Set and Manage Stock Counts

Explains how to set, view, and update your initial stock levels with ShipStation's internal inventory feature and explains how ShipStation deducts inventory.

When using ShipStation's internal inventory management, you'll need to set your initial stock levels before ShipStation can start deducting inventory as you ship.

Once your initial counts are in ShipStation, there are a few ways you can manage your inventory counts going forward.

This article provides instructions on how to set your initial inventory levels, view inventory at the order and product level, and manage your inventory over time.

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Set Your Initial Stock Levels

The best way to set up your inventory's initial stock levels is to upload a specially-formatted CSV that contains information about your stock level and inventory location.

In this process, you will:

  1. Export the Inventory CSV from ShipStation.

  2. Add your inventory values to the CSV.

  3. Import the updated CSV to ShipStation.

This process requires product records to have already been created in ShipStation. If you have not uploaded your product records, first review our article about adding product records to ShipStation!

Export Your Inventory CSV

Add Products and Inventory Values

Import the New CSV

Once your import is complete, your stock levels and locations will be established for that Inventory Warehouse. Repeat this process for each Inventory Warehouse you have stock counts for. Read our CSV Import Troubleshooting and Tips article if you encounter difficulty with your Customer CSV file.

Notes About Importing an Inventory CSV

  • The SKU and Stock fields are required!

  • The CSV's Loc1Loc2Loc3, and Loc4 columns map to the AreaUnitShelf, and Bin portion of the Warehouse Layout, respectively.

  • If you don't specify at least one 'Loc' value during the import, ShipStation will display the Inventory Warehouse Location as (Unspecified).

  • You may add additional rows in the CSV that specify additional Inventory Warehouse Locations for a single product, and ShipStation will add them to that SKU.

  • You can include multiple Inventory Warehouses on a single CSV file, but to upload the inventory for multiple Inventory Warehouses, you will need to do multiple imports, selecting the Warehouse to apply the import to each time.

View Stock Counts From Internal Inventory

You can now view your inventory stock levels at the product level , the order level, as well as via the shipping sidebar.

View in the Products Grid or Details

View in Order Details

View in Shipping Sidebar

How ShipStation Deducts Inventory

ShipStation will deduct inventory when you create a label for an order when:

  • The order contains an item you have set initial stock counts for.

  • Inventory tracking is enabled in the Inventory Settings.

  • The item does not have the Do Not Track option set in its product details.

ShipStation will always deduct the inventory from the warehouse linked as the Inventory Source in the selected Ship From Location. If an product exists in more than one location within that Inventory Warehouse, ShipStation will deduct from the first warehouse listed in the Product Details Inventory section.

You may find that you need to move inventory between locations periodically to ensure your counts are accurate. Review the Update Stock Levels section for more details.

Parents, Variants, & Aliases with Inventory Management

If you use alias SKUs or advanced product types, review the information below to understand how your product records will interact with your internal inventory in ShipStation.

Parent Products

Parent Products are non-buyable, "umbrella" products that exist to group variants for reporting and to push product-level settings to their variants. Since it's not possible to buy a parent product, they can't be associated with inventory units.

Variant Products

Variant products are products under a Parent "umbrella" and can be configured with inventory, just like Standalone products. Inventory will be deducted from the individual variant products when you ship them.

Variant products will be nested under their Parent product in the Products grid. They will also display individually in the Inventory section of your Products tab. Parent products will not appear in the Inventory section.

As you ship the Variant products, ShipStation will deduct inventory from the Variant, and the Parent stock counts will decrease accordingly.


Product Aliases can be assigned to either Standalone or Variant products (but not Parent products).

When orders import with an SKU that is an alias of either a Standalone or Variant product, ShipStation deducts stock from the master SKU the aliased SKU is mapped to.

Product AliasesStandaloneVariant products Parent products)

For more information, review our articles about a Parent-Variant use case, enabling Product Types, and how to create Parents and add Variants..

Product AliasesStandaloneVariant products Parent products)
Product AliasesStandaloneVariant products Parent products)

Update Stock Levels

You can update stock levels and stock locations at the individual product level in the Product Details screen, and you can update multiple SKUs at once using the Inventory CSV import process.

Update a Single SKU

When you add, remove, or set stock, you can add a note to help you remember why you made the adjustment. When you add stock, you can also specify your cost for those additional units.

These functions, including a history of changes, are also available via the Inventory tab in the Product Detail screen.

V3 Inventory tab with Action icons and history highlighted.

The Inventory tab also offers the ability to Move stock from one warehouse location to another.

V3 Move Stock pop-up.

Making an adjustment to a single stock level is simple, but it would be a lot of clicks to update multiple SKUs in this way. To update stock levels for multiple SKUs all at once, follow the steps in the Update Multiple Stock Levels article.

Admin Override for Inventory Unavailable

If you attempt to create a label for an order with a higher quantity than available inventory for a product, you will get an alert like this one that reads:

"Inventory Unavailable"

Insufficient Inventory pop-up. Lists item & order quantity. Red box highlights Admin Override button.

Click Admin Override if you still wish to ship this order.

Selecting this option will ignore your inventory levels entirely - meaning, no stock will deduct from your existing inventory levels. Use the steps above to manually adjust the levels if you need to.

Update Multiple SKUs

To update inventory for multiple SKUs at once, you will:

  1. Export your existing inventory records.

  2. Modify the stock counts and/or locations in the exported CSV.

  3. Import the updated inventory CSV into ShipStation.

Before You Begin:

  • If you already have an exported inventory CSV, you can modify that CSV instead of exporting a new one. Just ensure the CSV is in the same format used when you initially set your inventory levels (i.e., no headings have been added or removed).

  • The stock counts on your CSV will replace existing stock levels (not incrementally add to them).

Export Existing Inventory Records


Do not edit, add, delete, or move any of the CSV's column headers!

Modify the CSV Stock Levels

Import Inventory CSV into ShipStation


Be sure your CSV file contains all the information you need for your inventory records. The CSV import process will replace the data in ShipStation with the data from the CSV. This means the stock counts listed in the CSV will replace the stock counts currently in ShipStation.

Additionally, if you have a blank cell in the CSV for a field that currently contains data in ShipStation, the CSV import will overwrite that data with a null value and that data will no longer be available in ShipStation.

Once your import is complete, your stock levels will be updated for that Inventory Warehouse. Simply repeat this process for each Inventory Warehouse. Read our CSV Import Troubleshooting and Tips article if you encounter difficulty with your Customer CSV file.

Notes about Updating Inventory

  • The SKU and Stock fields are required.

  • The CSV's Loc1, Loc2, Loc3, and Loc4 columns map to the Area, Unit, Shelf, and Bin portion of the Warehouse Layout, respectively.

  • If you don't specify at least one Loc value during the import, the stock will display the Inventory Warehouse Location as (Unspecified).

  • Changing the Inventory Warehouse Location of a product with a CSV:

    You must set the existing product's stock value to 0 in the CSV (leaving the Loc values as they are), then add a second row with the matching SKU and Product Name, along with the new Loc and stock values.

    This will remove the old Inventory Warehouse from the product's inventory, and replace it with the new one.

    • NOTE: If you edit the Loc values of a SKU in the CSV, the import will leave the existing Inventory Warehouse Location and stock values on that product's inventory tab and also create a second Inventory Warehouse Location for that product, using the stock value set in the CSV. This results in the product having two Inventory Warehouses Locations with stock.

  • You may add new rows in the CSV that specify Inventory Warehouse Locations that don't exist yet, and ShipStation will create them for that SKU.

  • You can include multiple Inventory Warehouses on a single CSV file, but to upload the inventory for multiple Inventory Warehouses, you will need to do multiple imports, selecting the Warehouse to apply the import to each time.

Product AliasesStandaloneVariant products Parent products)