Shopify is one of the best e-commerce platforms for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. You can choose from over 70 professional and free store themes with the option to change colours, images, and fonts with ease, without writing a single line of code. Moreover, you have full access to the HTML and CSS of your store, making it easy to customise every aspect of your website.
Through a comprehensive dashboard, you can get a complete, detailed view of your business to understand sales, orders, and audience better and tailor your products and marketing accordingly. Shopify Payments allows you to accept credit cards instantly and without third-party accounts, but the platform also supports more than 100 external payment gateways, from PayPal to bitcoin.
Shopify also helps you protect your customers' personal data and your own by providing GDPR-compliant features. Similarly, Shopify Payments is PCI compliant and supports 3D Secure checkouts to keep your customers' payment info and business data safe.
So, you have created a striking Shopify store, managed to drive customers to your site through sophisticated marketing campaigns, set up your payment options, designed an exceptional shopping experience that directs buyers seamlessly to your checkout page, and chose the best shipping label printer to print your Shopify shipping labels.
You are now (almost) ready to start selling your amazing products. The next big step to consider is your Shopify e-commerce shipping options before orders start coming in.
In this guide, we'll show you the best shipping options for your Shopify store and how they can help you streamline your e-commerce fulfilment process.
Shopify shipping rates
First of all, you need to consider what shipping rates and delivery options you will make available to your customers. There are several common methods to choose from, but your choice should always be informed by the financials of your business and your customer needs and preferences.
Free shipping or free local pick-up
Offering your customers free shipping is by far the most attractive options and one of the best ways to reduce shopping cart abandonment.
The truth, though, is that shipping is never free. So, before offering free shipping as an option, you need to determine whether you'll be able to absorb the shipping costs. You can either increase product prices to cover costs for shipping or pay the full price of shipping out of your margins.
A third option would be to offer free shipping on a minimum order amount. That can help you offset the shipping costs by potentially increasing your average order size, but you're still the one paying for shipping out of your margins. Finally, if none of the above is a viable option for your business, you can offer free local pick up where customers collect orders in person from your brick-and-mortar store or warehouse instead.
Flat shipping rate
Another popular option is to offer flat rate shipping. Flat rate shipping works best when you have a reasonably homogenous product line of items that have similar sizes and weights. That way, you can be sure that you neither overcharge your customers nor losing money by paying shipping for large or heavy items out of your own pocket.
The final option is to charge carrier rates for shipping. By doing some research, you can identify which carriers offer services that best suit your fulfilment needs and the delivery options you want to offer to your customers. If you can't find a carrier that works for all your delivery options, consider using different carriers for different delivery methods, destination countries, product size/weight, etc. Globally, there are hundreds of local and international carriers to choose from, so selecting the right one(s) and get your Shopify shop to work seamlessly with them can be quite challenging (this is where having a shipping management platform can come in handy, but more on that later).
Shopify shipping options
Understanding all the variables and choosing the correct shipping strategy is vital to your business' long-term growth and success. There are several different ways to ship your orders that come through your Shopify store. Below we will discuss these options in detail and evaluate the pros and cons of each one.
Shopify Shipping is a free shipping option for Shopify users built into your Shopify account. It gives you access to features like order fulfilment, package tracking, and real-time shipping calculations. In addition, it helps you efficiently manage all your shipping directly from your Shopify account.
Although Shopify Shipping is free for Shopify users on every pricing plan, you should note that it's only available for orders shipped from the United States, Canada, and Australia.
Shopify Shipping works with USPS, UPS, and DHL in the United States, Canada Post in Canada, and Sendle in Australia, offers several services with each carrier, and allows you to pay for and print shipping labels for the above carriers directly from your Shopify account.
Depending on your Shopify store's subscription plan and the order that you're shipping, you might be eligible for reduced shipping rates for the above carriers as well.
Using Shopify Shopping is relatively simple:
Once you have selected your shipping carriers and added your products' dimensions and weight, Shopify will use this information to calculate shipping rates in real-time to display on your checkout page.
It's worth noticing that Shopify Shipping calculates the weight of your shipments by adding packaging materials weight to the weight of your product. You can set the weight and dimensions of your packaging materials by setting up a 'default package'. Unfortunately, you can only set one ' default package' value, so if your products vary significantly in size or weight, the real-time rates Shopify Shipping calculates on your checkout page will be wrong.
After setting up your shipping rates and orders have started coming in, you'll have to buy and print shipping labels to ship your orders.
To buy a shipping label, go to your 'Orders' tab on Shopify admin, click the order you want to ship, confirm the items you want to include in the fulfilment, choose the package type, select the shipping method and click 'buy shipping label'.
To print that shipping label, select the number of the order you purchased a shipping label for and click 'print label'. You can choose the printer you want to use to print the label and the correct paper size in the pop-up window. In addition, Shopify gives you the option to bulk print shipping labels by selecting multiple orders.
If you are based in the US, Shopify Shipping also allows you to purchase return labels if you have a return policy in place and a customer wants to return a product. If you're not in the United States, then you have to purchase return labels directly through your carrier or a third-party shipping app.
Shopify Fulfilment Network
Shipping is a crucial part of your e-commerce business and a fundamental element of an on-brand, positive customer experience. Nevertheless, it takes a lot of energy and time to ensure that that's always the case. And as your order volume starts to increase, fulfilment begins to eat away at the time you ideally would like to use to develop other parts of your business.
That is the reason why many online sellers decide to outsource their fulfilment to a 3PL (third-party logistics) company that holds inventory, manage all the coordination with carriers, and gets products shipped out to customers.
Shopify offers a fulfilment service called Shopify Fulfilment Network that will pick, pack, and ship your orders. Shopify has a network of warehouses distributed across North America, so you can strategically distribute your products closer to your US and Canadian customers, reducing shipping times and costs.
Shopify Fulfilment Network is for businesses that:
· Sell in the United States and Canada
· Have a small product catalogue
· Ship 3 to 200 orders per day
· Do not sell regulated or perishable products
Use a shipping software solution
Shopify Shopping can be a great solution if you are just starting your e-commerce business and your order volume is still relatively low. Similarly, using a 3PL company or Shopify Fulfilment Network is a good option if you don't want to have to deal with shipping or if you've grown beyond your existing warehousing capabilities
But if you're not based in the US, Canada, or Australia, want the option to connect more carriers to your Shopify account and negotiate your own shipping rates, or simply wish to automate your Shopify shipping process, you might need to start looking for a more advanced solution.
Third-party shipping software solutions include nearly everything Shopify Shipping offers, and they typically have more advanced features available that will help you automate your Shopify shipping process and save you time and money.
You can use these third-party shipping software solutions to connect with your carriers of choice, print shipping labels and customs documentation, manage returns, track your shipments, and automate order fulfilment.
A shipping management platform like Shiptheory integrates fully with your Shopify store and will allow you to streamline and automate several shipping-related tasks. That way, it will enable a more efficient shipping process for your Shopify orders and save you money and time while eliminating manual data-entry errors.
Shiptheory is a cloud-based shipping management platform that connects your Shopify store with more than 40 of the world's best international, regional, and local carriers, like USPS, UPS, DHL, Royal Mail, FedEx, Sendle, and more, to automate shipping labels, manifests, customs documentation, and tracking.
With Shiptheory, you can import orders automatically from your Shopify store into a single, easy-to-use platform that offers various shipping label printing options, multiple-user support, advanced reporting features, and an excellent customer support team.
Connect your Shopify store to Shiptheory and gain access to powerful shipping automation!
Shiptheory's intelligent shipping rules engine allows you to automate every step of your shipping process based on a combination of shipping destination, order weight, value, product SKU's, and more. In addition, your Shopify shipping labels are automatically printed, and shipment tracking information is sent back to your Shopify store and customers moments after an order is complete.
If you want to start right away shipping your online orders, connecting your Shopify store to Shiptheory and creating your first shipping label is a matter of minutes, as you can see on this video guide.
You put much effort into developing brand awareness, driving people to your Shopify store and making sure you provide an excellent customer experience from start to finish. You should definitely put the same amount of thought and effort into finding the best shipping solution for your Shopify orders.
Shipping is unquestionably a challenging aspect for any online seller. However, being the point where a customer finally experiences your product in person, it is a fundamental part of your e-commerce business.
While it may seem like a challenging task at first, choosing the best solution for shipping your Shopify orders should hopefully be relatively straightforward after reading our guide.
And when you do find the best shipping solution, don't let it go stale. Your customers' needs constantly evolve, and so should your shipping strategy. So, re-evaluate your fulfilment process every few months and keep developing it to deliver the best possible customer experience.
Using a shipping solution such as Shiptheory for your Shopify store will allow you to quickly scale as your business grows and your customers' needs change.
If you have any queries regarding our Shopify integration, please do not hesitate to reach out to support. We are more than happy to answer your questions and give you a hand to get it up and running.
Otherwise, create a free Shiptheory account and start shipping smarter and faster today!