Choosing a shipping software

The backbone of a shipping software is that it prints shipping labels for your online orders. However, there is a lot more that they offer than this core functionality.  To do this (without copy and paste), you’ll need to be able to connect all of your selling channels and carriers into your shipping software. But having a central location to print your labels from all of your stores with any of your carriers is only part of what makes a great shipping software. You should also look for time-saving features like batch-printing and custom email and packing slip notifications that let you have a quick, unified approach to any customer regardless of where they purchase.

A great shipping software levels the playing field between you and the big dogs. By elevating your brand and cutting down fulfillment time, you can spend more time getting back to growing your business. There’s a lot of ways to ship parcels, but there is usually one best way. And shipping softwares help you establish and automate the best shipping service and workflow for each of your orders.

Integrations

A shipping software, at its core, helps you print shipping labels for your online orders. To do this (without copy and paste), you’ll need strong, reliable integrations with your selling channels and shipping providers to ensure that order information transfers seamlessly.

Carrier Integrations

A great shipping software integrates with a good amount of carriers. The more carriers available, the more services you can access. Being tied to a single carrier with just a few services restricts you. Choose a shipping software where you’re in control of what carriers you want to connect to—better yet, one that gives you free postage accounts with discounted rates. You should look for shipping softwares that offer integrations beyond the big names: UPS, USPS, and FedEx. Finding regional consolidators and international carriers like DHL Express give you an added advantage to grow your business.

Discounted And Negotiated Rates

Getting discounts through a carrier is typically based on your shipping volume and/or your commitment to not diversifying your shipping portfolio. However,  you can get better discounts simply by signing up for a shipping software. ShipStation, for instance, offers deeply discounted rates for carriers such as:

  • USPS- Up to 40% off
  • FedEx- Up to 29% off
  • DHL Express- Up to 60% off

Contract vs Out-of-Box Rates

A lot of discounted rates you negotiate with carriers are contracted and require you to ship a certain volume to maintain. However, the discounted rates available through a shipping software are frequently available upon signup. Verify your ability to access these rates and if you qualify without signing a contract.

Selling Channels

An advantage of a shipping software is that you can import all your orders from everywhere you sell into one place. Being able to see your Sears orders alongside your Shopify or Amazon orders cuts fulfillment time down and minimizes the amount of time you spend clicking between tabs.

Scalability

As your workflow grows and evolves, so too should your shipping platform. Adding new selling channels or moving into a new warehouse doesn’t mean you have to start over from scratch—As you expand your business’s reach, a great shipping software grows with you.

Features

Rate Calculator

A rate calculator is an effective tool to see all the available rates for each carrier. This is a great way to see which services work best for your different package sizes and recipients.

Batch Shipping

Another time saver is batch shipping. Printing multiple labels at once cuts your work hours down significantly. Instead of clicking through every order to print a label, combine your picked orders into a single batch and print together. This is made even quicker by having automation rules in place to assign shipping services and package types automatically so they’re ready to batch.

International Features

International shipping can be an overly-involved process. Shipping software gives you an efficient way to automatically validate international addresses and create labels and customs forms in one place. This helps take the stress and guesswork out of international shipments.

Automation Rules

Anything that can be automated in your fulfillment system should be. When you know how an order’s going to ship based on variables such as ship to location, and items ordered, it can take a long time to click through orders and apply everything.

Based on the criteria you set up, carrier services & packaging can be applied. The order can then be assigned to a user.  You can even automate special delivery options like “contains dry ice”. Ultimately, if an action can be applied to more than one order, you should automate that action to save time in the future.

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Business Tools

Reporting

A shipping software typically pulls all of your order data into one place. Detailed, accurate reporting can be an added bonus of this. It’s a time saver to not have to switch between your different selling channels to get information like sales figures or shipping paid.

Branding

A shipping app should let you inject your brand’s style into your shipping emails and documents. A huge benefit of a shipping solution is when it gives you the tools to elevate your branding where it once might have been an afterthought. When a customer receives their package, they likely have no idea about the journey an item took to finally reach them. But a high-quality email, packing slip, and labels that have your brand’s logo in can really set you apart from the pack.

Mobile App

If you’re frequently on the go, a mobile app can help you to view new orders and even print labels. This is a fantastic tool for creating orders when you’re away from a computer, such as creating an order at a trade show.