps.com, ShippingEasy, and I know you’ve seen those ShipStation TV commercials.
Ecommerce Shipping Best Practices
Efficient shipping can make or break your customer’s experience. It plays a vital role in ensuring customer satisfaction, enhancing your brand’s reputation, and driving your business growth.
Find the Right Shipping Solution
Investing in a reliable shipping solution is the first step towards efficient ecommerce shipping. A comprehensive shipping solution can help automate your shipping process, calculate accurate shipping costs, and offer multiple shipping options to your customers. Look for a solution that integrates seamlessly with your ecommerce platform, supports various carriers, and provides scalability as your business grows.
Put Effort into Packaging
Packaging is more than just a box to protect your product. It’s an extension of your brand. Opt for durable, eco-friendly packaging materials that can withstand the rigors of shipping. Customize your packaging to reflect your brand’s personality and include a personal note or a small freebie to surprise and delight your customers.
I recently ordered a TV stand and end table from Amazon. I wasn’t looking for anything fancy, but I ended up with something from ZINUS. Inside the minimal packaging, I found a cute little note from the company. And, they also sent some blank cards to pass along notes to friends and family, which I thought was thoughtful.
Provide Tracking Information
Providing tracking information is a must in ecommerce shipping. It gives your customers peace of mind knowing when and where their package is at all times. Make sure to send timely updates via email or SMS about the shipping status and expected delivery date. This transparency can significantly improve your customer’s shopping experience and build trust in your brand.
Set Expectations for Delivery Timeframes
Setting realistic delivery timeframes is essential in managing your customer’s expectations. Avoid promising overnight delivery if you can’t fulfill it. Instead, provide a range of delivery options, such as standard, express, and same-day delivery, each with its respective timeframe and cost. This approach allows your customers to choose the option that best suits their needs and budget.
Display a Return Policy
A clear and fair return policy can ease your customer’s worries about buying online. Make sure to communicate your return policy on your website and include all necessary details like return period, condition of returned items, and refund process. Offering free returns can also be a game-changer in enhancing customer satisfaction and fostering loyalty.
Shipping Software Companies
When choosing the right shipping software company, you need to think about a few core features and how they relate to your business and ecommerce shipping process. You may or may not need multiple carriers and international shipping. You’ll likely want easy returns management, unless you’re selling a product or service without refunds. Depending on your order volume and process, you may or may not need fulfillment services. And you’ll definitely want some kind of shipping insurance to protect you and your customer in the event that the package gets lost in transit.
|Company||Carriers||International Shipping||Returns Management||Fulfillment Services||Insurance|
Most shipping platforms offer multiple carriers to choose from, so you can work with the one that makes the most sense for your needs. Whether you use different carriers on an order-by-order basis, or want to be able to have freedom of choice, your carrier options influence your shipping rates. Popular carriers include USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
Not all carriers offer international shipping. Even if you don’t ship products worldwide, you need to be able ship wherever your customers are. If you’re based in the U.S., you’ll still need international shipping to ship products throughout Canada and Mexico. Maybe you don’t want to offer international shipping options right now, but as you grow, you may change your mind. Working with a shipping platform that offers the option from the start will make it easier.
While you’re completely in charge of your returns policy, having a streamlined returns management process makes things easier for both you and your customers. A branded returns management portal ensures customers can easily ship products back to you for refund or replacement. It also makes it easy for you to see which packages are coming back to you so you can plan accordingly.
If you decide to allow a third-party logistics (3PL) company to handle all your order processing for you, you can start with a service that integrates with fulfillment services. This will make it easier to pass the shipping process over to a team of experts.
Shipping insurance is a smart investment to protect you and your customers in the event a package gets lost in transit. We’ve all been there – waiting for something to be delivered, only to find it never arrives. With insurance, you can get reimbursements to cover the cost of a replacement order.
Shipping can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Since many companies need to be able to offer free shipping options to their customers, it makes sense to find the best possible pricing. And we don’t mean just the cheapest monthly fee – we mean the most affordable, highest quality service overall, for your needs.
|Pricing||Free Trial||Monthly Fee||Pay as You Go||Shipping Discounts|
|Stamps.com||28 Days||$19.99-$34.99+||Up To 84%|
|ShippingEasy||30 Days||$0-$159.99||Up To 84%|
|Easyship||30 Days||$0-$200+||Up To 89%|
|ShipEngine||30 Days||$0-$600+||Up To 84%|
|ShipStation||30 Days||$9.99-$229.99||Up To 84%|
|Shipworks||30 Days||$9.99-$799||Up to 77%|
|Shippo||30 Days||$0-$200+||Up to 90%|
|Ordoro||15 days||$0-$149||Up to 88%|
|Quickbooks||Yes||$15-$100||Up to 26%|
The best shipping software tools offer free trials so you can test them before you commit to paying to use them. While they don’t always give you a full month to evaluate them, you generally get at least two weeks to test the system to make sure it works well for your needs.
Some shipping solutions charge a monthly fee for access in addition to your shipping costs. Usually, the fee amount is determined by the number of shipments per month.
With this pricing model, you’ll pay based on the number of shipping labels you print. You only pay for what you use, and can generally go a period of time without using the service. If you don’t have a high shipping volume, this is the most cost effective way to handle your shipping needs.
Every ecommerce shipping solution on our list offers some kind of shipping discount that you can’t capture working with the carrier. The discounts vary from one carrier to the next, and may vary depending on the service you use. For example, you may capture higher discounts using USPS Priority Mail compared to USPS First Class Mail.
While many shipping platforms offer the same core features, there are some specific ones to look for that will make it easier to run your ecommerce business. These include a tracking page, shipping rates calculated at checkout, SMS notifications, recurring order automation, and SCAN forms.
|Shipping Features||Tracking Page||Shipping Rates at Checkout||SMS Notifications||Recurring Order Automation||SCAN Forms|
With a branded tracking page, you can easily direct customers to track their package progress. It stops you from having to answer customer service emails to provide this information, and can be automated so you can keep your customers in the loop from the second the package leaves your hands. You’ll also be able to get delivery confirmation.
Shipping Rates at Checkout
When shipping rates are offered at checkout, this ensures customers pay exactly what it costs to ship the package, and there are no surprises. If you offer a free shipping promotion, you’ll still be aware of what you’ll pay to ship the package.
With this feature, you can send customers text notifications of package status updates, should customers decide to opt-in.
Recurring Order Automation
With this feature, ecommerce business owners can allow customers to schedule regular orders, much like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program. Everything’s automated for you, so the shipments process without any action from you or the customer.
SCAN, or Shipment Confirmation Acceptance Notice, forms are useful for USPS shipments with a lot of packages. The forms include a barcode that post office staff can scan to process a large volume of packages at one time, rather than needing to scan the packages individually. Most platforms will make it easy to generate one of these forms for free, so you can update the post office whether you have 1 or 250 packages going out at once.
Shipping software makes it easy to print labels for your packages, but not all are created equally. If you have a team of people who handle shipping, you’ll want to ensure you have access to multiple user accounts. If you need to weigh your items, USB scale support is particularly helpful. If you run a dropshipping business or use seller fulfilled prime, you need a powerful shipping software that will support that.
|Shipping Features||Multiple User Accounts||USB Scale Support||Branded Returns Portal||Dropshipping||Seller Fulfilled Prime|
Multiple User Accounts
This enables you to create an account for each person involved in the shipping process. That is much easier than having a single login that multiple people share – because you can hold each person accountable and see exactly which packages were sent by whom and when.
USB Scale Support
Connecting a USB scale to your computer will allow you to weigh your packages for more accurate shipping rates. A USB postal scale will weigh up to 50 pounds.
Branded Returns Portal
With a branded returns portal, your customers will be able to process return requests through a portal that matches your brand. It helps create a more cohesive user experience.
If you want others to be able to sell your products via dropshipping, you need a cloud shipping software that has drop shipping support. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to process the orders your vendors process on your behalf. Dropshipping support allows you to alert vendors to shipments so they can pass the information to the end customer. Here are a few examples of dropshipping companies that integrate with shipping software.
Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)
If you want to take advantage of Prime shipping for your customers, but don’t want the hassle of shipping everything to Amazon, then you may like the SFP program. Amazon charges a lot for their fulfillment, but if you’re willing to put up with some rather strict requirements, you can handle it all yourself. Since SFP isn’t for the faint of heart (I couldn’t do it!) it’s really doing yourself a favor to use a shipping carrier that supports it.
The more ecommerce platforms your chosen shipping platform integrates with, the easier it will be to pull in your orders. For instance, if your store runs on WooCommerce, the integration lists the orders that need to be processed. Most shipping management software integrates with major ecommerce platforms, including:
As with ecommerce integrations, if you sell your products on third party marketplaces, you can connect those to process orders faster. Common marketplace integrations include:
In terms of customer service, at a bare minimum, all providers on this list offer a help center. If you’re struggling to figure out how to handle something, that’s the best place to start. Most of them also offer phone support so you can get an immediate answer. And some of them even offer 24/7 support, so no matter when a question arises, you’ll be able to get an answer fast. Only Stamps.com offers a dedicated account and only a handful of providers offer live chat.
|Customer Support||Dedicated AM||Phone Support||24/7 Support||Help Center||Live Chat|
Top Shipping Solutions For Ecommerce
Stamps.com turns your office into a full-blown post office, without ever having to leave your desk (or change out of your PJs)! It’s easy to print postage right from your computer, saving you time, money, and those awkward small talks with your mail carrier. It’s more than a shipping option – it’s like having your own personal mail room, minus the grumpy mail guy.
The Swiss Army knife of ecommerce shipping, ShippingEasy offers seamless shipping experiences and integration with various platforms. Both small startups and established sellers love it for its affordable plans and robust solutions. It definitely lives up to its name and makes shipping easy.
ShippingEasy is a well-known online shipping automation platform, designed to streamline shipping and inventory management for ecommerce businesses of all sizes. The platform offers discounted USPS and UPS shipping rates, providing cost-effective solutions for merchants.
EasyShip is like the coupon queen of shipping, always on the hunt for the best discounts and passing the savings right onto you. It’s not just about getting your packages from A to B, but doing it in style and on a budget.
With EasyShip, you can choose the carrier and the rates that are best for your needs. It works with over 100 carriers to make shipping products to customers easy. It offers international shipping options and return management.
Picture this: You’re a high-volume seller, and your business is booming. Orders are pouring in, but with each sale, the shipping logistics pile up. This software is designed to handle the heavy lifting of high-volume e-commerce shipping. It’s like having a well-oiled machine on your side, streamlining your shipping process, comparing rates across carriers, and automating labels and tracking.
ShipEngine provides a shipping API to help businesses connect all aspects of shipping in one place. You can print shipping labels, share tracking information with customers, and more. It also includes returns management. If you’re not a developer, you may need to hire one to make the most of this platform.
Shipstation effortlessly integrates with Amazon, taking the stress out of handling shipping logistics. Not only does it provide real-time tracking, but it also fetches rates from multiple carriers – talk about saving time and money! Plus, it’s so easy to use, you’ll feel like a shipping wizard in no time.
Shipstation helps you manage and ship your orders from all your selling channels in one handy spot. Plus, it works with a bunch of different carriers so you can always find the best rates. And the cherry on top? It automates stuff like printing labels and tracking shipments to make shipping workflows more efficient. So, if you’re selling stuff online, ShipStation is a real game-changer.
ShipWorks is a top-notch software that’s all about making life easier for folks who are shipping out loads of packages per month from their e-commerce businesses or warehouses. It ties your whole ecommerce operation together in one spot, making managing online orders and getting items shipped out super simple. And the best part? It works with multiple carriers and lets you process thousands of labels per hour.
Shippo is like your one-stop-shop for all things shipping. It’s this cool software where you can check out rates from a bunch of carriers, print off your shipping labels, keep an eye on where your packages are, and even handle returns. Plus, it plays nice with online selling sites like Shopify and WooCommerce. It’s all about making shipping a breeze while saving you some cash and time.
Additional Ecommerce Shipping Companies
- OrderCup is a web-based order management software that automates your shipping processes on a global scale.
- Ordoro is a popular option for dropshipping ecommerce businesses and also offers a barcode scanning feature to cut back on fulfillment errors.
- Quickbooks Shipping Manager integrates shipping options with your accounting and inventory management software.
- Shopify Shipping allows you to print shipping labels for all your orders from within the Shopify platform.
- Freight Club is shipping software for small to mid-sized businesses looking to ship with freight rates.
- ShipRush is a cloud-based order management software that connects your shipping carriers and your small to mid-sized business.
- ShipperHQ is a cloud-based ecommerce shipping software that is included with BigCommerce’s Enterprise plan.
- FreightPOP is a cloud-based logistics management software for freight forwarding.
Which Shipping Platform Will You Use?
All right, so there’s no shortage of shipping services to work with. Since most will integrate with your ecommerce platform, it’s up to you to test and see what you think will work best for you. If you’re dealing with a high order volume, ShipEngine is your best bet. If you’re looking for the deepest discounts, then EasyShip is your answer.