Warning for users with Canada Post API integration
I cannot speak for all Shippo user experiences. We are a Canadian e-commerce company using a commercial Canada Post account with API integration. In our case, the app has singularly failed to live up to its core promise of time and money savings. I have no doubt that Canada Post is likely most at fault, but Shippo should not be "pretending" that it works.
Our quest for lower rates began with the opening of a commercial account with Canada Post. After completing their application form, a rep from CP contacts you to begin the opening of an account. There should be an in-boarding process here, but it is merely a welcome email with incomplete pdf details on the process. You will be put in contact with a local sales rep. The rep is an elusive sort that does not return calls, and seems to be very adept at ghosting new clients. I speak only for the Nova Scotia market. Perhaps there are more diligent reps in other regions of Canada?
With a commercial shipping account, you are able to create labels and shipping manifests, and then schedule pickups directly to a warehouse. As a Shopify user you would also expect to be able to do this seamlessly within the Shopify environment. There should be no need to enter customer details and otherwise manually propagate data. Canada Post has not developed their own app for Shopify. They provide electronic shipping tools on a PC environment only. That is unfortunate, as all of our work stations are Linux. CP is completely dependent on third parties to manage shipping on Shopify.
With the need for a CP compatible app we searched and found Shippo. In the setup we were able to enter our CP, API keys to enable billing directly to CP at the commercial rate. The setup process was straight forward, and the supporting docs and videos were very informative. So far so good. We had a couple hiccups with some settings errors that were easily solved . We created our first batch of 6 labels and created the manifest with ease. You can't schedule a CP pickup from the app. No big deal...only time. Just login to CP and schedule there.
Signs of trouble
On our third use of the system we tried to purchase 25 labels at once. You need to select each one individually as far as we can tell, then click buy labels. In a normal function, you would then get the option to send email notifications to clients, print packing lists, and more importantly download all the shipping labels for printing. What happened to us was an error with the shipping labels. The file would not load. So we have no labels. We made a call with Shippo support. I will add that it was easy to reach support, and they were quick to follow up. We were instructed that the labels were successfully purchased, but the load failure requires us to open and print each label individually? This was only 25 labels, but we have other things to do in our new Covid world. The time and efficiency promise is looking a bit weak here. So each label was opened and printed one by one. I asked about a log or some other way to find the batch, but when it fails, there are no more options. You need to deal with each order separately. A further surprise is that one purchased label could not be downloaded. This was clearly the label that may have caused the entire batch to fail. This is where I suspect some sort of CP API failure. So with the inability to simply refund the label you need to have Shippo find it. This is an issue the rep sends to the dev team. In this case they were able to retrieve the single missing label. That is good, because I don't want to try to negotiate a refund with CP hours on the phone, or have to buy it again which is another time and money fail.
Abandon hope all ye who enter here
We printed a few more orders each time making a prayer before batching labels. You never know when it is going to fail, and you have to think ahead about time required to fix the issue. As the business owner, I could not turn the process over to staff. They are stressed enough and I do not want to burden them with a faulty process.
So as a very busy person, I was not able to enter our mailroom for three days. The delay caused a backup of over 100 parcels ready to be shipped. I asked staff to enter weights and dimensions into the Shippo system. This way they would be ready for label printing and batching. We can't use pre entered dimensions. Our carts are combining products so we need to enter unique dimensions each time. We are ok with that aspect.
I created a batch of 65 labels. The system churned and generated the fail I dreaded. My heart sank as it was already a late evening, that was about to get later. However this time there was a new failure that appeared. There was a "shipping date error" that made 13 of the orders ineligible for a label purchase. So out of the batch I had 52 good labels that could not be downloaded and 13 that did not generate at all? I was also unsure if it was safe to even send shipping notification emails. What would our customers receive? So many questions. I then tried to batch the remaining 45 orders. Again the system failed to generate labels and this time there were over 30 orders with shipping date fails that stopped the label purchasing.
There was a moment where I realized the scope of the problem. It was 8:00 pm, and I knew it was going to be a late night. I would have a hundred customers jamming our email with inquiries about their orders. And no answers to give.
So a call to Shippo was made. The volume of parcels and the multiple ship date errors failures, made this a much harder problem to solve. It is also becoming increasingly clear from pieces of information I am picking up from the reps, and reviews, that batching errors is a thing with Shippo. Sometimes it works great for users, then Shippo does an update.
The call begins with the regular issues. Labels did not load and some labels cannot be downloaded individually. In this case we had 21 purchased labels that could not be downloaded individually or simply vanished? Then we have 40+ cases of a new error with the shipping date bug that prevents the label from being purchased. With all the mayhem, I was not confident with sending any shipping notifications to clients, because who knows what was going on. This decision was not made lightly, as now we will be expecting at worst, a hundred customers reaching out to us on a variety of social channels and email complaining about the status of orders.
It gets worse.
The Shippo rep is clearly frustrated with the situation during the multiple calls between me and her team members. We are all trying to be professional, but she was clearly being short with me, and I was frantic with the workload ballooning by the minute.
At this point the scale of the failure is a bit beyond what I can fully interpret. My guess is that some back and forth with the dev team occurred, and the solution was to load our shipping work flow into an older version of Shippo? I suppose a version that was not full of bugs and despair. So this is how it played out in short form
a. We had to go into each order and print a shipping label for purchased labels.
b. shipping error orders: These are the labels that did not get purchased. The fix here was onerous. Remember all the dimensional data I had my staff enter. It was all lost when the Shippo dev moved our order data to the older OS. I had to then go into our mailroom and physically find parcels in a literal pile, so I could weigh and measure them again. Then I had to purchase and download a label for each order individually. I had to go back and find over forty parcels on our warehouse floor. This might have been the ideal point in the evening to drink disinfectant.
c. Purchased labels that failed to download. With no means to ship, get refunds, or otherwise not incur losses with these parcels. Shippo asked us to give them a list of parcels in this category. Surprisingly they could not find this batch of errors on their own. They initially insisted that we were mistaken and they had tested the labels and they were all available. They likely did test a couple that worked, and just decided it was fine. I was more diligent and went through them all and found 21. The list was emailed to them, and while I write this review I have yet to hear what happened to these labels? These parcels are currently sitting on a warehouse floor. They should be on the way to customers. The damage to the bottom line is now getting real with unhappy customers. My only option is to buy a second round of labels and then battle with the inept team at CP for a refund? Please shoot me.
d. Despite plugins failing, we can always rely on Shopify order data to remain pristine. Well not so fast. As Shippo flailed with their "fixes" I took a quick peek at our order history. I noticed some orders simply disappear from our Shopify order history! Orders that were tangled with the Shippo bugs. The only record of them ever existing is the physical parcel sitting on our warehouse floor. Shippo has yet to recognize what happened there. They simply have no idea, and said to follow up with Shopify.
I would not be surprised to hear that Shippo works flawlessly in other markets. My experience in Canada with Shippo is simply the worst plugin failure ever experienced in 20 years of e-commerce. It easily tripled the time it takes to process orders and create labels. It did this while adding unknowns to our customer experience.
Yes, that bad. There is critical weakness in the platform in its ability to deal with core system failures. Systems do fail and you need to plan for it. A platform has to develop safeguards and backups. When the wheels fall off Shippo's cart, they have no ability to triage. They clearly didn't do the hardwork on the backend that one would expect. I have no doubt they are fully aware of the weaknesses and infrastructure is currently in development as we speak. That said, it is worrisome that someone would put a product like this out in the market and not call it a BETA. If you are still in BETA, be responsible and let your customers know.
May 2nd: Update, It seems some of the disappeared orders have suddenly appeared again in our Shopify orders list. They show as unfulfilled despite labels being purchased, and picked up by Canada Post. But at least they exist for now?
May 4th: We are still waiting for Shippo to find labels for the 21 parcels sitting on our warehouse floor. Our account is still operating in an older version of the app. That means no batching or clear process for us to follow. Their dev team is either ignoring us or have lost the data completely. We have 95 new parcels to ship and we are not getting any advice to proceed. Made several calls to Canada Post. Their tech team informs me that they had recommended to management that CP should have created their own shipping app. This advice has been ignored. Canada Post is now recommending that we move our shipping operations to ShipStation?
June 5th: It has been some time since our last update. A Shippo rep moved us back to the current OS. We are still using Shippo. We did not wait for Shippo to find the missing labels. We just went to each individually and created new labels. Canada Post confirmed that they do not charge until they scan them into their system. (Remember that we are using our own commercial account with CP). If you created new labels without an account, you may be double purchasing labels.
Admittedly, there is still a high level of anxiety after earlier experiences. The scariest part of using Shippo is still the batching process when purchasing labels. We do not do batches larger than 20 labels. Since we started reducing the size of the batches, we have not had any crashes or label generating failures. The system seems to be working well at the moment. Today we noticed that the customer names in the order list have suddenly disappeared? They had been populating since we started using the system. We did not reconfigure any setting. Perhaps Shippo did another update?
I am comfortable to update our review to three starts at this point. It is buggy and has some surprises but generally they are on the right track to making a great platform.
Oh dear. Shippo must be playing with code again. We have another label creation failure with no clear path to resolution. After entering all the package details we received a message about a carrier error. We should be seeing the option to buy the label. To be clear we are in Canada and ship 99% of our orders in Canada only. We have a commercial Canada Post account and have integrated our Canada Post production API key into Shippo. Somehow we are linked to DHL? This could not have happened on a worst day. Clients are emailing for package updates and we have nothing to send. Going back to 2 stars today. We should have completed mailing today and moved on to our other hundred tasks. Now we need to work this problem and wait for Shippo support to contact us. I have yet to hand over the process of mailing to staf,f because I can't be certain that Shippo will be reliable. That is the simplest way to describe the app.
Couldn't generate rates
- Shippo's DHL Express master account doesn't support shipments from outside of the US ???????????????
Thank you for your honest feedback about the Shippo platform and how it is working for you. We are so sorry you ran into trouble with Canada Post and batch printing.
We understand you spoke to Amanda on the phone and our engineering team was able to pull the labels from Canada Post that you were missing. We apologize again for the trouble this caused as it was due to an error when we requested the labels from Canada Post.
Amanda has also escalated your concerns to our Product Team. We are always working on ways to improve Shippo and we are thinking through ways to improve the connection with Canada Post.
Curve Surfboard Accessories - United States
the product is ok, but contact options are terrible. there is no online chat or phone number, if you have an urgent query like your account is on hold due to the stupid credit card renew not working, you just gotta send an email then sit and wait [24 hours now] while your packages go nowhere :(
I have been using this app for several years and it appears that with each UI upgrade, something stops working and it never gets fixed. With latest upgrade, too much has broken and it is not longer usable - Shopify fulfillment sync does not work, order splitting does not work, Customs declarations do not import the correct information from Shopify products and it can no longer be edited, and Shopify Order sync just stopped working today. Support is very slow (by emails which takes a couple of days) and nothing gets resolved either. We are wondering if these issues are being worked urgently or if we should be looking for alternatives.
I am very sorry to hear about your experience with Shippo and our team. We strive to build a product that helps our customers get their shipments to their buyers faster, and our Product Team is currently working on correcting some of the issues you've mentioned.
We also want to apologize for the delayed responses from our Support Team. With the recent changes affecting everyone due to COVID, there is a bit of a delay. We are trying to get back to everyone as quickly as we can and we truly appreciate your patience and understanding.
That said, I am happy you were able to speak on the phone with a few members of our team and we are incredibly appreciative of all the feedback you gave.
If there is anything else you need, please don't hesitate to reach out and let us know!
I use Shippo strictly because I need USPS manifests for when the mail carrier comes to our shop, so they don't have to scan a couple hundred packages. That said, I have 3 complaints with the system. 1) Their developers roll out changes to the application without testing....so you will be in a groove, needing to get shipments out and boom...something that has historically been working is not working now. It's usually resolved within the same day, but probably about once per month something is magically broken. Users should not be finding these issues EVERY time. I wish that there was more testing done before pushing production changes. Especially when core functionality is what is affected. (i.e. today, cannot print labels for batch orders, the button does not work). 2) Every now and again, the sync between Shippo and Shopify gets broken. We use a different app to print picking lists, and then use Shippo to print our labels only. So when shippo doesn't fulfill an order or two in Shopify, you have to work your way back and figure out which order didn't fulfill. 3) If you have a non-technical person printing labels for you and the process needs to be the exact SAME every time, do not use this application. Sort of tied to complain #1, there will be application changes rolled out that affect browser functionality. Like, I used to be able to print labels and manifests from Safari...but that stopped working, and now you have to save the file to your computer, find the file, and print from the local file. We switched to Firefox and the functionality works fine. There are various little things that pop up that I figure out how to navigate around, but a non-technical person would not.
I don't know the age of the company, but the application feels half baked at times and it seems like Shippo is a start up company low on resources and formal processes...no knock on that, but when your business relies on their application, it's a no-go.
I used this app to ship merchandise from my store for over a year. In the first six months it ran smoothly and didn't run into any issues. Then the app made some adjustments and now has many issues. For example, I cannot ship just one order. It has to be multiple, or it has glitches. I have reached out to customer service multiple times and haven't received assistance. The most frustrating thing is that they don't have a customer service phone number to call when an issue needs to be solved. The only way to reach out is by email. It's crucial to be able to get help as soon as possible when my business depends on an app like this. I don't want to ruin anyone's reputation or hurt a business, because I wouldn't want someone to do the same to me. This is just my experience. I hope they can take this as constructive criticism and open up a phone line to be able to call for assistance in case there are any issues like this. I will be taking my business elsewhere. Thank you.
Long time customer of Shippo on two different accounts. The app provide great rates for shipping labels and the integration process is pretty straight forward.
When it comes to accounting, there are a few things that break it for Shippo:
1. If you have any canceled labels, these will not be refunded back to you. Instead these act as roll over credit for future orders. We found this problematic when we were shipping logistic out of Shippo. Even if you do decide to close your account / switch service completely, any amount of labels that were refunded as credit in Shippo remains. If you're doing volume, this could mean hundreds of labels and credit stalled into one account as non-transferable credit.
2. USPS vs UPS vs Fedex vs DHL. If you have multiple carrier accounts, you may be billed outside of Shippo form UPS or DHL even if the charges show up in Shippo. It is not clear when these happen and it's up to you to distinguish which records in Shippo are actually charged outside of Shippo and which are within Shippo - quite the headache to backtrack through many orders. And do if you're not careful this can create issues with your carrier accounts for unpaid invoices. Very confusing -- a UI issue that can be addressed easily within Shippo IF they chose to implement it.
Time to Dress Up
Found this too US-focused, not helpful for me as a UK business.