The Top 5 Best Shipping Software for Ecommerce According to Our Clients

Key Features and Capabilities of the Best Shipping Software for Ecommerce Businesses

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.

Shipping basics

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”:

  • Provide payment options
  • Prepare inventory
  • Package the order
  • Generate an invoice
  • Dispatch the order
  • Hand over package to shipping courier

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?

How your business can benefit from shipping software

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.

What does the best shipping software need to include?

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:

  • Real-time shipping rates
    There are three main types of shipping options: flat rate, table rate, and real-time. Flat-rate shipping is where you charge one rate no matter what the customer orders. Table rate is useful for when you need to create complex rules for shipping (usually when shipping internationally). Real-time shipping rates are calculated automatically and are displayed in real-time depending on the package weight, dimensions, and destination to ensure the customer isn’t overcharged.

  • In-store pickup
    If you have a brick-and-mortar store alongside your online store, it’s a good idea to implement and in-store pickup option. This allows your customers to come to your store at their convenience to pick up their orders. Not all software supports this feature so it may be a deciding factor when choosing which shipping solution to invest in.

  • Variety of shipping options
    In addition to real-time rates, it’s a good idea to look at the different shipping options that solutions offer. You’ve probably seen this on sites like eBay and Amazon which offer different shipping speeds, carriers, and priorities.

  • Reduced shipping costs
    All of the shipping solutions we’ll discuss in this article have partnerships with large shipping carriers like UPS and FedEx to offer reduced shipping rates. For example, one of the shipping solutions we will look at, Ordoro, offers a 67% discount for USPS shipping.

  • Print labels, packing slips, pick lists
    Instead of having to run to the post office, most shipping software allows you to purchase labels without leaving your office (some even offer mobile apps). You can then print the labels or slips out and save yourself loads of time.

  • Reporting tools
    The software we’ll be looking at includes reporting and analytics tools. You can view stats like where you ship to most frequently, how much you ship, and which products are shipped. You can use this information to launch targeted marketing campaigns or adjust your shipping strategy.

  • Automation
    The biggest thing our clients look for are automation tools. By automating shipping processes, staff spends less time worrying about shipping, tracking, and returns/exchanges. With the right shipping software, these tasks can be handled without any hassle. Apart from that, automated shipping processes allow clients to focus on growing their business.

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.

Is Magento Shipping a sufficient option for ecommerce merchants?

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:

  • Manages multiple carriers from a single, integrated portal.
  • Automatically checks for conflicts with extensions during setup to help avoid issues during development and testing.
  • Simplifies ongoing maintenance by automatically including new carriers and features.

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:

  • USPS (US)
  • UPS (US, UK, AU)
  • FedEx (US, UK)
  • DHL Express (US, UK, AU)
  • Hermes (UK)
  • Yodel (UK)
  • UK Mail (UK)
  • DPD (UK)
  • Australia Post (AU).

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.

The top 5 best shipping software for ecommerce

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.

1) ShipperHQ

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.

shipperhq shipping software Magento

Main features:

  • Multiple carrier support
    Supports 30+ carriers, including less-than-truckload freight carriers.

  • Real-time shipping rates
    Includes live rates that give you the most accurate rates for your shipment

  • Multi-origin support
    You are able to select carriers for each origin. For example, if you have multiple warehouses or offer drop shipping, they support that.

  • Automation
    Includes automation rules for setting rates for specific geographic zones and special shipping options of your choice.

  • Additional features and tools
    Offers dropshipping, in-store pickup, address validation, and the option for customers to choose delivery date and time.

Pricing:

ShipperHQ shipping software

ShipperHQ Pricing page

2) ShippingEasy

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.

Main features:

  • Multiple carrier support
    Supports USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and DHL Express.

  • Automation
    Includes automation rules for managing orders and printing labels, delivery preference, and package size.

  • Discounted rates
    Offers discounts for USPS discounts for Priority Mail, Flat Rate, Regional Rate, Express Mail, and International 

  • Alexa for shipping
    Enables you to use Alexa to get order information, batch print labels, pick lists, and much more.

  • USB scale support
    Supports USB scales to import weight directly into the platform.

  • Additional features and tools
    Offers customizable email templates, automated emails and notifications, marketing tools, custom product kits, barcode scanning, order management, inventory management, supplier management, analytics, and shipping insurance.

Pricing:

ShippingEasy shipping software

ShippingEasy Pricing page

3) ShipStation

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.

Main features

  • Multiple shipping methods
    Supports USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL International, Canada Post, or Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime accounts and 30+ more carriers.

  • Real-time shipping rates
    Includes live rates in cart and checkout. Supports 1-step checkout.

  • Automation
    Includes automation rules you can use to customize the shipping process and order sync from multiple sales channels.

  • Discounted rates
    Offers discounted USPS rates via freestamps.com and includes a free Express 1 account with discounts on USPS Priority and Express Mail.

  • Additional features and tools
    Offers branded emails and notifications, branded tracking pages, package return management, and analytics.

Pricing:

ShippingStation shipping software

ShippingStation Pricing page

4) Shippo

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.

Main features:

  • Multi-carrier support
    Supports 55+ carriers including regional, national, and international. Also offers next-day delivery for select carriers.

  • Discounted shipping rates
    Offers discounts of up to 90% through USPS, DHL Express, and others.

  • Automation
    Sync orders from your Magento account to automatically create labels and send customers tracking information.

  • Additional features and tools
    Offers branded emails and notifications, branded tracking pages, customs forms creation, shipping insurance, package return management, order splitting, and analytics.

Pricing:

Shippo shipping software

Shippo Pricing page

5) Ordoro

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.

Main features:

  • Multiple shipping methods
    Supports USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL International, Canada Post, or Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime accounts.

  • Discounted shipping rates
    Offers discounts of up to 67% through USPS.

  • Automation
    Includes auto-fill shipping parameters when creating labels and automation rules for order management.

  • USB scale support
    Connects to USB scales to calculate rates automatically based on shipping method.

  • Additional features and tools
    Offers inventory management, custom product kits, dropshipping, barcode scanning, supplier management, analytics, order-splitting, and shipping insurance.

Pricing:

Ordoro shipping software

Ordoro Pricing page

How to integrate the best ecommerce shipping software

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:

  • Browse the Magento marketplace after reading this article, click “Add to Cart,” and follow the on-screen prompts.
  • Go to the shipping extension’s website (Hint: all of them offer a free trial) and follow the prompts to get started.
  • Hire an experienced team that will guarantee a smooth transition to the new shipping software. This includes integration, testing, and support.

The bottom line

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.

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