23 July 2019
Shipping is often overlooked as the last checkbox you need to tick to get your products shipped out. Shipping is more than a cardboard box and an invoice. To offer the best customer experience, you need the best shipping software for ecommerce.
Elogic has helped merchants get products shipped through a variety of shipping solutions. Before we get to the top 5, let’s go through the shipping process from order to fulfillment.
At its core, shipping is moving goods from one place to another. While most goods are delivered to buyers (forward logistics), sometimes goods need to be exchanged or replaced (reverse logistics). Both directions need to be managed, and this is the primary function of shipping software.
Ecommerce companies use the following workflow for processing orders after a customer clicks “Checkout”:
Shipping software is easy to integrate with most ecommerce platforms. Because Magento holds such a big share of the market, practically any shipping solution you find will have the option of integrating with Magento. These integrations are available as subscriptions, so you pay a monthly fee. The Magento marketplace has tons of extensions for shipping and fulfillment. But how do you know which one to choose?
Software features sound good on paper, but how will they benefit an actual business?
With software, you take full control of the shipping process
Once you set up the shipping software and your staff members learn how to handle orders, you will have more control over the shipping process. You won’t have to rely on third-parties as much — no more trips to the post office, less shipping errors due to human error and other headaches. You can also customize the software to add more carriers, generate custom reports, and additional tools to streamline the checkout and delivery processes even more.
Subscription-based shipping software is affordable
Buying standalone software is very expensive and you become tied down to it because, let’s face it, you’ve spent the money and if you decide to switch, you’ll end up spending more. All of the software we’ll go through is subscription-based, meaning you pay a monthly fee at an affordable rate. Another great thing about this pricing model is the shipping software provider is responsible for handling the hardware and servers that support the software.
Shipping software guarantees customers get deliveries faster
Thanks to automation — including automated label printing, shipping procedures, and processing — you spend less time mucking around in the warehouse. Orders get shipped out faster, and above all, both merchant and customer can see the tracking status in real-time. When you have dozens of pending orders, automation can help you get through them like no human can.
Software takes human error out of the shipping equation
Errors can happen on both the customer and merchant side. If you have a basic shipping form at checkout with a text field for shipping info, you’ll run into problems. Customers can enter the wrong info or neglect to complete the form according to your instructions. This will require your staff to make phone calls to sort out the details, which in turn means the delivery time will be delayed. By using shipping software you bypass most of the time-consuming mistakes because everything is automated.
When you’re just starting out with your online store, you have to lick a few stamps and make trips back and forth to the post office. There’s nothing wrong with that — as long as you can handle orders in a timely manner. Eventually, customers will start to provide feedback and request more options like FedEx or other expedited shipping carriers. Regardless of where you begin your ecommerce journey, there will be a point where you will either have to hire more staff or develop a new shipping strategy. And the best strategy is to use the best ecommerce shipping software.
Our clients say that the following features are important to look for when choosing a shipping solution:
Now that you know the main requirements for shipping solutions, the next question is — do you really need it? After all, there’s no point in buying software if you can’t use it or it can’t handle your business’s needs.
Off the shelf, Magento has a fairly robust set of shipping tools, Magento Shipping. Magento Shipping is a multi-carrier shipping and fulfillment solution that combines intelligent automation capabilities, access to global carrier networks, and seamless integration with the Magento Admin.
The Magento website lists the following main advantages of Magento Shipping:
What the site doesn’t mention is that native Magento features don’t cover everything an established online store needs for shipping.
First of all, native Magento doesn’t have real-time shipping or in-store pickup. Plus, you’re limited in shipping carrier options and rates aren’t the best (if you compare them with the rates offered by shipping software). Out-of-the-box, Magento Shipping currently supports carriers in the US, the UK, and Australia. They include:
These limited features won’t allow you to grow and scale the way you want. Once you reach the breaking point (when you can’t physically handle the amount of packages), you’ll need to look further.
These are the five shipping integrations most often requested by Magento merchants. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. We understand that it’s a tough choice because of how competitive the market is, but by the time you’re done with this list, you should have a better idea of the best bit for you.
ShipperHQ provides innovative cart customization and enterprise-level functionality including Click and Collect and Local Delivery. ShipperHQ was founded in 2014 and is based in Austin, Texas. It was developed by WebShopApps, a leading Magento shipping extension development agency, for businesses of all sizes.
ShippingEasy is a cloud-based shipping software enabling online retailers to download orders from multiple stores and ship them out. The company was founded in 2011 and is also based in Austin, Texas. The platform uses a standard integration model and has a web interface. ShippingEasy supports English and Spanish languages and is geared towards small, medium, and large-sized businesses.
ShipStation helps ecommerce merchants create shipping labels for shipping their products no matter where they sell or how they ship. The company was founded in 2011 and is also based in Austin, Texas. ShipStation has a web interface as well as apps for iOS and Android. This shipping platform serves small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses.
Shippo helps businesses navigate the complexities of shipping. It was founded in San Francisco, California in 2013. Shippo users, which include small, medium, and enterprise-level businesses, can access the platform through a feature-rich web app.
Ordoro develops a web app for ecommerce retailers to manage their orders, inventory, and suppliers. It is the fourth company in this list which was founded in Austin, Texas, and is the oldest established company having been in business since 2010. Ordoro is available as a web application and is used by small and medium-sized businesses.
Depending on your business, you may not need to hire a development team to integrate your shipping solution of choice. You have three options to integrate:
If you want your shipping solution to be aligned with your company’s vision and brand identity, pick from the best shipping software for ecommerce. The right option is whatever is best for you and your company — and of course, your customers.
Shipping is way easier once you can automate, manage, and synchronize the processes to save yourself some time. And, most importantly, investing in a shipping extension means you’re not only delivering products, you’re delivering smiles. Quick shipping is a sign of good business practice — keep that in mind and your customers will thank you.