Shopify stores that jump into expansion without first optimizing their shipping processes are bound to experience a setback. Shipping and fulfillment are some of the most time-consuming parts of running a Shopify store because customers want their orders delivered fast.
With many customers expecting 2-day delivery as the bare minimum these days, it creates a lot of pressure for store owners to fulfill their orders quickly, which can lead to mistakes.
Things can become very chaotic and overwhelming. This is the reason why businesses turn to services like Shopify’s native shipping features. Shopify offers a number of services that help stores get started with shipping to make it easier to keep their customers happy.
By offering services like label printing, pickups, and incredible discounts in shipping rates, Shopify can help save your time and effort that you can then utilize to focus singularly on the growth of your business.
What is Shopify shipping?
Shopify shipping a native Shopify app, allowing Shopify merchants to fulfill all their shipping requirements without having to install any third-party software.Shopify’s shipping features offer merchants all the tools they need to handle fulfillment as they begin selling their products.
Shopify fulfillment models
There are a number of fulfillment models to choose from for your Shopify store. If you are a small business and can fulfill your orders yourself you can choose the self-fulfillment option. If you don’t like the hassle of handling fulfillment yourself you can rely on Shopify’s shipping services or 3PLs to do your work for you.
Shopify allows you to have a Shopify store and handle the fulfillment yourself. This option is suitable for you if you're a small business and aren’t shipping hundreds of orders a month.
You can also choose to use the self-fulfillment option if you are confident that you will be able to cut down shipping costs that way or if you need to ship from a place other than Australia, Canada, or the United States. However, if you are looking to expand your business, it's advisable to rely on a trusted fulfillment service and focus your energy on growth instead.
As Shopify Shipping itself allows you to ship only from the United States, Canada, or Australia, it offers third-party integrations that you can use to ship from other places in the world.
Third-party apps like Veeqo also allow you to ship orders from other channels than Shopify and give you the ability to bulk print more than 20 labels at a time.
Using third-party integrations can be very helpful if your business is expanding and you want more repetitive tasks to be automated. Using apps like ShipStation or Shippo allows you to use FedEx, USPS, UPS, and other courier services.
If you want to run a business without getting into the manufacturing of goods, dropshipping is just the thing for you. All you need to do is find the right supplier and then use one of the Shopify dropshipping apps for importing the products that you want to sell.
You can use large marketplaces like AliExpress and Amazon as your supplier and connect them to Oberlo (a Shopify app) to create your own store. Every time you receive an order all you have to do is press the order button and the product will be directly sent from your supplier to your customer anywhere in the world.
Shopify’s Fulfillment Services
Shopify used to have the Shopify Fulfillment Network that offered a 3PL-like service to ship orders for merchants. This has changed since Shopify didn’t get the results they were hoping for.
With the acquisition of leading 3PL Deliverr, we expect Shopify to start offering fulfillment services again when the acquisition closes.
Shopify shipping options
Shopify sellers get to choose from a number of shipping options based on what suits their business the best. Building the right shipping strategy for your business can prove very fruitful in the long run and help you gain more customers.
Here are some shipping options offered by Shopify.
Flat rate shipping is when the shipping costs don't vary with the number, type, or size of the product ordered by the customers. We'd suggest you use flat rate shipping when the products you are selling are more similar than different in terms of type and size. This is important as it will keep you from overcharging or undercharging your customers.
In order for Shopify shipping calculators to come up with accurate calculations, you need to give Shopify accurate and precise information about the dimensions and weight of your products. This process will help you determine the shipping costs which you can then use to come up with a suitable shipping strategy for your business.
Set a default package size
As you set up shipping on Shopify, you will need to fill in the details of your default package size and weight. You can also fill in the details for each individual product separately to print shipping labels but Shopify will use the information you provided for the default package to show your customers live shipping rates at the time of checkout.
Set up a printer
The process of printing shipping labels is pretty simple. You can use your regular desktop printer to print labels on paper or you can use a label printer that allows you to print labels on stickers. All you need to do for printing labels is to make sure that your device is properly connected to the printer and then set up the printer.
Adjust shipping zones
The next step in setting up shipping in Shopify is to divide the world into shipping zones. You can set up different shipping rates for different destinations depending on your customer base, shipping costs, and distance. You can also choose to offer free shipping in some areas and keep a flat shipping rate for others.
Offering free shipping near the country of origin can help you increase local sales and offering free shipping or discounted shipping rate for a minimum order can help you get larger orders from your international customers.
Shopify shipping rates
Shopify cuts down your shipping rates by offering your discounted rates from a number of well-reputed courier services. The plans and packages offered by different courier services vary in some aspects, so build your shipping strategy based on what plan suits your business the best.
Sample 1 lb shipment from New York City to Chicago on Shopify:
Priority Mail $7.80 (28% savings)
Priority Mail Express- $36.80 (15% savings)
First-Class Package International Service (New York City to London)- $22.80 (6% savings)
Sample 1 Ib shipment for New York City to Chicago on Shopify:
UPS Ground- $8.31 (27% savings)
UPS Nex Day Air- $37.51 (48% savings)
UPS Standard to Canada (New York City to Toronto)- $19.56 (28% savings)
UPS Worldwide Expedited (New York City to London)- $39.33 (63% savings)
Sample 1 Ib shipment on Shopify:
DHL Express Worldwide (New York City to Toronto)- $25.15 (71% savings)
DHL Express Worldwide (New York City to London)- $34.47 (69% savings)
DHL Express Worldwide (New York City to Sydney)- $38.56 (68% savings)
Shopify shipping apps
The native Shopify shipping software is good, but to truly optimize your shipping processes, the Shopify App Store has you covered with its fulfillment apps.
Here are some of the best apps you can install on your Shopify store.
Malomo is a shipment tracking platform that can help you generate more engagement, loyalty, and revenue by turning your customers' shipment tracking experience into a full-scale marketing channel.
With Malomo, you can turn the traditionally stale experience of shipment tracking into an avenue for driving customer engagement. And you'll do this without sounding overly intrusive or desperate.
Create branded tracking pages to upsell customers who check their delivery status
Deep integrations with Shopify and Klaviyo
Proactively notifies customers of shipping delays
Shippo can help you streamline the shipping process by giving you discounted shipping rates from a number of carriers, allowing you to print labels, and by providing tracking services for your customers. Shippo also allows you to print return labels and does not charge you until they are used. With Shippo there are no hidden charges or monthly subscription fees; you only pay for the labels and tracking number.
ShipBob has a direct integration with Shopify and allows you to connect with it in a few easy steps. Once the two are connected the order process becomes automated. As soon as someone places an order on Shopify it automatically gets pushed to ShipBob.
Along with providing shipping services ShipBob also provides inventory management and tracking services for Shopify. ShipBob also offers guaranteed two-day shipping for merchants if you want to compete with Amazon and other large brands.
ShippingTree is a 3PL that makes the shipping process very simple and easy to handle. ShippingTree handles order fulfillment for you and lets you offer 2-day fulfillment so you can focus on running your store.
Shopify Shipping FAQs
Shipping for Shopify stores is a beast of a process to manage. Here are some of the common questions we get from merchants about shipping.
Does Shopify ship internationally?
Yes, Shopify’s native shipping features allow its merchants based in Australia, Canada, and the US to ship internationally through a variety of carriers. For other countries, merchants can make use of shipping apps to make it easier to ship internationally.
What are the best Shopify shipping apps?
Some of the best Shopify shipping apps include ShippingTree, Veeqo, ShippingEasy, Shippo, EasyShip, and ShipStation. The app that will work the best for you depends on your individual business needs.
How much does UPS charge for shipping?
UPS, when used as a Shopify carrier, charges range from $8.31 to $39.33 for a 1 lb shipment based on the shipping destination and time of delivery.
What is the cheapest shipping method for Shopify stores?
USPS is the cheapest shipping method but it works the best for light-weight and less urgent orders.
In the end, it all boils down to using the shipping method that works best for your Shopify store. The best approach is to analyze your business goals, work out your finances, explore the available shipping options and choose the one that provides you the best value for money and allows you the time and energy to focus on growing your business.