In most cases, when a shipment matches a shipping rule (read more about setting up shipping rule conditions), the shipment is processed instantly, sent to a carrier, a shipping label generated and tracking number returned to your sales channel and sent to the customer. It is possible to change this default behaviour. Each of the possible outcomes of a shipping rule match are explained below.
The shipment ships instantly
By default, if you create a shipping rule with a carrier and a delivery service, when a shipment matches that rule, the shipment is sent to the carrier, a label is generated and the tracking number is sent to back to your sales channel.
A Note on shipping instantly when no delivery service is selected: If the rule is set to ship instantly, and a carrier is set but no delivery service is set, matching shipments will be marked as "Waiting" and will need to be manually completed before they will ship. See the "The shipment is queued for approval before shipping" section below for information on how to take this functionality further.
The shipment is scheduled to ship at a specific time and date
If you would like the shipment to be processed at a different time, perhaps you do not want to create shipping labels on a weekend, you can set a schedule on the shipping rule. When viewing a shipping rule, expand the Advanced Settings by clicking the grey button on the bottom left corner of the page:
In this section, set the rule outcome to "Schedule label creation" and a schedule box will appear that will allow you to enter a schedule:
When a shipment matches a rule with a schedule, the shipment will be booked later. A message will show on the shipment history letting you know the shipment has been scheduled:
If you manually send this label to a carrier from Shiptheory before the scheduled time, the schedule is ignored. To see a complete listed of supported scheduled terms, see the shipping rules scheduling guide here.
A Note on Schedules and Overwriting Data: If you have your shipping rule set to overwrite data, such as weight, value, etc, the data will be overwritten every time the shipping rule matches the shipment, so the data is overwritten when it is first scheduled and again when it is shipped. This means any changes you made to the shipment within Shiptheory between the time the shipment was scheduled and shipped will be lost. For more information, see how to overwrite data with shipping rules.
The shipment is queued for approval before shipping
If you would like shipments to match a rule and have the carrier and delivery service pre-selected but do not want the label created yet, perhaps you want to check over the shipment first, or want to add some more information, you can set the rule outcome to "Mark shipment for approval" from the Advanced Settings, found by clicking the grey button on the bottom left corner of the page:
When a shipment matches a rule with approval required, the shipment will show in the "Waiting" tab from the shipment dashboard. Clicking the View option from the menu on the shipment will popup the shipment with the carrier parameters pre-set from your rule, ready for you to make any changes required and the ship:
A Note on Approval and Overwriting Data: If you have set your rule to overweight data, such as weight, the data will be overwritten at the time the shipment matches the rule, not when you approve the shipment. This gives you time to make any manual changes to the shipment data. For more information, see how to overwrite data with shipping rules.
A Note on Approval with Returns Labels and Automatic Printing: If you specify Returns Labels or a desktop printer directly on a shipping rule that requires approval, the returns labels and printer will be ignored. These are currently not supported with approval rules. Please contact support if you need this functionality.
The shipment is exported to a CSV file
From the carrier selection box on the rules page, if you select a CSV template, the shipment will be exported to a CSV file and no label/carrier interaction will happen automatically. More information on exporting to CSV with shipping rules can be found here.
A note on CSV Exports: It is not currently possible to use a CSV export shipping rule with a schedule. If you set a schedule on the rule with a CSV export template set, the schedule will be ignored.
If you have any questions that are not covered above, please do get in touch, we're happy to help.