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Delayed shipment notifications not actually going through.

For our business, it would be very profitable if we had delayed shipment notifications that worked. In the past, we did it because in case if we had to cancel one of our customer orders for whatever reason (no inventory, back order, etc...) we suspend the shipement without the customer getting notified that their order was shipped. As of right now, they get notified once the shipping label is created. When we had the delayed shipment option set to "once the mail hits the mail stream" it was very hit and miss. The problem with Amazon is every time we have an order that is shipped late, our metrics go down. We predominately ship using the Post Office, and once our Post man comes and picks up our orders, he scans in the orders into the system. For some reason, it doesn't work all of the time. Is there something that I am missing, or is this a bug on Shipstation's side? I would like to think that there is something I am missing. Any help would be good. Thanks.
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  • aaronlaaronl Administrator, Moderator
    A Keeper of the Keys
    Hey amazonservices,

    Without some details on an example that is updating late I can't really say whether or not what you are experiencing is a "bug." I can say that we do not see any other reports of this occurring with other users.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind when using the delayed notification feature in ShipStation:

    1. Not all tracking events from USPS trigger the mail stream marketplace notification. Specifically any of the "Pre-shipment" or "Electronic Submission" events that appear on USPS' tracking site. What this means is that only actual scan events are monitored. Though if the Postman is scanning each box or a SCAN form that should trigger the event. BUT there is an important exception to note here. See 2.

    2. ShipStation runs our mail stream monitoring service off the same external tracking portal that is shown to USPS customers: https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input USPS tracking does not update the tracking site immediately. This is to say that it could take a while for the initial tracking even to "update" on USPS's site even after a physical scan by the USPS driver. It's hard to find out exactly how often USPS updates their external tracking systems, but we find that it varies from 24 - 48 hours.

    3. Our mail stream monitoring service used for the delayed notifications works in the background and will check a shipment's tracking actively about 5- 6 times a day starting off. This interval will drop off exponentially the further away the ShipDate was in comparison to the current date. What this looks like is if you ship something on Monday, then we will check it about 6 times before Tuesday. On Tuesday, we will check it about 5 times. Wednesday about 4 and by the time we get to Friday we are checking it only checking it once a day. We do this to maintain performance within the mail stream monitoring system.

    So what does this all mean? Well, ShipStation has added what we feel like is a good wide sweeping net to catch any and all relevant mail stream events at time intervals that are performance efficient however we are still at the mercy of how often the tracking number is updated by USPS. With that 24 - 48 hour update time by USPS, it's easy to see how an order can be updated late in Amazon if it's shipped on the next to last possible expected ship date.

    How do you make this all work within Amazon's terms? What I would recommend is to add an additional clause in the notification settings like this one:

    http://note.io/1QcP1xr

    What this will do is create a safety net for those cases when the tracking number doesn't update before a set time you control (in this case 6 hours after label creation.) That way, you are getting the best of both worlds and you are still able to make any adjustments within the allotted marketplace notification interval.

    Hope this helps!
    Aaron Lee
    Associate Software Engineer
    ShipStation
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