Shipping is a necessity for ecommerce stores, but it shouldn't be confusing, overly expensive, or limited to only a few carriers. That's why we like to recommend partnering with shipping providers: companies that offer premium shipping software, partnerships with multiple carriers, and fast shipping times for a subscription fee. Sendcloud is one of those providers, and it appears the company offers a long list of benefits for merchants who want to save on shipping and provide fast shipping options to customers. In this Sendcloud review, we take a deep dive into pricing, features, and other elements like customer support and user experience.
Keep reading to figure out if Sendcloud is right for your online business!
What is Sendcloud?
At its most basic, Sendcloud is an online shipping platform. Essentially, that means:
- It's a company that offers a software to connect your online store to shipping carriers.
- They provide access to tracking, returns, label creation, and picking and packing tools.
- Users receive discounted shipping rates with top carriers.
But Sendcloud takes it several steps further by providing a strong network of global and regional shipping carriers. As of right now, Sendcloud only caters to Europe; so they provide services to online businesses in Europe, and allow for rapid shipping to Europe and internationally.
In addition to the standard shipping provider offerings, Sendcloud offers the following:
- Discounted shipping rates for global and regional carriers.
- Multiple shipping methods to offer in your checkout module.
- Integrations with top ecommerce platforms.
- The option to ship with multiple carriers.
- Automated label creation.
- A consolidated, easy-to-use shipping software for managing the entire process.
Which Locations Does Sendcloud Support?
Sendcloud provides its shipping software and services to businesses in much of Europe, with carrier partners available for countries like Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and more.
The company plans to add more countries and carriers in the future and is currently in the process of expanding to the United States; they have a signup form on their website to receive updates on when that becomes available.
Sendcloud Review: The Best Features
We've already touched on some features from Sendcloud, but now it's time to explore them further. This section expands upon what we've already said, but it also highlights the elements of Sendcloud that truly make it unique.
An Intuitive, Automated Shipping Workflow
Throughout our Sendcloud review, we realized that automation is key to the platform's overall functionality, seeing as how many of the processes a merchant would usually handle manually get automated. You can ship your products in a matter of minutes and link your online store so that shipping labels get printed in bulk and each order receives recommendations for a carrier, along with shipping methods that are fastest and cheapest.
Users also have the option to configure shipping rules, where you assign specific shipping methods, add insurance, or incorporate other actions based on things like the customer, shipping destination, package weight, or value.
Sendcloud continues to automate the process to additionally let you print scannable picking lists and packing slips. This way you can combine picking and efforts with printing labels and avoid errors. You determine yourself how you set up this process, weather you use barcode scanners or just a computer screen. It’s all connected to print labels in a simple click or scan.
Here are some other parts of the system that can be automated:
- Tracking messages and code generation
- Shipping method selection on checkout
- Scheduled pickups and drop offs depending on the carrier
- Auto-generating customs forms to send products internationally
Overall, everything from the direct integration with your ecommerce platform to the custom automation rules come together for a rather intuitive shipping process, especially for online stores looking to scale up or spend more time on business development.
Ideally, online stores wouldn't have to worry about returns at all. But we know that's unrealistic, so we like to see shipping platforms and fulfillment networks that process returns for you, or at least provide a return portal so you don't have to program your own or spend more money on another software.
Sendcloud covers merchants in the returns arena, seeing as how it has a complete returns portal for your customers to visit and walk through the right steps to send products back to your warehouse.
You can customize this module and put a link to it on your site, giving customers options to exchange their purchases, make returns, get store credit, or ask for money back. There are also features to accept in-store or service point returns if you offer that through your business.
We also noticed in our Sendcloud review that there's an API to construct your own return portal with customizable fields and complete control over the process. Besides that, the default return portal has a significant number of customization tools to add your own branding, specify the types of returns that are possible, and display a return policy for the utmost transparency.
Finally, the Sendcloud return module includes an analytics dashboard to understand your return rates and the methods people like to use to make returns to your store. So, returns are fairly automated in Sendcloud, they allow you to customize as much as you want, and there are ways to use analytics to both improve your return process and prevent them from happening as much in the future.
Multiple Delivery Options in Your Checkout Module
As of this article, Sendcloud provides a streamlined checkout experience for the WooCommerce checkout plugin, but you can also use the API or link up with one of the many other ecommerce platform integrations.
Overall, the checkout customization tool provides options for showing multiple shipping methods, times, and carriers. This appears to work on a conditional basis, where one customer gets a recommended shipping carrier and method based on their location and order, while another person might see something slightly different.
What's also interesting is that merchants can give customers the option to select a delivery date that's most comfortable for them. For instance, a user may end up on the shipping page and want to choose four days out since they won't be in town for the next few days.
Several other features come along with the Sendcloud checkout portal, including the pick-up point delivery options, pricing selections, and more.
Some of the unique offerings include:
- Nominated day delivery
- Next-day delivery
- Conversion-optimized delivery
We also noticed that you can combine shipping methods and carriers within the checkout section so that customers receive the best option possible.
Branded Tracking (And Several Other Branded Elements)
All pricing plans from Sendcloud receive some sort of branded tracking email to include items like your logo and business colors on all emails that go out to customers for tracking purposes.
The email builder has quick design tools to completely customize how emails appear when they go out to customers.
You can upload your logo, choose a color, and even insert links to your Instagram page. The Instagram feature actually links to one of your most recent posts so that users see what type of content you tend to share, hopefully prompting them to like that content and follow your brand.
We were extremely impressed by this feature during our Sendcloud review since it not only gives you an idea of what tracking emails look like, but it makes these typically boring emails fun for everyone. Your brand stands out, and you can take advantage of unique features like the visual tracking status, a banner image, and Instagram posts to engage customers along the way.
The email design process functions with a visual builder where you can change the text of the email, upload your images, include information for pickups, and even automate your emails to adjust for multi-language shipments (meaning the emails automatically shift to the language of each customer).
In addition to the branded tracking, Sendcloud offers a branded return portal, tracking page on your website, and several other parts of the software that allow you to make the system your own.
Shipping data is useful for a wide variety of reasons: it helps you improve shipping processes, spots trends that could improve the experience, and allows you full control over carriers, shipping methods, and messaging.
Sendcloud displays analytics in an easy-to-understand format, with visuals like charts, numbers, and timelines. You gain access to all of these analytics in one place, and they explain what everything means within the dashboard.
The overview offers information like:
- Shipping metrics across all of your shops
- Trends that correlate to all of your shipments over time
- The carriers you tend to use the most
- How much you're spending on shipping
- The countries to which you ship products the most
These analytics also bring returns into the equation, helping merchants understand why returns happen.
You can find out:
- Which products are being returned the most
- The reasons customers give for returning items
- How return rates change over time (with a trend chart)
What's more, is that Sendcloud offers a CSV export function to expand upon the standard analytics and share this information with other stakeholders. This allows you to really dig deep into the analytics and compare carriers, figure out which stores generate the most orders, and see how long it takes to deliver most of your orders.
An API for Full Control and Integrations
Although we're most pleased with the third-party integrations (in the section below) it's always nice to see a shipping provider that offers access to the API. This opens up so much potential for merchants that either have the experience to integrate their own systems or are willing to pay for a developer to make that happen.
Sendcloud lets you integrate with over 35 carriers, but the API makes it possible for even more. You can even connect with any type of ecommerce platform, while also integrating with common business tools like WMS or ERP software.
They have extensive documentation about how to use the API on the Sendcloud website. Interested users simply need to set up an account, add the API integration, and start sending requests. And it allows you to integrate with just about every part of the Sendcloud system, since they have a shipping API, service point API, and return portal API. It's all customizable for you to make Sendcloud work perfectly for your business.
Over 50 Integrations with Ecommerce Platforms and Apps
We always recommend looking for standard integrations as opposed to jumping right for the API, and that's why we were so excited to see over 50 integrations during our Sendcloud review.
To begin, you can import and sync every order from your ecommerce platform, since Sendcloud integrates with the most popular platforms on the market. These integrations include:
- And more
Furthermore, there are apps to link your store with large marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, allowing you to expand your business while still providing shipping services to all of the customers who purchase through those marketplaces.
The list of integrations from Sendcloud is rather impressive, with categories like:
- Ecommerce platforms
- Enterprise resource planning software
- Warehouse management systems
- Automation software
Over 80 Carrier Partners
With so many countries to support, Sendcloud partners with a wide range of carriers to ensure companies can ship their products to a significant portion of Europe. The list of carriers from Sendcloud seems to grow on a regular basis, and you can either opt for a global carrier like DHL or consider more regional options like Hermes (for the UK) or BRT (for Italy).
We also assume the USPS will end up on this list once Sendcloud finishes its growth into the United States.
As of this article, you can choose from over 35 carrier partners, including:
- Deutsche Post
- Royal Mail
- Many more
Sendcloud also provides a link to request a new carrier integration if you can't find a preferred carrier on their list.
As for carrier rates, Sendcloud already pre-negotiated rates (see the Pricing section below) with each of its partners. This means that merchants have the option to go with those preset rates or to upload their own shipping contracts to Sendcloud, which should then allow you to get whatever prices you may have negotiated yourself. It's worth mentioning that users can also combine their pre-negotiated rates with their shipping contracts
Sendcloud Review: Pricing
Sendcloud pricing depends on your monthly shipping volume, and merchants can either pay on a monthly or yearly basis; the yearly plans save you about 10% overall.
For our Sendcloud review, we looked at the yearly pricing to see the starting rates for merchants based on monthly shipping volume. Here are the plans:
- Essential: $0 for merchants that ship fewer than 100 parcels per month. The free plan gets you access to discounted shipping rates, up to 2 shop integrations, 1 branded tracking email, manual return labels, and customer support through email and live chat. This plan also includes an analytics dashboard, API access, paid parcel insurance, branded shipping labels, branded tracking emails, multi-language support, a return portal, international returns, and a service point picker within your checkout module.
- Small Shop: €40 per month for merchants that ship between 100 and 400 parcels per month. The plans includes all features in the previous plan plus up to 5 shop integrations, unlimited branded emails, phone support, a branded return portal, shipping with your own contract, up to 5 automated shipping rules, carrier pick-ups, custom email sending times, and standard delivery through the WooCommerce checkout plugin.
- Large Shop: €89 per month for shops that ship between 400 and 1,000 parcels each month. The plan includes everything from the previous plan plus unlimited shop integrations, priority support, a higher limit for shipping with your own contract, unlimited automation and return rules, Pack & Go scan and print, exportable shipping data, printing for picking and packing lists, barcode scanner support, promo banners on tracking pages, Instagram feeds on tracking pages, smart return rules, and standard/same-day delivery through the WooCommerce plugin.
- Business: €179 to €585 per month for merchants shipping more than 1,000 parcels per month. The plan includes everything from the previous plan plus an increase in the limit for shipping with your own contract, a customer success manager, the removal of the Sendcloud watermark, and the addition of nominated day delivery in the WooCommerce plugin.
- Enterprise: Custom pricing. You must speak with a sales representative to figure out your needs. Features include everything from the previous plan, a cross-border shipping network, access to 300k+ shipping points, 99.9% uptime, carrier invoice checks, custom API integration, WMS integration, and ERP integration.
Some other aspects of Sendcloud pricing to consider:
- There's no free trial, but the Free plan works in its place. Even larger companies can test out Sendcloud with the Free plan.
- There are no setup fees to get started with Sendcloud.
- You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel an account whenever you want.
We mentioned that Sendcloud offers discounted shipping rates through pre-negotiated carrier partnerships. So, what can you expect to save with that?
The Sendcloud shipping discounts are structured in a way so that its higher paying customers receive the best deals. For instance, Business plan customers get a better discount than the Large Shop or Small Shop customers. Essential plan users also get discounts, but they're the least amount of savings when compared to premium plan users.
Here are some example shipping rates (the more expensive rates are for the Essential plan; cheaper rates are for the Business plan):
- Austria: €3.35 to €3.70
- Belgium: €4.45 to €5.15
- France: €4.00 for all plans
- Germany: €3.55 to €3.85
- Spain: €2.57 to €2.96
- Netherlands: €4.95 to €5.65
Overall, it looks like Sendcloud's pricing is not only reasonable but appealing to just about every type of business that sends parcels throughout Europe. You can ship to customers in much of the continent, take advantage of incredible shipping rates (even in the free plan), and start off your shipping journey without paying for a monthly pricing package. After that, the standard plans for small and large online stores don't go past €100. Rapidly growing businesses can take advantage of the scaled pricing model, and when the time comes you're able to expand into an Enterprise plan.
Sendcloud Review: Customer Support
One big question we often have about shipping providers is “what can we expect when it comes to customer support?” Shipping is obviously a significant part of running an online business, so it makes sense to have someone available if a shipment isn't delivered, if you're having trouble with late shipments, or when a customer has questions about the return portal that you're not sure about.
In the previous pricing section from our Sendcloud review, we mentioned that all users of the platform, regardless of pricing plan, receive some sort of customer support. When it comes to options to contact a real person and speak with them, Sendcloud offers email and live chat support, even for businesses on the Free plan. After that, premium customers start getting even more assistance through phone support, and even a customer success manager if you opt for the Business plan.
Other than that, some of the plans have “priority” or “premium” tech support, which we would assume means you get sent to the front of the line when calling in or sending an email. We also noticed that you can opt for country-specific support if you're interested in speaking with someone who caters to one region.
So, the human customer support looks like it's completely covered. But what about online resources? The content that many people like to use to complete their own research, learn about the platform, or solve their own problems?
Luckily, Sendcloud does an excellent job with online resources as well. The help center knowledgebase serves as your primary hub for searching out answers, with a search bar, popular search recommendations, and a long list of categorized articles for topics like integrations, finance, and settings.
There's also a Feature Request page to explore what may be coming in the future and to send in your own suggestions. Along with that, Sendcloud offers an in-depth developer documentation center to read API information, integrate with third-party software, and tap into every part of the Sendcloud system. Other than that, our Sendcloud review uncovered free shipping tools, webinars, masterclasses, whitepapers, e-books, success stories, and a blog rich with articles about ecommerce, fulfillment, shipping, and trends.
Is Sendcloud Right for Your Online Store?
If Sendcloud provides its services for your country/region, there's no question it could help you decrease shipping costs, speed up shipping times, and offer a platform for automating processes and even creating unique, branded tracking emails.
The pricing is right, seeing as how any brand could start with the Free plan then upgrade to an affordable premium plan. The only limitation is where you run your business. Therefore, we mainly recommend Sendcloud to online businesses operating in Europe. However, they plan to extend into the US in the near future, so get on the list for those updates. Companies outside of Europe and the US will have to wait to see if Sendcloud expects to grow elsewhere.
Overall, Sendcloud amazes us with its automated shipping, returns, and intuitive checkout module. If you're frustrated with complicated shipping, or would like to save more money, try Sendcloud for free today.
Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about our Sendcloud review, or share your experience if you've used Sendcloud in the past for your business!