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There are many ways to handle shipping for your WooCommerce orders. The right solution really depends on your overall sales volume, the items that you ship and how you fulfill your orders. Sellers who ship packages of similar size and weight have different needs than those who ship a variety of parcels or use outsourced fulfillment providers.
The good news is none of these WooCommerce shipping tools require upfront setup costs, contracts or long-term commitments. So, you can try several on for size to see which is the best fit for your WooCommerce store.
1. WooCommerce Shipping
WooCommerce Shipping is a free, built-in feature of WooCommerce; you only pay for postage. It’s the simplest way to manage shipping tasks and print labels within your WooCommerce dashboard.
WooCommerce shipping connects to the U.S. Postal Service, which is an economical and convenient choice for many sellers. In WooCommerce Shipping, you can compare rates, purchase postage and print labels for all postal methods including first-class, priority and express mail, as well as services like international mail. As labels print, tracking information automatically updates in your WooCommerce orders, and your customers are notified via email that their package is on the way.
WooCommerce Shipping also gives you deep discounts on your postage purchases — as much as 60% to 90% off over-the-counter rates. Plus, you can schedule pick-ups to avoid the hassle of going to the post office to drop off packages.
WooCommerce Shipping lets you automate shipping and print labels in batches, or you can print labels as you process each order — the choice is yours. You can also set up a range of shipping rates to charge your customers, including free and flat-rate shipping charges, per-item or per-order rates and rate tables based on shipping zones or order totals. However, WooCommerce 3.5 and beyond no longer supports real-time USPS rates.
Keep in mind, WooCommerce Shipping doesn’t support other carriers. If you want to compare rates and print shipping labels for UPS, FedEx, DHL or other carriers, you need a carrier-specific plugin or a multi-carrier shipping tool.
Shippo is a multi-carrier shipping rate comparison tool that integrates with WooCommerce via a seamless plugin. Once connected, it securely syncs order data from WooCommerce, updates tracking information and triggers customer notifications as orders ship.
It also lets you quickly compare shipping rates among several carriers and methods in just a few clicks.
Shippo is a top-rated multicarrier shipping tool for two reasons. One, it connects you to virtually every major (and many minor) carriers worldwide; and two, most sellers enjoy greater discounts through Shippo than through individual shipper accounts.
Shippo has master accounts with USPS, DHL and a few other carriers. These aggregate thousands of shippers under a single account. The overall volume drives deeper discounts, which Shippo passes on to you.
Shippo also helps you get notable shipping rate discounts for other carriers, including up to 55% off retail rates for UPS and up to 30% off retail rates for FedEx. You simply set up these accounts through Shippo to receive the discounted rates. If you already have UPS, FedEx or other carrier accounts on your own, you can connect these to Shippo, too. You can even compare rates between your own carrier accounts and the ones obtained through Shippo to get the best deal.
Shippo is very economical for startups, too. Its pay-as-you-go plan has no monthly fee; instead, it charges ten cents for each label, and there’s no limit to the number of labels you can print. Higher-tier accounts start at $10 per month and offer extended features, unlimited labels and no per-label fees.
ShipStation is similar to Shippo in many ways. With it, you can compare shipping rates among carriers, print shipping labels, update tracking to orders and trigger shipped order notifications for your customers.
ShipStation offers deep USPS discounts and connects you to discounted accounts on FedEx and UPS. However, it doesn’t have a pay-as-you-go plan. Its base plan starts at $9 per month and limits you to 50 shipments. To ship more orders each month, you must increase your plan, which can get a bit pricey compared to other shipping tools.
ShipStation does have monthly costs, but volume sellers can really benefit from its deep carrier discounts, automation tools and vast array of carrier and platform partners.
ShipStation does integrate with virtually all online platforms — more than most other shipping tools — and you can connect unlimited sales channels with no added fees. So, if you sell on WooCommerce, WalMart.com, eBay, Amazon or other channels, you can easily handle all of your shipping within ShipStation.
ShipStation also integrates with third-party fulfillment providers like ShipBob to help you manage order routing between in-house and outsourced fulfillment. Plus, it can connect you to freight solutions like UShip, so you can conveniently manage LTL truck freight within your shipping portal. This is a great benefit for sellers targeting B2B customers or shipping in bulk quantities.
Ordoro delivers multi-carrier shipping rate comparison features that are on par with Shippo and ShipStation, but that’s not all. Its real power lies in its impressive inventory, purchase order and dropshipping management tools. If you’re a volume seller who needs to seamlessly pair WooCommerce with rate-comparison tools and automated inventory controls, Ordoro delivers a nifty package.
Ordoro provides deep USPS discounts to all users. Plus you can connect various carrier accounts to compare rates for the best deal on every parcel.
Ordoro also provides simple-to-use and extremely powerful fulfillment automation tools. These help you efficiently manage everything from in-house label printing to order routing to fulfillment partners, dropship vendors and supplier warehouses.
Ordoro makes shipping, fulfillment and inventory automation a breeze with easy automation tools like the preset shipping screen above.
Volume sellers can benefit from Ordoro’s array of inventory automation tools as well. You can automatically transmit purchase orders when products hit low stock levels, set up kitting for bundled buys and track assembled goods. Ordoro also supports barcode scanners and inventory labels to increase warehouse efficiency and order fulfillment accuracy.
Of course, all of this power comes with a hefty price tag. Shipping-only accounts start at $59 per month, and the Enterprise plan with inventory features starts at $399 per month. Ordoro isn’t the right fit for most startup and side-gig budgets. However, its time-saving tools are worth every penny to e-commerce power-sellers.
5. PayPal Shipping
PayPal Shipping might seem like an outlier in this list since it’s quite basic. However, it’s a handy tool for WooCommerce sellers who use PayPal for payment processing and want more options than WooCommerce Shipping provides.
PayPal Shipping supports both USPS and UPS, plus it provides deep discounts for each. If you want a simple two-carrier shipping option and use PayPal for all of your online payment processing, this can be a tidy solution.
PayPal Shipping is built into every PayPal business account and lets you print USPS and UPS labels with discounted shipping rates.
You access PayPal Shipping from your PayPal account dashboard. From there, you simply select an order to ship, choose your carrier and rate and print your label. PayPal charges the shipping fee to your PayPal account, so it’s all quick and easy.
It sends a tracking number directly to your customer; however, it doesn’t send tracking data back to your WooCommerce store. You’ll have to add tracking manually if you want it recorded in your WooCommerce orders. Because of this, PayPal Shipping is generally best for occasional shippers and low-volume sellers.
6. Single-carrier plugins
If you prefer to use a single carrier like UPS, FedEx, DHL or others, you can connect a single-carrier plugin from PluginHive. Each supports a single carrier integration with WooCommerce, which enables real-time carrier charges on orders, rate comparisons and shipping label printing all within your WooCommerce dashboard.
Single-carrier plugins offer many of the same automation perks that the multi-carrier tools offer. You can set up automatic label printing upon order completion, update tracking information in WooCommerce, trigger customer notifications and create labels on a per-order or batch basis.
The biggest drawback of this shipping option is you don’t get the discounted UPS and FedEx accounts that Shippo, ShipStation and Ordoro provide. You have to connect your own shipper account to make these work. However, if your account has discounted rates, those appear in your rate comparison screens, so you will always know what you’re actually paying when you ship a package.
What to look for
Picking the best WooCommerce shipping solution for your business depends on a few factors:
Your overall shipping volume: If you ship just a few packages per week, you can handle shipping tasks on an order-by-order basis. However, if you ship hundreds of orders per day, you need an efficient system that automates the process.
The types of packages you ship: If your shipments are large and heavy or vary in size and weight, multi-carrier software lets you compare rates to find the best deals. If your packages are the same size and weight, batch printing labels with a single carrier can be ideal.
The carriers you prefer to use: If you primarily ship with just one or two carriers, like USPS and UPS, WooCommerce Shipping and a single-carrier integration are likely all you need. However, multi-carrier shipping tools let you rate-shop multiple shipping services for the best shipping deal on every order.
How you fulfill your orders: You can print labels for shipments in many different ways. For some, batch printing works best, while others need to manually weigh and enter each shipment.
The WooCommerce shipping solutions above fit the needs and budgets of both startups and growing businesses. All offer batch and manual label printing to both label and plain-paper printers. Many also support return label printing; update tracking and order routing to warehouses, fulfillment partners and dropship vendors. A few even enable real-time rates so you can charge actual shipping costs on orders.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.