Edited: August 14, 2018
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.
That’s great for the customer, but can be difficult for online retailers. Someone has to pay for the actual shipping costs, and you 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 have to 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 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 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
FedEx Advantage Program Discounted Rates (US)
To help expand your business’s shipping base, FedEx offers substantially discounted rates with their FedEx Advantage Program to all eligible ShipStation users. To qualify, simply apply the passcode SAVEBIG! (don’t forget the exclamation point) and fill out the form on the FedEx Advantage enrollment page. There are no enrollment fees, and you can start saving on shipping as soon as you’re approved for your own FedEx Advantage account. If you’re not yet a ShipStation user, head here to sign up for a free trial!
- Select FedEx Express® US services – Up to 29% off
- Select FedEx Express international services – Up to 25% off
- Select FedEx Ground® services – Up to 20% off
- Select FedEx Office® services – Up to 20% off
DHL Express Worldwide Discounted Rates (US)
ShipStation customers who choose to use DHL Express to ship packages internationally can save up to 66% 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.
FedEx Canada Program Discounted Rates (Canada)
As a ShipStation user in Canada, you are eligible for deep discounts 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.
Hermes Discounted Rates (UK)
ShipStation users in the United Kingdom can take advantage of discounted Hermes rates and create labels for ParcelShop Drop Off without minimum volume requirements and other restrictions. 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. With ShipStation Carrier Services, Hermes discounted rates and labels are immediately available for your orders when you have a UK account. No need to connect an account, just make sure you set up a payment method.
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.
You can receive a free Stamps.com account that works if you ONLY import orders from eBay. Some of the features are limited, but it’s a good way for eBay sellers to try Stamps.com. 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.