“Free shipping” is one of the great misnomers in today’s retail world. We all know that it is not free to ship anything, even for Amazon.  Someone, somewhere, is paying the cost of delivering the goods to the customer’s door – it may be built into the price, or perhaps assessed in an annual membership fee.  But order to be competitive when you send out ecommerce or in-store purchases, you’ll probably need to at least offer low cost shipping.  

There are several newer companies offering small scale software-based shipping services, and you may want to explore them to see if they can save you money. One is creatively named Pirate Ship, and they partner exclusively with the United States Postal Service. According to their website, they do not charge a monthly fee, so you just pay for the commercial USPS rate for sending your packages. (It turns out that there is a big difference between the retail price that you pay if you take a package to the post office vs. using a service to get a discounted commercial rate.)

Once you have the package’s dimensions and weight, the Pirate Ship software calculates the postage and creates a shipping label. Like the other shipping software programs, Pirate Ship interfaces with a number of different platforms such as Shopify to save you from having to duplicate data entry.  

Shipstation is another platform that promises to save businesses money on shipping costs.  This company offers discounted rates from FedEx, UPS, DHL, and also works with the USPS. Their web-based software is available through an app, and integrates directly with ecommerce marketplaces. 

Stamps.com is a third-party provider which charges a monthly fee to allow users to print USPS postage on demand.  Although Stamps.com is an approved licensed vendor for the US Postal Service, it is a private internet-based postage provider.  You can use their service for both first-class mailings and shipping packages.

We haven’t tried any of these services, so I encourage you to read reviews such as these on the “Shipping School” website to determine which one is best for you. Hopefully you’ll find a way to boost your bottom line by reducing your shipping costs.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder