Shipping software is a critical need for online businesses. Here is a complete guide on what it is, what it includes and what the top options are.
- Shipping software integrates with your company's e-commerce platform to automate your shipping and delivery services.
- Shipping software costs $30 per month for a small number of shipments up to several hundred dollars per month.
- Popular shipping software options include Ordoro, ShippingEasy, Shippo, ShipStation, Shopify Shipping and Stamps.com.
- This article is for business owners interested in using shipping software to make their shipping and delivery services quicker and more efficient.
As your e-commerce business grows, you may be struggling to keep up with the volume of orders you get. Getting all of the items ready to ship with the right labels and packing slips can be a tedious task. To expedite that process, many online businesses use shipping software.
What is shipping software?
Shipping software is a platform that provides tools to automate the process of shipping your products to your customers. Most shipping software integrates with your e-commerce platform, thus allowing you to quickly determine exactly how much you'll spend to ship certain orders.
Additionally, most shipping software generates shipping labels that you can immediately print and attach to your packages. [Looking to start an e-commerce business? Here is everything you need to know about selling online.]
Key takeaway: Shipping software connects with your company's e-commerce platform to streamline your shipping and delivery operations.
What are the benefits of shipping software?
There are a number of ways your company can benefit from using shipping software, including:
- Discounted and real-time shipping rates. In business, sometimes you have to spend money to save money. Shipping software is one example: Your small monthly fee will likely be offset by substantial discounts offered by the platform. The software can also give you pricing that reflects a carrier's newest rate updates, ensuring you don't have packages with insufficient postage returned to you.
- Multiple carrier options. Sometimes, the shipping options that one carrier offers don't meet your business's needs. Shipping software presents options from across several carriers, usually including UPS and USPS and sometimes DHL and FedEx.
- Bulk shipping label and packing slip creation and printing. One of the most tedious aspects of running an e-commerce business is creating and printing shipping labels. Shipping software handles all of this for you – no more tediously filling out forms, making sure the customer's address is correct or figuring out which shipping options are the most suitable.
- Branded or customized labels and packing slips. By branding or customizing your labels and packing slips to include your company logo and information, you increase the chances the customer buys from you again.
Key takeaways: Shipping software gives you access to better shipping rates, multiple carriers, and bulk printing of shipping labels and packing slips, which can sometimes be branded or customized.
How much does shipping software cost?
You'll typically pay a recurring monthly subscription for shipping software. For introductory tiers, the monthly cost can be $30.
Higher-end solutions may cost hundreds of dollars per month, though usually, a company's most popular offering is its mid-level tier, which might cost $60 per month, depending on the company.
Some shipping software is offered for free; however, those options typically include fewer features.
Key takeaway: Shipping software costs vary by tier. Prices range from $30 to $60 per month. More robust options cost several hundred dollars. There are some free shipping software options.
Top features to consider for shipping software
Among some of the more valuable features shipping software includes are:
- Automated tagging. With this tool, you can separate shipments into categories. Other data your system gathers about these categories can inform your future strategy through historical information.
- Branded and customized labels. While arguably a marketing tactic more than a shipping need, branding and customization are important features to consider. When customers see branding on shipped goods, they may view your company as more established and trustworthy, leading to a strong customer relationship.
- Bulk printing. Depending on the size of your operation, you may save yourself lots of time if your shipping software allows you to simultaneously print hundreds of shipping labels and packing slips.
- Discounted shipping rates. Most shipping software services give discounted shipping rates, so what you spend each month for the software may be offset by the discounts you receive.
- Mobile apps. Many shipping software options include a mobile app, so you can tap into your software from smartphones and tablets.
- Product returns. Some customers may return their purchases. That's why return policies are important, and with shipping software that facilitates your customers' return shipping, adhering to these policies becomes much easier.
- Reporting and analytics. Shipping software provides reporting and analytics tools that allow you to identify shipping trends such as rates, frequent customers, and more. The insights you gain from shipping software can help you save money.
- Third-party integrations. Ample third-party integrations are key to shipping orders on time, error-free, while also informing other areas of your business (e.g., accounting.) you want it to do.
Key takeaway: The features you should consider for your shipping software include automated tagging, customized labels, bulk printing, product returns, reporting and more.
Popular shipping software to consider
Among the most popular shipping software programs for e-commerce businesses are:
Ordoro streamlines e-commerce operations and logistics across all your company's sales channels. Ordoro is cloud-based and known for its advanced reporting and analytics tools.
Ordoro's introductory Express tier costs $59 per month and includes:
- Discounted USPS rates
- No seller-fulfilled Prime fees
- Shipping presets and automation rules
- Barcode scanning
The Pro tier costs $499 per month and includes all Express features plus dropshipping, inventory management, kitting and purchasing. The Enterprise tier varies in price and includes all Pro features plus:
- Dedicated customer service reps
- Customized integrations and workflows
- Vendor portals and supplier management
ShippingEasy is a cloud-based shipping software through which e-commerce companies can:
- Create and print discounted shipping labels
- Expedite order processing
- Manage inventory
- Customize and send marketing emails
ShippingEasy's Starter tier is free, allows for 50 shipments per month and includes:
- Discounted shipping rates for UPS and USPS
- Automation tools to lessen shipping time
- ConnectEasy, for an additional fee, to automatically print labels upon creation
- Automatic order imports from your online store
The five tiers, in addition to ShippingEasy's Starter subscription, range in price from $29 per month for 500 shipments to $159 per month for 10,000 shipments. ShippingEasy provides a breakdown of each tier and the included features.
Through Shippo, customer orders immediately sync with your shipping software. This expedites fulfillment and shipping. Shippo also gives you the ability to create customized shipping workflows, return-label creation, personalized tracking emails and more.
Shippo's pay-as-you-go tier costs 5 cents per label, allows for one user and includes:
- Shippo's web app
- API access
- Competitive USPS rates and discounts with global carriers
- Rate negotiation and use
- Unlimited carrier accounts and third-party integrations
- Rates at a glance
There are two higher tiers, with additional features listed in Shippo's tier-feature chart. The professional plan costs between $10 and $125 per month. Customized pricing is offered for the premier plan.
ShipStation's platform includes order processing, customer communication tools and label creation. ShipStation integrates with numerous third-party software platforms, including those of major carriers.
All ShipStation tiers include labels, packing slips and customer support. Prices range from $9 per month for 50 shipments to $159 per month for 10,000 shipments.
E-commerce platform Shopify makes its own shipping software, thus saving a step on integrating your shipping system with your online store. Shopify Shipping is only available to businesses using Shopify's e-commerce platform.
Shopify Shipping is automatically included with all Shopify accounts. Pricing details are below:
- Basic Shopify is $29 per month. Features include label printing, automatic integration with the Shopify fulfillment network and automated shipping cost calculation at checkout. Users receive discounts up to 64% off for DHL Express, UPS and USPS.
- Shopify is $79 per month. This plan's features include all those in the Basic Shopify plan, as well as USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing. The maximum discount rate increases to 72%.
- Advanced Shopify costs $299 per month. In addition to all of the features included in the Shopify plan, you also get third-party shipping rate calculation and integration with your shipping accounts. The maximum discount rate increases to 74%.
Stamps.com shipping software helps you choose the best carrier and rate from among various discounted UPS and USPS shipping options, it then sends your customers real-time tracking updates. The Stamps.com shipping software platform – separate from its popular small office mailer platform – integrates with various e-commerce and order-management software systems.
Stamps.com's introductory Pro shipping tier costs $17.99 per month, allows for one user and includes:
- Unlimited shipments
- Unlimited sales channels
- Discounted USPS insurance rates
- Regular live telephone support
Two higher tiers are available with extra or expanded features detailed on Stamps.com's website. The Pro Plus plan is $34.99 per month for three users. The High-Volume Warehouse Shipper plan has customized pricing.
Key takeaway: Ordoro, ShippingEasy, Shippo, ShipStation, Shopify Shipping and Stamps.com are among some of the most popular shipping software options.