Shiplark Review

  • No comments
  • Updated on:
Date Established
2007
Location
San Francisco, CA

Overview:

Shiplark software lets you connect to all your online marketplaces, shopping carts and shipping carriers so that you can process all your orders easily and quickly from one place. Orders get downloaded automatically or with the click of a button. No more keeping track of orders on spreadsheets, logging into multiple sites daily, or filling out shipping information manually. Once you set up all your accounts, everything is fed into Shiplark. You can see all your orders and customers together, compare shipping rates between your carriers, and generate shipping labels for your orders. Customers are automatically notified and sent tracking numbers as soon as orders have shipped. All this is managed through stable software that sits on your desktop.

In that last respect, Shiplark is a bit of a throwback to the pre-cloud era. This can be both a good and bad thing. Web-based business software is becoming the norm, but some people still prefer to have the security and stability of locally installed software (though this is often based more on psychology than anything else). If you use any Web-based software, such as for your inventory management or accounting, you might find something like Shiplark a little outdated-looking. But rest assured, it’s still a fully featured piece of software that connects to all your cloud-based accounts just fine. Plus, you don’t have to worry about site outages or slowdowns (rare as they are) since the software lives on your computer. Still, there are definite disadvantages to installed software, one of them being that, well, you have to install it on every computer you want to use it on. That can sometimes be a lengthy, frustrating process, as you’ll see later.

Shiplark is a product of San Francisco-based software developer Webgility, which was started in 2007 when it launched a solution for syncing online stores with QuickBooks accounting software. Shiplark is actually part of a larger suite of e-commerce software products, called eCC (eCommerceConnector) that integrates accounting, inventory, customers, and shipping for businesses of all sizes. But it can still be used on its own. (Given the name “Webgility,” it’s a bit odd that Shiplark isn’t Web-based, or hasn’t at least been converted to a Web-based version by now.) The privately funded, profitable company has a staff of about 75 and counting, with a management team experienced in the e-commerce space and a development and support center in India.

Check out the review below to see if Shiplark might be the right solution for you.

Pricing:

Shiplark’s pricing is based on how many orders you download per month.

  • $10 – Up to 100 orders/month
  • $30 – 101 to 1,000 orders/month
  • $50 – 1,001 to 3,000 orders/month

Your billing is automatically adjusted each month based on your order volume, so you won’t hit any thresholds and be left unable to ship. If you need to do more than 3,000 orders per month, you can set up a custom plan with the sales team.

Included in your basic Shiplark subscription:

  • 2 online stores/marketplaces
  • Integration with an unlimited number of shipping processors
  • Unlimited email and live chat support during business hours

Add-on pricing:

  • $20/month for each additional store
  • $10/month for each additional user
  • $200 for professional installation and setup
  • $100 for product training

You can sign up for a 15-day free trial, no credit card required. Once you sign up for a full subscription, you aren’t billed until the end of your first 30 days of usage. There is no contract and you can cancel anytime.

Web-Based or Locally Installed:

Shiplark is desktop software that you download and install locally on your computer.

Hardware and Software Requirements:

There are a few things you need to have on your system to work with Shiplark:

  • Windows 7, 8, Vista, or Server 2000/2003/2008 (32-bit and 64-bit)
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 or higher (available with Shiplark installer)
  • Microsoft SQL Server Express 2005 or later (available with Shiplark installer)
  • High-speed Internet connection

Ease of Use:

My issues with using Shiplark started even before I could properly use it – that is, with the installation itself. I had the devil of a time getting it going.

  • Installation: First I had to sign up for a Webgility account, then download a zip file, then run the installer file. Everything seemed good to go at that point. To open the software, I needed to enter my Webgility account info. Fine. But I also had to install Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition. Shiplark started to install it for me… but after 8 minutes or so of setup, I was told it couldn’t find a SQL installation package and that I should try the installation again with a valid copy of a file called sqlrun_tools.msi. Huh? I tried installing it again and ultimately got another error. How am I supposed to know if I have a valid copy of that file, or where to get one? I spent a long time searching online for a place where I could download this file, to no avail. Shouldn’t Shiplark automatically get me a valid copy? Finally, I had to resort to calling Webgility support, and someone helped me get the software properly installed and ready to use. But should it really be this much of an ordeal just to get to this point?
  • Setting Up Stores: I used Shopify as my sample store, and it was a little awkward and certainly not intuitive linking the store to Shiplark. I’m told I need a token, so I enter my Shopify login details. It opens a Web browser and logs me in to my Shopify account but doesn’t tell me where I’m supposed to get the token. After closing and opening the browser window a couple of times (for lack of any other instruction), it finally starts downloading an authorization file. Then I get the message in Shopify to install the Shiplark app and allow access. Fair enough, but it all seemed needlessly convoluted.
  • Dashboard: The Shiplark dashboard is pretty standard. Download History shows you how many orders are left to deal with, last order number, and last order date. To Do shows you the number of unshipped orders, unpaid orders, and any errors. There’s a large “Get Orders” button to download orders from your stores, as well as a Scheduler button. The sales graph is nothing fancy-looking but serves its purpose well enough; it can be modified to show sales for a variety of time ranges, for anywhere from the last year to the last 24 hours.
  • Interface: The Shiplark interface is very simple, with lots of whitespace, and feels a little outdated. It’s very “Windows-looking,” for lack of a better description. This is your basic tabbed interface, with a simple file menu above for the main functions – orders, shipping, users, tools. Lots of large buttons reside up top for quick access to many of the common actions. The tabs are mostly self-explanatory, but the one labeled “Inbox” is a bit misleading – is it email? No, it’s incoming orders.  Each tab does show a number in parentheses next to the name, much like an email folder, so that you can easily see how many new orders, updates, errors, cancelled orders, etc., that you have.
  • Not Totally Intuitive: While Shiplark is not overwhelmingly busy or complicated, it’s not especially intuitive, either. An example: I go to configure shipping providers and am told I need to configure shipping settings first. OK, well, where do I do that? It didn’t take me long to figure out where, but it would be much more convenient to have a link or button right on that prompt so that I can go right to the settings. There are some areas where your sequence of tasks is anticipated with relevant links and buttons, but there are other places such as this one that could also use more attention to what users need to do and make it easier for them to do it.

In general, Shiplark is not especially difficult to use, but I did find the need to go read some of the knowledge base articles and watch a few videos to get the hang of things.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

Webgility handles support for Shiplark, and there are several ways to get in touch:

  • Email support ticket
  • Phone: 1-877-753-5373 ext. 3
  • Knowledge Base: This contains step-by-step instructions, with screenshots and/or videos, on most of the tasks you need to know, including installation and setup of the software.
  • Community Forum: Since Shiplark is part of Webgility, this covers not just Shiplark but other Webgility products. The Shiplark forum is pretty sparse, and at this writing it looks like it hasn’t been active for several months.

Support Hours (all times PST):

  • Monday to Friday:
    • 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
    • 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Saturday: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Since I had problems installing the software, I called the Webgility tech support line. I was kept waiting for several minutes for someone to come on the line and then eventually got disconnected. The next time I got through, and the support guy was very patient and helpful as he guided me through troubleshooting and installation, which took a little more than half an hour. Another time, when I sent an email with a question, someone called me back on the phone within 10 minutes. All in all, a positive experience, despite the frustrations with my initial setup.

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

There are a few things about Shiplark that I either found problematic or just didn’t like so much.

  • Lag Time: I experienced several instances where I would click on a certain action such as a button or drop-down menu and there was significant lag time before the menu appeared, the value changed, or whatever else was supposed to happen actually did. The mouse often blinked rapidly, fluttering as though it were unable to keep up. I would click again several times to get it to work, which of course just resulted in a delayed response so that the actions eventually happened in a flurry all at once when the software caught up. This isn’t something you usually expect of installed software, since it’s self-contained and not constantly calling to a Web server to perform every action.
  • Phone Orders: The first time you add a phone (manual) order, you have to click an extra button to download the items in your store so that you can select them from the drop-down menu for the order. When you do hit the drop-down, though, all you see are the SKUs, not the product names. I don’t know about you, but I’d have a hard time identifying a product only by its SKU. This makes it pretty difficult to know what you’re selecting. The only way to see the product is after selecting something, and even then you can only view the product description, not its official name.
  • No Auto-fill for Fields: Granted, most of the time you’re not going to need to manually enter much (if any) information on your orders, customers, or shipping info since those are coming in from your online store(s) with the info already captured. But for manual orders and other areas that require some manual entry, it would be nice to have some fields auto-fill with suggestions as you type. This is something that most cloud-based software has.
  • Tax Not Added: When selecting to add tax to a product for a phone order, the tax was not automatically updated in the pricing area. I’m not sure if this is a glitch or if I just didn’t have something configured correctly in my settings. But you would think that when I specifically said that I wanted tax to be included, the software would add the appropriate amount to the order total.
  • Adding a User: You can’t just add a new user right in the software. Instead you get directed to the Webgility site to add the user via your online account, and when you get there it’s not exactly clear where to do it. (Turns out it’s under the “Add-ons” tab.) Once you’ve added the user, you then have to restart Shiplark.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials:

We began using Shiplark a few months back and have been very pleased with the functionality of the service and customer support. With direct interaction, we are saving about a minute per order and have eliminated all manual keying in. Additionally, we have recently integrated Shiplark with Amazon Marketplace and have been very happy with this service as well. Truly a great service!

– Michael McGarry, GoBros.com

Some testimonials from the Shiplark website:

It’s a tremendous asset to our daily operations. It eliminates data entry and streamlines our shipping. Thank you for creating such a great software program!

– Jessica A.

Great tool and would recommend to many others. We are loving the product, as it has taken our order processing down to six clicks at best. We have taken our six-hour order entry and shipping process down to an hour at the most.

– Michael C.

Features:

Shiplark has a variety of features that make it easy to manage shipping orders from your online marketplaces. Be aware, though, that not all features are available for all shopping carts – they vary based on which marketplaces you integrate. You can compare features between up to three different shopping cart vendors at a time. Here are the highlights of what Shiplark offers.

Order Management

  • Automatic download of new orders
  • Status tracking through order completion
  • Partial shipments
  • Multi-package shipments
  • Create return labels
  • Void shipments
  • Ability to add notes
  • Download past orders
  • Post shipping notification to customers on store
  • Enter phone orders manually
  • Create shipping reports

Shipping

  • Ship via all major shipping carriers
  • See rates and validate shipping addresses before printing labels
  • Compare rates between multiple carriers
  • Batch label printing
  • Send tracking numbers to customers
  • Customize packing slips and pick lists
  • Set up shipping rules to automate processing
  • Use carrier insurance or discounted Webgility insurance

Multi-Channel Integration

  • Manage orders easily between all your online stores in one place
  • Set up varying shipping rules per channel
  • Support for all the top sales platforms, incl. Amazon, eBay, Magento, Shopify, Etsy, BigCommerce

Scheduling

  • Post orders back to online store automatically
  • Automatic backup of Shiplark database

Reports:

Shiplark provides a few different ways to see your data:

  • Manifest Reports by shipping provider
  • Close of Day Reports by shipping provider
  • Webgility insurance reports

Integrations and Add-Ons:

One of the great things about Shiplark is how many e-commerce stores it integrates with – more than 30. It also supports direct integration with all the major shipping carriers. Here are the big ones.

Shopping Carts & Marketplaces:

Carriers:

Payment Processors:

For the full list of integrations, check here.

Security:

Since Shiplark is installed on your local system, your data is secure and can be accessed at any time. No worries about online security as with Web-based software. Basically, your Shiplark data is secure as your office’s network.

Final Verdict:

Overall, I would say Shiplark is an adequate piece of shipping software but ultimately somewhat behind the curve. It gets the job done just fine, if you can bear with some of its quirks and don’t mind referring to some of the help materials to get yourself up to speed. The installation itself can be a bit of a hassle, but the support staff are friendly and helpful.

Shiplark benefits from its wealth of integrations with major shipping providers and online stores, and the monthly cost is pretty reasonable for what you get, though not necessarily a bargain. If you’re a fairly small operation and don’t expect to have many people or computers using the software, it’s certainly worth looking into Shiplark for your shipping needs.

However, I’d highly recommend checking out some of the online shipping software for comparison, such as Ordoro and ShipStation, which for my money are more flexible and easier to use, with just as many great features and excellent customer support. It may be that Shiplark works better when used as one piece of Webgility’s larger e-commerce software suite. If you’re simply looking for reasonably priced, stand-alone shipping software that’s easy to use, you could certainly do worse than Shiplark. But you also might find that you can do better, so be sure to shop around.

Jon Titterington

Jon Titterington

Writer at Merchant Maverick
Jon Titterington is a writer from Los Angeles, California. He first started working in tech in 2006.
Leave a comment

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Review

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.
Please read the "User Review and Comment Policy" before posting.