This article is to help explain all the different facets of Shiptheory, how it can be used and a link to some of our relevant resources

What is Shiptheory?

Simply put, Shiptheory connects your sales channels and software to the carriers you use.

How does it work?

The most important part of Shiptheory is the rules engine.
Shiptheory has the ability for users to create rules. These dictate how a shipment is processed, based on the type of order that is being processed. You can create super simple rules, super complex rules and everything inbetween.

As an example, you could have a rule that says for any orders going to the USA where the order value is over £200 and the customer has paid for expedited delivery, send it as Royal Mail International Tracked.
Where as, if the order is to the USA and over £200, but the customer didn't pay for expedited shipping, send it as just Royal Mail International (non tracked).

You can use many criteria for rules:

  • The shipping method the customer has paid for in your shipping software ( aka as shipping method, shipping service, despatch service, shipping method description, shipping method name)
  • The weight of a shipment
  • The value of a shipment
  • The destination by country and or postcode/zipcode
  • The products contained in an order

Shiptheory has a status for every stage of a shipment's life in Shiptheory

As soon as a shipment enters into the Shiptheory system it will for a very brief moment have the status processing - It can take a second or two for Shiptheory to send and retrieve data to and from channels and carriers. During this time, shipments in Shiptheory may show as Processing.

Once a shipment has had all it's relevant details added into Shiptheory it will leave the processing state, it will become one the following states:

  • Completed - The shipment was sent a carrier. A tracking number was received back and your channel has been updated. Everything is went smoothly. Completed shipments are automatically archived after 24 hours. 

  • Not Ready - The shipment has been temporarily ignored because your channel settings dictate the shipment is not yet ready to be sent to a carrier. Perhaps this order is still awaiting payment or being processed or picked by a staff member.

  • Ignored - The shipment has been ignored as no Shipping Rules match. This is not an error, perhaps you do not want Shiptheory to process this shipment. If you believe a shipment with the Ignored status should have been processed by Shiptheory, check your rules do match this shipment. For example, if your rules are weight based, does the weight of this shipment match your rules?

  • Waiting - Some consignments may need more information before they can be shipped. For example, if package dimensions are missing from the order by required by your carrier, the consignment will be in Waiting status until dimensions are provided manually.

  • Failed - There was a problem communicating with the carrier or a channel.  Click View on the corresponding shipment and scroll to the bottom. The Shipment History will provide detailed error messages that will help you get to the bottom of the issue.

  • Ready - The shipment information has been saved from the channel.  The shipment has not yet been sent to the carrier.  You will see this status if you happen to look at a shipment while Shiptheory is still processing the order data. Typically this status should only last a couple of seconds.

A full list of statuses can be found here but for now the main statuses we need to be concerned about is 

Once the shipment has been sent to the relevant carrier, the tracking number will be send to the channel and the label will be available to print.

Label printing

Shiptheory deals with various ways to print labels, dependent on your workflow.

By default your Shiptheory account lets you select 1 or more labels from the shipment's dashboard

Shiptheory also has the following abilities

  • Automatically print labels as soon as they've been booked in with a carrier (AKA Automatic printing)  You are able to select which printer prints which carrier labels. Eg. you could have one printer that prints only Royal Mail labels, and another that prints only DPD labels.

  • Print labels when you scan a barcode.  This is particular useful in busy warehouses where you have a barcode that contains either the order id or the shipment id. Meaning if you scan the barcode on a pick list, the label will automatically pop out of the printer, avoiding the confusion of who the label is for.

  • Embed the label in a third party system, many of our integrations with third parties allow you to embed a copy of the label into the third party system, meaning you don't ever need to look away from your order processing software

  • Create an invoice/picking template in Shiptheory with the label attached.  Most commonly known as an integrated invoice label.  You can create a template with your logo and various elements you may want.  If you use peal off label paper you'll be able to peal the label off and put the rest of the A4 paper into the box which can contain things like your return policy, a list of products in the box and an invoice breakdown.  Note you can also have your invoice/picking templates print automatically via our automatic printing or via our barcode print scanning

Shiptheory requires some configuration, especially to get the best from it.  We're always happy to help however you may want to check the following guides