If you’ve already made the fantastic desicion to use WooCommerce for your e-commerce store, you’re probably now wondering how you’ll manage your orders and shipments. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options available.
One of your options is to manually handle the fulfillment of your orders. This involves going to your WooCommerce orders screen, printing out packing slips for each individual order, and then purchasing and printing postage individually for every order. Just imagine if your business grew to 15 orders per day, and for every single order you had to fill out from/to shipping fields on USPS.com. It would be maddening!
Once you finish paying for and printing the shipping labels for your orders, you’ll need to match shipping labels to packing slips, and then pack and ship the orders. But wait, shipping the products is not the end of your workflow!
Next, you’ll need to go into WooCommerce and mark all of the orders as ‘Complete’. If you’re providing really good customer service, you’ll also want to go in and add tracking numbers to every order, so your customers know when their products will arrive. Time to dig up those PDF labels and match customer names to tracking numbers.
Don’t worry. There is absolutely a better way to handle fulfillment.
ShipStation – Making Easy Work of your Fulfillment
When it comes to managing fulfillment for your WooCommerce store, ShipStation is the answer to all your problems.
The first step to ShipStation integration is connecting your WooCommerce store with your ShipStation account. Even for a non-developer, this process is incredibly easy. Once the store is connected, you can add your logo, change the way packing slips / labels are printed, and set up your shipping providers. Although the initial setup will take a bit of work, it’s nothing compared to the work you’d have to do to manage fulfillment manually.
After getting ShipStation set up and connected to your WooCommerce store, you can also set up Order Filters and Automation Rules. These allow ShipStation to automatically select the packaging / service / warehouse / etc for a shipment without your needing to do anything. This is where the true time saving really starts.
Once you ship an order in ShipStation, it will send a notification back to your WooCommerce site that the shipment is complete, add the tracking number to the order (with an extra plugin installed), and it will mark the order as ‘Complete’ in your WooCommerce dashboard. That means that theoretically, you won’t ever have to visit your website’s admin area for shipping again – everything can be taken care of via ShipStation’s admin area.
Adding Reporting to the Mix
One of the greatest additional benefits of ShipStation is its reporting capabilities. You can view reports for total sales, product performance, shipping costs, and more. In fact, I feel that the reporting provided by ShipStation is better than the reporting you get from WooCommerce out of the box.
As orders come in to ShipStation, ShipStation keeps a record of each product – adding it to your ShipStation product catalog. This makes automation filters and rules easier, as you can base shipment profiles on future orders of similar products.
Need to know how much you charged in sales tax for 2014? As long as you were passing all orders through ShipStation for the entire year, there’s a report for that. The power of ShipStation’s reporting really shows itself as you utilize the software more.
Proof in Practice
I have set up four of my largest e-commerce clients with a ShipStation integration, and they have all benefited immensely from it. The two e-commerce business that I personally ran in 2013 and 2014 would not have been possible without ShipStation.