Using ShipStation makes sense for some FileMaker users


We’re all about using the best tools for the job. While we use FileMaker for most of our day-to-day development needs, we also dabble with other technologies like MySQL, MS SQL Server, Xojo and PHP. The same can be said for enabling shipping functionality for our customers. ShipStation has a workflow where Orders from multiple soures are turned into shipments during the fulfillment process. This is very similar to how NRGship is can be integrated with other FileMaker databases, but there are instances where sending order data from FileMaker to ShipStation, or pulling order data from ShipStation to FileMaker make sense.

NRG’s multi-carrier Ship Connect supports over a dozen parcel and freight carriers across the US, Canada and Australia and can be integrated to your FileMaker database so you have labels printing in about 10 minutes. In addition, Ship Connect has integrations to many of the top ecommerce providers like Shopify, Big Commerce, Magento and Amazon so you can download orders directly into NRG. For most FileMaker users, NRGship is the most cost-effective option to add shipping functionality to your database.

Where ShipStation makes sense is if you have multiple sales channels and need to manage inventory between them. For example, ShipStation could be used to download orders from Amazon, WalMart and other sources but also take in internal order data from FileMaker Pro. Building out all of the API integrations into your FileMaker system and then maintaining them is a monumental task – no in-house developer wants to be taking on that development and maintenance, nor do they want to pay an outside developer to code and fix future problems at an hourly rate. Note also that ShipStation does not allow shipping FROM FileMaker. ShipStation is simply an order manager that allows you to fulfill orders thru the ShipStation interface – whereas NRGship offers a full feature set for address validation, rating, shipping, pickup requests and tracking in FileMaker.

Send Orders to ShipStation from FileMaker Pro

We recently did a project where the customer was already using ShipStation and didn’t want to spend the monies to upgrade their FileMaker application nor integrate their FileMaker system with multiple channels due to overall cost. With our 20+ years of experience building solutions that simplify workflow, we took an alternate approach to create a simple replacement for an existing NRGship integration which would push order data to ShipStation and pull back tracking data after shipment. We started by adding a Ship button script that calls the ShipStation API with order data so it’s in queue for fulfillment. We then built additional scripts to get order status along with associated shipments so that the user can invoke a refresh on the order, otherwise a scheduled server-side process updates records so that FileMaker shows the proper order status to internal staff. One caveat was that in order to create an Order in ShipStation, we had to add additional scripts to capture ID values from ShipStation for Carriers, Services and Stores so that we could populate the correct values when creating orders.

Sample: FileMaker Scripts for ShipStation Orders

Downloading Orders to FileMaker Pro from ShipStation

Another project we did pulls order data from ShipStation for fulfillment. This customer didn’t like the actual shipping workflow in ShipStation, but did like utilizing all of the eCommerce integrations that were built-in. To start, they had bene downloading CSV order data and importing into their order system as a manual process. For this customer we built a server-side script which periodically downloads any new orders from ShipStation and creates records in their FileMaker order entry system. Orders are then shipped thru NRGship for more finite control. After shipment, we then update the ShipStation order status and provide tracking data. ShipStation then facilities updating the eCommerce system to reflect the order status with no additional development effort.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how NRG can connect your FileMaker database with services like ShipStation, please contact our sales department.

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