Shopify Shipping: A Beginner’s Guide

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You’ve set up your ecommerce store on Shopify. You’ve honed your niche, sourced your products, and you might even have started to attract visitors to your store. Now you need to sort out your shipping. 

It might not seem like the most exciting part of setting up an ecommerce store on Shopify but it’s one of the most important. 

If you struggle to keep up with orders – or even worse, forget to send one to a paying customer – then your brand reputation is going to plummet…and fast.

There are multiple options for shipping your products, but if you’ve used Shopify to build your ecommerce store then you have Shopify Shipping, Shopify’s very own shipping software, at your disposal. 

In this article, we’ll talk you through exactly what shipping options Shopify offers, how you can set them up, and what you need to think about before making your final shipping decision. 

What Is Shopify Shipping?

Shopify Shipping is a suite of tools that are built into the Shopify platform, offering merchants who have used Shopify to build their ecommerce store access to invaluable shipping features. 

These features include real-time shipping rates, label purchasing and printing, and order tracking. Shopify Shipping is free to all users on any paid Shopify plan – however, it’s only available for orders that are shipped from the USA and Canada. 

Shopify Shipping works by partnering with various carrier services including USPS, UPS, Canada Post, and DHL Express to offer discounted shipping rates of around 20%-50%. 

Access to these rates alone can help to transform the shopping experience for your customers, as it allows you to provide them with an exact, real-time shipping rate at checkout. It also reduces the risk of you underestimating the cost of shipping for individual orders. 

Shopify Shipping
Shopify Shipping gives you access to various shipping tools and features.

Not only can you bulk print labels directly from your Shopify dashboard but you’ll also have access to various useful international shipping tools including customs forms. 

Any shipping costs that you incur can then be paid for alongside your monthly Shopify subscription, helping you to align all of the expenditure for your ecommerce store in one place.

Shopify Shipping aims to make shipping products as streamlined and stress-free for business owners as possible. 

Costs of Shopify Shipping

Here’s the best part about Shopify Shipping: it’s free!

If you’ve already signed up for a monthly Shopify subscription (and if you’ve used Shopify to build your ecommerce store then we’re guessing that you have) then you won’t have to pay anything extra to access the Shopify Shipping features. 

It’s all included within your monthly fee, no matter what price plan you’re on –- you’ll just need to pay for the actual shipping costs and labels. 

Not only is access to the Shopify Shipping tools free for Shopify subscribers, but the discounted rates it provides for major US shipping companies can also make a drastic difference to your profit levels.

It’s worth noting, however, that the monthly price plan you’re on can impact the level of discount you receive at individual carriers. This means that in some cases, you may be able to secure a better deal if you liaise with the carriers directly. 

Pros and Cons of Using Shopify Shipping

Pros Cons
Keeps all of your order tracking and shipping information within the Shopify dashboard for easy access. You can only use Shopify Shipping for orders being shipped from the US and Canada.
Offers discounted rates at major US carriers. Depending on your monthly Shopify plan, you may be able to get a better deal with carriers if you go direct.
Access to the tools is included within your monthly Shopify subscription. Label bulk-printing is limited to 20 labels at a time.
Provides you with key shipping intel including real-time rates, tracking information, and the ability to bulk print labels. You’ll still need to set up another shipping service if you intend to use other platforms such as Amazon, eBay, or Etsy to sell your products.
You can offer customers multiple shipping options to choose from.
Access to real-time shipping rates ensures you accurately predict profits and costs.

How to Set Up Shipping on Shopify

Using Shopify Shipping can be a great way to streamline the shipping process for your ecommerce store. It’s simple to set up – all you need to do is follow these steps to implement it on your ecommerce store: 

  1. Visit the Shopify dashboard 

Everything you need to access the Shopify Shipping features is within the Shopify dashboard. 

  1. Add addresses 

Ensure that your business address is correct – or, if you intend to ship from a different address, then add that address to the “Locations” section of your Shopify account settings. 

  1. Choose a carrier 

Decide which of the Shopify Shipping partner carriers (USPS, UPS, Canada Post, and DHL Express) you wish to use and click the checkbox to ensure these options are available to customers at the checkout. Remember, you can use more than one. 

  1. Confirm your product weights and dimensions 

Within the “Products” section of your dashboard, you need to ensure the weights and dimensions for all of your products are correct. This ensures that the real-time shipping rates are accurate for your individual items. 

  1. Choose your shipping speed

Determine how fast your products are going to take to get to customers. This will be, in part, based on what your chosen carrier can offer you, but also what you’ve decided is right for your business. Different options include next-day, nominated day, and standard delivery. 

You should also decide if you want to offer a free delivery option for specific orders – for example, those that cost over a certain amount or for those willing to wait longer to receive their items.

  1. Choose your packaging 

Within the Shopify Shipping settings, you’ll also be able to select your preferred type of packaging. You can usually choose from envelopes, boxes, soft packs, and carrier-specific packaging depending on your budget and products. 

  1. Set up your printer and labels

You’ll need to pay for your shipping labels within Shopify Shipping – however, the good news is that depending on your monthly subscription plan, you’ll have access to major label discounts from Shopify’s partner carriers.

You can print your labels using a standard printer or a specialized label printer, depending on your preference and whichever you have access to. 

  1. Determine your shipping zones 

The final thing you need to remember to do when setting up Shopify Shipping is to determine your shipping zones. 

Some Shopify sellers only ship to certain countries or states and you can also edit which shipping options are available for which areas . You may decide to only offer next-day delivery to areas that are close to your warehouse, for example.

Once you’ve set everything up then you’re ready to begin fulfilling customer orders!

Alternatives to Shopify Shipping

Whilst Shopify Shipping comes with a whole range of benefits, including discounted carrier rates and seamless integration into the Shopify dashboard, you may decide that it’s not right for you. 

If that’s the case then there are various alternative shipping apps that Shopify supports – we’ve listed some of the best ones below!

ShipStation – ShipStation fully integrates within your Shopify store and users can access USPS discounts as well as deals with other carriers including FedEx and DHL. You’ll also get a stamps.com account included too. 

ShippingEasy – ShippingEasy is an affordable and easy-to-use option for merchants who want a solution that will fully integrate with their Shopify store.

OrderCup – If you’re operating on multiple shopping channels such as Amazon or Etsy then you’ll need your shipping to be more robust. OrderCup offers unlimited channels as well as discounted UPS shipping rates and insurance. 

Remember, before selecting a shipping app, to ensure it offers everything you require and always read the customer reviews.

Shopify Shipping: Summary

If you’ve set up your ecommerce store on Shopify then we recommend checking out Shopify Shipping. 

The platform offers users access to invaluable tools that can help to transform not only how you ship your products but the profits you make and how successful your ecommerce business is. 

To recap, some of the key Shopify Shipping features include:

  • Real-time shipping rates
  • Carrier discounts
  • Label printing 
  • International shipping features such as customs forms 
  • Full integration into your Shopify store

This article has guided you through Shopify Shipping and given you the information you need to decide if it’s the right shipping option for you. Let us know what you decide in the comments section!

Frequently Asked Questions

Shopify Shipping integrates seamlessly with the rest of your Shopify dashboard, and the fact that it’s included within your monthly Shopify subscription makes it a great option for those looking to keep costs down. If you don’t need a shipping solution that supports other platforms then Shopify Shipping is the ideal choice.
Offering free shipping can certainly help you to stand out from other online shops that may be selling similar products. You’ll need to ensure it’s financially viable for you to offer free shipping. Consider offering it as part of certain promotions or marketing campaigns at first to judge its success.
How much Shopify’s partner carriers charge you for shipping is impacted by the Shopify payment plan you choose. For example, UPS currently offers up to 46% discount for those on a basic Shopify plan and up to 55% for those on an advanced plan.

When you use Shopify Shipping to print labels you’ll be charged when you hit a certain amount, which is determined by the level of Shopify plan you have.

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