Welcome to our ShipStation review!
You don't need us to tell you that shipping is a big part of any eCommerce business. Amazon, the deity of customer convenience, is constantly breathing down the necks of smaller merchants. Thanks to its Prime service, customers have come to expect shipping within 1-2 days and, in many cases, desire (or expect) free shipping.
Needless to say, a poor shipping experience that leaves customers out of the loop could earn you a bad review and/or lose you a repeat customer.
But luckily, plenty of solutions are available to make the shipping process a lot easier.
ShipStation is one such solution.
So, in this review, we’ll look at what services ShipStation provides, how much it costs, and what support you can expect from the team.
That's a lot to sink our teeth into, so let’s get started!
What is ShipStation?
ShipStation was founded in 2010 and is based in Austin, Texas. Today, the platform has more than 100,000 customers. It’s a leading order management and shipping platform for helping retailers execute efficient shipping processes.
ShipStation is a robust, easy-to-use platform with many nifty features. Its main advantages are its many native integrations, customizability, and user-friendly returns portal.
The platform also provides access to discounted shipping rates, helps users prepare shipping labels, and comes with a wide range of order and inventory management features.
ShipStation Review: Features and Services
Here are the key services ShipStation provides:
By integrating with all your sales channels (see our section on integrations), ShipStation allows you to manage orders from just one platform. You can sync as many orders as you like across unlimited selling channels – adding a new store or marketplace doesn’t cost extra.
Alternatively, suppose you don’t want to use one of ShipStation’s sales channel integrations. In that case, you can create orders manually by uploading a CSV.
From the same dashboard, you can keep an eye on your shipping processes every step of the way. You can also retrieve valuable shipping and order insights and create automations based on pre-defined criteria, like the customer’s shipping address, item weight, preferred shipping methods, etc.
From the dashboard, you can:
- Assign color-coded order tags to help you filter and locate your orders more efficiently. You can also filter orders by destination, store, status, and more.
- Set custom alerts to notify you when action needs to be taken. For example, if an item is out of stock or you need to authorize a refund.
- Combine orders to reduce shipping costs
- Split orders into multiple shipments when an order comprises products from several warehouses.
- Access order management reporting, including product reports, order reports, and shipment reports
You can access cheaper shipping rates from partners like USPS. Check out ShipStation’s shipping calculator for USPS to determine how much you might save. However, in general, you can expect to benefit from the following savings:
- Up to 88% off UPS International
- Up to 77% off UPS Ground
- Up to 75% off DHL
- Up to 78% off GlobalPost Economy
Note: These rates are limited to shipping within the US.
Within your ShipStation dashboard, you can compare rates and quickly identify the best, most cost-effective shipping option for each order. Once you’ve identified the best carriers for specific shipping routes, you can automate this process. That way, items adhering to the same conditions will be forwarded to your chosen carrier again!
Note: To compare rates, you need to integrate with the shipping carriers you’re considering using. But fear not; this can be done with just a few clicks.
You can also automatically generate and print shipping labels for all online orders and rapidly handle bulk orders with multi-label creation. You can even create shipping labels while you’re on the go with the mobile app.
ShipStation also makes international shipments easier by automatically verifying international addresses, generating and transmitting custom declarations and forms, and allowing you to set global shipping preferences.
With ShipStation’s more premium plans, you can offer a more authentic, branded shipping experience. For example, you can customize the following:
- Shipping labels
- Your returns portal
- Notification and tracking emails
- SMS notifications
- Packing slips
With each option, you can add your logo and choose a color scheme that suits your brand. You can also include links to your social media in your emails and online portals – and, of course, you get to pick what message is included with these options!
ShipStation makes inventory management across several warehouse locations a breeze. For example, you can receive inventory alerts to inform you if stock is running low or if there’s an attempt to ship an item for which there’s insufficient availability. You can also allocate stock to priority orders so that new orders won’t conflict with them. On the flip side, you can just as quickly deallocate stock if you no longer need to reserve it for a specific order.
You can also sync inventory using a third-party solution via an API or by using one of ShipStation’s partnered inventory solutions.
Lastly, your packing slips can include a product’s inventory location to make it easier to find items in the warehouse. This goes a long way to helping warehouse workers speed up the picking and packing process!
We’d be amiss not to mention ShipStation’s returns management, which makes it more convenient and helpful than many of its competitors.
ShipStation offers a branded self-service returns portal where customers can handle returns themselves. They can look up their order by order ID and zip code, list their return reason, specify the number of items to be returned, and submit the request.
Once you’ve authorized the return, ShipStation then generates a returns label and communicates to your customers what they need to do to process the return. You can also authorize returns automatically with preset configurations – which leads us nicely to our next point…
ShipStation allows you to create a wide range of automations to streamline your fulfillment processes. You can set automations by pre-defining ‘triggers’ to perform an action when the pre-defined scenario occurs. This includes, for example, creating return labels, sending outbound emails, purchasing shipping insurance on select inventory, and more.
You can also map automations to specific shipping configurations. For example, when a customer chooses a particular delivery method on checkout, such as expedited, this preference is mapped. As a result, ShipStation can automatically link the order to your preferred shipping carrier for expedited shipping in this region.
Unlike many of its competitors, ShipStation comes with a mobile app. While ShipStation is easier to use on a desktop, you can use the mobile app to quickly check inventory levels, manage your orders, and even arrange shipments. You can also receive notifications for urgent events, such as when stock runs low. The app can also function as a barcode scanner for your shipping labels!
ShipStation Review: Integrations
ShipStation comes with a total of 421 integrations. This, most vitally, makes it possible to integrate it with a wide range of eCommerce solutions, including:
There are 29 shopping cart and online store integrations in total. On top of this, ShipStation integrates with various shipping carriers, order and inventory management tools, accounting, and ERP software.
In no particular order, these include:
- Royal Mail
- Channel Advisor
Note that some integrations are only available in certain countries, depending on where various services operate.
ShipStation Review: Pricing
ShipStation offers six pricing plans, including an Enterprise plan for scaled businesses. The pricing is advertised on a monthly basis and limits how many shipments per month you can process and how many users you can register to your account. More expensive plans, starting from the Silver Tier, also come with customized branding options (as discussed above).
Let’s take a closer look at each plan:
Starter: $9.99 per month
- One user
- 50 shipments per month
- ShipStation-branded labels and packing slips
- Email and community forum support
Bronze: $29.99 per month
You get everything above, plus:
- 500 shipments per month
- Live chat support
- You can import orders via CSV
Silver: $59.99 per month
You get everything above, plus:
- Two users
- 1,000 shipments per month
- You can customize labels and packing slips
Gold: $99.99 per month
You get everything above, plus:
- Three users
- 2,000 shipments per month
Platinum: $149.99 per month
You get everything above, plus:
- Five users
- 5,000 shipments per month
- Phone support
Enterprise: $229.99 per month
You get everything above, plus:
- Ten users
- 7,500 shipments per month
If you require more than 7,500 shipments a month, contact the sales team to learn about their services for high-volume customers.
As you can see, ShipStation doesn’t limit its features and services beyond the customization of shipping labels. So you only have to upgrade if you start getting more monthly orders!
You can also begin with a 30-day free trial before opting into any of these plans. Additionally, the team promises a no-questions-asked refund within 90 days if you’re dissatisfied. You can also upgrade (or downgrade) your plan at any time if you experience a sudden influx or fall in order numbers.
Lastly, you can purchase additional user seats for an extra $5 per user per month.
ShipStation Review: Customer Support
As we briefly discussed in the pricing section, ShipStation offers a wide range of support options that depend on your chosen pricing plan.
Every plan has access to email support and the community forum, where your peers and moderators can help answer your questions. However, ShipStation warns that email response times may exceed one business day during high ticket volume periods.
More expensive plans unlock live chat support and phone support. Business hours are 8 am to 8 pm Central Time.
On top of this, a blog, tutorial videos, and webinars are available to teach you more about ShipStation and the shipping process. Finally, there’s also an online help center where you’ll find troubleshooting guides, FAQs, workflow guides, integration help, and more.
ShipStation Review: Pros and Cons
That’s a lot of ShipStation information! Let’s try and consolidate some of what we’ve learned with a quick pro-cons list:
- There’s a mobile app available.
- ShipStation integrates with over 53 shipping carriers and hundreds of other integrations.
- You can link up as many sales channels as you like without paying extra.
- You get access to intuitive returns management features.
- The interface is easy to navigate.
- Phone and live chat support are available on higher pricing tiers.
- ShipStation offers a range of customization options for your emails, returns portal, shipping labels, etc.
- For the breadth of features on offer, its pricing is competitive. We also like that very few features are locked behind paywalls.
- You can add extra users for $5 per user per month.
- ShipStation allows granular control over user permissions.
- There’s no free plan.
- On lower plans, you’re stuck with only email support, which might take some time to get back to you.
- Several reviews mention customer support as a pain point, especially on cheaper plans.
- Many customers complain that a recent update introduced technical issues, which amongst other problems, caused issues with print labels.
ShipStation Review: FAQs
Although we’ve covered a fair amount of ground, you might still have a few questions about ShipStation, which we’ll endeavor to answer below:
Do I Need Hardware to Accompany ShipStation?
ShipStation assumes that you have a range of devices ready to use. The platform is meant for businesses that already have an established fulfillment process and want to streamline it to make it more efficient. As such, you might already possess hardware like thermal or laser printers, HID-compliant scales, and barcode scanners. If not, you might need them to make the most out of ShipStation.
Is It Cheaper to Ship With ShipStation?
ShipStation can secure significant shipping discounts through their network of shipping carriers. They achieve this by gaining bulk discounts from popular carriers and passing them on to you. As such, shipping with ShipStation is often cheaper, but you should always calculate whether the savings are enough to warrant the monthly cost.
I Run a Small Business – Do I Need ShipStation?
Suppose you’re running a tiny business. In that case, in-house fulfillment might be possible without the aid of shipping solutions like ShipStation. Instead, you might prefer to manage orders through your eCommerce store and periodically ship items by dropping them off at local post offices or coming to an arrangement with a carrier.
Financially, this might make more sense for your situation- especially if you’re a team of only one or two people with a small inventory and one sales channel. In this instance, you won’t need many of ShipStation’s features.
But as you grow, a shipping and order management solution becomes more vital as it will save you lots of time and labor. In addition, as you scale your business, the discounted rates may also make it an excellent financial decision.
What Are Some ShipStation Alternatives?
If you’re confident that shipping software would be an excellent addition to your workflow but you’re not sure about ShipStation, there are other alternatives.
- A platform like ShippingEasy might make more sense if you have a low monthly sales volume.
- Easyship is a great shipping solution for crowdfunding campaigns when you only need to arrange fulfillment for a specific project.
- Software like ShipHero could be right for you if warehouse management is your priority. So, this is better suited to more extensive operations, which is reflected in its price.
ShipStation Review: Our Final Verdict
That's all for this ShipStation review! All in all, ShipStation is a robust shipping solution with a myriad of useful features. It has hundreds of integrations, including many shipping carriers, marketplaces, and eCommerce platforms. Its best features are its general usability, customizability, and returns portal. You can also implement various automations to boost the efficiency of your fulfillment processes.
We recommend ShipStation for businesses that handle more than 500 orders each month. At this point, you’ll likely spend a lot of time on your order fulfillment and shipping. As a result, ShipStation will probably be of greater benefit to you. It also warrants you opting into a higher pricing tier with live chat or even phone support, which might address any customer support concerns.
That being said, recent updates have cast doubt over ShipStation’s general stability. In addition, many users complain of poor customer support when resolving technical errors. As such, we would suggest some caution: Check out ShipStation’s 30-day trial to see whether it’s a platform you think you can rely upon. If you do, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!