If you’re an entrepreneur selling online, you may be wondering how you can avoid pulling all-nighters trying to get packages out the door.
There is a way, and the answer isn’t FBA.
If selling online is your profession and passion, you can accept working long hours and spending your days copying and pasting addresses in a shipping carrier’s website.
Or, you can choose something better.
It’s called automation, and you can get automation with shipping software.
A survey of ShipWorks customers indicate that on average, they begin to automate their shipping process when they’re shipping about 20 packages a week.
As one of the industry’s first shipping software providers, we’ve had 10+ years to listen to customers and pinpoint when and why they begin using shipping software.
Those conversations have helped us create this list of 9 questions you should ask before you select a shipping software provider.
1. Do you connect with my online store(s)?
This might seem basic, but make sure the shipping software provider you’re looking at connects with your current online stores and those you’re considering for future growth.
2. Do you connect with the carrier(s) I like to use?
Again, it may seem like a no-brainer, but at a minimum your software provider should offer all of the carriers you’re currently using. If they offer more, that’s great because you’ll get exposure to other carriers and you may even discover less expensive ways to ship.
3. How do I get help if I need it? Do you offer free customer support? Will I talk to someone on the phone? Email them? Something else?
Every shipping software provider varies in this area, so find one that offers help the way you like it – talking, emailing, reading help documents, etc.
ShipWorks offers free phone and email support (M-F, 8-5 CT), as well as online documents available 24×7. Our support is also available to those taking advantage of our free 30 day trial.
4. If I want to use more than one computer or have multiple users manage my shipping, do I need to pay for each workstation and user?
If you’re a one-man team, this question may not be important to you. If you have a team of people shipping, this is important information to know in advance so that you know what your monthly bill will look like.
ShipWorks lets you have unlimited workstations and users for free.
5. What printers/label formats do you support?
There are two basic types of printers – thermal and standard.
A thermal printer uses heat to print, and it does this in one of two formats: EPL or ZPL. These are languages that tell the thermal printer how to print the label.
A standard printer uses ink or laser technology to print.
6. What shipping scales do you support?
The goal of shipping software is to automate the entire shipping process so that you don’t have to waste time shipping. One of the ways to do this is to have a scale that will “talk” to your shipping software and automatically enter shipping weights so that you don’t have to manually enter weights before printing a label.
7. Are you web-based or locally installed on the computer?
Shipping software can either be locally installed on your computer or web-based.
ShipWorks is locally installed, and we believe that aids with things like how quickly you can print shipping labels and the security of your data.
8. If pricing is based on shipping volume, what happens if I exceed or go under a specific shipping volume for that month?
You’re in business to make money and grow your business. So, it’s important to know what will happen to your shipping software fees if you ship 50 packages this month and 75 next month and 25 the following month.
At ShipWorks, we automatically adjust your pricing based on your shipment volume. You don’t even have to call us – we just do it.
9. Is there an annual contract?
It’s usually easy to find this answer from the software company’s website. Every company is slightly different, so you’ll definitely want to ask.
With ShipWorks, there’s no contract and you can cancel at any time.
That’s it! Do you have another question we should add to the list? Let us know.