How to pick the right shipping solution for your e-commerce business

3 minute read

While small to mid-sized e-commerce merchants enjoy the online shopping boom, they sometimes struggle with the increased fulfillment demands of growth. A third party shipping solution, like ShipStation, OrderCup or ShipRobot, can be the missing ingredient that cuts down on fulfillment time, boosts accuracy, generates better data and elevates reporting so that you get shipments out the door faster.

What is a shipping solution?

Shipping solutions integrate seamlessly with e-commerce platforms to pull orders in real-time, automate label printing, update e-stores with tracking numbers, send shipping notification emails to customers and generate reports. They are also:

  • Typically web-based and designed to work with any interface. This means you can access the shipping solution software across PC, Mac, and even mobile platforms.
  • An alternative to Canada Post’s EST 2.0 – with a shipping solution that is already integrated into your e-commerce platform’s software.

Why would I need a shipping solution?

Once a business hits a certain order volume, it needs to find a more efficient way to get shipments out the door. Shipping solution providers automate the label process, increase accuracy and make tracking shipments and inventory much easier. You should consider investing in one if:

  • Your e-commerce platform won’t let you print labels (shipping solutions automate this critical step in your order fulfillment process).
  • You want automated label printing and features like return labels, customs forms, tracking notifications, and manifests.
  • You sell on different storefronts (e.g., eBay, Etsy) and want a single view of orders from multiple selling sources for easier management (as seen in this example from ShipStation).

What features should I look for in a shipping solution?

The common features of shipping solutions that e-commerce businesses may require are:

  • Automated order syncing and retrieval. Ends copy and paste headaches – orders are retrieved right from your e-commerce store. Seeing the order’s source also improves the visibility of your entire e-store’s orders across platforms or marketplaces.
  • Automated label printing and manifest creation. Print labels one at a time or as a batch, all at once.
  • Automated weight and sizing. Totals the pre-programmed weight and measurements of items and packing materials in each shipment, so you don’t need to measure and weigh individual shipments – a real time saver.
  • International customs forms. Customs forms are integrated into the creation of each international shipping label, making the declaration of goods easier and faster.
  • Improved status and tracking visibility. As orders are shipped out, tracking details are sent to your e-commerce platform, making it easy to communicate with end customers. Alternatively, the shipping solution itself can send order status updates and tracking emails to customers on your behalf.
  • Returns. Easily print and include Canada Post return labels with customers’ outgoing shipments – or later.

How do I choose the right shipping solution for my business?

It’s important to pick a solution that works best for your unique e-commerce business. Consider these touch points when evaluating a potential shipping solution partner:

  • Integration. Is the solution integrated with your existing platform?
  • Price. Many solutions offer monthly subscriptions with scaled pricing plans based on how many orders you ship each month. Ask yourself: what is my budget?
  • Support. Look for great support documentation like blogs, video tutorials, online chat, phone and email support. Evaluate the shipping solutions’ support system before you sign up to avoid future headaches.
  • Features. Decide on your must-have and your nice-but-not-necessary features and compare each shipping solution you are considering.

Many shipping solutions offer free trial periods. Take advantage by trying out your top choices before you commit.

As the nation’s most popular shipping choice, Canada Post is integrated with multiple shipping solutions. The most popular providers for small to medium-sized merchants are ShipStation, Order Cup and Ship Robot.

Other popular shipping solutions providers

See ALL Canada Post integrated shipping solution partners.

Need help choosing or configuring your e-commerce platform and systems? Canada Post has a team of e-commerce solution integration experts to help merchants like you.

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