- Discounts with multiple carriers
- Free trial
- Numerous integrations
- Time-saving tools
- Detailed reports
- Complicated to use
- Restricted technical support
- Expensive for high shipping volumes
Online retailers know that manually monitoring orders and shipping is a hassle, especially when businesses are just starting out. Luckily there’s ShipStation, an ecommerce shipping platform that streamlines the entire order fulfillment process. Founded in 2010 and headquartered in Austin, the service was acquired by Auctane, a leading provider of shipping and ecommerce solutions.
With ShipStation, retailers are able to supervise, import, and ship their orders from one handy platform while coordinating with multiple carriers, sales channels, and other third-party tools. So, whether you have your own online shop or sell your products on sites like Amazon, ShipStation has you covered.
Moreover, Best Reviews’ readers get an exclusive 60-day free trial, which allows them to experiment with ShipStation’s powerful automation tools, which reduce the need for manual management and save precious time and work. Plus, the branded shipping feature provides a more personalized delivery experience without additional costs. Adding its practical mobile app to handle sales on the go to everything already mentioned, it’s not surprising that ShipStation has become a popular solution among online retailers.
ShipStation provides a mobile app and easy access to its online version via all major browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. While the web version eliminates the need for tedious updates, its interface could be more user-friendly. The plethora of sections may seem overwhelming, which is partly due to its outdated design. However, the service is clearly comprehensive when it comes to shipping and order management options.
Users must connect ShipStation with their online store if they want to automatically import existing orders. ShipStation integrates with almost every ecommerce platform and marketplace, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, eBay, Amazon, and Etsy. It’s possible to manually create orders without creating or integrating an online store, which ShipStation makes easy with its built-in U.S. Postal Service (USPS) shipping rate calculator.
Finally, retailers are presented with a choice between two shipping label layouts and are able to add both main and alternative addresses. While this process is explained in various webinars and guides across ShipStation’s website, it takes a while to get the hang of and can be time-consuming, especially for beginners.
Shipping Made Easy
When a small business is breaking into the industry, manual shipping is usually the way to get orders into a client’s hands. For companies where creating individual labels and manually sending out products are causing headaches, ShipStation’s fast and cost-effective shipping may be the solution.
Through this one platform, users can access orders from their integrated ecommerce channels and ship through their preferred carriers with minimal effort. Along with the handy digitalization of the shipping process, it’s possible to send out orders individually or in batches. Batch processing is a crucial advantage for ecommerce stores that transport large volumes of orders daily, as it allows them to handle up to 500 orders at a time.
The company prints the shipping labels and packing slips, which are customizable to meet any style or need. A quick scan of the slip with ShipStation’s mobile app will reveal the item’s information, helping to simplify the generation of carrier labels and the picking and packing. Also, ‘Scan to Verify & Print’ enables retailers to confirm an order’s contents and status with audio and visual feedback, helping them to detect packing mistakes.
The platform offers discounted rates for various carrier services, and the rate calculator helps users identify the best and most affordable shipping option for each order and save up to 84%.
Hands down, one of the greatest perks of using ShipStation is its automation. After selecting a carrier for an order, it’s possible to automate this process for any items that will be transported with the same conditions. In the event that a customer selects a specific delivery method, the software will remember this preference.
Furthermore, when packages are on their way, ShipStation automatically sends customers shipping confirmation emails. For international shipments, the service instantly verifies the addresses and generates customs declarations and forms. The customization of these automations from within the platform is only included with the pricier plans.
Once an online store is integrated with ShipStation, the platform automatically retrieves the orders, removing the need for them to be manually imported. ShipStation synchronizes orders across a multitude of sales channels. Plus, all shipping processes can be tracked, and custom alerts can be set for urgent actions like refund request handling or restocking.
ShipStation provides color-coded tags and various filters to efficiently locate and sort orders or even flag those that require further consideration. Moreover, the platform enables users to combine orders to decrease shipping costs or split them into multiple shipments should the products depart from different warehouses. When it comes to warehouse management, it’s possible to assign orders to specific workers to avoid packing errors.
Users can edit order details even after the freight has been shipped, including changes to the address, payment methods, and item specifics. Also, for administrative visibility, the company provides customizable reports that can be filtered by several different metrics.
From the mid-range plan up, ShipStation offers several branding options to transform a company’s shipping experience into something more personalized and visually recognizable.
Customization is available for SMS, packing slips, shipping labels, notifications, and tracking emails. It’s possible to add thank-you notes, write individual messages, include your company’s logo and color scheme, and even redirect clients to social media pages.
ShipStation hasn’t forgotten to tackle one of the areas with the most common mishaps – the return merchandise authorization (RMA). The service offers a branded portal where customers can process their own returns quickly and easily.
From the settings dashboard, it’s possible to customize the page and authorize requests manually or automatically. ShipStation prints the returns labels and notifies customers once the RMAs are ready.
Mobile and Add-ons
In addition to the online platform, ShipStation’s mobile app for iOS and Android enables users to manage orders, track shipments, create labels, and check inventory levels while away from the office. Should anything urgent occur, the app immediately notifies users. Plus, it also functions as a barcode scanner for shipping labels.
Another noteworthy add-on is ShipStation Connect, a downloadable desktop app that links a ShipStation account to a printer for a faster and more efficient label-printing process. This service is available for operating systems from Windows 10 and macOS 10.12 onwards.
The joy of ShipStation lies in its many integrations with services that are vital for online companies. The service supports over 400 integrations, including several ecommerce and marketplace platforms, other fulfillment companies, carriers, accounting tools, and more.
ShipStation integrates with nearly all the major ecommerce platforms, such as BigCommerce, Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace, as well as over two dozen niche services. Additionally, ShipStation has incorporated the most popular online marketplaces, namely Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Google, and Alibaba. For online retailers planning to sell on Amazon, the ShipStation integration is remarkably seamless.
The company offers a range of solutions for resource and inventory planning, including Oracle and SAP. When it comes to accounting, there are QuickBooks, Acumatica, as well as several other bookkeeping tools.
Much like its competitors, ShipStation offers various subscription tiers to suit diverse business demands. All plans support third-party integrations and include discounted shipping rates with carriers. The main differences lie in the volume of shipping and branding options. However, users can ship with USPS directly from ShipStation through the free Stamps.com account.
It’s important to note that the number of shipments refers to the number of shipping labels generated, not the orders fulfilled. While reprinting labels is accepted, returns labels are included in the monthly quota, meaning that subscribers have to upgrade their plan if they go over.
The starting subscription of $9.99 includes 50 monthly shipments for one user and provides access to all communication channels except live chat and phone. ShipStation’s 60-day free trial provides access to the basic plan features, and if you wish to continue after the trial ends, it’s possible to pay by credit card or PayPal.
The cherry on top is clearly the endless discounts with prominent carriers, such as UPS, DHL, and GlobalPost are up for grabs during the trial. On the flip side, even though ShipStation’s starting price is affordable, the costs increase significantly for companies with substantial shipping volumes.
ShipStation provides a wide range of customer support communication channels. To test the service, our team contacted a bot that redirected us to a real agent within minutes.
The company is active on various social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, which is packed with webinars and guides. ShipStation also offers a variety of self-service resources, such as a podcast, a blog, and a community forum.
Furthermore, the company’s help center, FAQ, newsroom, and resource hub are all brimming over with guides, news, and videos. Beginners are able to turn to ShipStation University for its comprehensive training modules.
While all plans include access to email support and the community forum, the more expensive subscriptions unlock technical support via live chat and phone, available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (CT).
ShipStation is a valuable ally for online retailers seeking to streamline their order delivery process, as it can integrate with a variety of popular carriers and sales channels to provide an exceptionally smooth shipping experience.
Furthermore, the service provides numerous organizational tools to properly manage and track a company’s workflow. Administrative control and visibility are also enhanced with a wide range of comprehensive reports.
Although the interface is not user-friendly (especially for beginners), ShipStation’s 60-day free trial undoubtedly helps familiarize users with its platform and inner workings. Plus, while it’s true that the customer service provision isn't as thorough for the lower plans, our experience with ShipStation’s live chat was flawless.
Ultimately, ShipStation’s advantages outweigh its steep learning curve. This is especially true for higher-paying subscribers, who may find themselves ditching the tiresome manual approach to shipping for this optimized, automated, and efficient solution.
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