If you had to choose one, are you a Pirate or a Hippo?
I realize that question mike not make any sense if you have no prior experience with fulfilling online orders or using ecommerce online discount shipping services like Shippo. By the end of this short post, you will have knowledge to make the best informed decision on selecting a provider for your E-commerce or online store needs. I have explored and personally tried countless solutions since 2017 when I started my first online store.
What are Online Shipping Platforms?
When you start selling online, one of the first things you will learn is paying retail prices for shipping doesn’t work. There are far better solutions than paying full retail for shipping at the post office and NEVER at the UPS Store, sheesh! Welcome, the E-commerce shipping layer. An ecomm shipping layer or shipping platform, is an application that integrates with your online store, eBay account, Shopify, Amazon, or any other online marketplace where the fulfilment of orders, including postage and printing shipping labels, is streamlined. Why this is necessary (besides paying almost double at the post office) is that even small online businesses need a process for sending tracking information, personalized or professional return labels, and in many cases one provider to handle multiple websites or marketplace accounts like eBay.
How much does it cost?
Whether you have an online empire or casual eBay’r who happen to ship things often from home, you can enjoy free discount shipping services by using bulk shipping rates. When you join these online shipping platforms, you can the same discounts regardless of how many packages you ship per year. For example, you can pay as little as $2.83 to ship a first-class box weighing 4oz to most parts of the country or ship 20 pounds in a flat rate box, envelope, padded envelope, and pay as little as $7 + some change depending on the zone and package type.
How to get free boxes and bubble mailers: you can order tons of free flat rate Priority boxes of all types of sizes, delivered to your door, at no cost, and save the expense of purchasing your own boxes when you make a free account at USPS. Save time by scheduling a pickup of your USPS packages. A great way to do this is by downloading the USPS app and remembering to schedule a free pickup for the next day (as long as it’s before 2am). When your goods are ready, the wonderful people of USPS will come to your house and pick them up. It’s that simple! Saving you the time, gas, and the hassel of making a run to the PO.
Picking the right solution
Now let’s talk about this “if you had to be a hippo or a pirate, which would you choose?” Two common platforms are Pirateship and Shippo. Here’s my recommendation and why Shippo is The Best Multi-carrier Shipping Software for E-commerce! Visit GoShippo.com. If you are a newbie with a small eBay store or a serious online seller using multiple platforms, Shippo provides a very clean and well organized layout. The next logical questions is “what option is the cheapest?” Depending on the plan, with Shippo you can have a free account or paid. Others like stamps.com charge around $30 a month with limited integrations and some are even free but there’s a catch – the shipping rates are much higher and if you ship more than a couple packages a month, you end up spending more with the free account than you would have with the paid plan. Shippo has the best shipping rates I could find on the internet, up to 96% less than some sites!
- Optional payment terms where you can settle every couple of weeks as opposed to paying immediately. Cash flow bonus!++
- Great branding options for your invoices and email notifications where you can create consistent invoices no matter what platform the order came from
- The Customizable invoices are easy to print, reprint, or not print at all! Unfortunately, Pirateship.com does not print invoices or packing slips. The only way this can be done is with some tech-savvy configuration on the backend. Also, once it’s on, you are printing every single invoice/packing slip unless you completely disable the automation. It’s all or nothing.
- Shippo provides analytics and insights. All my Amazon shipments made with Amazon (merchant fulfilled) are still captured in Shippo so I can easily search by the first name to find missing orders, reprint packing slips, collect data, and more. For anyone that has had to sift through hundreds of systematically shipped orders in Amazon or other platforms to find a match to a lone label, you understand the pain! The search function and tools are very user-friendly and instantly finding an order using any search criteria saves a lot of time.
- Pirateship.com has a wonderful resource center and blog. It’s completely free to use their articles and they are very helpful if you are just starting out.
- Learn about the most economical ways to ship your items depending on size, weight, etc.
- Pirateship.com has great shipping rates and prices but you pay upfront.
Using the built in shipping tools in Amazon and other platforms
For some clarification – I don’t want to mislead anyone or suggest that the Amazon shipping tool shouldn’t be used for your merchant fulfilled orders. Their prices are competitive and more importantly, you do not pay for your shipping upfront. Your shipping fees are deducted from your gross sales. I use Amazon shipping almost 100% of the time for my merchant fulfilled (orders I ship from my location sold on Amazon) orders. But, when you need to reprint, create a second label, search, eBay, etc – Shippo has all of your Amazon shipping and customer information integrated so no retyping. When you need to reship an item or create a 2nd label, a few clicks with Shippo and your set! I encourage anyone who made it through this very exciting topic to share anything I missed or any parts where I didn’t give Pirateship cred that they deserve.
Shippo is much quicker at syncing orders, their interface is much easier to navigate especially with the icons for what platform the orders came from, love the search, save keystrokes with better bulk shipping, and more control over if you want packing slips to print or not. I have to go with Team Shippo! I am an affiliate partner with these platforms so please follow my links to sign up as the little bit of commission (no cost to consumers) goes a long way in helping maintain this site and continue to research topics for the online community! Thank you in advance!