What you need to know about Shipping Software

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In today's competitive ecommerce marketplace, it's essential to let your customers know where their order is in the shipping cycle. Customers today want to be able to track their packages from the time they leave your warehouse until they arrive at their front door. It's also important for your bottom line to be able to get competitive pricing on a variety of shipping carriers, be able to print branded labels and to run reports so you can easily manage your shipping costs. Shipping software helps make all of these functions easy by automating the process and giving you and your customers the information they need without tying up your customer service people and other staff unnecessarily. This is true whether you have a large company or run a small Etsy or eBay store.

Finding the best shipping software for ecommerce can be somewhat of a challenge. There are so many different types of parcel shipping software programs from which to choose. There are carrier-specific programs, such as UPS shipping software, FedEx shipping software and USPS shipping software. There are multi carrier shipping software systems. There is freight shipping software. And, there are shipping apps designed for those who sell on a single e-commerce platform, such as eBay, Amazon or Shopify. There are even a few free shipping software programs.

The best retail shipping software system is one that best matches your company's size, shopping platforms and shipping carriers. You want one that will save you money on shipping as well as allow you to monitor your customers' packages as they make their way through the shipping process. Ideally, your system will give you the information you need to choose the best online shipping service, the one that offers attractive pricing and expediency.

Shipping Apps

If you sell via a single e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, WooCommerce or BigCommerce, there are designated shipping apps created specifically for retailers on these sites. These ship apps, in general, are much less expensive that adopting an integrated system like Shippo or Shipstation, and offer discounts on shipping carriers as well as the ability to create labels, track shipping, process returns and run reports.

The major downside of a single site shipping app is that such an app is not likely to be able to grow with your company as you expand into selling on other sites. You may find yourself using several of these apps that aren't integrated. At that point, it would be better to invest in a single integrated system. Starting with such a system early in your e-commerce journey will save you the hassle of combining systems and uploading data as you grow.

Just a few of these shipping apps include: (We'll discuss the integrated systems later in this article.)

  • Easyship -- Easyship offers shipping discounts on a number of carriers. These prices aren't quite as aggressive as Shipstation pricing and Shippo pricing, but the system is much less expensive to use. Easyship is available for use with eBay, Shopify, BigCommerce, Amazon and several other ecommerce platforms. However, you need a separate Easyship download for each site.
  • Ordoro -- This is a good, basic shipping system for e-commerce retailers that use a single platform. With prices that start at just $59 per month, Ordoro offers easy shipping tracking, discounts with shipping carriers and an easy-to-use dashboard where you can track all of your shipping transactions.
  • Postalmate -- Postalmate is a desktop app that offers basic shipping tracking, labeling and reports for small e-commerce retailers. Like Ordoro, the pricing is less expensive than the integrated systems. It starts at $90 per month and the company offers a free 60-day trial, so you can see if the system is right for your business. When you compare Postalmate vs Shiprite and other similar systems, you'll see that you can save quite a bit of money using Postalmate.

Postage and Label Software

The best shipping software programs are integrated with postage and label creation systems, which makes it easy to get your packages from your warehouse or home office to the buyer without delay or unnecessary hassle. Easy postage systems allow you to save time and give your customers the service they deserve. One of the most popular such programs is Shipstation. This one-stop shipping program integrates with multiple e-commerce platforms, such as eBay, Shopify and Amazon plus virtually all major shipping companies, including UPS, FedEx, USPS and DHL. Shipstation features including giving you the capability of customizing your labels as well as branding your tracking page for a better customer experience.

In addition to saving time and money, using a shipping label software system helps you keep track of your shipping prices. One of the trickiest parts of selling on sites like eBay is making sure that you charge enough to cover your shipping costs while using multiple carriers and working with customers of all over the US and the world. You don't want to charge so much for shipping that your product is unattractive to buyers, but neither do you was to lose money on the transaction. (Contrary to what you hear on late-night infomercials, you won't make it up in volume.) Shipstation shipping rates are listed on a single screen, so it's easy to make a good pricing decision on shipping.

Web-based shipping software and support

Not all shipping software is alike. We prefer using web-based shipping programs. These programs, such as Shipstation, Shippo and Pacejet, allow you to access your data from any Internet-enabled device. This means you can assist customers and view your reports even when you're out of town, on the road or at your in-laws' house for a holiday dinner. These companies also provide excellent customer service via a variety of venues, by phone, via email and through a chat function on the website.

If you're worried about security with a web-based shipping program, you needn't be. These companies all use state-of-the-art security protocols, so you don't have to worry about hackers gaining access to your or your customers' sensitive personal information. For example, Shipstation login information is encrypted and Pacejet login information includes multi-level security protocols.

Let's look at a few of these web-based shipping programs and their individual strengths:

  • Shippo -- Created in 2013, this San Francisco-based company offer shipping solutions for e-commerce retailers with shipping to more than 190 countries. The company website boasts that more than 10,000 retailers use Shippo shipping software. Shippo benefits include deep discounts on shipping prices with more than 50 shipping carriers even for small e-commerce retailers as well as a shipping easy login page that consolidates all the information you need on a single dashboard.
  • Shipstation -- We talked a little about Shipstation above. This company, founded in 2011, also offers deep discounts on domestic and international shipping and allows you to sync your various orders from multiple sites into a single program. This program is very well ranked among e-retailers. Reviewers mention that the program is very easy to use and that it streamlines the process of handling customer returns. A Shipstation subscription is free for 60 days. After that, there are a variety of plans available, geared for different levels of transactions.
  • Pacejet -- Pacejet is another cloud-based integrated shipping software system. They boast on their website that it takes fewer clicks to use their system than it does using one of the competing systems. The Pacejet login page offers all the information you need to process your shipping transactions, all in one dashboard. Based in Columbus Ohio, Pacejet is one of the newest companies to enter this field.
  • Shiprite -- One of the original integrated shipping systems, Shiprite was founded in New York City in 1990. The company offers both software systems and point-of-sale hardware systems for e-commerce and traditional retailers. One of the hallmarks of this company is the many Shiprite videos offered to subscribers for training purposes.

UPS Worldship

Some shipping carriers, such as UPS, are providing their own shipping solutions for ecommerce professionals who use their delivery services. Their theory is that the easier they make it for online retailers, the more likely the retailers will be to use their services exclusively or at least primarily. To this end, UPS developed Worldship, a software program that allows retailers to print labels, track shipping, upload custom documents, set up shipping alerts and run reports directly from their home office. Worldship is available in 20 languages and allows you to ship from more than 140 origination countries.

The UPS Worldship 2019 download even allows retailers to integrate other programs, such as downloading your address book into the Worldship database. Although UPS Worldship is currently only available for Windows operating systems, there is a UPS Worldship for Mac in development. There us no UPS Worldship cost; however, you do need to register to be able to access software download.

The UPS Worldship 2017 software download and subsequent editions are not without their issues. For example, there was a UPS Worldship error 892 Windows 10 issue that prevented users from being to log on to the program. This issue has been resolved, but there are still reports online of problems with pricing. As with any shipping software, it's wise to weigh the merits of the UPS Worldship 2018 download carefully before committing to the program.