A summary of commonly used ShipStation and other shipping-related terms.
- Action Menu
A menu bar containing buttons that trigger either specific actions on selected products, or some other function within the Products tab.
The process of reserving inventory units for your orders in the Awaiting Shipment status, so you are always certain you have enough Available stock.
This process is a core component of our native Inventory Management solution because it clarifies the difference between the stock you have on hand ('Stock'), the stock you need to ship your open orders ('Allocated'), and remaining stock you have available to sell ('Available').
- Allocation Strategy
Your Allocation Strategy determines how ShipStation reserves (i.e. allocates) inventory for your Awaiting Shipment orders.
By default, ShipStation allocates inventory for your oldest orders first. But, if you've got reasons to prioritize some orders over others, then it's best to set up a custom allocation strategy with 'tasks' that match those priorities.
API stands for Application Program Interface. It's a set of protocols for applications (like ShipStation) to communicate and share information with other applications or platforms.
API connections are also custom-built by developers, but they work in the opposite way that selling channel integrations work. Instead of ShipStation initiating communication to the selling channel (i.e. requesting orders), the API instead has “keys” to ShipStation and pushes those orders into a ShipStation manual store, without ShipStation having to do anything except allow it.
ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It's a unique block of 10 letters and/or numbers that identify your Amazon items. Find the ASIN on the item's product information page at Amazon.com. For books, the ASIN is the same as the ISBN number, but for all other products a new ASIN is created when the item is uploaded to Amazon's catalogue.
ASINs can be used to search for items in Amazon's catalogue. If you know the ASIN or ISBN of the item you are looking for, simply type it into the search box (which can be found near the top of most pages), hit the Go button and, if the item is listed in Amazon's catalogue, it will appear in your search results. For example, the ASIN for Hasbro's Monopoly game is B00005N5PF. Source
- Automated Package Verification (APV)
The United States Postal Service (USPS) built the Automated Package Verification APV System to manage postage discrepancies (under-paid and over-paid postage labels) in an automated fashion. The USPS APV program considers postage paid on every domestic package, based on weight, dimensions, package type, mailing service, and origin and destination ZIP codes.
- Barcode listening
A mode wherein the scanner actively 'listens' or looks to accept barcode scans.
Search listens can be set for ShipStation orders in particular statuses. Found orders can be processed to Just display, Ship the order(s), Add order(s) to a new batch, or Add order(s) to an existing batch. Hotkey: Ctrl + Shift + s . Hotkey for Mac, use Cmd + Shift + s instead.
- Branded Returns Portal (BRP)
The Branded Returns Portal is a webpage with your custom store branding where your customers can create their own return labels, without the need to contact you. Think of it as self-service returns.
CSV stands for 'comma-separated values'. This type of spreadsheet file is often used by ShipStation (and several of our integration partners) to import and export your ShipStation data for orders, products, and reports.
CUPS stands for Common Unix Printing System. It is the Mac OS method for managing print jobs and printing preferences.
- custom store
A custom store is a store connected to ShipStation that a developer custom built according to ShipStation's Custom Store Development Guide.
- custom view
A custom view is a set of enabled filters and page layout selections in your Orders and Shipments tabs that you can save for future use.
- delivery notification
An email sent to your customer once ShipStation receives a notification from the carrier that the package was delivered. Most carriers and services (but not all) support sending this notification to ShipStation.
- delivery time
The delivery time displayed in the rate calculator or Shipping sidebar is supplied by the carrier when they return a rate to ShipStation for the selected service. Some carriers display delivery time as a number of days, but some report a specific date.
Check with your carrier if you have any questions about why a service has a certain delivery time.
- dimensional weight (DIM)
Dimensional weight, also known as volumetric weight, is a pricing technique for commercial transport (including courier and postal services) of larger packages with a lighter weight. DIM weight uses an estimated weight calculated from the length, width, and height of a package divided by a specific divisor determined by the carrier.
If DIM weight applies to your package, the carrier will compare the DIM weight and actual weight and charge the higher of the two for the label.
- direct integration
This is either a store or carrier integration built directly into ShipStation. These integrations have a branded tile in either the Store Setup or Carriers & Fulfillments Settings screens.
- Electronic data interchange (EDI)
A method to transmit information in a standardized digital format. UPS uses EDI to transmit customs documents electronically. "EDI" will be printed on UPS labels to indicate the data has been submitted electronically.
Certain platforms also use EDI to transmit sales orders, purchase orders, and other types of information. For selling channel platforms that use EDI, you must use one of ShipStation's solutions providers to import their orders into ShipStation.
- Electronic trade documents (ETD)
A method to transmit customs documents electronically, used primarily by FedEx. "ETD" will be printed on FedEx labels to indicate your data has been submitted electronically. For FedEx International Ground, the letters ETD will appear in a black box under the shipping service icon.
- field replacements
A way to dynamically insert store, order, and product information into a confirmation email or on a packing slip. Field replacements reference a specific piece of data that will be unique for each email or slip (like order numbers, customer names and addresses, store logos, and ordered items).
- Filter bar
A menu bar containing all filter selections for a specific screen. Filters allow you to view only the items matching your filter criteria and can be applied to orders, shipments, products, and customers.
- fulfillment SKU
The SKU used by your fulfillment partner for a specific item. If the fulfillment SKU is different than your product SKU, enter the fulfillment SKU into the product's Fulfillment SKU field in the Product Detail's Shipping tab. ShipStation will then send the fulfillment SKU when you send the order to be fulfilled.
- graphical user interface (GUI)
Usually pronounced "GOO-ee." A graphic form of user interface (rather than purely textual) to navigate around and interact with a computer, computer application, or other electronic device. These graphical icons, visual indicators, and metaphors for real-life objects typically let you interact by using a mouse rather than with keyboard commands.
Recently, the graphical part is frequently implied and most now refer to this as just the "UI".
- Harmonization Tariff System code (HTS)
An internationally recognized commodity description and coding system used to classify internationally traded products.
You can add harmonization codes to your customs declarations either manually in the order details, or by adding them to their product details. While not always required, it is recommended for international shipments.
Also known as quick keys or keyboard shortcuts, hotkeys are key combinations that allow you to accomplish specific tasks quickly without using your mouse to click a UI (user interface) element.
- Integrated labels
Labels that print with the label and packing slip on the same sheet.
- mail stream
The mail-processing function , or total live mail from point of acceptance to point of delivery.
- Manual store
A store you can create in ShipStation to hold manual orders (orders you create directly in ShipStation or by CSV import, rather than importing them from a connected store). You can create as many manual stores as you need.
The method used in ShipStation to assign data from a source to it's corresponding field in ShipStation. As in "field mapping" for order imports and "service mapping" for import rules,.
A dialog box or pop-up window that displays on top of the current page. The main page is visible beneath the displayed modal but is not active. You must interact with the modal (enter information, make a selection, save changes, etc.) before returning to the main page.
In ShipStation, this is a single shipment that contains multiple packages. A label prints for each package and each label has a unique tracking number that links to a master tracking number. Only the master tracking number appears in ShipStation.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP)
A form of artificial intelligence that analyzes the human language to help machines understand and communicate with human speech.
In ShipStation, this new feature allows you to enter a customer's shipping information in a text format for ShipStation to extract the appropriate shipping information and put it in desired fields.
A geographical deciding factor Jet.com uses to determine which seller is selected to ship to a customer.
- Order grid
The grid or layout of rows and columns that contain orders and relevant information respective to each order found on the Orders page.
- Order level information
Information specific to the order (as opposed to product-level information), like shipping address, order total, tax paid, etc.
- order record
The data item that contains all of the information for an order found in the order grid.
- order source
This is where your orders in ShipStation come from. Orders can originate from one of four sources:
A connected store (either direct integration or custom stores)
A CSV or tab-delimited file
Manual orders (orders created directly in ShipStation)
The ShipStation API
- order tag
A color-coded tag with a custom label you can add to orders to help you or your staff identify something about that order. Tags can also be used as automation criteria to trigger certain actions.
- Other Regulated Material (ORM-D)
A label that identifies certain potentially hazardous materials that have special requirements regarding shipping and handling. These materials have limited risk during transportation because of their quantity and packaging. Typically, they are for U.S. domestic transport only. EX: hairspray, nail polish, medicines, detergents, fuels, drain openers, lighters, and more.
ShipStation does not currently have a built-in method to add ORM-D to any postage provider's labels.
- Package Level Detail (PLD)
The shipping and package data about the shipments processed since your last End of Day process. This is the data that UPS WorldShip sends to UPS.
- Parent Products
A non-sellable product that acts as the primary product for reporting purposes, and contains the variant products that belong to it.
Parent products should have a unique SKU.
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.
Parent products will appear in your Products list, with their Variant products nested below. Parent products will not appear in the Inventory section.
Also known as pay-on-scan. These are labels you are not charged for until the carrier actually scans them into the mail stream. UPS and FedEx are pay-on-use labels, which means you do not need to void them to get a refund if they are not used (though you may want to void them if you are near your subscription shipment limit).
- Pick list
A useful document that tells you the number of items that will be needed to fulfill one or more orders.
ShipStation lets you create pick lists from several locations throughout the app. Typically, you have the option to create a pick list wherever you have the option to print.
- Point of sale (POS)
Software that enables the online store to accept transactions.
ShipStation does not interact with your POS.
- postage provider
The provider you purchase your postage from. This provider may or may not be the same as the carrier that picks up or delivers the package (though in most cases, it is).
E.g., Stamps.com is a postage provider while USPS is the carrier.
- printer workstation
The printer workstation is the computer your printers are physically attached to via USB. ShipStation Connect must be installed and running on the printer workstation (but not on non-printer workstations) in order to print documents via ShipStation Connect.
- Product alias
An alias tells ShipStation that different SKUs are actually the same product. This feature helps with reporting and other product settings purposes. Aliases can be assigned to either Standalone or Variant products (but not Parent products).
- Product level information
Information specific to the product (as opposed to order-level information). This includes SKU, Item Name, Warehouse Location, quantity, unit price.
- Product record
The data item that contains all of the information for an product found in the Products grid. By default, a product record is created in ShipStation when an order imports with an item that doesn’t already have a product record and that selling channel’s settings are configured accordingly.
- Product views
The left-hand sidebar section in the Products tab. Allows you to view product records, preset groups, reporting categories, and inventory in separate grids.
- Products grid
The rows and columns that display product data. It’s a visual representation of the records in our database. The Products Grid is customizable in the same way as the Orders and Shipments Grids.
- rate calculator
The Rate Calculator allows you to enter shipment details (like postal codes, service, and weight) to view and compare the rates available with your connect postal accounts.
A way to update or renew a store connection in ShipStation without connecting a new store. This is useful if your store authentication or keys have changed. It is also sometimes used as a troubleshooting step when you have store connection or order import issues.
- Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA)
An authorization number or character sequence (typically) that must be displayed on or included with a returned product's packaging. This serves as part of the process of returning a product to receive a refund, replacement, or repair.
Also called a return authorization (RA), or a return goods authorization (RGA).
- selling channel
A selling channel is the platform through which you sell your products.
In ShipStation, this term refers to either a shopping cart (like Shopify) or marketplace (like Amazon) that you connect to ShipStation, either through a direct integration, custom store, or via ShipStation's API. Often, the term "store" and "selling channel" are used interchangeably in our help articles.
- service mapping
The process of telling ShipStation to automatically assign a specific shipping service to an order when it imports with a specific requested service from the selling channel. This automates the service and package selection process and allows you to ship your orders with fewer steps.
- Ship From Location
The address from where your packages ship. This information is required by postage providers before they will return a rate or create a label. The ship from address in your settings can also have a unique return address, which is the address that will print on the label.
You can enter as many ship from locations as you need in ShipStation.
- shipment notification
An email sent to your customer once you create the label for their shipment in ShipStation. This option is disabled by default. You can also configure the notification to be sent at a later time, such as an hour after the label is created or when the shipment hits the mail stream.
- shipment record
The data item that contains all of the information for a shipment. Shipment records are displayed in the Shipment grid and in the corresponding order's details.
Shipment records are created when you create a label.
SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. A merchant’s unique alphanumeric identification code for each product that can be purchased. SKUs differ from universal product codes (UPCs) in that they are not universal. This means that every retailer has their own unique set of SKUs to track their merchandise.
Product records in ShipStation are identified using the SKU by default (though if you don’t use SKUs, this can be modified so Product records are identified by the product name instead).
- Standalone product
The default product type in ShipStation. A standalone product type has no relationship to other products.
- Surviving customer
The active customer record that remains after several similar or redundant customer records have been combined or merged into one.
- Third-Party Logistics (3PL, TPL)
A firm that provides outsourced supply chain management and logistics services to its customers. Services generally include managing inventory, picking, packing, shipping, and returns management among other functions. The terms 3PL and fulfillment often get used interchangeably.
Throttling is the process of limiting the number of requests you (or your authorized developer) can submit to a given operation in a given amount of time.
Stands for Universal Product Code. UPC is a “barcode symbology” uniquely assigned to “trade items” to help track items at the point of sale in an automated way.
ShipStation’s Product Details support adding a UPC, and you can use a barcode scan in the advanced search to find orders with these products. However, other ShipStation partners, like SkuVault, use UPC scanning as part of their inventory management strategy while this type of ability is not currently available in ShipStation.
* UPC codes are required when using the JET integration.
- Value-Added Tax (VAT)
Value-Added Tax - also known as a goods and services tax (GST) - is a consumption tax based on the value of goods and implemented as a destination based tax. VAT usually comes into play when shipping internationally to countries that charge customs fees and taxes to recipients on imported goods. VAT may be recovered for commercial shipments only by a VAT registered recipient; VAT ranges from 5% to 25% depending upon country. VAT is generally charged only in the European Union, China, Mexico and Thailand.
Shipments to certain countries are often subject to customs fees/taxes, like VAT. ShipStation does provide the option to have the fees charged to the shipper, instead of the recipient, if the carrier supports that option.
- Variant products
A sellable product that belongs to the Parent product. This product type inherits any product defaults set in the Parent product details.
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.
- Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Software that supports day-to-day operations in a warehouse. Controls movement of goods and processes including receiving, tracking, picking, packing, and shipping.
- What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG)
Pronounced "wiz-ee-wig." An application, editor, or program that allows a person to see on the display screen the exact end result (or something very similar to it) of what will appear when an interface or document is being created.
An application or a component of a graphical user interface (GUI) that enables a user to read, edit, or otherwise interact with a computer, perform a function, or access a service.
Each widget facilitates a specific type of user-computer interaction, and appears as a visible part of the application's GUI.
Widgets that support user interaction include drop-down menus, icons, labels, buttons, and on-off check boxes . Others like windows, panels, and tabs act as containers that group the widgets added to them.