If you sell a physical product, one of your biggest annoyances is probably shipping that product to your customers. But you can minimize your shipping headaches if you know the best tools to use to get shipping done fast and easy. Current software that allows you to pay for shipping and services that pick up your packages for you, can make shipping much more simple than it has ever been.
Let's start by taking a look at the different U.S. options and what they provide.
USPS Flat-Rate Boxes: This might be the simplest option. As they even say, “If It Fits, It Ships.” If the product or products, fit into one of the boxes it will ship, domestically, for a set rate. You can pick the boxes up at your local post office or even go to their website and order them (you will have to pay a bit for shipping). Once the package is ready to go you can take the boxes down to the post office or pay online and make arrangements to have the boxes picked up.
USPS Shipping for Business: If you have a bit heavier shipping needs than USPS Flat Rate Boxes provide, you can use USPS Shipping for Business option. With their Click & Ship software you can print your labels, pay for your shipping and arrange to have the packages picked up, just like you can with their Flat Rate Boxes.
Stamps.com: Stamps is another service that allows you to buy and print USPS labels and you can schedule a time to have your packages picked up. They also allow you to provide the option to import information from systems like PayPal, eBay, Etsy and others. With Stamps you can ship based on the weight of the package. Stamps.com has years behind them, being the longest running third-party shipping option in the U.S.
Shipping Easy: Although they have only been around a few years they have grown quickly. Shipping Easy allows integration with PayPal, eBay and so forth, and like Stamps.com, they allow you to ship based on weight. They also give the option for not just USPS, but also UPS and FedEx. Note: If you want to use more than USPS for your shipping, there is a monthly charge.
FedEx Ship Manager: FedEx’s Ship Manager allows you to setup and pay for your shipping from locations in the United States and Canada. Unlike the above options you can also use this if you are in Canada.
Canada Post EST: A similar concept to the U.S. Postal Service software, Canada Post EST allows you to import shipping information - it is just a matter of getting your formatting right.
UPS: UPS has made some great software for shipping your product. While their system only works with their shipping service, it is available in 20 different languages and over 140 possible countries of origin. This is by far one of the most encompassing shipping software options. If your company is in multiple locations this might be the one for you to go with.
One thing that almost all of these options require is a scale to weigh your package. Some services provide you with one. Beyond that these different options all provide you with a way to get your shipping done easily at the office. If you are just starting to consider selling online, and shipping concerns are one thing holding you back, consider these options to help you determine the most efficient way to get your goods to their happy new homes.
And if you are not in the United States, do not worry, many postal services have their own mailing software, like the Royal Mail’s SmartStamp. As well as many third party options like ShipRocket in India or ReadytoShip in Australia.
Don’t let shipping discourage you! Good Luck and Good Sales.