The 9 Best Shopify Shipping Apps for Your Ecommerce Store
Shopify shipping apps can be a powerful competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded ecommerce marketplace.
A 2021 SearchNode study found that 84% of ecommerce store owners considered competition in their markets “tough” or “very tough.” (Thanks, Amazon.)
As an ecommerce decision-maker, it’s tempting to focus on apps that get customers “in the door.” While these apps are crucial, it’s equally important to invest in Shopify apps that help retain the customers you already have.
Customer retention means focusing on the post-purchase experience, which includes shipping. According to a 2021 ShipStation survey, 83% of respondents would likely switch brands after a negative delivery or shipping customer experience.
It doesn’t matter whether you self-fulfill, dropship, or outsource the shipping process. The right combination of Shopify shipping apps can mean the difference between keeping or losing a customer you’ve worked hard to acquire. Here are nine shipping apps to consider (organized alphabetically):
Arka: Build your brand with sustainable, custom packaging
Arka allows you to create branded, environmentally friendly packaging that enhances the experience of getting a package on time and intact.
This app doesn’t calculate shipping rates, but it allows you to slap your logo and branded color scheme on a box without compromising your commitment to sustainability.
- Customize stickers, tissue, and tape in addition to boxes from Arka’s DIY designer.
- Integrates with ShipBob, so large companies can benefit from its custom designs.
- Ecommerce businesses that want control over packaging and want to make sustainability a part of their branding. You can start with as few as 10 boxes, so Arka is perfect for self-fulfillers.
- Pricing is determined by box type, sizing, and box material. Customized boxes start at 99 cents each.
Boxify: Efficient packaging for more accurate shipping rates
Boxify matches purchased products with correctly sized shipping boxes, giving customers accurate shipping rates and reducing the environmental footprint of your packaging.
A 2022 IBM survey found that 51% of respondents say environmental sustainability is more important to them today than it was a year ago.
For companies that make sustainability a key feature of their marketing efforts, Boxify is an app to consider. Not only does it reassure customers they’re getting the best shipping rates, but it also demonstrates that you’re putting your values into practice.
- The app works with shipping carriers such as UPS, FedEx, USPS, Canada Post, and DHL Express.
- Boxify instructs your packer where in the box to place each item so that things fit.
- Small to large ecommerce brands that don’t need elaborate unboxing experiences and are aware of their environmental impact related to shipping.
- After a 15-day free trial, Boxify starts at $19 per month for up to 250 shipping calculations per month.
Extend™: Safeguard your products with shipping protection
As a certified Shopify Plus partner, Extend’s shipping protection plans safeguard your brand and your products from shipping mishaps. While you can automate returns and control packaging, you can’t prevent a highway accident that damages your products on the way to their destinations.
The most important Extend benefit is peace of mind — for your customers and for you. While shipping protection plans come at a modest cost, they reassure customers that their investment in your brand is secure. And you have the assurance that the claims process protects your brand and your bottom line.
- Customers can easily add shipping protection plans to their ecommerce shopping carts, protecting their packages from loss, damage, and theft, and saving merchants on product replacement costs.
- Customers can process claims online in minutes. All they need is an email address.
- Any ecommerce business with eligible products like technology, furniture, jewelry, and more.
- Pricing is based on various factors like the number and value of the shipping protection plans you sell.
Loop Returns: Turn refunds into exchanges
Unlike Extend, whose solution manages replacements rather than returns, Loop Returns makes it easy for customers to return and replace undamaged but unwanted items.
According to the National Retail Federation, about $218 billion of online purchases were returned in 2021. Loop has found a way to help merchants retain more revenue from returns.
When customers begin a Loop return request, the app automatically furnishes a list of styles and sizes from your Shopify inventory for the customer to consider. You can even upsell the customer on certain items, using the value of their initial purchase as a credit.
- Automates how and when returns get approved. You can set up a list of conditions that determine whether a return gets approved automatically online or needs manual review.
- Integrates with customer support software like Gorgias, so agents can see if a caller has a return in progress. This information can help the agent to better assist the customer.
- Given Loop’s higher price point, it’s best for medium to large ecommerce companies that want to make the returns process more efficient.
- No free trial. Starts at $165 per month for 1,000 returns per year.
ShipBob: Fulfillment for enterprise-level ecommerce brands
ShipBob is a third-party logistics (3PL) shipping platform that handles all elements of the fulfillment experience, from inventory management to warehousing.
If you self-fulfill and face a growing number of monthly Shopify orders, you’ll eventually spend most of your time managing order fulfillment and not acquiring new customers. Apps such as ShipBob take the shipping minutiae off your hands while providing the branded and personalized experiences your customers expect.
- The company supports brand-specific custom packaging. It will even include personalized notes in specific customer shipments.
- ShipBob has enough distribution centers to allow standard two-day shipping across the United States.
- Growing ecommerce businesses that want to scale shipping through outsourcing.
- ShipBob’s fees vary according to the complexity of your shipping needs. You’ll spend more if you need significant warehouse storage space or require custom kitting.
- Because 3PLs like ShipBob move millions of packages each year with the major shipping carriers, you can be sure you’re getting the best rates.
ShippingEasy: Automate customer-centric shipping tasks
ShippingEasy is a shipping solution for inventory tracking, order management, and shipping updates. For growing businesses, handling these tasks manually is time consuming and pulls you away from other important marketing and operational activities.
Unlike 3PLs such as ShipBob, ShippingEasy doesn’t ship products. But its sophisticated and affordable software helps smaller ecommerce businesses automate key shipping tasks, saving time and money.
- Equipped to send emails with product recommendations and review requests, though it doesn’t integrate with popular email marketing platforms.
- Offers discounted shipping rates and enables you to order and print shipping labels directly from its platform.
- Ecommerce businesses not quite ready for 3PL but wanting more shipping automation.
- ShippingEasy has a free plan which only allows for 25 shipments per month. Paid plans start at $29 per month for up to 500 shipments.
Shipping Rates Calculator Plus: Calculate real-time shipping rates
Shipping Rates Calculator Plus (SRCP) calculates shipping rates based on a customer’s location and displays them before checkout. Customers no longer need to be surprised by higher-than-expected shipping costs after entering their shipping and billing information.
SRCP is a bare-bones option that puts customers at ease about shipping prices.
- SRCP works with multiple warehouses, so rates display based on the product’s shipping source.
- Works with all Shopify themes, so even startups can take advantage.
- Ecommerce businesses with consistent package sizes that need a quick and effective way to give customers shipping rate estimates. A less expensive option than Boxify.
- After a 30-day free trial, SRCP starts at $7.99 per month.
Tracktor: Give customers ready access to order tracking
The Tracktor plugin integrates with thousands of global logistics partners to give you and your customer real-time delivery updates.
According to a 2022 report from DispatchTrack, 27% of customers want shipping updates “as often as possible even if that means multiple times a day.”
Not only do customers get a branded tracking page where they can view the status of their orders, but they also get a 3D interactive globe for monitoring all active shipments.
- Create custom order statuses like “picked up from warehouse” to show additional steps in between the placement of the order and the delivery date.
- Send email or SMS notifications to your customers when their package is out for delivery and/or arrives at their doorstep. The Tracktor app integrates with email marketing platforms like Klaviyo, so you can brand your shipping updates.
- Ecommerce businesses that self-fulfill or dropship and want to satisfy their customers’ need to track orders frequently.
- After a 14-day free trial, Tracktor starts at $9.99 per month, plus $0.04 per order.
Zendrop: Level up your dropshipping business
Zendrop connects you with millions of dropshipped products while allowing you to customize them with brand-specific logos and inserts.
Dropshipping is a popular option for ecommerce companies that want to establish their own brand but not source, store, or ship inventory. Unlike Zendrop, ShippingEasy requires you to do these three things, in addition to establishing your brand.
- Store owners can adapt the images and descriptions of Zendrop products to best fit their stores.
- Allows product bundling to create subscription boxes.
- Dropshipping ecommerce storefronts looking to source products quickly and ship with custom packaging.
- Zendrop’s free plan grants access to its catalog of more than 1 million products from reputable suppliers.
- Its paid Pro plan ($49 per month) allows custom branding, express shipping, and automated fulfillment.
Save time and drive customer loyalty with Shopify shipping apps
The best Shopify shipping apps for your online store depend on a number of factors — your number of monthly orders, whether you self-fulfill or outsource, and your staffing levels. Expect some trial and error as you work with the apps above.
You’ve found the best mix of apps when you start seeing a rise in repeat purchases and a manageable internal workflow. But as customer expectations change, you’ll need to audit your app choices to make sure you’re keeping up.