How to Choose a Shipping Software
Many packages, many destinations, many options for shipping software. In a shipping software market where every platform seems to offer the same thing, how do you know you’ve made the best selection for your company? Here are some things to consider:
What to Look For
Marketplace Integration and CSV Mapping
This seems like a no brainer, but if you’re an omni-channel seller, make sure that your shipping software integrates all of your marketplaces. Most name-brand shipping platforms will have what you need, but if they don’t, check to see if there’s a CSV mapping tool that will nevertheless allow you to pull orders from your ecommerce platform. Or better yet, find out if the company is willing to build a custom-integration to suit your needs.
Another no-brainer–If you use multiple carriers, or want the option of using multiple carriers, make sure the software integrates each one. More importantly, be certain that the software provides a way to compare shipping solutions across all carriers.
Discounted Shipping Rates
Nearly all shipping platforms advertise that they have the lowest USPS rates. The truth is, they are all the same. They offer rates below retail called Commercial Base or Commercial Plus Pricing, but here’s where you need to be cautious: Nearly EVERY shipping platform relies on a third-party contract to provide these rates. In other words, these shipping software companies aren’t providing you with their own contracted USPS rates. They are giving you someone else’s USPS rates. Several lawsuits and contract disputes in these environments have brought instability to users of these platforms. So, our best advice to you is to use a shipping software company that owns its own rates with USPS and is not beholden to third-party agreements.
Moreover, industry rumors indicate that crackdowns may be on the horizon from USPS. Without naming names, the largest and most recognizable names in shipping software are on the chopping block for cannibalizing revenue from USPS. In other words, several companies are using their platforms to undercut the USPS with existing USPS customers. Any move by the USPS to crack down on these activities will undoubtedly bring major disruptions to users of certain shipping platforms. Contact us today for more information about these measures and how you can shield your company from the consequences of regulatory action.
Live Expert Support and Reporting
Here, we start to get into some key differences. The top platforms provide interesting reporting features and allow you to access key data. Where these platforms diverge, is at the level of customer support and data interpretation provided by live shipping experts. To be bold, the largest shipping platforms do not offer much beyond basic technical support or product feature how-to’s. Very few actually employ seasoned shipping experts who know how to optimize a parcel program based on unique package-by-package shipping data.
Our Advice: While we’re tempted to simply say, “Use ShipCaddie,” instead, we will advise you to avoid marrying your company to any organization that restricts your interactions to basic tech support and FAQs. This leads us to the always-notorious category of ‘what to avoid.’
What to avoid
Large Publicly-Traded Conglomerates: The biggest problem with these corporations and subsidiaries is that, yes, they are notoriously stingy with pricing tiers—but more importantly—they are stingy with their internal resources. The result is poor customer support, nickel-and-diming pricing strategies and no flexibility or scale with your business. Another common complaint is that these companies try to do too much. They bog down their systems with rarely-used features and messy user interfaces, leading to sub-standard user experiences. Our best advice is to do business with a company that puts the customer first and maintains a flexible approach to product feedback and customer-specific needs.
Warning—ShipCaddie Sales Pitch Below
So, what differentiates the various shipping software platforms? Honestly—not very much outside varying user experiences. While ShipCaddie does have distinguishing features—such as detailed rate analyzers, actionable intelligence and programs to optimize costs—what makes ShipCaddie different is its focus on customer relations. Every ShipCaddie user has a dedicated Customer Success Manager (CSM) who they can call on a moment’s notice (No robots, call trees or operators). The CSM can help with technical questions and offer complimentary data interpretation to help you optimize your shipping process and save money. If your operations are particularly complex, your CSM will escalate your questions to C-level shipping experts (no charge) who can answer any question you have related to your supply chain as well as help devise a shipping strategy that optimizes your costs.
For these reasons, ShipCaddie is not just another shipping software. It’s a shipping experience, and ShipCaddie users enhance their knowledge and professional experience in ways that are not achievable with other platforms. Call ShipCaddie today for a live demo. 888.797.0929.