The Ultimate Shopify Shipping Guide For Online Sellers
If you operate an online store, you’re familiar with the everyday challenge of getting shipments out on time. It can be difficult to keep up with a never-ending stream of orders, especially when you’re trying to get the best possible price on shipping.
Because managing logistics can be incredibly complicated, I often advise merchants to integrate full shipping software into their shopping cart system. Using shipping software can help streamline your fulfillment process, pick the best shipping options, automate label printing, and prevent headaches caused by incorrect postage.
However, for some merchants, adding shipping software is just another layer of complexity. Many merchants don’t want to go through the hassle of integrating third-party software, and they don’t want to pay a monthly fee for yet another add-on.
Fortunately for Shopify merchants, there’s another option! Shopify now offers its own shipping software that’s totally free to use and already built into every Shopify account! This service is called Shopify Shipping, and it is an excellent option for many Shopify users who are looking for an easy way to manage their order fulfillment.
Keep reading to learn more about Shopify Shipping and find out how you can implement it in your business.
Table of Contents
What Is Shopify Shipping?
Shopify Shipping is a built-in shipping suite that gives merchants tools to calculate real-time shipping rates, purchase and print shipping labels, and track shipments. Although Shopify Shipping is free for Shopify users on every pricing plan, you should note that it’s only available for orders shipped from the United States and Canada.
Shopify Shipping partners with USPS, UPS, DHL Express, and Canada Post to offer discounted rates on many shipping services. These discounts are often around 20%-50%, but they range all the way up to 90%. Accessing these shipping carriers’ rates allows you to list real-time shipping calculations both on your order processing page and in your customers’ checkout! This allows you to charge precise amounts for shipping, reducing the risk of underestimating your shipping expenses.
In addition, Shopify Shipping has many other features that can improve your order fulfillment. You also can process orders and print shipping labels in bulk right from the Shopify admin. International shipping tools can be used to create and print customs forms, and pass shipment tracking information along to your customers. All in all, Shopify Shipping offers many of the same features that you can find with third-party shipping software, totally free.
- Easy to use
- Discounted shipping rates
- Display real-time shipping rates at checkout
- FedEx services not available
- Available only for shipments originating in the US and Canada
- Batch printing limited to 20 labels at a time
- Default package settings could lead to inaccurate estimates at checkout
How Much Does Shopify Shipping Cost?
Shopify Shipping is already built into your Shopify account, and it is totally free to use. There are no additional monthly fees or per-label fees.
In comparison, pricing for many third-party shipping software apps typically ranges from $0/month to $100/month depending on the number of orders you ship per month and the level of customer support you receive.
One of the main reasons to consider Shopify Shipping is the reduced shipping rates they offer through USPS, UPS, DHL Express, and Canada Post. All Shopify customers can benefit from this discount, but merchants on higher plans will save more on shipping.
Take a look below for a breakdown of available shipping carriers and services, as well as a few examples of discounted shipping rates.
The USPS (United States Postal Service) is an online seller’s best friend when it comes to shipping small, lightweight products. This affordable shipping service is the cheapest option for shipments under 12 ounces, and their partnership with Shopify Shipping can let you save up to 90% on your shipments.
When you purchase USPS shipping labels through Shopify Shipping, you can skip the line at the post office and go straight to the drop-off box. You can also use USPS’s international options to ship across borders, and you can use their tracking features to allow customers to keep an eye on their orders.
USPS makes a number of domestic and international shipping services available through Shopify Shipping. Take a look at the available services:
Domestic USPS Services
- First-Class Package Service: 2-3 business days
- First-Class Mail: 2-3 business days
- Priority Mail: 1-3 business days
- Priority Mail Express: 1-2 business days
International USPS Services
- First-Class Package International Service: Delivery timeline varies
- Priority Mail International: 6-10 days
- Priority Mail Express International: 3-5 business days
Pricing for all shipping services depends on a variety of factors, including the shipment’s weight and dimensions, as well as the shipment’s starting point and destination. For this reason, it’s difficult to give representative pricing for all available shipping services. However, in an effort to demonstrate some of Shopify Shipping’s available discounts, we’re including a few examples of pricing below.
These rates represent the cost of shipping a small box (5 by 9 by 2 inches, 11 ounces) from San Francisco to New York City. Rates vary depending on your Shopify pricing plan:
|Basic Shopify Plan||Shopify Plan||Advanced Shopify Plan|
|USPS First-Class Package||$3.93 (25% discount)||$4.46 (22% discount)||$4.46 (22% discount)|
|USPS Priority Mail||$7.02 (6% discount)||$8.42 (12% discount)||$8.42 (12% discount)|
|USPS Priority Mail Express||$23.00 (14% discount)||$38.05 (13% discount)||$38.05 (13% discount)|
Specializing in fast shipments and guaranteed delivery, UPS is often the best option for time-sensitive shipments. UPS offers robust package-tracking features and guaranteed delivery on super fast shipment options like Next Day Air. When you use Shopify Shipping with UPS, you can save up to 73% on UPS rates, depending on your Shopify plan. You can also schedule UPS package pickups from your workplace, so you can keep shipping without having to leave your warehouse.
UPS offers a huge amount of shipping services, but only about a dozen of those services are available with Shopify Shipping. Fortunately, these services include air and ground shipping as well as domestic and international services.
Here are the UPS services you can access with Shopify Shipping:
Domestic UPS Services
- UPS Next Day Air: Next business day
- UPS Next Day Air Saver: Next business day (afternoon)
- UPS Next Day Air Early: Next business day (morning)
- UPS 2nd Day Air: 2 business days
- UPS 3 Day Select: 3 business days
- UPS Ground: 1-5 business days
International UPS Services
- UPS Worldwide Express Plus: 1-3 business days (early morning)
- UPS Worldwide Express: 1-3 business days (morning)
- UPS Worldwide Saver: 1-3 business days (end of day)
- UPS Worldwide Expedited: 2-5 business days
- UPS Standard to Canada and Mexico: Day definite by date scheduled
Like with the USPS, pricing for each shipment depends on the shipment’s weight, dimensions, starting point, and destination. Take a look at example rates for just a few UPS services below. Notice the discounts that are available with Shopify Shipping (on the Shopify plan) compared to UPS’s Daily Rates.
These rates represent the cost of shipping a medium box (7 by 7 by 5 inches, 2.0 pounds). The first two rates represent pricing for shipping domestically from New York City to San Francisco, while the last two rates represent international shipments from New York City to the specified destinations:
|UPS Daily Rate||Shopify Plan|
|UPS Ground||$17.89||$12.10 (32% discount)|
|UPS Next Day Air||$89.09||$43.79 (51% discount)|
|UPS Standard (to Vancouver, Canada)||$29.48||$21.75 (26% discount)|
|UPS Worldwide Expedited (to Tokyo)||$126.86||$44.24 (65% discount)|
If you ship internationally, you should consider DHL for your fulfillment. DHL specializes in fast, global deliveries. DHL ships to over 220 countries and territories, reaching 95% of the world’s population. With tools for creating customs forms and guaranteed international deliver (often within 2-3 business days!), DHL makes a lot of sense for international shipments. And, when you purchase shipping labels through Shopify Shipping, you can save up to 75% on DHL rates.
DHL only offers one service through Shopify Shipping. Take a look below:
International DHL Service
- DHL Express Worldwide: 2-5 business days
As you would expect, pricing for individual shipments varies dramatically depending on package weight, dimensions, origin, and destination. In order to demonstrate available Shopify Shipping discounts, we’re including an example shipment which illustrates shipping rates on each of Shopify’s pricing plans.
These rates represent the cost of shipping a small box (5 by 9 by 2 inches, 11 ounces) from San Francisco to Japan:
|Basic Shopify Plan||Shopify Plan||Advanced Shopify Plan|
|DHL Express Worldwide||$45.00 (57% discount)||$36.02 (66% discount)||$33.42 (68% discount)|
The Canada Post is Canada’s primary mail carrier service (much like the USPS in the United States). For Shopify sellers based in Canada, Canada Post is the only shipping carrier available through Shopify Shipping. It is also exclusively available to sellers who ship from Canada (meaning sellers in the United States cannot ship to Canada using Canada Post). Canada Post is a great option for sellers shipping domestically within Canada.
When you use Shopify Shipping to purchase shipping labels from Canada Post, you can save up to 47%. Canada Post shipments come with tracking capabilities, so you can give customers notifications on the status of their orders.
Canada Post offers a number of different services with Shopify Shipping. They have domestic services and international services. Notice that Canada Post differentiates between international shipments to the United States and international shipments to the rest of the world.
Here are Canada Post’s available services with Shopify Shipping:
Domestic Canada Post Services
- Expedited Parcel: 1-7 business days
- Xpresspost: 1-2 business days
- Priority: Next business day
International Canada Post Services: USA
- Small Packet USA–Air: 5-8 business days
- Tracked Packet–USA: 4-7 business days
- Expedited Parcel–USA: 4-7 business days
- Xpresspost–USA: 2-3 business days
International Canada Post Services: The Rest of the World
- Small Packet International: Surface (1-3 months) or Air (6-10 business days)
- International Parcel: Surface (1-3 months) or Air (12+ business days)
- Tracked Packet–International: 6-10 business days
- Xpresspost–International: 4-7 business days
Pricing for shipments with Canada Post varies depending on package weight, dimensions, origin, and destination. Take a look below for just one comparison of the rates available at the post office and Shopify Shipping’s discounted rates (on the Shopify plan).
These rates represent the cost of shipping a small package (10 by 7 by 0.1 centimeters, 1 kilogram) from Toronto to Vancouver, Canada:
|Post Office Rate||Shopify Plan|
|Expedited Parcel||$12.88||$11.82 (8% discount)|
|Priority||$35.28||$32.98 (7% discount)|
|Xpresspost||$18.00||$16.76 (7% discount)|
Basic Features Of Shopify Shipping
Shopify Shipping comes with all of the features most merchants need to process orders. There are a few areas in which Shopify should continue strengthening its existing features, but Shopify Shipping’s current features meet many sellers’ needs.
Here are a few of the features you can find already built-in:
- Integrations With Major Carriers: Ship your orders through Canada Post, DHL, USPS, and UPS.
- Batch Label Printing: You can purchase and print up to 20 labels at a time. You can use a regular desktop printer or a supported label printer to print these labels.
- Shipping Insurance: Shipping insurance is only available to merchants who are shipping from the United States. Buy up to $5,000 of insurance coverage on eligible shipments.
- Flat Rate Or Calculated Shipping Options: You can choose to set flat shipping rates or calculate rates based on weight and dimensions. Shopify Shipping now allows all merchants to list calculated shipping rates to customers at checkout. There’s only one disadvantage to these calculated rates and it is that Shopify Shipping’s calculated rates use only the dimensions that you enter for your default package. If a shipment differs vastly in size from your default package, your calculated rates may be incorrect during your customers’ checkout process. More on this later.
- Better Customer Service Features: Provide customers with real-time updates and tracking information.
- International Features: Print customs forms with your shipping labels.
- Address Checker: Shopify Shipping automatically checks the format of customer addresses and flags addresses that may be incorrect or improperly formatted.
It’s also worth noting here that while Shopify Shipping supports most packages, it does not support all. Here’s a brief list of unsupported shipment types:
- Letter: Flat envelope thinner than ¼ inch.
- Large package: Total dimensions (total of the package’s length, width, and height) greater than 84 inches.
- Irregular package: Non-rectangular package.
How To Set Up Shopify Shipping
Since the Shopify Shipping suite is already built into every Shopify account, it doesn’t take much work to start using the program! Here are the steps you should take to implement the Shopify Shipping suite.
1. Add Your Shipping Address
You probably have already entered your business’s address during the sign-up process with Shopify. Double-check that your address is correct.
If you ship from a location that is different than your business’s primary location (for example, a warehouse), add that address into the “Locations” section in your settings page.
2. Choose Your Shipping Carriers & Services
Depending on the country you’re based in, you can add shipping services from USPS, UPS, and DHL (for merchants in the United States) or Canada Post (for merchants in Canada). Choose which of the available services you’d like to use for your shipments, and click the checkbox to make those services available on your order processing page.
3. Add All Product Weights
In order to calculate accurate real-time rates, your store must include weights for all your products. If you haven’t taken this step already, now is the time!
You can set weights in pounds, ounces, kilograms, or grams.
4. Set A Default Package
Shopify Shipping calculates the weight of your shipments by adding product weight to the weight of your packaging materials. You can set the weight and dimensions of your packaging materials by setting up a “default package.” Shopify will use the dimensions and packaging weight that you enter here to calculate real-time shipping rates to display on a customer’s checkout page.
Unfortunately, you can only set one default package, which means that if you have products that vary dramatically in size, you may end up charging incorrect amounts for shipping. You are able to select another package size during the order processing step, but the rates Shopify displays at checkout are only based on this one default package.
If this doesn’t work for you, Shopify recommends that you use a third-party shipping app to calculate rates at checkout.
5. Set Up Your Printer
Shopify Shipping lets you print labels on a regular desktop printer or on a supported label printer. Desktop printers create regular paper labels, which you can attach to your shipment using packing tape or plastic sleeves, while label printers create stickers labels.
Supported label printers include:
- Dymo LabelWriter 4XL
- Rollo label printer
- Brother QL-1110NWB label printer
6. Adjust Settings For Specific Shipping Zones
Some sellers choose to offer certain shipping services only within specific shipping zones. For example, you might want to offer expedited shipping only to customers near your warehouse. Or, you might want to offer international shipping only to a few select countries.
Shopify Shipping allows you to adjust your settings to offer certain shipping services only to some shipping zones. Be sure to look into these features before you launch.
Once you have everything set up–you’ve chosen a few shipping services, added product weights, set a default package, and tested your printer–you can begin fulfilling orders! Head over to your orders page to start processing shipments.
Other Shipping Options For Shopify Sellers
If you’re interested in Shopify Shipping, but not quite sure it’s the right choice for your business, there are a few alternative options you should try.
Third-party shipping software apps like ShippingEasy and ShipStation include nearly everything Shopify Shipping offers, and they typically have even stronger features available. You can use these third-party shipping software programs to print shipping labels, manage returns, track shipments, and automate order fulfillment. Then, you can integrate with Shopify to generate accurate real-time shipping rates at checkout and take advantage of the discounted rates that these apps have negotiated with popular shipping carriers.
Keep in mind, however, that in order to take advantage of these features, you have to pay a monthly fee. Subscription to a third-party shipping software typically costs between $0/month and $100/month, depending on how many orders you ship monthly.
Alternatively, Shopify Shipping is a free option for Shopify users. For that reason, I’d advise that all Shopify merchants at least explore the Shopify Shipping suite to see if it can fit their needs. The program is already included with your subscription, and it is easy to use.