1. Introduction to Multi-Carrier Shipping Software
Every eCommerce business starts off small but eventually finds itself needing at least 2-3 shipping partners to manage order fulfillment. Managing multiple shipping partners, on the other hand, is a task of its own that requires the help of a Multi-Carrier Shipping System. With over 100 million users switching to online shopping, the eCommerce market has been flooded with opportunities for growth and expansion. However, growth comes at a price. And the price of fulfilling 2,000, 10,000, or 20,000+ orders a month is maintaining and monitoring your relationship with shipping partners.
The traditional approach to managing shipping partners required eCommerce businesses to track their orders from each respective shipping company’s platform. To avoid this messy hassle, most eCommerce businesses across the globe put their faith in shipping aggregators and other more advanced multi-carrier shipping systems. Logistics/Shipping/Courier Aggregators allow quick basic integration with specified Shipping APIs based on predetermined contracts. These eCommerce Aggregators ensure that Shipping APIs Work with 100% accuracy and give proper results. They’re effective services for young businesses with lower order volumes.
For larger companies, multi-carrier integration platforms offer greater solutions, with more flexibility and space to develop independent relationships with shipping partners. These systems handle more complex Shipping API integration and make use of the latest tech to give you the most efficient shipping solutions and to give your customers the best shipping experience. In this article, we’ll be running you through some details of the best multi-carrier shipping systems for eCommerce businesses and how you can select the ideal system.
2. List of Top 10 Best Multi-Carrier Shipping Software in eCommerce
Multi-carrier shipping systems can help e-commerce businesses manage and perform a wide variety of shipping functions. They make use of a variety of tech-enabled shipping solutions like AI-driven engines and eCommerce Shipping API integrations to enable order creation, track orders, manage NDRs, optimize returns and perform numerous other functions. However, each multi-carrier shipping system has its own set of specialized services and operational advantages.
The first step to understanding and selecting the best integration system for you is to be aware of the best ones out there. With that in mind, these are the top multi-carrier shipping systems in eCommerce.
- ClickPost provides its customers with a single API to integrate with the various different order creation APIs. This streamlines the process of preparing an order for shipment. Order creation, Waybill and shipping label generation, and pickup are all pushed by the same API integration.
- ClickPost also uses dual APIs, both push and pulls tracking API integrations to get real-time tracking updates from shipping partners.
- These order tracking updates are automatically sent to customers via different communication channels.
- API integrations are also set up to enable efficient returns and NDR management, in addition to shipping partner performance analyses.
- The NDR Management protocol of ClickPost auto-resolves failed deliveries based on the respective causes.
- Regular Analytics reports are provided based on specified metrics and time frames.
A Hong Kong-based logistics startup company, Aftership provides its software on a global scale. It offers integration with 600+ global carriers and numerous different online storefronts like Magento and Shopify. It is best known for providing automated tracking services via package tracking API integration. It is also enabled to send customers tracking updates on a regular basis, so they are kept informed about the various stages of delivery their order has crossed. It helps in tracking shipping partner performances. Aftership currently serves 10,000+ global eCommerce customers.
FreightPop, like ClickPost, was founded in 2015. However, this startup began its journey in California and now operates globally. It is one of the largest transportation management software across the planet and is tied with 300+ international shipping companies. For any eCommerce businesses not integrated with an ERP or WMS, FreightPop provides a range of integrated shipping services including export and import. It similarly uses tech to amplify eCommerce enterprise auditing capabilities to find freight discrepancies by tracking orders and invoices.
MetaPack is a software service based out of London that operates both nationally and internationally. It offers eCommerce businesses across the UK and other countries an opportunity to integrate with 400+ shipping companies. In addition, to express delivery, international delivery, and shipping label creation, it provides pick-up and drop-off services at over 350000+ facilities scattered across the globe. The main service this system provides is a simplified viewing platform for all orders across multiple shipping partners. As a global eCommerce logistics provider, services are also provided to help eCommerce businesses with customs clearance.
Narvar, alongside FreightPop, is a California-based company providing an integrated shipping system to eCommerce businesses across North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region, operating in 38+ countries. Integrations with 800+ shipping companies enable streamlined shipping label creation and order tracking services. One of Narvar’s more unique services is its Concierge facility, which allows eCommerce companies to select a designated Concierge center near them for pickups and drop-offs, in accordance with the shipping partner employed for each respective order.
Pickrr is one of the most popular shipping aggregators, integrated with 10+ major shipping partners and multiple leading storefronts like WooCommerce, Magento, and Shopify. As an integration platform, it provides quick facilities for eCommerce businesses to select multiple shipping partners in accordance with pin code serviceability. Shipping rates are pre-negotiated to ensure affordability. Pickrr offers 3 payment plans, based on order volumes. For order volumes of less than 1000/month, Rs.29 is charged per order, Rs.26/order for 1000-5000 orders/month, and finally Rs.22/order for 5000+ orders/month. It provides shipping services across 26,000+ pin codes across India.
Shippo is yet another California-based shipping software company that operates primarily in the United States, though it also handles global shipments and international delivery. As a globally operational service provider, it can aid in import and export documentation. This software provides easy management of orders through automated shipping labels and packing slip creation. It also enables eCommerce businesses to provide their customers with a single-view tracking page to receive real-time delivery updates on their orders, as well as automated notifications informing them when their respective order has been picked up or is out-for-delivery.
ShipRocket is another shipping aggregator and, much like Pickrr, it is amongst the most popular in country currently. It is tied up with 16+ shipping partners, serving over 26,000+ pin codes across the country. In addition to easy storefront integration and international shipping, it also allows eCommerce businesses to avail themselves of services like hyperlocal delivery, speedy COD remittance, and NDR management. Its foremost feature is to provide a single viewing platform for all orders being handled by various integrated shipping partners, in addition to a custom tracking page for customers to view their order status. ShipRocket also offers 3 payment plans depending on serviceability, integrations required, and volume of orders.
ShipStation is another SaaS (Software as a Service) company that operates in numerous countries across North America, Australia, and Europe. In addition to multiple shipping company integrations, it also enables eCommerce businesses to integrate with virtual marketplaces like Etsy and Walmart as well as selling channels and storefronts like Shopify and Squarespace. ShipStation also offers multiple payment options (more than 3), designated based on the volume of orders, starting at $9 for 50 orders/month ranging up to $159 for 10,000 orders/month. In addition to inventory management services and customized packaging, ShipStation also offers integration with accounting software like QuickBooks to help eCommerce businesses maintain profitability.
Veeqo is a shipping system that was launched in the UK in 2013 and maintains specialty services in inventory management. It does this by synchronizing inventory tracking across various different marketplaces and selling channels like Magento and Shopify. This software enables regular stock appraisals to be carried out which promote and automate inventory forecasting and other inventory management services. The goal of these services is to ensure eCommerce businesses have the requisite stock available to fulfill any order at any given point in time. In addition to inventory management services, Veeqo also provides a single platform for viewing all orders across multiple shipping partners.
3. How to Select the Best Multi-Carrier Shipping Software?
Now that we’ve narrowed down the list of multi-carrier shipping systems to the best ones across the globe, each eCommerce business still has to complete the task of selecting its ideal shipping partner. This can be a difficult job as each multi-carrier shipping system has its own specialization and provides different services across different regions as mentioned above. So listed below are the specific criteria you would need to review to determine which shipping partner is right for you.
Serviceability, in this instance, refers to the area of operation for each multi-carrier shipping system. This criteria essentially requires you to have a precise understanding of which regions your business serves and compare that to the different areas reached by the respective shipping system. Some may operate globally but may have a lower capacity or fewer shipping partners in your selected regions. This criterion can help you narrow down your choice of shipping system.
The bottom line of any business is profitability. Reducing shipping costs is a great way to maintain profitability but shipping services cannot be compromised just to reduce costs. The right shipping system will be one that provides you the best serviceability and services at the most affordable price. Aggregators and some shipping systems offer pre-negotiated overall shipping rates. Other multi-carrier shipping platforms allow you to negotiate your own rates with shipping companies and charge a nominal fee for use of the software.
3.3) Business Priorities
Whether you’re choosing a shipping company or a multi-carrier shipping system, you need to have a shipping strategy ready. This lets you know what your business needs to focus on, which areas need improvement, and how various challenges need to be faced. Keeping these in mind, you can determine which are the most important services you need and what price you can pay for them to maintain profitability. For example, if managing returns is an area your business has struggled with, ClickPost would be an ideal shipping system as it provides a streamlined dashboard for handling and customizing return requests.
3.4) NDR Management
A non-delivery report or NDR is a notification received by the courier when a delivery attempt has failed. It is used to understand the reasons for failure so the customer could be contacted with possible solutions to the issue. A delivery may fail for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to, incorrect address, incorrect contact information, unavailability of the customer, miscommunication, fault of the carrier, and more. A shipping software must be able to manage NDRs in order to make all possible attempts to make the delivery successful and eliminate the need for RTOs.
3.5) Ease of access
The point of multi-carrier shipping software is to facilitate the management of orders and the shipping process. To justify the need for the software, one of the most important features it must include is a simplification. A shipping software must be able to collect and collate all relevant information and present it to the user in a concise manner. It must be able to standardize various features and terminologies across multiple partners and present such data in an organized fashion. Such software is expected to have an uncomplicated dashboard with access to multiple features from a single location.
3.6) Returns management
Managing returns is a stressful and unfortunate activity. The process involves repeating all actions in reverse order and eCommerce businesses incur two-fold shipping costs. However, the process can complicate things further, and often cause loss or damage to the returning product resulting in additional losses. A shipping software must be selected after analyzing the returns management system it offers. The software should be able to monitor and manage the complete life-cycle of the returning order. The software may also be used to enable consumers to place return orders through a webpage or application with branded UI without any hassles.
4. Final Conclusion
Making use of the latest technological advancements is the only way for any eCommerce business to survive in this increasingly competitive market. But no business can do it all alone. When your business grows to the point where you have to put your faith in multiple shipping partners, an added layer of security is needed to ensure there aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen spoiling the broth. Multi-carrier shipping integration systems work to address a wide variety of shipping management issues that may arise as your business scales up. Such software provides tech-enabled solutions that optimize delivery mechanisms and maximize order fulfillment, while at the same time allowing your business to focus on expanding.