Shipping Software Comparison

The Top Shipping Software Programs of 2023 - A Comparison Guide

When you’re in the e-commerce game, shipping is a big deal. Not just the act of shipping, but the whole process behind it. So, I thought I’d give a little rundown of some of the top shipping software platforms out there, all based on what they’re best at, and some things to think about when choosing. 

 

The main features of the following platforms are that they allow businesses to integrate multiple selling platforms and manage multiple carriers from a singular platform. This not only streamlines the shipping process but also facilitates rate comparisons, potentially reducing shipping costs. Another notable feature is their ability to generate shipping labels effortlessly. 

Things you might need to consider when choosing the right software for you are: price, integration options (including marketplace, website or shipping companies), expected volume of sales, features, add ons and customer service. 

 

Shipstation (Best for Custom Branding/Personalisation)

 

Shipstation is probably the most well known of the shipping programs and offers everything you could ask of a software platform. They offer branded tracking and shipping notifications alongside inventory management. Unfortunately they are based in the US and don’t offer phone support unless you are on one of their highest pricing tiers (£175/mth +)

Trial available? Yes – 30 days

Cloud based? Yes

Pricing From £25 per month (plus the price of shipping labels)

Contract No

 

 

Veeqo (Best for Inventory Management)

 

Veeqo is renowned for its capability to synchronise inventory across all sales channels in real time. This functionality ensures that sellers avoid the pitfalls of overselling. On larger plans you also get a free scanner for pick and packing. A common misconception of Veeqo is that you need it to qualify for Amazon Buy Box, but this is not the case. In fact you can sell your products on Amazon and use any of the other shipping software programs by connecting them to Amazon directly. The downside of Veeqo is that it can be overly complicated and the setup process is lengthy. 

Trial available? N/A

Cloud based? Yes

Pricing Free (you only pay for what you send)

Contract No

 

 

Shipmate (Best for brick and mortar stores)

 

Shipmate offers personalised shipping notifications and tracking. It’s great for businesses with low shipping volumes, Unfortunately Shipmate doesn’t integrate with marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon or eBay and only works with WooCommerce, Facebook and Shopify Stores. It is designed for deliveries to originate at one or a small number of source locations, such as warehouses or bricks and mortar stores using your own carrier accounts

Trial available? Only on request to check functionality

Cloud based? Yes

Pricing Starts at £49 per month

Contract 12 months

 

 

Scurri (Best for Analytics)

 

One of Scurri’s standout features is its analytics capability, providing businesses with valuable insights into shipping performance and associated costs. The downside is that you have to have your own accounts with the shipping providers you want to use, so this eliminates some of the time and money saving benefits. Another thing to note is that the website is pretty slow to load and the user interface feels outdated. Their onboarding process can take 1-2 months so if you’re in a hurry to get started, this one’s not for you. 

Trial available? No

Cloud based? Yes

Pricing Only available on request 

Contract 12 months

 

 

Despatch Cloud (Best for Returns)

 

Despatch Cloud boasts a Returns Portal, designed to streamline the returns process for customers, thereby enhancing their overall experience. It is suitable for larger scale businesses needing an advanced warehouse management service. The downside of Despatch Cloud is you have to use ‘credits’ to use their address finder (putting the postcode in first to bring up the rest of the address) so if you don’t want to pay for this then manual input can be time consuming. Their pricing structure is also complicated as you have to pay for each individual element of the service. £175 extra for returns portal and £350 for Inventory Management 

Trial available? Yes

Cloud based? Yes

Pricing Free without tracking or £49 with tracking 

Contract 12 months

 

 

Mintsoft (Best for offering the most Integration Options)

 

Mintsoft offers more integrations than any other software platform so this would be suitable for anyone using lesser known shipping or shopping cart providers. There is no free trial but you can book a free demo before you decide to go ahead. Unfortunately, more recent reviews suggest that their customer service is lacking. That aside, they offer a pretty comprehensive solution that would cover most business needs. 

 

Trial available? No 

Cloud based? Yes

Pricing From £159 per month

Contract? 12 months 

 

 

My Boost Portal (Best for Small Business based on price and ease of use)

 

Boost offers a free platform where you only pay for what you send. In addition to this, you don’t need to have your own accounts with the shipping companies you want to use. You can access discounted shipping rates through their partnerships with the main UK carriers or you can plug in your own. This is a no frills approach to shipping software and offers integrations with the big players like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Shopify, Royal Mail & Parcelforce. The cons of this service is that it might not be suitable for delivering certain products, such as perishable (food) items. They also don’t offer a full inventory management solution, although this is in the pipeline. 

 

Trial available? N/A (free)

Cloud based? Yes

Pricing Free (with no limitations)

Contract No

 

In conclusion, while each of these platforms offers a unique set of tools designed to streamline shipping for multi-channel sellers, the choice largely depends on a business’s specific needs, scale, and preferred integrations. Taking the time to assess these factors, perhaps through a trial or demo and by considering user reviews, will provide valuable insights and ensure the chosen platform aligns perfectly with a business’s objectives.

 

The Seamless Sale: 9 Ways To Perfect the Online Checkout Process

The Seamless Sale: 9 Ways to Perfect the Online Checkout Process

 

Among the many factors that determine the success of an online store, the checkout process stands out as one of the most crucial. A smooth and intuitive checkout can be the difference between a completed sale and an abandoned cart. Let’s look at the art of perfecting the online checkout process.

 

  1. Simplified User Experience

Importance: A cluttered or complicated checkout can deter potential buyers.

Action Steps: Minimize the number of steps required to complete a purchase. Use a clean design, clear CTAs (Call to Action), and provide visual indicators of the checkout progress.

 

  1. Multiple Payment Options

Importance: Customers have varied payment preferences, and catering to them can increase conversions.

Action Steps: Integrate popular payment gateways (like PayPal) and offer options like credit/debit cards, digital wallets, and bank transfers.

 

  1. Transparent Pricing

Importance: Hidden charges can lead to cart abandonment.

Action Steps: Clearly display all costs, including vat, shipping fees, or additional charges, before the final payment step.

 

  1. Guest Checkout Option

Importance: Not every customer wants to create an account.

Action Steps: Offer a guest checkout option for those who prefer a quick purchase without registration.

 

  1. Assurance of Security

Importance: Online security concerns can dissuade customers from proceeding with their purchase.

Action Steps: Use trusted SSL certificates, display security badges, and ensure that personal and payment data are encrypted.

 

  1. Mobile Optimisation

Importance: A significant portion of online shopping occurs on mobile devices.

Action Steps: Ensure the checkout process is mobile-responsive, with easy-to-tap buttons and intuitive design elements.

 

  1. Address Autocomplete and Saved Preferences

Importance: Reducing manual input can enhance the user experience.

Action Steps: Implement address autocomplete features and allow returning users to save their preferences for faster checkouts in the future.

 

  1. Clear Return and Refund Policies

Importance: Customers want assurance regarding potential returns or refunds.

Action Steps: Clearly state the return and refund policies, ensuring they are easily accessible during the checkout process.

 

  1. Immediate Customer Support

Importance: Addressing customer queries or concerns in real-time can prevent cart abandonment.

Action Steps: Integrate live chat support or provide immediate assistance channels during the checkout phase.

 

Leading your customers effortlessly from product selection to purchase confirmation creates a frictionless checkout process. This ensures that you not only retain potential buyers but also foster an environment of trust and efficiency. The seamless sale is the ultimate win-win for both yourself and your customers.

Pixels and Profits: Understanding the Metrics Behind Successful Online Selling

Pixels and Profits: Understanding the Metrics Behind Successful Online Selling

 

In the digital world of e-commerce, success isn’t merely about having an attractive website or a vast inventory. Beneath the surface, hidden within the pixels of every online store, lies a world of data and metrics. These metrics, when understood and leveraged correctly, can transform a regular online store into a profit-churning machine. Let’s dive into the essential metrics that drive online selling success…

 

  1. Traffic Source Analysis

Knowing where your visitors are coming from allows you to optimise your marketing efforts. Whether it’s organic search, paid ads, or social media referrals, each source provides insights into your audience’s preferences and behaviors.

How to Calculate:

 This isn’t a single metric but rather a breakdown of your website visitors based on their origin. Analytic tools like Google Analytics categorize traffic sources into channels such as direct, organic search, paid search, referral, social, etc.

 

  1. Conversion Rate

This metric reflects the percentage of visitors who take a desired action, like making a purchase. A low conversion rate might indicate issues with website design, product pricing, or checkout processes.

How to Calculate:

ConversionRate=(NumberofConversions/TotalVisitors)x100 Where “Number of Conversions” could be any desired action like sales, sign-ups, etc.

 

  1. Average Order Value (AOV)

By understanding the average spend of your customers per transaction, you can strategise on upselling or bundling products to increase this value.

How to Calculate:

AOV=TotalRevenue/NumberofOrders

 

  1. Cart Abandonment Rate

A high cart abandonment rate could indicate friction points in the checkout process. This metric helps sellers identify potential hurdles that customers face during their purchase journey.

How To Calculate:

CartAbandonmentRate=(NumberofCompletedTransactions/NumberofCartsCreated)x100

 

  1. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

CLV predicts the total revenue a business can expect from a single customer account. It emphasizes the importance of repeat purchases and customer loyalty.

How to Calculate:

CLV=(AveragePurchaseValuexPurchaseFrequency)/CustomerChurnRate

 

  1. Bounce Rate

This metric reveals the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate may indicate irrelevant content, poor user experience, or slow loading times.

How to Calculate:

BounceRate=(NumberofSinglePageVisits/TotalVisits)x100

 

  1. Customer Retention Rate

The ability to retain customers over time speaks volumes about your product quality and customer service. A higher retention rate usually correlates with increased profitability.

How to Calculate:

CustomerRetentionRate=((NumberofCustomersatEndofPeriod−NumberofCustomersAcquiredDuringPeriod)/NumberofCustomersatStartofPeriod)x100

 

  1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

NPS gauges customer satisfaction and loyalty. A high NPS (scored out of 10) indicates that customers are likely to recommend your products or services. Similarly, a low score out of ten indicates low customer satisfaction. 

How to Calculate:

First, ask customers a simple question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a friend?” Based on the score:

0-6 are Detractors

7-8 are Passives

9-10 are Promoters

 

  1. Product Return Rate

A high return rate can indicate dissatisfaction with a product’s quality or misleading product descriptions. Monitoring this metric helps sellers improve their product offerings.

How to Calculate:

ProductReturnRate=(NumberofReturnedProducts/TotalProductsSold)x100

 

These metrics can help you eliminate guesswork when deducing exactly where your business is doing well and where there are areas for improvement. They offer a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of an online selling platform. By focusing on these metrics, online sellers can make data-driven decisions, optimise their strategies, and ultimately, achieve success in the competitive world of e-commerce.

Navigating the World of Selling Platforms: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the World of Selling Platforms: A Comprehensive Guide

 

The digital era has opened up a plethora of opportunities for businesses and individuals to sell their products and services online. With so many platforms available, selecting the right one for your needs can feel daunting. In this article, we’ll explore a variety of selling platforms, diving into their unique features and benefits.

General E-commerce Platforms

  • Amazon: One of the largest global online marketplaces, Amazon allows sellers to reach millions of customers worldwide. It’s suitable for virtually any product category.
  • eBay: Originally an auction site, eBay has evolved into a marketplace for both new and used goods. It’s great for unique items and collectibles.
  • Etsy: Tailored for handmade, vintage, and craft supply items, Etsy provides a platform for artisans to showcase their creativity.    

Self-Hosted E-commerce Solutions

  • Shopify: A customizable e-commerce platform that allows businesses to set up their online store. It offers a range of templates and apps to enhance functionality.
  • WooCommerce: A plugin for WordPress, WooCommerce is a free platform (with premium extensions) ideal for those who already have a WordPress website.
  • Magento: Known for its scalability, Magento is suited for medium to large enterprises looking for a robust e-commerce solution.

Niche Selling Platforms

  • Reverb: Specifically designed for musicians, Reverb is a marketplace for new, used, and vintage music gear.
  • Poshmark: A social commerce platform where users can buy and sell fashion items, making it a virtual thrift store and new clothes shopping experience combined.
  • Teespring: Ideal for designers, Teespring allows individuals to design and sell custom-made apparel, home decor, and other items.

Digital Product Platforms

  • Gumroad: A platform tailored for artists and creators, Gumroad is ideal for selling digital products like e-books, courses, software, and art.
  • Udemy: For educators and instructors, Udemy offers a platform to create and sell online courses on a myriad of subjects.

B2B Platforms

  • Alibaba: Targeting global wholesale trade, Alibaba connects suppliers with buyers worldwide.
  • ThomasNet: A platform for finding suppliers and manufacturers in the US, it’s been referred to as the “industrial version of Amazon.”
  • Applegate: The UK equivalent to ThomasNet. It serves as a directory for suppliers, manufacturers, and service providers across various industries in the UK.

Handmade and Artisan Platforms

  • ArtFire: Similar to Etsy, ArtFire is a marketplace for handmade, vintage, and craft items.
  • Big Cartel: Designed specifically for artists and makers, Big Cartel offers easy-to-set-up online stores.

Services and Freelancing Platforms

  • Fiverr: A platform for freelancers to offer services in various categories, from graphic design to writing.
  • Upwork: Connecting freelancers with businesses, Upwork covers a broad range of professional services.

Rental and Second-hand Platforms

  • Depop: A social shopping app where individuals can buy and sell second-hand fashion items.
  • Turo: A car-sharing platform where individuals can rent out their vehicles.

 

Choosing the right selling platform depends on your products, target audience, and business goals. Whether you’re selling handmade crafts, digital products, or offering freelance services, there’s a platform tailored for your needs. Take the time to research each platform’s fees, audience, and features to find the best fit for your business. Remember, the digital landscape is vast, and opportunities are endless!