• Shipping + Order Automation

    Simplify your life with these services

One of the things most e-commerce owners hate about their job (other than dealing with difficult customers) is the task of processing and shipping orders.  I’m continually surprised by how many of our clients are doing it the ‘old fashioned’ way by copying and pasting addresses out of Pinnacle Cart into whatever shipping software they use and then manually updating the order with tracking info.  There is an easier way!

Cloud-based shipping software has come a long way in the last few years. While there are a number of companies competing in this space, there are three that tend to be the most popular for a typical e-commerce store owner – ShippingEasy, ShipStation and Webgility.  All three work by acting as a central repository for all of your orders across multiple platforms.

For example, say you have an e-commerce site, sell on eBay and also on Amazon. This software collects all of your orders for each of these platforms and lets you print shipping labels, manage returns, track orders and handle all of your order related tasks.  The software will also post the tracking info back to your respective platforms, and some even handle sync of your accounting software as well.  On top of the automation, all three of these platforms offer significant discounts on shipping due to the volume discount they get.   You can choose to pass that savings on to your customers, or, just keep the difference yourself.

So what’s the catch?  There is of course a monthly fee (as there is with everything these days) and that fee can get rather steep depending on your order volume and which platform you choose.  Each platform also has its pros and cons, and some of our customers just prefer one interface over the other. Here are some pros and cons of each system:

ShipStation

www.shipstation.com

Another seamless integration via our plugin ($350 installed), and very similar to ShippingEasy, except they still offer QuickBooks support.  The problem I have with these guys is that their support is less than stellar, actually telling me once that they don’t really support their API.  Really?  They also don’t have phone support, which is a problem for those of you who hate email/ticket systems.

Pros:  Inexpensive (although they don’t have a free option like ShippingEasy), easy to use, provides you with a stamps.com account with significant discounts, QuickBooks integration, automatic tracking info passed to Pinnacle.

Cons: Their interface isn’t as nice as ShippingEasy, no phone support, not great email support, not as many functions as Webgility

ShippingEasy

www.shippingeasy.com

This platform seamlessly integrates with Pinnacle Cart via our ShippingEasy plugin ($350 installed) and is our favorite platform to work with.  Their support is fantastic and I personally like their interface the best.  Until recently, they had built-in QuickBooks sync, which seamlessly tied your order data into QuickBooks.  Sadly, they removed this functionality and now partner with Webgility to handle that.  Why you would want to pay for both services when they essentially do the same thing is beyond me, but that is their pitch.  You can also achieve QuickBooks sync with some other cheaper software, but it would be nice if it was all in one place.

Pros:  Inexpensive (actually FREE up to 50 shipments a month), easy to work with, supports all major platforms (ebay, Amazon, Etsy, etc), BIG discounts on shipping costs, phone support, automatically passes order tracking info back to Pinnacle Cart.

Cons: No longer syncs with QuickBooks, not quite as many features and functions as Webglity

Webgility

www.webglity.com

This is the oldest of the three, but also the most expensive.  They are constantly changing their plans and service offerings so it is difficult to keep track of exactly what you get for your money.  It is built-in to Pinnacle by default, but their integration rarely works out of the box and you have to talk to Webgility tech to get them to fix it.  In my experience, that typically takes a week or two.  So if you want something to work out of the box, this isn’t the best choice.

Pros – extremely powerful with inventory management, accounting integration, reporting, etc.  The more you pay, the more functionality you get access to.

Cons – WAY more expensive then the other two systems above, requires you to use actual software on your computer (not cloud-based).  Horrible customer service that will blame everything on you instead of their software.

Other Options

Stamps.com is also a simple alternative and lets you print paid USPS shipping labels from directly inside the Pinnacle Cart admin area.  It doesn’t handle returns or automated tracking like the services above, but it will eliminate the copy/paste nightmare at least.

Endicia.com is similar to stamps.com in that it offers USPS labels only.  If you offer FedEx or UPS, these two systems will not work for you.

As your business grows, there are more advanced Order/Inventory Management systems like Ordoro which have even more advanced features and functions such as drop-shipping and some incorporate a CRM as well.

Choosing the Right One for Your Business

Compare the features and functions offered by each platform, and find the one that fits your needs the best, and then set up a demo.  The goal is to make your life easier, so you don’t want to be stuck with something that you have to fight with to print a label.  Also compare the shipping cost savings you get from each platform, as a 1-2% difference can save you a ton over the long haul, and may very well offset the monthly cost of the service.

Questions?  Feel free to contact us.