If you are an online seller, you know that shipping is a crucial part of your business. How quickly and efficiently your packages get from your address to their final destination is a key element in any eCommerce market.
One way to help eradicate the stress of managing and shipping your online orders is through a shipping platform.
These programs help streamline shipping and fulfillment for any size business no matter how unique their process is.
Think a shipping platform is the next step for your business?
In this article, we compare 3 popular shipping platforms so you can see which is the overall best choice for your business: Shipstation, ShippingEasy, and Endicia.
What is a Shipping Platform?
A shipping platform is a computer program or tool for online retailers and sellers to help them manage the overall scale of their business and ship their products accurately and in a timely manner. You can think of shipping platforms as a bridge between the product you are selling and the carrier you will ship with.
Shipping platforms can manage your customer and product inventory as well as generate shipping labels for your orders, which can be printed for free on thermal labels from the comfort of your home.
Who Uses Shipping Platforms?
One of the many advantages of using a shipping platform is how versatile they are. Their use ranges from low volume merchants sending less than 50 shipments a month to high volume users shipping upwards of 10,000 shipments in the same timespan. Home and office mailing and shipping, warehouses, and multi-channel merchants all benefit from operating through a shipping platform.
Determining your monthly cost for a shipping platform will depend on several factors: your overall budget, how many shipments you make per month, and whether you will require additional offers the company makes depending on your monthly coverage.
If you are shipping a large number of parcels per month, you will want to consider increasing your shipping plan.
Shipstation offers low-volume users a starter price of $9 per month. These are small merchants who manage less than 50 orders every 30 days. For larger volume businesses, their most popular plan allows for an average of 3,000 shipments for $69 per month. This can be shared among 3 users, allows for customized label and packing slips, and gives users multiple channels to ask for assistance.
ShippingEasy has a $0 starter plan for low volume merchants who manage around 50 shipments per month. While this plan does offer discounted carrier shipping rates and automatic imports from your store or marketplace, it limits additional users, customer support, and customizations. ShippingEasy recommends eCommerce businesses their Plus plan, which supports 1,500 shipments per month for $49.
Unlike the previous platforms, Endicia does not provide multiple plans for different size merchants. Instead they offer a monthly service fee of $17.99 per month with applicable taxes, if there are any.
Most shipping platforms provide new and current users special features to help them get the most out of their online business program. These often include instructional videos, free limited-time trials, inventory and customer management, and more. Certain shipping plans will offer more for users with a higher monthly subscription.
All three platforms offer potential customers a free trial period of 30 days, which can be canceled at any time. They also offer international shipping to help merchants expand their markets globally.
Along with a free trial period, Shipstation gives new users the chance to schedule a demo so they can learn first hand if their program can truly help their business. Users can also download the Shipstation app on their smartphone for access to wireless label printing, tracking information, and on-the-go management.
ShippingEasy gives customers the ability to wirelessly access their shipping information through Amazon Alexa. Users can print labels and packing slips, ship orders, and check tracking and order status through simple voice commands.
Endicia does not offer any additional features.
Online Store Integration
If you are a multichannel merchant, you will want to integrate all of your marketplaces seamlessly into your shipping platform quickly and accurately.
- Click connect a selling channel
- Select your store platform from the list
- Follow the onscreen instructions to connect your store
- Click set up a carrier
- Choose “Carrier” from the list
- Follow the on screen instructions to add carrier account
- Click label layout
- Select the layout that matches printer type, and whether to print labels only or labels and packing slips together
- Add the shop URL and it will automatically redirect you to that page
- Install the ShippingEasy app from your online store
- Once downloaded, hit “Synch” and the orders will transfer
- Once the order is fulfilled you can choose buy or print shipping labels
- Select the web store you want to add
- Click “Data Source Setup”
- Select “Web Store Data Source Type”
- Select your online marketplace
- Enter your credentials and follow the prompts to authorize access
- Click “Done”
Comparing the Shipping Platforms
|Cost||$9.00 per month for 50 shipments||$0 per month for 50 shipments||$17.99 per month|
|Associated Discounts||Stamps.com & UPS||USPS & Shipping Insurance||USPS|
|Featured Offers||30 Day Free Trial & Ships Worldwide||30 Day Free Trial & Ships Internationally||4-week Free Trial & Ships Internationally|
|Shipping Platforms||FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL||FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL||USPS & UPS|
|Marketplaces||Most Marketplaces||Most Marketplaces||Most Marketplaces|
|Label Printers||Zebra, DYMO & Rollo||Zebra, DYMO & Rollo||Zebra & DYMO|
|Label Sizes||4 x 6||4 x 5, 4 x 6, 4 x 8||4 x 4.5, 4 x 5, 4 x 6|
|Shop||Shipping Labels||Shipping Labels||Shipping Labels|
Maneuvering through all of the data, information, and browser interfaces can be a challenging and daunting task, especially for first time users. It is important to consider how much assistance you are offered with your shipping plan so you can easily navigate through how-to’s, troubleshooting, and related questions.
For first time Shipstation users, how-to videos and webinars on their website offer helpful tips and information. Depending on your payment plan, live chatting is available as well as emailing and a community support forum.
Along with a customer call number, live chatting, and email support, ShippingEasy assigns each customer a service agent. This agent is there to help new customers by answering questions and guiding them through the setup process as well as moving customers forward with their progress.
Endicia customers can call a customer support line as well as product and shipping information numbers should questions arise. Users can also submit an email request form of the Endicia website or check out their blog to learn more information.
Ease of Use
Whether you are a single or multi-channel user, no one wants to use a complicated software tool. These are meant to ease the strain of managing customers and orders and shipping out products, no matter the volume size.
Shipstation is equipped to handle a range of business sizes, from those sending out a few dozen orders a month to larger sellers handling thousands of packages, and many users report the site being incredibly intuitive to use. They offer a brief tutorial on how to set up your account and their dashboard is easy to navigate, especially if it’s integrating multiple channels. It organizes categories and tools, like orders, shipments, customers, and support.
ShippingEasy’s goal is in the name: to make shipping easy for their customers. They automatically integrate with ecommerce marketplaces, map carriers, and allow users to customize their own shipping rules. The interface is simple to navigate with clearly labeled menus and features.
Endicia eases the process of printing postage from the comfort of your own home. They simplify importing and shipping, especially large batches if they are all in the same weight class, which saves users time.
Below are just some of the pros and cons each shipping program has from current and previous users. We recommend thoroughly researching customer reviews before making a final decision.
- Better/easier marketplace integration
- Large range of customization options
- Intuitive to use
- Can only access phone support with a higher paid plan
- Technical issues are common
- Great customer service
- Intuitive to use
- Excellent reporting features
- The interface can be difficult for new users
- Few reports of billing after cancellation
- Substantial savings on USPS shipping
- Poor customer service
- New software causes issues
- Many comments about fraud charges
Holiday Shipping Solutions
The chaos of the holidays eats away at ecommerce efficiency every year. This is especially true with last minute shoppers trying to get orders amid the holiday rush.
Therefore having a plan to provide customers with the best shipping experience is vital for your business. Part of this plan means ensuring orders placed for the holiday arrive on time.
Knowing the right shipping dates and services with popular carriers helps you plan ahead for the best options you’ll have available.
Below are the holiday shipping deadlines for UPS, USPS, and FedEx:
|Shipping Method||Shipping Deadline|
|UPS® Ground||Check ups.com/ctc for details|
|UPS 3 Day Select®||December 19th|
|UPS 2nd Day Air®||December 21st|
|UPS Next Day Air®||December 22nd|
|Shipping Method||Shipping Deadline|
|USPS Retail Ground® Service||December 17th|
|First-Class Mail® Service||December 17th|
|Priority Mail® Service||December 19th|
|Priority Mail Express® Service2||December 23rd|
|Shipping Method||Shipping Deadline|
|FedEx Ground®1,3||December 14th|
|FedEx Express Saver®||December 20th|
|FedEx 2Day®||December 21st|
|FedEx 1Day® Freight||December 22nd|
|FedEx SameDay®||December 23rd|