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If you own a logistics company or an eCommerce business, you’d know that shipping is a business-critical process. Handling all the tasks in the shipping process manually increases the possibility of errors as well as the turnaround time.
Shipping software can help automate the process, thereby reducing turnaround time, manual errors, and expenses. This buyers guide explains the basic things about the software that are important while exploring the market. Here is what we will cover:
Shipping software is a tool that helps automate the shipping process from end to end i.e., from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep. In addition to its features that help businesses manage their shipping processes, the software integrates with eCommerce platforms that allows customers to track their orders.
It is essential to understand the deployment options available to select a product that is right for your business needs. Here are the two main types of deployment options:
Cloud-based deployment: Vendors host cloud-based software on their own or third-party servers. They also take care of maintenance and support for these solutions. Users can access these solutions through any computer or mobile device connected to the internet. Cloud-based solutions usually have a subscription-based pricing model, paid annually or monthly.
On-premise deployment: Businesses host on-premise software on their own servers and handle maintenance, support, updates, and data storage themselves. Users can access these solutions through applications installed on their computers. The pricing model of these solutions is usually a one-time per-user license fee.
Key question to ask cloud-based (SaaS) vendors: What security measures do you have in place to safeguard against cyberattacks?
Key question to ask on-premise solution vendors: What is the typical deployment time for the software? Are there any additional costs besides the licensing fee?
Understanding the basic features of purchasing software will help you in shortlisting products that meet your requirements.
Here are the common features of shipping software:
Shipment tracking: Monitor shipment movement with geo-tracking, receive order status updates, and manage related documents digitally.
Shipment tracking in ShipStation
Multi-carrier support: Define rules and workflows to manage shipment orders between multiple carriers, such as UPS, USPS, DHL, and FedEx. Generate shipment labels and customs declarations in accordance with the selected carrier’s requirements.
Support for multiple carriers in Shippo
Shipping rate calculation: Calculate shipping rates using in-built rate calculators. Use criteria such as cubic dimensions, annual insurance costs, and carrier rates for the calculations.
Shipping rate calculation in ShipStation
Shipping reports: Generate detailed shipping reports based on parameters such as the destination, service, customer type, unshipped orders, package weight, and total orders.
Shipping reports in ShippingEasy
Key question to ask a vendor before you buy: Is there a limit to the number of carriers with which the software can integrate?
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context, and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations, obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.