If you are selling merchandise online and are looking to print postage online, you may want to read this article before proceeding. There are several software platforms to choose from and it can become quite confusing. I think you will find that this article may help you in making your decision on which platform is best for your business.
Some Important Factors to Know before selecting a Postage Printing Software
1) Will you be using an Order Management Software? Some companies use an order management system to help them print batch labels for orders coming in from various sales channels.
2) Are you looking to postback your tracking numbers to various sales channels automatically? If you are selling on various sales channels and would like the tracking numbers automatically posted back to that channel you will need an order management system.
3) Are you looking to rate shop multiple carriers at the same time? If so, then you will want to use an order management system that handles multiple carriers for shipping.
Most Popular Order Management Systems
1) Shipstation – is an Austin TX based software company that services the eRetail community. Currently this is one of the most popular systems on the market. This system allows eRetailers to automate all portions of the fulfillment process and create many custom rules with minimal effort. Pricing starts at $25 per month for 500 orders per month and increases to $145 per month for their enterprise system that accommodates an unlimited number of shipments.
2) Shipworks – is very similar to Shipstation except it allows pricing to start for small volumes less than 500 orders per month. Pricing for Shipworks begins at $14.95 per month for up to 99 orders and will scale its pricing up to $49.95 per month for above 1,000 orders per month. I have found that many start up companies use shipworks to keep costs down in their start up phase. The one disadvantage to using Shipworks is that shipment information is stored locally on your desktop and then eventually you will run out of storage which cripples the program and requires tech support to delete old order information.
Postage Printing Software
1) Endicia.com – Is a Palo Alto CA based company that has designed a great postage printing mechanism. Endicia supports all services of the United States Postal Service and many consolidators. Pricing for Endicia start at $9.95 per month and scales up to $34.95 per month for their Endicia Professional Service. The one disadvantage of using Endicia alone is the inability to postback your tracking number to your various sales channels automatically. Using Endicia will allow you to receive Commercial Based pricing for all your USPS shipments.
2) Stamps.com – Is a El Segundo CA based company that has designed a great postage printing mechanism. Stamps.com integrates directly with many popular sales channels like eBay and Amazon which will allow you to automatically postback your tracking numbers. Unfortunately, Stamps.com only generates labels for all USPS products and does not support consolidator’s at the moment. Pricing begins at $15.99 per month and scales up to their Pro Shipper program for $34.99 per month. Using Stamps.com will allow you to receive Commercial Based pricing for all your USPS shipments.
3) Click & Ship – Is the USPS online postage printing solution. It allows for customers to print shipping labels online with no monthly fee. It does not allow for the printing of consolidator labels for larger mailers. It also does not integrate directly with many of the sales channels.
Which system works best for your size operation?
Based on my experience, I have noticed that there are specific niche markets that many of these programs service and service well.
Start Up Operation – Most of the start up operations that I have seen are using Stamps.com. It provides a cost effective solution for a start up company allowing them to print batch labels and receive discounted postage rates immediately after signing up.
Mid to Large Sized Operation – Most of the mid sized operations I have seen begin to migrate to an Order Management System, Specifically Shipstation. Shipstation provides the customer with the capabilities of rate shopping many parcel carriers simultaneously. In addition giving you access to all the USPS products. Through Shipstation you can activate and Endicia.com account. Having access to Endicia.com will allow a Mid Size company to start negotiating with some of the Parcel Consolidators and further reduce your postage rates.