Check Out ShipStation’s US Holiday SMB Guide

August 23, 2021

Ecommerce has changed a lot over the past year and a half. There was a massive increase in business owners and customers alike moving over to ecommerce. People are shopping and selling online at rates no one had anticipated for at least a few more years. With this competitive market, it can be even more difficult to establish yourself as a leader in your niche. ShipStation has spent the last ten years helping ecommerce businesses run more smoothly. To further help ecommerce businesses succeed, we have put together a guide for small-to-medium-sized businesses. We worked with some of our platform partners to give better insight into what you need to know for shipping success as we move into the holiday shipping rush and beyond. 

Below are excerpts from the guide. To get all the information, download the full SMB Checklist guide

Do I need a 3PL? 

Kayo3PL As your business grows, you’ll need assistance for tasks you previously managed in-house. Fulfillment and warehousing, in particular, become common growing pains for burgeoning businesses. Lucky for you, third-party logistics (3PL) services are here to help. If you’re considering taking the 3PL leap,  Warehouse-Pro recommends asking yourself: 

  1. Do you have a complex inventory SKU list? 
  2. Do you have a high amount of orders per month relative to your storage pallets/bins numbers? 

“Complex inventory lists tend to be better served by a single site fulfillment center,” they advise. While single or minimal SKU counts are more easily served across multiple warehouses in a network.  In general, know what kind of service to ask for in a 3PL warehouse, says Warehouse-Pro, so you secure the kind of service provider you need.

Kayo3PL’s 4 Tips to Successful Outsourcing

Beware of 3PL shipping costs. Many 3PL services seem less expensive or free, but then they mark up your shipping cost, so the final number is much more than you expected.

Consider the 3PL’s size. Too large and you’re just another client. Too small, and they can’t scale to your business needs. Find the right-sized 3PL for your current and future needs.

Cheaper isn’t always better. Many clients pick 3PLs that are much less expensive than others. Just remember your business depends on the stability of your 3PL. Choose wisely.

Be prepared for changes. Not everything will work the same as before. Knowing this is half the battle.

The Customer Comes First by WooCommerce

Aim for strong customer relationships without dedicating too much time or resources that will eat into profit margins. Brightpearl recommends offering different fulfillment options to help both you and the customer. Their study shows that 41% of shoppers plan to use “Buy Online, Pickup In-Store” (BOPIS) options more often in 2021. 

“It suits online shoppers, who get to sit in the comfort of their home while they shop but don’t have to wait for delivery—and you don’t have to pay for shipping,” Brightpearl says.  All online retailers with physical stores should make this fulfillment method a priority. 

WooCommerce suggests going for the personal touch like only a small business can. Slip a handwritten note into orders, share behind-the-scenes business moments on social media, record your new-order happy dance for TikTok. These can create an emotional connection for the customer to your brand. And don’t forget to offer subscriptions or memberships to prompt buyers to become repeat customers.

WooCommerce also listens closely to customers, as merchant Katie Thomson advises: “Listen and learn from your customers. There’s nothing more important than the customer experience, especially in DTC [direct to consumer]. From the moment they get to your site, navigate it, seek answers, make a purchase, receive the product, and ask for assistance along the way, being laser-focused on the customer is the key to building a trusted brand and loyal following.”

Get the SMB Checklist Ebook

To learn more tricks of the trade for ecommerce success, download the SMB Checklist Ebook. We have insight from a lot of great partners including:

Warehouse Pro


Irish Titan


















Is your small business holiday-ready? Click to download The Ultimate SMB Holiday Prep Guide