Ship Smarter With Apps & Integrations for Your Shop
- 7 June 2021
- BySarah Anderson
- 5 min read
Shipping my products to new customers is one of my favorite parts of running an online shop. It's validating that someone wants something I've made, and I get to imagine their excitement when it arrives at their door.
But with that joy also comes some stress: what's the best way to ship and how do I get the right information on the envelope? Big Cartel integrates directly with several shipping partners to help with this bit of your business. You can see all of the apps on our help site, but to make the decision a little easier for you, I've found my favorite details about each option that helps them stand out. Find which scenario matters most to you.
If your budget is small:
Pirate Ship may be the answer! This is a basic, USPS-specific shipping platform that has no monthly fees: just pay for postage as you go! ShipRobot is another strong contender: their basic plan is free, and there's plenty of room to grow once your shop exceeds 10 shipments per month. If you're eyeing other options, keep in mind that all of the shipping apps have some kind of free trial, so don't be afraid to give them a try and see how they work before committing.
These suggestions are for a shop that is in the building phase, so the cash you have on hand is tight. If instead you're looking for the best way to stretch a dollar (or Euro or... you get it), it may be time to grab a calculator and dig deeper into the different discounts available on each platform. If your order volume is high enough, a percentage discount from your preferred shipping carrier may make up for a pricier monthly fee.
If you're outside of the US:
ShippyPro is based in Europe and provides support in five languages, so they're able to give thorough help to our friends further afield. Many platforms offer international postal and private carriers (like Royal Mail, Canada Post, UPS, FedEx, etc), so if you're looking for a different feature set, don't rule out ShipStation, ShipRobot, and ShipRush.
In addition to considering what's easy for you (is there a DHL dropbox right next to your front door?), think about where your customers are. If you get multiple messages complaining about lost packages from QuickShip Co (I made them up, you won't find any slander here), it might be time to find your next preferred option and a shipping app that makes the switch easy.
If your order volume fluctuates:
Many shipping integrations determine your plan by how many shipping labels you need to create in a month. It's a great way to scale your tools as your business grows, but that's not how it works for some brands. If your orders page sometimes feels like it's overflowing and other times stays mellow for a while (maybe you do big and exciting occasional product drops, for example), try a platform that doesn't count up your labels when determining your plan.
ShipRush lets you create unlimited labels and instead encourages you to upgrade to a fancier plan when you need access to additional shipping carriers or customer management plug-ins. Pirate Ship is another platform that doesn't limit the number of labels you can create in a specific amount of time.
If you like to compare prices:
ShipRush lets you compare different shipping providers side by side so you can strike a balance between speed and price. Easy!
For the cost-conscious folks, I want to shout out ShipStation here. In addition to letting you tap between different shipping options to determine the right price, they also help you run your business effectively with their cost analysis. See how your shipping charges compare to your expenses, review your most common selections to refine your offerings, and even take a look at some basic sales trends.
If you offer returns or exchanges:
Want a way to automate customer returns? Add some code to a custom page and ShippyPro will create a returns portal for your business. They'll get details about the return and generate a shipping label for your customers, without creating more work for you.
If you prefer to keep a hands-on approach, Pirate Ship can help you create return labels. Slip them in each order for quick returns, and you'll only be charged for the postage if the label is used.
Apps and integrations are a great way to add more horsepower to your Big Cartel shop. See the full lineup here or read some more articles comparing options like live chat, different payment processors, or customer reviews.