Edited: Dec 10th, 2019
Ten years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find merchants and sellers offering free or discounted shipping rates. Today, however, free and low-cost shipping options are the norm, and customers worldwide have come to expect it.
Although great for the customer, it can be difficult for online retailers to offer these discount shipping rates. Someone has to pay for the actual shipping costs, and retailers can’t always find a way to include it in the price of an item and still be competitive with other retailers.
As a result, many online retailers must bite the bullet and take the hit to their profit margins. We’d like to make that hit a bit smaller by sharing with you the many shipping carrier discounts available to businesses.
Before we get started, it’s important to note that every major carrier offers shipping discounts. Sometimes you can even “stack” or add the discounts together; check with each carrier to see which ones are eligible for stacking. While the discounts change from time to time, here are some current discounts that you may want to take advantage of:
ShipStation Shipping Discounts for Small Business & eCommerce Sellers
Even if you’re not a high-volume user, you can get discounts for businesses that consumers aren’t eligible for. Here are the special ShipStation programs by carrier and country:
USPS Business Discount (US)
Upon getting a USPS PC Postage account you can print First Class postage from your printer, use a rate calculator to determine the least expensive USPS option for your shipment, and take advantage of significant USPS shipping discounts on almost every service that the United States Postal Service offers.
If you’re a ShipStation user, you get one of these PC Postage accounts for free as a part of your subscription. And as an official USPS shipping partner, ShipStation enables you to take advantage of both Commercial Base Pricing and Commercial Plus Pricing on shipments, including First Class, Priority, and Priority Express Mail. More specifically, the discount shipping rates include:
- Up to 40% off Priority Mail
- Up to 18% off First Class Mail Package
- Up to 13% off Priority Mail Express
- Up to 5% off International First Class, Priority Mail, and Priority Mail Express
- Up to 40% off USPS Package Insurance Rates
UPS Discounts Through ShipStation
UPS now offers ShipStation users access to ecommerce discounts on domestic and international shipping with UPS. To receive these discounts and much more, all you have to do is sign up for ShipStation. Some rate highlights include:
- Up to 48% off UPS® Ground shipments a
- Up to 62% off UPS 2nd Day Air®
- Avoid certain carrier surcharges, such as residential surcharges
DHL Express Worldwide Discounted Rates (US)
ShipStation customers who choose to use DHL Express to ship packages internationally can save up to 60% on DHL Express postage. With ShipStation Carrier Services, which is a single postage purchase payment method, merchants can create a new DHL Express account, save on shipping, and use a single postage balance for labels.
In-Cart Delivery Options
One way to capitalize on the affordable rates available in ShipStation is to use In-Cart Delivery Options. This exposes live rates to your customers in checkout. Fears of overcharging or undercharging can be a huge pain point for many ecommerce merchants. Luckily, ShipStation lets Shopify and BigCommerce merchants provide live-rate shipping options to their customers during checkout. These can be adjusted to include or decrease based on dollar amounts or percentages.
FedEx Canada Program Discounted Rates (Canada)
As a ShipStation user in Canada, you are eligible for deep discount shipping rates on your FedEx shipments using the FedEx Canada program. You can save up to 45% on your FedEx shipping services and up to 40% off residential delivery surcharges.
To enroll simply visit fedex.ca via this link, and log in if you already have a FedEx Canada account or complete the enrollment form if you do not. And of course, if you’re not yet a ShipStation user, sign up here.
ShipStation Carrier Services
ShipStation Carrier Services provides immediate access to our partner courier services, allowing you to print labels as soon as you activate your UK-based ShipStation account. There is no need for paperwork, prerequisites, connecting accounts with the courier, or minimum volume requirements. ShipStation Carrier Services in the United Kingdom currently includes:
Hermes Discounted Rates (UK)
ShipStation users in the United Kingdom can take advantage of discounted Hermes rates and create labels for ParcelShop Drop Off. Pricing starts at £2.25 (excl. VAT, delivery to mainland UK) for small packages. Medium-sized parcels between 2 and 5 kg start as low as £4.59.
Parcelforce Discounted Rates (UK)
Discounted Parcelforce rates of up to 78% off retail prices are available in ShipStation Carrier Services. Parcelforce offers domestic service and international service to 32 countries.
DPD Discounted Rates (UK)
Competitive DPD rates for selected services are available in ShipStation Carrier Services. Domestic service within the United Kingdom and international service to 24 countries.
Sendle Premium Upgrade and Discounted Rates (AU)
If you add Sendle to ShipStation, you will receive an upgrade to Sendle Premium without minimum volume requirements for 12 months from signup. That gives you an extra $1 off the standard ‘Easy’ pricing on every parcel you send.
Other UPS Discounts
UPS Business Discount
UPS Connect offers one free year of UPS Smart Pickup, a 10% discount on ground shipments, and a 20% discount on air and international shipments. To top that off, if you use ShipStation, our UPS shipping integration makes it easy for you to use your negotiated rates and many other carrier features directly though the app, saving you both time and money.
UPS Association Discount
If you’re a member of a trade organization, you may be able to get deep discounts from shipping carriers — specifically UPS. UPS offers discounts to members of many associations. While UPS doesn’t supply a list of organizations that provide discounts, you can check with your trade organization or with UPS to see if a specific organization receives a discount.
You can learn more about UPS association discounts here.
If you are only importing orders from eBay, you can receive a free account. Although some of the features are limited, it’s a good way for eBay sellers to try out Stamps.com’s services. The offer can be accessed by a special link here.
UPS offers special eBay pricing to all U.S. eBay sellers (excluding HI and AK) with a PayPal account, who are not enrolled in the UPS Savings Program for eBay PowerSellers or have a customized shipping agreement with UPS.
The discounts range from 8.5% off to 23% off standard list ground rates, depending on the volume of shipping, as well as 16-32% off next day air, and 8-25% off international shipments.
FedEx offers eBay discounts as well. Customers can save up to 37% on ground, Express and international shipments.
Using Multiple Carriers
Many online retailers choose to send shipments using multiple carriers. This way they can get the best discounts based on size, weight, shipping method and geography. Shipping software can help make this process easier. ShipStation, for example, supports all the major shipping carriers, and allows you to select a variety of shipping carriers, while also making it easy for you to create and print shipping labels, and manage your online orders all in one place. You’ll also be able to retrieve real-time rates for each carrier to make sure you’re taking advantage of the best pricing.
Want to learn more about how ShipStation can help your business save both time and money on shipping and fulfillment? Download your free copy of our comprehensive guide to efficient shipping and check out these small business success stories from some of the companies that have grown to new heights with the help of ShipStation.