Simplify Your Shipping: Using Shipping Software to Your Advantage
If you’ve read our previous shipping articles (or you’ve ever looked at a table of shipping rates), you know that shipping calculations are complicated.
Shipping expenses are determined by a whole host of variables, including a shipment’s weight, dimensions, and shipping zones. Calculating rates for each individual shipment can be time-consuming, and if you do it wrong, you could end up overpaying.
With so much involved in shipping calculations, I encourage all online sellers to consider adding shipping software to their current software systems.
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Table of Contents
What Is Shipping Software?
Shipping programs are software solutions that integrate with your eCommerce platform to provide real-time shipping calculations for your products. In addition, shipping software lets you purchase and print shipping labels right from your computer.
These integrations are typically available as SaaS subscriptions, meaning that you pay a monthly fee for access to the software. Take a look in your eCommerce platform’s marketplaces to see which software offer pre-built integrations.
Why Use Shipping Software?
Shipping software has a number of additional benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should consider subscribing to a shipping solution:
- Real-Time Shipping Rates
- Shipping solutions integrate with popular carriers to provide up-to-date shipping calculations. As your orders import into your shipping solution, these rates will be automatically calculated based on specifications regarding product weight, dimensions, and customers’ addresses.
- Find Shipping Options Quickly
- Shipping solutions don’t just calculate one shipping rate. You’ll be presented with a wide range of shipping options, all at different speeds, from different carriers, at different priorities.
- Reduced Shipping Rates
- Most popular shipping solutions have made arrangements with large carriers to offer discounted shipping rates to their customers. These discounts can be as steep as 70% off the regular rates.
- Buy & Print Labels At The Warehouse
- Skip the trip to the post office! Shipping solutions let you purchase and print shipping labels from your work computer. You can also print packing slips to include in your shipments.
How Do I Add Shipping Software?
Fortunately, in most cases, integrating shipping software with an eCommerce platform is a simple process. There are a couple ways you can go about integrating the two programs:
Option 1: Sign up for a shipping solution. Enter your eCommerce platform’s URL or (or your login and password when prompted).
Option 2: Find the shipping software in your eCommerce platform’s marketplace and click “Add.” Then, follow the rest of the setup guide.
Once you’ve integrated the two, you’ll want to make sure everything is in working order. Create a few trial orders and click “Sync” in your shipping admin to make sure everything transfers over correctly.
What Does Good Shipping Software Look Like?
A good shipping software program is one that fits your needs and makes shipping easier. As you look for a shipping solution for your business, you should keep an eye out for a few key features:
- Bulk Printing Options
- Print hundreds of packing slips and shipping labels with one click.
- Excellent Shipping Discounts
- We know there are some pretty steep discounts available from the right shipping solutions. Look for an appetizing offer before you commit.
- Ability to Customize Labels
- Make sure you can add your company’s logo and contact information to your packing slips.
- Return Management Features
- Check for the ability to include return shipping labels in your shipments. Only pay for return shipping when those labels are used.
- International Shipping Features
- If you ship across borders, make sure your shipping solution integrates with international carriers.
- Reporting Tools
- View a summary of your shipments to see where you ship most frequently and how much your shipments tend to cost.
Above all, you should look for ease of use. No software is helpful if you can’t use it! Sign up for any available trials. Test the software with your eCommerce platform to make sure orders sync quickly and accurately. Try purchasing and printing shipping labels. Dive into more complicated features to make sure the software can handle your business’s specific needs.
And, when you encounter an issue, call your software’s support team. Make sure customer support is responsive, friendly, and helpful.
What Are The Best Shipping Software Programs?
With so many shipping solutions on the market, it can be difficult to know where to begin looking. That’s where we come in! Take a look at our recommendations for shipping solutions by touring through our top reviews.
We suggest you start your search with our top-rated shipping software. Here are a few you should check out:
Plans range in price from $9/month for 50 shipments to $159/month for unlimited shipments. Each plan includes customer support and all of ShipStation’s features. ShipStation offers enough features to support most merchants’ needs, including:
- Integrations for USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL accounts
- Discounts on USPS Priority and Express mail
- Shipping rates calculated and compared in real time
- Batch-printing of hundreds of orders at once
ShippingEasy (see our review) is one of our favorite shipping solutions, primarily because it is simple to learn and relatively affordable. You can ship 500 orders for $29/month and 6,000 orders for $99/month. Each step in pricing includes more shipments and higher-level support options. ShippingEasy also offers a free plan for merchants shipping fewer than 50 orders each month.
ShippingEasy partners with USPS to offer up to 46% off shipping rates, and integrates with major eCommerce platforms. Top features include:
- A free Endicia account
- Shipping status updates and real-time tracking
- Individual or batch shipping
Ordoro (see our review) is a shipping and inventory management software that is best known for its dropshipping features. You can choose to purchase a shipping-only plan or you can opt to have Ordoro handle shipping, inventory management, and dropshipping.
If you choose to use only Ordoro’s shipping features, you can expect to pay between $25/month for 700 orders/month and $129/month for unlimited orders. As you’d expect, each step up in pricing also includes additional features. Ordoro provides a free plan for merchants shipping fewer than 50 orders/month.
Pricing for the shipping, inventory management, and dropshipping package begins at $299/month for 1,500 orders. If you ship 4,000 orders per month, the price is $499/month, and if you’d like to ship unlimited orders, there is an Enterprise plan available.
As I’ve said, Ordoro is a popular solution due to its dropshipping functionality. You can select items to ship directly from your supplier, and you can split orders to ship from multiple suppliers.
Ordoro’s other features include:
- Collect orders from multiple sales channels
- Integrate with USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL International, and Canada Post
- Best-in-industry shipping rates (up to 67% with USPS)
- Tracking numbers automatically sent to customers upon shipment
- Inventory management (if you choose to purchase it)
In addition, Ordoro integrates with the most popular eCommerce platforms on the market. Ordoro offers excellent customer support options and is relatively simple to use. Test it out with a free 15-day trial or read our full review.
Stamps.com is a bit different than the shipping solutions we’ve presented above. While ShipStation, ShippingEasy, and Ordoro all allow you to connect with multiple shipping carriers, Stamps.com connects you with just one carrier: USPS.
Stamps.com is a simpler shipping solution that allows merchants who ship primarily through the USPS to purchase postage online and print shipping labels using any printer. Stamps.com is available as both hosted and downloadable software. The hosted software is intended for Mac users, and the more robust downloadable software is available for PC.
Stamps.com is also unique in their pricing model. The software is priced at one flat rate: $15.99/month (plus the cost of postage). This rate remains the same no matter how many orders you ship.
When you sign up for Stamps.com you’ll get a few additional perks. These bonuses include a 5 lb. digital scale, a free supplies kit, and a total of $15 in free postage if you stay with the software for two months.
Features for Stamps.com are limited compared to other shipping software. However, if your main goal is to simply buy and print postage from USPS, Stamps.com’s functionality will be more than sufficient. Features include:
- Discounted rates with the USPS up to 40%
- Bulk label printing of up to 1,000 labels
- Send return shipping labels to customers through email
- Schedule USPS pickups online
- Automatically notify customers when their orders ship
Stamps.com integrates easily with many popular eCommerce solutions as well as other multi-carrier shipping software (like ShipWorks and ShipStation). Try Stamps.com for yourself with a free 4-week trial (you should know, however, that you must cancel your trial within those 4 weeks or you will be billed the monthly rate). Sign up for a free trial now or read our full review for more information.
Explore Your Options
As you can see, there are plenty of advantages to incorporating shipping software into your current system. We hope you’ll take the time to go through our shipping software reviews as you make your selection.
Continue on to our next article to learn how to use your shipping methods to attract and maintain customers.
See More Articles From Our Shipping Series