ShipStation Review

Date Established
November 2011
Location
Austin, TX

Overview

ShipStation is a web-based shipping solution for eCommerce retailers. Designed to streamline the fulfillment process, this software offers a huge number of integrations that allow you to synchronize your business with the most popular sales channels, shopping carts, payment gateways, and mail carriers.

The company was founded in 2011 by Jason Hodges and Byron Wier. Based out of Austin, TX, ShipStation boasts a reputation as a leading company in its field.

Over the course of this review, I’ll be highlighting the major features this application has to offer. I’ll also take a look at the community response and volunteer my own thoughts on the user experience. Let’s get into it.

Pricing

Here are the different plans ShipStation offers:

  • Starter
    • $9/month
    • 50 shipments a month
    • All selling channels (Unlimited stores)
    • 1 user
    • Branded labels and packing slips
    • Email and community forum support
  • Bronze
    • $25/month
    • 500 shipments a month
    • Unlimited stores
    • 1 user
    • Branded labels and packing slips
    • Email and community forum support
  • Silver
    • $45/month
    • 1,500 shipments a month
    • Unlimited stores
    • 2 users
    • Customized packing slips and branded labels
    • Live Chat, email and community forum support
  • Gold
    • $65/month
    • 3,000 shipments a month
    • Unlimited stores
    • 3 users
    • Customized packing slips and branded labels
    • Live chat, email, and community forum support
  • Platinum
    • $95/month
    • 6,000 shipments a month
    • Unlimited stores
    • 5 users
    • Customized packing slips and branded labels
    • Live chat, email, and community forum support
  • Enterprise
    • $145/month
    • Unlimited shipments a month
    • Unlimited stores
    • 10 users
    • Customized packing slips and branded labels
    • Live chat, email, and community forum support

There’s a free 30-day trial that includes access to all features, with no credit card required. If you’re not satisfied with the product within 90 days, ShipStation offers a full refund, no questions asked.

Web-Based or Locally Installed

The software is entirely web-based. There is nothing to install.

Hardware and Software Requirements

No hardware or software is required. All you need are a web browser and an Internet connection.

Ease of Use

You can test ShipStation’s admin for yourself by signing up for a free 30-trial. When I logged into my test panel, I was immediately directed to this page.

You can get started adding your sales channels and shipping carriers right from this set-up dashboard.

I then headed over to the orders page. Since I didn’t have any sales channels to add, I manually created my first order.

I was able to automatically calculate shipping rates by adding in my product weight, shipping methods, and package dimensions. It was all relatively easy to enter.

One of the more handy features in ShipStation is the ability to create custom views. Custom views allow the user to tailor the user interface to their liking through a number of different criteria. You can choose from a couple different interface sizes, decide which menus you’d like to include, set your default page and more. This feature can be accessed by visiting the Settings page and selecting Display Options. To me, custom views are the mark of pro-grade software, and any application that implements these well is going to get high marks from me.

Automation is another highly sought after feature in enterprise software, and ShipStation includes this as well. Using automation, you can create a set of rules that are applied if an order fits the right criteria. For example, you could set a default shipping service for orders received from a specific country, or do something as simple as automatically adding tags to certain types of orders. I really like this kind of functionality, and was glad to see it included here.

While it can take some time to get the hang of some of the more advanced tools, the basic features are simple. I was creating shipping labels and packing slips within a few minutes of signing up for my trial. It’s very usable software.

If you have any trouble determining what a feature does, just hover your mouse over the little blue “help beacons” scattered throughout the admin. You can also easily contact support via email (or live chat if you’re signed up for the Silver Plan or above).

Features

ShipStation has no shortage of great features. Here are some of the best:

  • UPSP and Stamps.com accounts included
  • Receive discounted USPS rates
  • Connects with multiple shopping carts and marketplaces
  • ShipStation Mobile app
  • Manage USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL shipments in one place
  • Batch print shipping hundreds of shipping labels and packing slips
  • Customize shipping labels
  • One click return management
  • Automatically print a return label to include in every package
  • Integrate with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
  • Ship internationally
  • Reporting tools for orders, products, shipping costs and more. I’ll go into more detail in the next section.

Reports

ShipStation has great reporting tools that can be accessed on the Insights page. Data is filtered by date range and other criteria, depending on the type of Report. You can also export information to Excel or PDF. Here’s a look at the different options:

  • Reports
    • Order Details
    • Country Comparison
    • Buyer Comments
    • Item Demand Summary
    • Product Sales
    • Returned Products
    • Shipment Count by User
    • Shipped Items
    • Shipping Cost
    • Shipping Manifest
    • Batch Detail
    • Postage Purchase History
    • Inventory Low Stock Report
    • Inventory Audit Report
    • Inventory Out of Stock Shipments
    • Inventory Status Report
  • Hotkey and Barcode Scan Actions
    • Hotkey Reference Sheet (Keyboard shortcuts)
    • Barcode Scan Action Report
    • Barcode Scan Action Quick Reference Sheet
  • Raw Data Exports
    • Customers
    • Orders
    • Shipped Items
    • Shipped Orders
    • Product Aliases
  • Charts and Graphs
    • Operations
    • Customer Engagement
    • Sales Trends
    • Customer Overview
    • Product Highlights

Integrations and Add-Ons

One of ShipStation’s biggest selling points is that it integrates with an enormous number of carriers, marketplaces, and shopping carts. I’m not exaggerating. The list is crazy long, especially compared to their competitors.

If by chance you have a platform that doesn’t Integrate with ShipStation, you can utilize the API. The Custom Store Integration feature is also available if you need to import orders from a source that isn’t natively supported. Consult with your developers to see which option is best for your company.

Here are the main integrations included in ShipStation:

Carriers:

Marketplaces & Shopping Carts:

Other Integrations:

This is only a partial list of the Integrations offered. View the complete catalog.

Customer Service and Technical Support

All customers have access to support through email, live webinars, the ShipStation knowledge base and the community forum. Silver plans or higher can receive chat support. Here are links to those support avenues:

My interactions with the Customer Service team were satisfactory, but not outstanding. The turnover time on my support tickets was one business day, across the board. The email responses I received read as detached and boilerplate, and they repeatedly suggested that I initiate a feature request if something didn’t work the way I wanted it to. Overall the support team did their job, but I didn’t ever feel like they went above and beyond. Maybe they shouldn’t have to, though.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

In general, customers are happy with ShipStation. Customer comments and reviews across third-party review sites (like this one) are overwhelmingly positive. However, that doesn’t mean ShipStation is without fault. Here are a couple things ShipStation customers dislike:

  • Difficulty with Customer Management: While ShipStation does a good job handling shipping, it has some shortcomings when it comes to customer identification. ShipStation does not let you place identifying characteristics in a customer’s account information. ShipStation also has trouble recognizing the same customer when he or she purchases from two different sales channel. The software will instead create a duplicate customer account. This makes it difficult to identify repeat customers.
  • Downtime Reports: I’ve seen a large number of complaints on Twitter regarding downtime. It’s never good when your software suddenly becomes unavailable.
  • Poor Customer Service: Some customers report that technical support is difficult to contact and isn’t very helpful.

Overall, customers seem happy with ShipStation. The complaints I’ve found have been about really specific issues, not about the overarching design and functionality of the software.

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

As I said, feedback for ShipStation is generally positive. ShipStation scores high marks across review boards and currently has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Here are a few of the things commenters praise most about ShipStation.

  • Automation: ShipStation’s goal is to make running your business easier, and it does just that. The software essentially automates your shipping process, making it easy to calculate shipping rates and print shipping labels and packing slips.
  • Ease of Use: After the initial learning curve, ShipStation is fairly easy to use. Main features are easily accessible on the backend, and the admin panel is well organized.
  • Lots of Integrations: The ability to integrate is one of the biggest reasons merchants choose ShipStation over other shipping solutions. You’ll likely find that ShipStation integrates with your favorite sales channels and shopping carts. Check out the full list of integrations.

Security

You can use ShipStation’s user permissions to allow different employees to access different aspects of your business’s shipping.

Final Verdict

ShipStation works. The software employs solid design, has obviously been tested thoroughly, and is able to execute its various tasks efficiently. If you’re a small to medium-sized business owner, I can happily recommend this application to you.

It’s not perfect, though. The software is missing some customer management features, and the Customer Service team is competent but joyless. However, if you’re willing to invest some time into learning the workflow, you’ll get a lot out of it.

What I mean to say is, ShipStation is business software for business people. They’re not trying to sell you a story about how startups can change the world, or about how their employees are awesome. ShipStation is trying to sell you a product that makes shipping quicker and easier. And they do just that.

Get Started with ShipStation

Liz Hull

Liz Hull

Liz is a recent college graduate living in Washington state. As of late, she can often be found haunting eCommerce forums and waiting on hold with customer service representatives. When she's free, Liz loves to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and read poorly-written young adult novels.
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13 Comments

    Chuck

    I've worked on software and with programmers for a Fortune 100 company as well smaller companies. I use software I've written everyday in my business.ShipStation is the worst software I've used. I'm sure they do not:1) Use their software daily2) Have a documented Program Management process for writing OR implementing softwareWhy do I have to load my orders to update the orders and then update pricing to see all the pertinent order information? Why is the Print Label pop-up window so big it covers all order information so you do not what order is in process when (not if) the ShipStation crashes? Why does ShipStation implement software updates in the middle of the day, and they later deny they changed their software after proving their software is faulty?Why do they make their phone number difficult to find? Why do they shut down their chat line after implementing bad software?As I wrote earlier, ShipStation is the worst software I've ever used.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Michael McVay

    No live product support. Printing constantly drops out. That brings my company to a stand still on shipping orders out. Have a phone number for an account manager that never picks up the phone.How can ShipStation be rated 4 stars when all I see are ONE reviews!!!

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Michiko

    There is no simple address label print with shipstation! Granted, this option would not make them money but its a simple feature they could add and their unwillingness to do so has totally put me off using them. There is no Canada Post Lettermail option so a simple address print would make things a lot easier for sellers who send via Lettermail as well as other services like Xpresspost and Expedited. Without it, I would have to ship through shipstation for half my orders and then go through Canada Post for Lettermail and then print the labels separately through my wordpress dashboard. Using 3 platforms instead of just one or two doesn't make shipstation any easier for me so I won't be using them.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    John

    I was going to sign up, but here was my first clue. It stated no credit card required. They follow that up by asking for your credit card number, but stating that Shipstation will pay the $15.99 monthly charge. Then if you look at the terms under the agreement you are making a contract with Stamps.com. Which leads me to believe they are fixing to screw someone later by ending that free $15.99 a month. I'm sure somewhere in the small print of that contract you will end up paying $15.99 a month, but not know about it till after they charge you for three months. If I could calculate a price to see it would save me enough to be worth paying the $15.99 a month i would do it even if I got roped in to having to buy their scale and paper.

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    John

    For now I will wait till I learn a bit more.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Isaias Plata

    We did 1,000+ shipments with ShippingEasy within the last year; Out of those, we did claims in just 10. They were all justified: We use double-wall boxes, and 3/4 bubble wrap and follow all recommendations from UPS, USPS and Fedex,. Even though they were justified, they paid only the smallest one for just $35. We sent for every claim all documentation required by ShipInsurance: pictures (box, inner packaging, broken item, etc), also affidavits signed by the customer, notarized letters, estimates for repairs (when applicable) and so on. But every time you sent what they ask for, they come up with something different. , Even for small claims they ask you for ridiculous stuff (pictures, affidavits from customers, letters, more pictures, estimates for fixing/replacing items, and so) and at the end, They use all kind of excuses for not paying; they denied the claims with ridiculous arguments-hings like " the box used was the manufacture's box" ...It is just not worth the time, frustrations and headaches to file a claim, The time you have to spend gathering information, sending emails, supporting documentation, pictures, more pictures, affidavits, is just obscene. In my opinion they just do it so you get tired of following up on your claim. To me, ShipStation is just a way to skim money from customers and ShippingEasy is the channel. They don't even let you use the shipper's insurance company, like ShipStation does.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Sam

    According to the ShipStation web site, all of their plans support unlimited sales channels. Your review states 1 platform for the bronze, 2 for silver, etc. By platform, do you mean sales channel (i.e. Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, etc.)?

    Please clarify, thanks!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jon Titterington

    Sam,

    A lot of these companies tend to update their plans faster than we update our reviews. I’ve changed the pricing in this piece so that it reads as “Unlimited Stores”. “Stores” in this context does indeed refer to sales channels like eBay, Amazon, Shopify, and so on. Thanks for notifying me, and let me know if you have any further questions!

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Zacharie Elmaleh

    We have a multi store website with different currencies for each store and individual pricing. Ship Station doesn't handle the currency and for all stores they use the CAD$ currency which makes it a problem for all international customs so unfortunately we cannot use it at the moment. Unless they have a solution?

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    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Andrea

    We couldn’t get it to work. I know you say “there is nothing to install” but in fact we were sent files that went to our website developers and they couldn’t get them to work. So there is definitely something that needs done and we are on CS-cart platform for our ecommerce and we couldn’t get it to work.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Jon Titterington

    Andrea,

    Thanks for your comment! I want to make sure I understand you correctly.

    So, you use CS-Cart as your eCommerce platform, and your developers were unable to Integrate it with ShipStation? Is that correct? When you say ShipStation “sent you files”, are you talking about the API, or something else?

    The more detail you can give, the better. And thanks! We really appreciate you taking the time to share your experience with this product.

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    jessica nigri

    since they were bought by Stamps.com the interface usability of this service makes me seriously question its utility. Random weight applied to orders, much like what I experienced at Stamps.com is leaving my international customers less than satisfied with the time it take to process the orders. I know they can do better…when are they?

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

    Gilbert

    They have some of the WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE. Since they purchased a 3rd party shipping application, the response time is average. It used to take 1-2 hours to get a response. Now it takes 1-2 days. Labels were not printing properly. After 2 weeks, there was no update except to try and blame it on others. Check your printer. It's a Stamps.com issue. After I emailed them 3-4 times, they emailed me back asking the most unprofessional thing - "Would you mind stating your complaint to Stamps.com and let us know what they say?" ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So I did. Within 1 day, the problem was explained. I had to forward it to Shipstation. Then you know what they told me....' WE JUST GOT THE UPDATE YESTERDAY FROM STAMPS.COM' .. UHHHH, No stupid, I sent it to you yesterday.Now they made some changes and the label format changed again. I emailed them back. Of course, they want to blame the printer and Stamps.com AGAIN!! Sure, let's blame Stamps.com even though the label is a UPS label. IDIOTS!!!With people like that working for you, I guess I wouldn't provide phone support either. No one would ever get through as nothing would ever get resolved to get to the next customer.

    1

    This comment refers to an earlier version of this review and may be outdated.

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