Frequently asked questions

Answer:

Shipmate is a Delivery Management System that makes printing delivery labels with multiple carriers easy. Shipmate can link into eCommerce and Order Management Systems to facilitate a fully automated despatch process for your business.

Shipmate is a software service used by Merchants and Delivery Aggregators to use the most appropriate carrier and delivery service for each consignment, generating shipping labels and providing unified delivery tracking.

Answer:

You should use Shipmate for a wide variety of reasons. If you are spending too much of your time arranging deliveries to send out your goods, use multiple carriers and have multiple printers on your despatch workstations, or just want to simplify your despatch process - Shipmate can probably help you.

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Yes. Shipmate will link into your eCommerce or Order Management System, allowing you to import your orders and generate shipping labels with multiple carriers - so you only have to do an integration once, to access all the carriers we support. Shipmate will then return the tracking numbers back into your order system so you can forward these on to your customers.

Shipmate also offers a Tracking Portal, which we can customise to match your brand colours and add your logo, offering a familiar and consistent customer experience to track the status of their deliveries.

Answer:

Yes. Shipmate will link into your Order Management System, allowing you to import your orders and generate shipping labels with multiple carriers - so you only have to do an integration once, to access all the carriers we support. Shipmate will then return the tracking numbers back into your order system so you can forward these on to your customers.

Shipmate also offers a Tracking Portal, which we can customise to match your brand colours and add your logo, offering a familiar and consistent customer experience to track the status of their deliveries.

Answer:

Yes. We offer a 3rd Party Logistics (3PL) platform that extends the core Shipmate service, adding another layer of user access control and Merchant Management. With the Shipmate 3PL Platform, you can give out granular access to each of your Merchants, who can only see the consignments they have produced on their account with you.

You can configure Delivery Service Packages, which are essentially plans that you can then apply to each of your Merchants, offering different combinations of service offerings or resale prices according to your business needs. Merchants will see the prices you are charging them, while you can keep an eye on profit margins using your 3PL Administrator account.

Answer:

No. Shipmate is designed for deliveries to originate at one or a small number of source locations, such as warehouses or bricks and mortar stores using your own carrier accounts. We don’t currently support “Consumer-to-Consumer” or C2C deliveries although we may add this in the future.

Answer:

Our full list of currently supported carriers is clearly shown on our website. We keep this list up-to-date regularly and if we’re nearly finished with an integration you’ll see a ‘Coming Soon’ tab - this typically means the integration is less than a month away from being available on the Shipmate platform.

If the carrier you intend to use is not on our list, we may have it in our pipeline or we may ask you to make a contribution towards our development costs if you want us to prioritise this work or the integration is unlikely to be popular among our other customers.

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Yes - Shipmate is ‘bring your own carrier accounts’ - we don’t resell deliveries, are independent from carriers and this enables you to negotiate a service level and pricing that best reflects the type and volume of consignments you are shipping.

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Currently our plan is to complete our FedEx integration late 2019, then we’ll be adding DHL with a target release in January 2020 and UPS by mid-2020.

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No - our platform is only available to our subscribers, and any decisions made within Shipmate are based on the delivery prices you enter from your carrier’s contract or rate card. Shipmate will determine the most suitable delivery service for a given consignment based on metrics you provide, and if using our Routing Rules, will always select the cheapest option that meets your criteria to minimise your delivery costs.

Answer:

Our full list of currently supported integrations is clearly shown on our website. We keep this list up-to-date regularly and if we’re nearly finished with an integration you’ll see a ‘Coming Soon’ tab - this typically means the integration is less than a month away from being available on our platform.

Answer:

Our full list of currently supported integrations is clearly shown on our website. We keep this list up-to-date regularly and if we’re nearly finished with an integration you’ll see a ‘Coming Soon’ tab - this typically means the integration is less than a month away from being available on our platform.

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It is currently Royal Mail’s policy not to embark on new integrations with third party integrators such as Shipmate. We monitor this situation and hope to have them on board our platform in the future.

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To obtain a Shipmate account, we will first arrange a demo of the platform with you so we can discuss your requirements and ensure Shipmate will be a suitable fit for your needs. These demos typically take 20-30 minutes and are carried out over the telephone and using a screen sharing service.

Following the demo we will send you a proposal outlining the cost options according to your anticipated volume. If you are happy to proceed, you are able to select your preferred plan, then complete your company details and we will arrange for a contract to be sent to you by email.

Once your contract is e-signed, we will provision your Shipmate account within one business day and get to work onboarding your first carrier integration.

Answer:

While we don’t offer a free trial of our live platform, we can provide you with access to our test environment to ensure your system can plug into Shipmate successfully and you are happy using the system. Labels printed using the test environment are dummies and cannot be used for real deliveries, but act as a means of proving a technical integration has been carried out successfully.

We offer a monthly rolling option for most of our plans and while these cost a little more, they give you the flexibility to trial the system before committing for a longer period.

Answer:

Shipmate uses the latest in industry security standards to secure the transmission of data between our servers and your web browser and other integrations, using TLS (the successor to SSL).

Our hosting infrastructure is secured by a number of means physically and logically, and we only provide access to the underlying hosting infrastructure to known trained professionals to provide maintenance and support.

Shipmate can handle multiple users per account and we recommend that you give each person accessing Shipmate their own login details. This doesn’t cost you any more and helps keep your account secure.

As with all system security, your account is only as secure as you make it. We recommend applying good security practice to keeping your Shipmate account secure. Keep passwords safe, use a different password for each system, use a combination of letters, numbers, upper case, lower case and symbols in your password, change it frequently and never give it out to anyone else. If you suspect any malicious activity, change your password and inform us if you think someone is phishing for your data.

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In addition to our system security, we never share customer data with any third party beyond the carriers or systems you have chosen to integrate with.

As with all system security, your account is only as secure as you make it. We recommend applying good security practice to keeping your Shipmate account secure. Keep passwords safe, use a different password for each system, use a combination of letters, numbers, upper case, lower case and symbols in your password, change it frequently and never give it out to anyone else. If you suspect any malicious activity, change your password and inform us if you think someone is phishing for your data.

Answer:

Our pricing is based on the volume of parcels you send each month, and the duration of the contract you have with us. Pricing starts at £85 + VAT per month for up to 1,000 parcel labels per month, on a 12-month contract.

The more parcels you send, the lower the per-label fee. We don’t charge by integration or user, nor do we charge a setup fee normally unless you ask us to carry out any development or integration work for you.

Answer:

Following e-signing your contract, there’s nothing to pay until the first carrier integration is available for your use. This time will vary according to the carrier(s) you are using as each have their own integration approval process. Your first bill is calculated pro-rata for the remainder of the month.

If you have asked us to carry out any development or integration work as part of an implementation programme, a written proposal setting out a payment plan will be provided to you.

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We bill our customers on the first day of each month for the forthcoming month’s contracted labels, plus any overage from the previous month at the agreed per-label fee. Payment is collected automatically by credit or debit card, which you can manage in the Billing section of your account, or can be made by BACS, with 14 day payment terms.

Answer:

Shipmate supports any Zebra-compatible thermal label printer. Most of our customers use the Zebra GK420d, but some use the Citizen CL-S521 in ZPL emulation mode. Shipmate can also output labels in PDF format, which can be printed on almost any printer.

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We standardise our labels in a 4x6” format, as most carrier label formats are in this size. This means you only need to maintain stock of one type of label, and you don’t need to switch label rolls or printers between using different carriers, saving you time, money and resources.

Answer:

Yes - for tracked delivery services. Shipmate receives tracking details directly from the carrier and provides a unified tracking status, giving you an at-a-glance status of each of your deliveries.

We also offer a public-facing Tracking Portal, which can be customised to match your brand colours and logo, and offers your customers an easy way to keep an eye on the status of delivery of their orders.

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Many of our customers process hundreds, if not thousands of parcels a day. Our platform and integrations have been designed with performance in mind, backed by scalable cloud hosting infrastructure that automatically scales up and down according to user demand. This means you’re only ever a few seconds away from reliably printing a label, viewing the tracking status of a delivery or configuring an aspect of your account. We’re constantly working on new ways of managing deliveries and improving operational processes within the Shipmate platform.

Answer:

If you send fewer than 20 parcels a day you may find that the cost of owning an account with Shipmate or any other Delivery Management System outweighs the cost of the time it takes you to upload your orders to the carrier’s own delivery portal.

If you process a low volume of parcels, it might make sense to use Shipmate if we already support the combination of Carrier and eCommerce Platform or Order Management System you use, and that you only use one or two carriers, keeping your setup simple. You can check whether we currently support particular Carriers and eCommerce systems on our website.

Ultimately it’s entirely up to you - if you want to automate your despatch procedures and provide a fully integrated tracking experience for your customers, Shipmate is an ideal choice and we do have many customers sending just a handful of parcels each day.

Answer:

Shipmate has been designed to be used with a wide variety of platforms and operational environments. In many cases we provide a plugin or link your eCommerce platform and Shipmate together in the Cloud, then you can start generating labels and store tracking numbers against your orders automatically.

For printing labels, we offer a Windows and Mac companion app, which connects your Zebra-compatible label printer directly to the Shipmate service, meaning you can print labels with a single click within your eCommerce platform or the Shipmate web portal, with no further print dialogue boxes or configuration.

Answer:

Maybe. If you want to integrate Shipmate with a system we don’t currently support, the integration will need developing and either we can arrange this for you, or you might want to have your own developers or your software supplier do this for you.

If you want to incorporate tracking statuses into your website, you can use our API to obtain the details but you will need to present these on-screen, unless you use our Tracking Portal, which is much simpler to set up.

Answer:

We are based in Derby city centre in the Midlands of the UK, ideally centrally located and all aspects of our platform are developed, maintained and supported by our internal team.

Our parent company, Codemakers, has been in business for more than a decade and locally has an enviable reputation for providing bespoke web and mobile app development, maintenance and support services. It’s that same team of expert developers maintaining the Shipmate platform.

Answer:

We understand there are many providers offering delivery management and carrier integration software, and each provider has their strengths, weaknesses, features and benefits that will help you determine which one is most suitable for your needs.

At Shipmate we are a fairly small company but we genuinely care about helping you optimise your despatch process using our software - we won’t palm you off to some call centre in a faraway land or treat you like a number, instead you will find you speak with the same team members time and time again and develop a working relationship with us. That’s if you need our help at all - most of our customers happily use Shipmate for weeks or even months on end without ever needing to speak with us!

Our platform was written over the past two-to-three years, so is based on contemporary technologies and optimised for the Cloud and integrates with commonly used contemporary eCommerce platforms.

If you run your own delivery company and forward parcels onto national and international carriers, Shipmate is the ideal choice with our 3PL Aggregator platform, allowing you to provide separate access to your carrier accounts to each of your Merchants, offering different pricing and services according to your business requirements. Very few other providers offer such powerful functionality for delivery aggregators.

We are continually investing in creating new features and integrations, so if Shipmate doesn’t currently offer what you are looking for, check back frequently or join our mailing list to hear about our developments. Don’t worry, we won’t bombard you!