Introduction to Automation Rules

Automation Rules save you time by performing numerous actions that you would otherwise do manually. They tell ShipStation to automatically apply certain actions to orders that meet the criteria set in the rule. When orders that meet the criteria import into or are created in ShipStation, these rules cause ShipStation to automatically perform the action set in the rule.

Automation rules consist of two main parts: Criteria and Actions.

  • Criteria: These are the requirements an order must meet before the action triggers. An automation rule can have multiple criteria, but an order has to meet all the requirements for the automation rule to apply.

    Example criteria include Ship To State, order Weight, and Order Tags.

  • Actions: The field or order data the automation rule will change.

    Example actions include setting the service and package type, adding a tag, setting the Ship From Location, or assigning a user to the order.

Think of Automation Rules like IF/THEN statements: IF an order has x, THEN do Y.

ShipStation applies Automation Rules to orders when they import or move into the Awaiting Shipment status for the first time. It's important to keep in mind that changes made to orders that are already in Awaiting Shipment will not trigger Automation Rules.

Automation Rules are highly customizable and can work with other automation methods, like Product Defaults and Service Mapping. You can set up as many rules as you need. If you have multiple Automation Rules, ShipStation processes the rules from first to last in the list.

Automation Order of Operations

Automation Rules are the last automation process ShipStation applies. They can override Product Automation and Service Mapping. They can also override other automation rules that applied earlier in the sequence.

To help give you a better sense of what kind of rules you can create, see our Example Automation Rules.

The Automation Workflow Guide is another resource for getting a better understanding of how you can leverage Automation Rules for your shipping.

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 are Automation Rules?

Automation Rules tell ShipStation to apply certain actions to orders that meet the criteria set in the rule. When orders import or when you create manual orders in ShipStation, and those orders meet the criteria, these rules cause ShipStation to automatically perform the action set in the rule. They save you time and take numerous actions that you would otherwise perform manually.

Automation Rules apply as the third and final automated process that applies to orders when they import into ShipStation (after Product Automation and Service Mapping). You may fine-tune your customization with Automation Rules more so than with other automated processes.

Use a rule to specify at least one criterion and one action, like in these example rules that set criteria for order weight, residential addresses, and order tags. Thus, you could create a simple automation rule that affects all orders and only changes one thing, or create automation rules that can target only specific orders by using multiple criteria, like in this example.

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 you create a manual order 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 for the first time.

  • 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.


About Rule Criteria

Think of automation rules like IF/THEN statements. The criteria for a rule will be the IF portion of the statement.

Criteria: Single

Automation Rules showing a single criteria selected

This statement says, "IF the Marketplace the order imported from equals Shopify..."

There are many criteria options and some let you choose more than one value. If the criterion you select allows you to choose multiple values (like stores), they are treated like OR statements.

Criteria: Multiple Stores

Shows multiple options on a single criteria to demonstrate the "OR" rule

This statement says, "IF the Marketplace the order imported from equals Amazon OR Shopify..."

Similarly, some criteria require you to type the value. If you need the criteria to look for multiple different values, separate them with a semicolon (;) and ShipStation will treat them as OR statements.

Criteria: Multiple Cities

Shows two city names in the field separated with a semicolon

This statement says, "IF the City the order is shipping to Equals Austin OR San Antonio..."

Lastly, you can add additional criteria to the rule, and each individual criteria line is an AND statement.

Criteria: Store AND City

Shows two criteria to demonstrate the "AND" rule

This statement says, "IF the Marketplace the order imported from Equals Shopify AND the City the order is shipping to Equals Austin..."

Criteria Option: Orders match an existing filter


When using this criteria, the automation will apply to orders within the Saved filter. The orders must also meet the general requirements if the criteria were being used without the filter settings.

For example: If the filter is for state, recipient, and store, automation actions would apply to all orders in the filter. However, if the filter is set for SKU, Item Name, or Warehouse location, the automation will only be applied to single item orders returned in that filter.

No Special Characters in Numeric Fields

Use numbers only for currency or other numeric fields in automation rules. Special characters ($, £, ¢, €, etc) cannot be used with numerical values in automation rules.

About Actions

Again, think of Automation Rules as IF/THEN statements. The actions are the THEN portion of the statement.

Action: Single

A single action set on an automation rule

This action says, "...THEN Add an Internal Note 'Call customer before shipping'"

Just like with criteria, you can have multiple different actions in a single automation rule, and each individual action would be an AND statement.

Action: Multiple

Shows two actions in the automation rules window to demonstrate combo actions

This action says, "...THEN Set International Non-Delivery to Treat as Abandoned AND Set Customs Content Type to Gift."