ShipStation Review

  • 13 comments
  • Updated on:
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 40+ employees and 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:

  • Bronze
    • $25/month
    • 500 shipments a month
    • Unlimited stores
    • 1 user
    • Standard 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:

The user interface (UI) for ShipStation emphasizes function over aesthetic. Vertical and horizontal menus frame the page, with the center of the screen reserved for a table or graph, depending on which tool is in use. The four main menu items are Insights (i.e. Analytics), Orders, Shipments, and Products.

When I first started using the software, I was a little overwhelmed by the UI. There are a ton of options, menus, and sub-menus displayed on most pages. This doesn’t make the software impossible to use, but it does require some patience.

There are plenty of video tutorials available to get you started, along with a large knowledge base and community forums to fill in the gaps. A personal account manager is also available (they’ll contact you via email after signup) to guide you through the setup phase of your account.

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 add tags to certain types of orders. I really like this kind of functionality, and was glad to see it included here.

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

Features:

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

  • Integrations for USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL accounts
  • Free Express 1 account with discounts on USPS Priority and Express Mail
  • Integrations for all major online shopping carts and marketplaces
  • API access and Custom Store Integration
  • Automatic order retrieval from multiple sales channels
  • Customized email confirmations and tracking info
  • Shipping rates calculated and compared in real time
  • Batch-printing for up to 500 orders at once
  • The ability to print labels and packing slips together
  • Custom branding on packing slips, shipping labels, and shipping confirmation emails
  • Automated shipping options with pre-defined rules and order filters
  • Returns processing with a single click
  • 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
    • Item Demand Summary
    • Shipment Count by User
    • Shipped Items
    • Buyer Comments
    • Country Comparison
    • Postage Purchase History
    • Product Sales
    • Shipping Cost
    • Shipping Manifest
  • Exports:
    • Customers
    • Orders
    • Shipped Items
    • Shipped Orders
  • Charts and Graphs:
    • Operations
    • 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, compared to their competitors.

If by chance you have a platform that doesn’t Integrate with ShipStation, you can utilize the API , provided you’re on the Gold plan or above. 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. You can find a complete catalog here.

Customer Service and Technical Support:

All customers have access to support through email, live webinars, the ShipStation knowledge base and the community forum. Gold plans or higher can receive chat support.

My interactions with the Customer Service team were satisfactory, but not outstanding. The turnover time on my support tickets was 1 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.

Types of Support:

Support Hours: 8am – 8pm CST, Monday – Friday

Negative Reviews and Complaints:

While there are not a large number of negative reviews about ShipStation, it didn’t take me long to find complaints. Here’s one from Shopify’s AppStore page:

ShipStation was just great until a few months ago. Then things started going wrong. The app began to lose track of our scale at random times and could no longer read weights. At first we thought it was the computer we were using so we bought a new one but it did not help. I tried downloading ShipStation Connect and reinstalling it but it still did not fix it. So we decided maybe it was our scale and replaced that as well. All to no avail, so I went to the forum to see if there was anyone else having issues. I found not one but many others having the same problem with the printer or the scale.

I also found a review stating that ShipStation doesn’t handle high order volume well. For example, if the software receives 10,000+ orders in a batch, it essentially makes the search algorithm unusable for any of those orders. Companies that work with that kind of volume should take note. UPDATE: ShipStation has addressed this issue with a tool called Cloud Search. According to their support team, this feature is not advertised on their website, but is available as an add-on. For pricing information and more details, speak with a Customer Service Representative.

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:

ShipStation is a BBB Accredited Business and is currently graded A+. There have been zero complaints registered in the last three years.

Here are some customer testimonials from the website:

ShipStation’s robust platform has allowed for us to manage, track, and sort our orders into a format that allows for an efficient operation.

– Kevin Barry, Founder, FilterEasy

I completely rely on ShipStation for my orders, packing slips, shipping labels and pick lists. It just keeps getting better and better.

– Saremy Duffy, Owner, Chicken Boots

Here’s another positive review from the Etsy community:

I bit the bullet a few months ago & love [ShipStation]! Mostly for International orders. It’s the best! Every time I walk into the post office & see that GIGANTIC line I get a big smile on my face cause I never have to do that again. Worth every penny!

Security:

The website employs HTTPS encryption.

Final Verdict on ShipStation:

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 interface is a little byzantine, 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. They’re trying to sell you a product that makes shipping quicker and easier. And ShipStation does just that.

Check out the 30 day trial right here.

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.
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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
    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
    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
    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.

    1
    John

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

    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
    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!

    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!

    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?

    1
    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.

    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.

    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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