Automation Basics

Explains the different types of automation available, when and how automation applies to orders, and how to reprocess automation in ShipStation.

Automation in ShipStation allows you to automate certain tasks so you do not have to do them manually. The automation options available in ShipStation can work independently or together, depending on your specific workflow needs.

Automation Basics explains what automation is, lists many (but not all) of the tasks it can automate, what types of automation there are, and when and in what sequence the automation applies to orders.

ShipStation University Automation Course

If learning by doing is more your style, take the ShipStation University Automation course. The lesson videos will show you how to use the three different types of automation in ShipStation: Product Automation, Service Mapping, and Automation Rules.

What is automation?

Automation is an automatically controlled action that does not require human labor. In ShipStation, Automation replaces many of the repetitive tasks you must take to prepare your orders for shipping. The automation options available in ShipStation can work independently or together, depending on your specific workflow needs.

Tasks you can automate include (but are not limited to):

  • Configure shipping service, package type, and insurance

  • Set shipment weight and dimensions

  • Set customs content type and non-delivery options

  • Add tags to orders

  • Add notes to orders

  • Assign orders to a specific user

  • Move an order to the On Hold status

  • Send the order to a connected fulfillment provider

  • Assign a custom packing slip or email notification template to an order

  • Set the order to include a return label

  • Send an email to a specific email address.

In other words, ShipStation’s automation does the tedious work and lets you focus on getting your packages out the door!

Types of Automation

ShipStation offers three types of automation, which can be used independently or in conjunction with each other:

Automation Type


Product Automation

Applies to orders based on the products present in orders when they import into ShipStation.

Product Automation includes two subtypes: Product Defaults and Product Preset Groups.

Service Mappings

Applies to orders based on the shipping option your customer chose at the time of checkout. ShipStation maps the requested service to the actual service you want to use to ship that order.

Automation Rules

Applies selected actions to orders based on a set of criteria set within the rule.

Import Automation Overview Video

Learn about the four different ways you can automate common tasks in ShipStation: Product Preset Groups, Product Defaults, Service Mapping, and Automations Rules.


When does automation apply to orders?

Automation applies to orders when one of the following occurs:

  • An order imports into ShipStation in the Awaiting Shipment status or an order is created in the Awaiting Shipment status.

  • An order that imported or was created in the Awaiting Payment or On Hold status updates to the Awaiting Shipment status.

  • You click the Reprocess Automation Rules button.

If an order imports to, or is created in, either the Shipped or Cancelled status, then automation will not run on that order unless you manually Restore it to Awaiting Shipment and click the Reprocess Automation Rules button.

Need Help Troubleshooting Your Automation Rules?

Visit our Troubleshooting Automation Rules article for details on how to troubleshoot rules that do not apply as expected.


Order of Automation Processes

Automation applies to orders in the following sequence when the order imports into the Awaiting Shipment status:

  1. Product Automation (Preset Groups then Product Defaults)

  2. Service Mapping

  3. Automation Rules (from top of the list to bottom of the list)

Reprocess Automation Rules

If you need to re-apply automation to orders in the Awaiting Shipment status, click the Reprocess Automation Rules button located in Settings > Automation > Automation Rules.

Automation Rules. Arrow points to Reprocess Automation Rules button.

This will cause ShipStation to apply Product Automation, Service Mapping, and Automation Rules to the orders in the Awaiting Shipment status.

However, ShipStation ignores the following automation when reprocessing automation rules:

  • Product Preset Group settings

  • Product default shipping services (if these have been manually configured)

  • E-mail notifications

  • Fulfillment provider requests

  • Order weight adjustments (adding or subtracting weight)


Depending on the number of orders in Awaiting Shipment and how many automated processes you have, this process could take several minutes to complete. To prevent shipping errors, we recommend you cease creating labels until you receive the Reprocess Complete notification pop-up.