Looking for Shipping Apps For Your E-Commerce Site?
So you have a product and you setup your own e-commerce store on Shopify, WordPress (woocommerce), Magento, or whatever other ecommerce platform/online store builder you chose. That’s great, but now you have to get your products to your customers. Should you ship through UPS, DHL, USPS, or FedEx? What about Amazon? Should you sell on there? And if you do, should you fulfill with Amazon as well?
This guide breaks down the top shipping apps for any e-commerce businesses, the associated shipping costs, inventory management, and overall order fulfillment capabilities.
What to Look For When Considering an Ecommerce Shipping App
One of the best ways to find any app for anything is to look at your current process and assess areas you are either a) missing or b) can be improved upon. If you aren’t using an app yet, then you’re starting from scratch so anything is better than nothing! But there are still a few main things to consider when selecting:
Features and Services
What are the key features and services the app offers? Is there a differentiator that makes this app stand out amongst the rest for your shipping software needs? Every business will have its own needs, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. Most apps will have the basics like printing and return labels, so look for that one standout feature that will really help your business.
So you’re on Shopify but this app only works with WooCommerce? On to the next on!
You also may already be using a platform or app for inventory or accounting. If so, does the shipping app integrate with that?
And in some cases, does the volume your shipping work with the prospective app?
Free trial? Charge per package or monthly flat rate? Seasonal shippers may want to avoid monthly rates and stick with the per package. High-volume shippers may be better off with a monthly rate. It all depends!
Top 4 Shipping Apps
Shippo is a great app if you only want shipping features to streamline your shipping process and print labels. You won’t find any crazy advanced features here, but sometimes that is a good thing. Shippo offers customized tracking and returns, create shipping labels, schedule carrier pickups with USPS or DHL, and more.
Signing up for Shippo is free, and you pay the cost of shipping + $.05 per package. All major shipping carriers are supported.
Shipstation allows you to import orders from over 100 marketplaces, rate shop your favorite carriers, provides a geo-tracking page with your branding, includes a custom self-service portal for custom returns, tracks inventory, and even provides analytics! They also have a mobile app.
ShipStation starts at $9/month and offers a free trial. All major shipping carriers are supported.
Looking for an all-in-one email marketing, inventory management, shipping app? ShippingEasy is your best bet. You can collect data from your customers to segment them into automated email drip campaigns, product review requests, and more. Their inventory management system
ShippingEasy’s monthly fees range from their Basic tier at $29/month all the way to Enterprise at $149/month. They do offer a 30 day free trial and a freemium starter account. You also receive USPS discounted rates and all USPS services offered with the free USPS Postage account they give you ($15.99/month value).
The Ferrari of shipping apps, Ordoro offers several advanced features that go well beyond the basics of shipping app. They even mention dropshipping capabilities that allow for shipping automation, custom API integration, and more. Another great feature is the ability to plug in all of your channels, create kits, assign UPC barcodes to SKUs, issue purchase orders when product’s are getting low, and automatically track, sync, and update inventory quantities with every order.
Ordoro’s monthly fees range from their Express Plan at $59/month to their Pro Plan at $499/month.
Shipping Apps in a Nutshell
Almost every single shipping app will integrate with the top ecommerce platforms and allow access to the major shipping carriers. What differentiates them is their pricing model and their features. For large-scale enterprise businesses, Ordoro’s robust platform will be worth the cost for all the advanced functionality offered, but for small businesses ShippingEasy or ShipStation’s lower pricing but lesser functionality makes more sense. If you’re not going to be able to take advantage of Ordoro’s advanced features, why pay for them? For seasonal shippers, per package pricing plans like Shippo offer the most flexibility.
Shipping Carriers: UPS vs USPS vs DHL vs FedEx
So you’ve chosen your shipping app, but which carrier should you use? While a lot of apps will allow you to shop rates, sometimes the best pricing will come when you choose one carrier and receive bulk discounts.
When it comes to delivery, there are pros, cons and associated costs with each of the four major carriers including different shipping rates, shipping solutions, tracking pages, shipping rules, label printing, and more. Let’s break it down:
The brown UPS truck is perhaps the most iconic symbol of all of the shipping carriers, but does this mean they’re the best carrier out of all your shipping options?
UPS can be more affordable than other carriers when it come to shipments of two pounds or more, and if you ship a large enough volume you will get to take advantage of volume discounts. In addition, they offer real-time tracking so customers can view where their package is at any time.
Some of the downsides of UPS include an additional fee for package pickup service, Fedex does as well, and is thee only carrier that does not offer Saturday delivery as a part of their basic shipping options.
Best for larger packages and superb tracking functionality.
USPS is the cheapest option by far for small packages and while their bad reputation of losing packages precedes them, they have gotten a lot better. In addition, they also delivery to mailboxes and PO boxes, something other carriers won’t do.
Unfortunately, USPS has a less-than-perfect tracking system, lacking the real-time tracking functionality of some other carriers, and also has an overall poor customer service experience.
Best for small businesses sending small, light shipments on a budget that don’t need reliable tracking or quick arrival times.
While relatively similar to UPS, FedEx does offer a few advantages and disadvantages. Often, it comes down to the nearest location of Fedex and UPS when determining which to go with.
Fedex offers great tracking functionality like UPS, but they also offer a robust Hold at Location (HaL) program which is especially beneficial for businesses that require signatures for delivery. This allows customers the ability to have FedEx hold their package at a FedEx location nearest them until they can come in to receive their package. Saturday delivery is also a part of its basic shipping plan.
While not an exact science, as rates are highly variable, FedEx does seem to be more expensive than any of the other carriers, and just like UPS does not offer free package pickup service. In addition, there are less than half the number of FedEx offices worldwide compared to UPS.
Best for air shipments, next day deliveries, and businesses that require signature for delivery.
DHL is typically the forgotten member of the four major shipping carriers. That being said, they do offer international shipping that rivals the likes of FedEx and UPS. In addition, if you ship 50 items per day internationally or 100 items per day domestically, you’re eligible for DHL eCommerce.
Best for high volume, international shippers.
Shipping Apps and Carriers Summary
When choosing a shipping app, be sure to shop around and try multiple before making a decision. Almost all of them, including ones not mentioned in this article, will offer free trials for your business to see if it makes sense to use full time.
While most shipping apps will allow you to shop rates with the leading carriers, it can be beneficial for high volume shippers to directly contact carriers to negotiate discounted rates.
All in all, it depends on the size of your business, whether or not your shipping is seasonal, and if you are looking for just a shipping app or a shipping app that offers advanced features like email marketing or shipping automation.