A Brief Guide to Shopify’s Shipping Services

A Brief Guide to Shopify’s Shipping Services

A brief guide to Shopify's Shipping Services

Shipping orders to your customers is a vital part of running your ecommerce business, and there’s a lot involved, from choosing packaging to planning your shipping strategy.

Underpinning those strategic choices, however, is the carrier that gets your order from point A to point B. Choosing a carrier—and shipping services from that carrier—is one of the most important aspects of your shipping process, because it’s the point where you can find the right balance between the services you need with the costs you or your customer are willing to pay.

Shopify Shipping works directly with multiple carriers each offering multiple mail classes to make the process as streamlined as possible, so you can get orders into your customer's hands quickly and affordably, whatever that means for your business.

What is Shopify Shipping?

Shopify Shipping is focused on making it easier and faster to fulfill orders. You can buy shipping labels directly in Shopify, print multiple labels at a time, and get orders out the door quickly.

Shopify Shipping works with USPS, UPS, and DHL in the United States, and Canada Post in Canada, and offers multiple mail classes with each carrier, so you can access features like overnight delivery, package pick-ups, tracking information, and more depending on the carrier and mail class you choose. We’ve also worked with carriers directly to negotiate competitive rates for each shipping service, and those rates are automatically included on every plan at no extra cost to you.

Choosing a shipping carrier and a shipping service

Shopify Shipping works with multiple carriers to make fulfillment faster and easier

When you want to ship an order, your shipping carrier is the company that takes your package and delivers it to your customer. Shipping carriers are companies like USPS or Canada Post that physically deliver packages to your customer’s door or mailbox.

Each shipping carrier will offer multiple shipping services as well, to give you different options based on your budget and your needs. For example, in order to offer different options for your customers, you might be able to offer both a mail class that guarantees delivery within five business days and a more expensive one that guarantees delivery within two business days—all using the same carrier.

Before you choose a shipping carrier, it’s helpful to know the answers to the following questions:

  • Where are you shipping to?
  • Where are you shipping from?
  • What products are you shipping?
  • How heavy are your products?
  • What’s your budget? Do you offer free shipping, flat-rate shipping, or exact-cost shipping?
  • What do your customers expect? Do they expect their order to be insured, or have specific timelines they need for deliveries?

Once you’ve answered those questions, you’re ready to select a carrier and a shipping service—or several, if that’s what works for your business.

You can ship with any carrier, but Shopify has partnered with specific carriers to make the process even easier for you. If you ship through Shopify Shipping with USPS, UPS, or DHL Express in the United States, or with Canada Post in Canada, you’ll be able to pay for and print shipping labels directly in Shopify.

Streamline your search for a shipping service: To see all of your options in one place, we've put together PDFs of all of the options available through Shopify Shipping in the US and all of the options in Canada

United States Postal Service (USPS)

If you’re shipping from the United States, USPS is the most economical way to ship lightweight and less-urgent orders through Shopify Shipping.

Economical
Government post office
 Lightweight items (under 70lbs)
✓ Domestic and International Shipping
 Tracking information (for some mail classes)

You can use four domestic mail classes and three international mail classes with USPS in Shopify Shipping, and some of them offer tracking information and insurance. You can ship packages weighing up to 70 lbs, and you can create return shipping labels for domestic orders in Shopify as well. When you ship with USPS, all delivery timelines (with the exception of Priority Mail Express) are estimated, not guaranteed.

Regardless of the mail class you choose, USPS doesn’t charge surcharges for fuel, residential delivery, Saturday delivery, or holiday “peak” season delivery. USPS offers both domestic and international shipping options. Here’s an overview of the mail classes available to you in Shopify Shipping with USPS.

Domestic USPS Mail Classes

First-Class Package Service
Delivery time: 2-5 business days
The most affordable way to ship small packages.

Priority Mail
Delivery time: 1-3 business days
Best for fast domestic delivery. 

First-Class Mail
Delivery time: 2-3 business days 
Best for lightweight items like greeting cards, stickers, and postcards.

Priority Mail Express
Delivery time: 1-2 business days, guaranteed
The fastest and most premium domestic delivery option.

International USPS Mail Classes

First-Class Package International Service
Varied delivery timelines
The most affordable way to internationally ship small packages.

Priority Mail International
Delivery: 6-10 business days
Offers fast international delivery to 190 countries.

Priority Mail Express International
Delivery: 3-5 business days, guaranteed
The fastest and most premium international delivery option to 190 countries.

United Parcel Service (UPS)

UPS is a reliable and premium way to ship both regular and time-sensitive orders in Shopify Shipping in the United States.

✓ Guaranteed delivery
✓ Premium shipping carrier
✓ Tracking information
✓ Insurance coverage (up to $100)
✓ Lightweight and heavy items (under 150 lbs)
✓ Domestic and International Shipping (220 countries)

There are six domestic mail classes and five international options available with UPS in Shopify Shipping, all of which offer guaranteed delivery. Their premium offerings include tracking information on all shipments, time-definite and day-definite deliveries, and international shipping to 220 countries and territories. You can ship packages up to 150 lbs, making UPS the carrier of choice for shipping larger or bulkier items.

Domestic UPS Mail Classes

UPS Ground
Delivery: 1-5 business days
The most affordable domestic delivery option. 

UPS 3 Day Select
Delivery: 3 business days
Best for shipments that need to arrive in a shorter timeframe.

UPS 2nd Day Air
Delivery: 2 business days
Best for shipments that do not require overnight service, but still need to arrive quickly.

UPS Next Day Air Saver
Next business day (afternoon)
Best for shipments that must arrive the next business day. The most affordable of the “next day” services.

UPS Next Day Air
Delivery: Next business day
Best for shipments that must arrive the next business day.

UPS Next Day Air Early
Delivery: Next business day (morning)
Best for shipments that must arrive early the next business day. The fastest and most premium domestic delivery.

International UPS Mail Classes

UPS Standard
Delivery: Day definite by date scheduled
Ships to Canada and Mexico only. The most affordable international delivery for less-urgent shipments.

UPS Worldwide Expedited
Delivery: 2-5 business days
Best for less-urgent small packages to 220 countries.

UPS Worldwide Saver
Delivery: 1-3 business days (end of day)
Best for express international shipments.

UPS Worldwide Express
Delivery: 1-3 business days (morning)
Best for express international shipments to 120 countries.

UPS Worldwide Express Plus
Delivery: 1-3 business days (early morning)
Best for the most time-sensitive international shipments to 55 countries.

DHL Express

DHL Express is a premium way to ship time-sensitive international deliveries from the US in Shopify Shipping.

✓ Premium shipping carrier
✓ Fast international delivery
✓ Tracking information
✓ Lightweight and heavy items (under 150 lbs)
✓ International Shipping (220 countries)

Through Shopify Shipping, DHL Express offers one mail class: DHL Express Worldwide, which provides flexible delivery options for the buyer, tracking information on all shipments, time-definite deliveries of 2-5 business days, and international shipping to more than 220 countries and territories. The maximum weight allowed is 150 lbs.

Canada Post

Canada Post is the most economical way to ship packages from Canada in Shopify Shipping, and offers both domestic and international shipping options.

✓ Economical
 Government post office
✓ Lightweight to medium-weight items (under 66 lbs)
✓ Domestic and International Shipping (220 countries)

Canada Post offers three domestic shipping services, four international shipping services to the United States, and six international shipping services to more than 190 countries in Shopify Shipping. You can ship orders weighing up to 66lbs, and some of Canada Post’s services offer insurance, tracking information, and delivery guarantees.

Canada Post’s Domestic Shipping Services

All of Canada Post’s domestic shipping services offer guaranteed delivery.

Expedited Parcel
Delivery: 1-7 business days
The most affordable domestic delivery option.

Xpresspost
Delivery: 1-2 business days
Best for fast shipping for documents and parcels.

Priority
Delivery: Next business day
The fastest domestic delivery for time-sensitive documents and parcels.

Canada Post’s International (USA) Shipping Services

Small Packet™ USA – Air
5-8 business days
The most affordable delivery option to the United States. Ideal for small and lightweight items (under 1 kg).

Tracked Packet™ – USA
Delivery: 4-7 business days, guaranteed
Best for shipping small and lightweight items (under 1 kg). Ideal for e-commerce shipping due to online tracking and insurance coverage.

Expedited Parcel™ – USA
Delivery: 4-7 business days, guaranteed
Best for bigger parcels (under 30 kg).

Xpresspost™ – USA
Delivery: 2-3 business days, guaranteed
The fastest and most expensive delivery option for international shipments.

Canada Post’s International (Rest of World) Shipping Services

Small Packet™ International – Surface or Air
Air delivery: 6-10 business days
Surface delivery: 1-3 months
The most affordable international delivery for less-urgent small and lightweight items (under 2 kg).

International Parcel™ – Surface or Air
Air delivery: 12+ business days
Surface delivery: 1-3 months
The most affordable international delivery for less-urgent larger parcels. Also ideal for shipping to countries that don’t offer Xpresspost™ – International.

Tracked Packet™ – International
Delivery: 6-10 business days, guaranteed
Best for small and lightweight items (under 2 kg) to 31 countries. Ideal for e-commerce shipping due to online tracking and insurance coverage up to $100.

Xpresspost™ – International
Delivery: 4-7 business days, guaranteed
The fastest and most premium delivery option to 70+ countries.

How to ship with Shopify Shipping

The steps to ship with Shopify Shipping

Once you’ve selected the carrier and shipping service you want to use, getting started with Shopify Shipping is simple.

If you’re going to offer multiple options for your customers to choose from, and pass on the direct costs to them, make sure to select and enable the shipping service you’ll offer in Shopify Shipping. You’ll also want to ensure your product weights and dimensions are accurate, to make sure your shipping price estimates are too.

When you’re ready to fulfill an order, here are the steps to ship with Shopify Shipping:

  1. Select the orders you want to fulfill
  2. Review and print labels using your selected carrier and mail classes
  3. Affix labels to packages
  4. Drop them off at the carrier or schedule a pickup (UPS and DHL Express only)

Start shipping now

Photo of Joy Ling

About the Author

Joy Ling is a Product Marketer at Shopify committed to simplifying shipping to help entrepreneurs succeed in the ecommerce space.

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