6 Differences between Shipping Rate Software and Shipping Fulfillment Software

By Rob Zaleski
Sep 24, 2015

One area of confusion for online sellers is understanding the difference between shipping rate software and shipping fulfillment software.

At a high level, shipping rate software works on the front-end, customer facing part of your business and gives shoppers the ability to see and select shipping options and other information like how much each option will cost and when it might arrive. A good example of shipping rate software would be our friends over at ShipperHQ.

Shipping fulfillment software works in the back-end, processing part of your business that is responsible for printing shipping labels and updating order status to stores and customers. This is what ShippingEasy is.

We’ll break down 6 key differences between the software types so you can understand the capabilities of both, and how each type of software can benefit you and your business.


What Shipping Fulfillment software will do for you that shipping rate management software won’t

1. Print labels

One of the starkest differences between shipping fulfillment software and shipping rate management software is the ability to print labels. Shipping fulfillment software works behind-the-scenes of your operations and prints carrier shipping labels that are then stuck on boxes or envelopes to be sent off to customers. ShippingEasy is a shipping fulfillment software that allows access to lowered shipping rates for USPS that are typically reserved for companies with extremely high shipping volume.


2. Send confirmation emails with tracking numbers to customers

Shipping fulfillment software handles the tasks of notifying customers when something has shipped and sending confirmation emails that include tracking numbers from the shipping carrier. The confirmation emails are sent to the customer immediately after the tracking number is created.  This allows merchants to leave communication with their customers regarding order status up to their shipping fulfillment software and helps reduce customer service calls.


3. Update order status back to selling platforms

After your order is processed and shipped, naturally, you want to change the status of that order within your selling platform. Through use of APIs, shipping fulfillment software not only updates customers on tracking status, but also updates order status to the selling platform of your choice. This functionality is essential for keeping track of inventory, accounting purposes and other ecommerce business functions.


What shipping rate software will do for you that shipping fulfillment software won’t

4. Give customers shipping rates and options on checkout

When ecommerce sellers think of “shipping software” this is the features that commonly first comes to mind. And honestly, they’re right to think this, but there is a big difference between shipping rate software and shipping fulfillment software and this feature is the key differentiator.

Unlike shipping fulfillment software, shipping rate software can interact with the customer-facing aspects of your site. Shipping rate software handles the complex task of taking information on the products in your customer’s order as well as the customer’s shipping address and, using the rules and configuration that you’ve set up for your business, showing the right selection of carriers, shipping options, and shipping rates. ShipperHQ is shipping rate software that lets you manage everything about the options and rates you give to your customers.


5. Calculate rates and options on the fly giving you full control over what’s shown

With shipping rate management software you are given the ability to control a customer’s order total based on a dynamic shipping rate. This rate might be a rate you set yourself like a table of prices based on product weight or other factors, a rate straight from a carrier like USPS or UPS that you may have adjusted up or down, or some combination of these.

At times, choosing the rate to show your customer can be complex. You may be shipping products from multiple fulfillment centers or warehouses, or have certain products which can only be in transit for a certain number of days, or have some products that need an extra handling charge added on to the shipping. Shipping rate software handles these and other challenging scenarios on the fly making these calculations based on the rules you’ve set up in the software and quickly returning the appropriate options to your customers.


6. Validate an address before a purchase is made

Since shipping rate software comes into play when the customer is placing their order, it can validate a customer’s address catching bad addresses before the order is even placed saving you time and money and increasing customer satisfaction by not delaying shipment. Shipping fulfillment software can also validate addresses to make sure they don’t get help up in shipping, but it can’t do anything until an order is placed and sent to the software itself for processing.



Now that you know the key differences between these two types of software, you should be able to determine how each can benefit your business. When used in conjunction, these types of software can give you the boost you need to create a professional and efficient experience for your customers. Not to mention, you will benefit by saving both time and money.

The following two tabs change content below.

Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

Latest posts by Rob Zaleski (see all)