InstaShip™ User Guide

    Welcome to our comprehensive guide on InstaShip - the WooCommerce plugin that simplifies your shipping processes and grants instant access to over 100 different services, at pre-negotiated rates, from the world's leading courier companies.

    InstaShip was designed from the ground up for UK based e-commerce businesses and harnesses the full power of ParcelBroker, without the need to leave your WooCommerce environment.

    In this guide, you'll learn everything you need to know about using InstaShip - from setting it up to booking your first shipment. You'll learn how to get instant courier pricing, print labels, complete customs paperwork and book shipments from within your WooCommerce dashboard. So, whether you're a seasoned online seller or just starting, let InstaShip take your shipping game to the next level.



    Save the InstaShip installation files to your computer (contact our team for the latest version files). From within your WordPress website, navigate to the "Plugins" section of your sidebar and select "Add New", this should open the Add Plugins page. Finally select "Upload Plugin".

    You'll then need to browse and find the InstaShip installation files you previously saved to your computer and click "Install Now". Once the installation is complete, there is one final and important step. View the "Installed Plugins" list (a link to this is in the sidebar) and select "Activate". This will switch on the InstaShip Plugin and you'll be ready to move onto the next part of this guide and configure your API keys.

    Configure API Keys

    Screenshot of WooCommerce settings page on Wordpress site

    If you aren't already a customer of ParcelBroker, then you'll need to sign up for an account first. When you have signed up, contact our IT department to request your API Keys.  Once you have your API keys, you'll need to head to your "WooCommerce Settings". You should notice a new tab called "ParcelBroker InstaShip". If you don't see this, check that the InstaShip plugin has been activated from within WordPress.

    Select the ParcelBroker InstaShip tab and ensure the "API Settings" section is selected. You should enter your API Key and your API Token in the relevant fields and click "Save changes"

    Your WooCommerce store is now connected to ParcelBroker and you're ready to configure your default settings or jump straight into your first booking.

    Configure Default Settings

    InstaShip is designed to speed up the process of sending shipments and printing delivery labels with greater accuracy, therefore we've built in the ability to set defaults for many of the mandatory pieces of information required to send a parcel successfully. This section of the guide will help you configure these settings. Go to "WooCommerce Settings" and select the "ParcelBroker InstaShip" tab.  Make sure the section called "Default Settings" is selected.

    Shipping Contact

    Located within the "Default Settings" section of the InstaShip settings tab.

    To create a shipping label, all couriers require the senders contact name and phone number. You can set defaults here to save typing one in for each order you process. This contact name and telephone number may appear on the shipping label (depending on the courier). If you want to use a generic name like "Goods Out" or "Despatch Department" then this is no problem for domestic deliveries, however for exports where a customs declaration is required you'll need to make sure a full name is supplied. You can overtype the defaults during the booking process.

    You can also set the default shippers email address in this section, the supplied email will be used to send a notification that the labels and any other paperwork is ready to view and/or print.

    Shipping Location

    Located within the "Default Settings" section of the InstaShip settings tab.

    The shipping location is the physical location from which parcels are being shipped from. This information may appear on shipping labels (depending on the courier) and is shown as the "Senders Address". InstaShip can use the WooCommerce store address if you have one set, or you can set your own if your despatch address is not the same as your store address.

    Shipment Information

    Located within the "Default Settings" section of the InstaShip settings tab.

    Default Collection Method

    Depending on the courier you choose to ship with, there'll be a variety of ways to get your shipment into their network. If you're an ad-hoc user, you may prefer a sameday collection or want to drop parcels off at your convenience. Alternatively if you ship daily with a preferred courier, you can set "Daily Collection". You'll always be able to override defaults during the booking process.

    Extended Liability

    By default, extended liablity will be unchecked, however if you want to cover the bulk of your shipments for loss or damage, you can set this checkbox to always take out extended liability (you can override the default during the booking process). For more information on what's covered and how much it costs, click here.

    Shipment Value

    Extended liability is based on the value of the goods. If your products are usually the same value, you can set the default here.

    Packaging Type

    Some couriers will charge a handling fee if your items aren't packaged inside a cardboard box. These handling fees are always shown upfront on the InstaShip plugin so you can choose the best carrier for the job. You can set your default packaging type if you know how you'll be packaging all your products.

    Default Customs Settings

    Located within the "Default Settings" section of the InstaShip settings tab.

    If you send parcels outside the UK, you'll need to create a customs declaration. InstaShip can create ICS2 compliant declarations from within your WooCommerce dashboard! To save time when producing these declarations, you can set information about your business in this section.

    VAT Number

    Enter your UK registered VAT number in this box (if registered). This should be prefixed with GB or XI for businesses based in N. Ireland.

    EORI Number

    If you trade with the EU, you'll need an EORI number, you can find out more about EORI numbers and how to apply here.

    IOSS Number

    If you collect import tax from your European customers up front and have an IOSS number, you can set it here. This will then be pre-filled on any customs declarations to ensure your recipients aren't taxed by customs when the goods are cleared!

    Signed By

    Most couriers now operate on a "paperless trade" basis. This means you don't have to print out hard copies of customs declarations and they are sent electronically. You should put the name of the exporter of record in this field and this will be converted into a digital signature to declare the following:

    You acknowledge that shipments subject to customs clearance may incur fees levied by government agencies (e.g Duty and Tax)

    You declare that the submitted information is true and correct to the best of my knowledge

    You declare that the products within my shipment are not subject to any export or import prohibitions & restrictions

    Product Customs Details


    For each product, you have the option to enter the Harmonised Tariff Code, country of origin, and a customs description. These details will be automatically filled in when you create shipping documents, eliminating the need to repeatedly enter this information for every international sale. This time-saving feature ensures a more efficient process for your international shipments.

    Configure Filter Settings

    To customize your preferred carrier options when placing an order, including selecting carriers that offer collection from your business premises or drop-off services, access the "Filter Settings" section of the "ParcelBroker InstaShip" tab in your "WooCommerce Settings".


    Filter Carriers

    Located within the "Filter Settings" section of the InstaShip settings tab.

    To remove a carrier from the list presented when booking, simply uncheck the box next to the carriers name.  Don't forget to "Save Changes" to apply your selections.

    Filter Service Type

    Located within the "Filter Settings" section of the InstaShip settings tab.

    If you wish to remove collection types from your list of pricing options during the booking process, uncheck the corresponding box next to their name.  Don't forget to "Save Changes" to apply your preferences.

    Order Details

    Once you have installed the plugin and configured your API keys and settings, you're be ready to place your first order.  Open one of your WooCommerce orders and you'll see a new module called "Instaship Book Collection".


    Shipping Details

    In this section you will need to enter the full collection address, delivery address and parcel size details for the shipment.  These address details may appear on the shipping labels produced (depending on the courier chosen).  You'll need to include contact information too.

    Collection Address

    If you have set up the default settings with a "Shipping Location" address, the fields in this section will be automatically filled in for you. You have the option to overwrite the pre-filled collection address if needed. Please note that depending on the courier you choose, the address entered here can appear as the "Senders" address on the label. If you book a service and request a pickup, the courier will be provided with this address to collect the parcel(s). The contact information provided here may be used by the courier or customs (in case of international shipping) to get in touch with you. It is crucial to verify that all the provided details are accurate and up to date.

    Delivery Address

    The delivery address will be automatically populated with the "Shipping" address provided by the customer during the checkout process on your website. This address will serve as the destination where the courier will make delivery. It is essential to provide accurate contact details for the recipient as this increases the chances of successful first-time delivery. Moreover, in the case of international deliveries, customs relies on this information to contact the recipient for payment of any applicable duties or taxes.

    Parcel Information

    In this section, you are required to indicate the weight of the parcel in kilograms and the dimensions of the packaged item in centimeters. If you have multiple parcels of the same size and weight, simply increase the "Quantity" field to account for these additional parcels. Alternatively, if you have multiple parcels with varying sizes and/or weights, you can click the "Add Parcel" button to manually create and enter the details for each new parcel.

    After ensuring that your collection address, delivery address, and parcel details have been accurately entered, proceed to the next step by clicking on "Get Pricing."


    Filter Service Results

    To enable you to efficiently manage the display of courier and service results, you can use the checkboxes to filter the list. There are two filters available, one to hide specific carriers and their associated services and another to filter carrier services based on whether they offer collection or drop off options.


    Selecting a Service

    The displayed services are listed in ascending order of price, with the cheapest option appearing first. To aid in your selection process, essential details about each service are provided. Any "optional" charges associated with specific features are clearly indicated alongside the corresponding information.

    • Printer Required - Shows whether you need to print labels for this service.
    • Full Tracking - Shows whether the service includes free tracking.
    • Drop Off - Shows whether a carrier allows local parcel drop off.
    • Residential Delivery - Shows whether the service can deliver to residential addresses (some carriers charge for this feature).
    • Non Standard Packaging Charge - Shows whether the carrier charges for items not fully encased in a cardboard box.
    • Same Day Pickup - Shows whether this carrier offers a collection on the day of booking (some carriers charge for this feature).
    • Future Day Pickup - Shows whether this carrier offers the ability to place a collection on a future date.
    • Non-Stackable Charge - Shows whether this carrier charges for non-stackable items.

    Shipment Details

    After choosing your service, you will be prompted to provide some additional information about your shipment. This includes details such as the preferred collection instructions, packaging specifications, contents of the shipment, and the total value of the shipment.


    Collection date

    • Collect (Future Day) - Plan a pick up from a carrier up to Seven days in advance
    • Collect (Same Day) - Request a courier to collect on the same day of the booking (subject to your cut-off time)
    • I have a collection scheduled for today - Select this option if you've already have a planned collection and the carrier hasn't arrived yet.
    • Daily Collection - Select this option if you have a pre-arranged regular collection (daily shippers only)
    • Drop Off - Select this option if you do not need a collection and will drop off your shipment at a local access point.


    If your item is not packaged in a cardboard box, or if it does not have an outer surface of cardboard (such as shrink wrap), then you'll need to select the appropriate packaging type. You can set a default packaging type on the InstaShip settings page if all your items are packaged in the same manner.   Some couriers will charge extra for non-standard packaging and the charges will be clearly presented if applicable.


    In the case that your shipment is intentionally or by preference non-stackable, and the selected carrier imposes charges for such items, you will be provided with an additional option to indicate whether your shipment is stackable or not.

    Shipment Reference (Optional)

    InstaShip will automatically populate the Shipment Reference field with the order number assigned by WooCommerce. However, you have the option to overwrite this reference if required. This reference will be visible on your ParcelBroker invoices and statements, enabling you to conveniently reconcile charges.

    Shipment Contents

    InstaShip will automatically fill in the shipment contents field with the WooCommerce "Category" assigned to your product. If you have multiple products from various categories in your shipment, InstaShip will list them accordingly. You have the option to overwrite this field if desired.

    Shipment Value

    This field is used to declare the total combined shipment value.  You may choose a default value in the InstaShip settings tab within WooCommerce settings.  Should you opt for extended liability coverage, this value will be used to calculate the applicable premium.

    Extended Liability

    By selecting this checkbox, you will activate our Extended Liability product for your shipment. This coverage provides protection against loss or damage as outlined in our terms and conditions.  The premium is calculated based on the shipment value provided in the previous step and will be immediately reflected in the pricing totals on the screen if selected. There is always an amount of inclusive free cover supplied.  Should the value of your shipment exceed £1000, then please get in touch for a bespoke goods in transit quotation.

    Customs Details

    If your shipment is destined for an international location outside of the United Kingdom, it is necessary to create a customs declaration. However, if your order is intended for domestic travel within the UK, you can proceed directly to the "Successful Booking" section. If your shipment requires a customs declaration, continue reading to learn how to accurately complete the customs declaration section for international shipments.


    Your Details

    Most of the details customs requires are already pre-populated, however you will need to supply some additional business information depending on where you are shipping.

    VAT number

    If your company is VAT registered, you should include this information every time you export.  As VAT numbers infrequently change, you can set this to pre-populate by adding it to the default settings within the Plugin.  Make sure to include the pre-fix GB or XI before the numbers.

    EORI number

    When sending shipments from the UK to the EU, it is now a mandatory requirement for you to have registered for and provide an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number on every customs declaration.

    Reason for Export

    The "Reason for Export" on a customs document refers to the purpose or motive behind exporting the goods. You can choose from the following common reasons:

    • Commercial Sale
    • Sample
    • Replacement

    If you require a different reason for export, please contact us.


    If you collect import tax in advance from your buyers and are registered for the IOSS (Import One-Stop Shop) scheme, it is important to enter your IOSS number in this field. This ensures that your buyers will not be charged import tax again. Alternatively, if you have sold your goods through an online marketplace such as Amazon or eBay, you should verify if they have already collected import tax from the buyer and use the IOSS number provided by the marketplace.

    Importer of Record

    It is mandatory to indicate whether the importer is a consumer (private individual) or a business. The distinction is important because each type of importer may have alternative customs requirements, additional obligations, or specific considerations to be taken into account.

    Importer of Record Type

    Select the option "Consumer" when the purchaser is a private individual buying items for personal use.  Choose the "Business" option when the purchaser intends to buy the products for business purposes.  When choosing the "Business" option you will have the option to include the receivers VAT number (optional) and, in the case of exports to the EU, their EORI number (mandatory).

    Delivery Point is not the Importer of Record

    If the delivery address provided by the buyer differs from their legal address (e.g., a consumer having a product delivered to their workplace), you have the option to check this box. By doing so, you can provide alternative details, which will inform customs of the true Importer of Record. This ensures that they are appropriately handled in terms of any applicable import tax and duty, and their contact information is made accessible to customs authorities.

    Customs Items

    In this section, you are required to provide a comprehensive list of the contents in your shipment, specifying each type of product on a separate line. To simplify this process, you can save time by predefining many of the necessary fields for each of your products (see "Product Customs Details" in the Configure Default Settings section of the guide). To add a new line, simply click on the "Add Item" button. If you need to remove a line, click on the "Remove" button corresponding to that line.


    If you are sending multiple items of the same type, then you can simply increase the "quantity".  This field will be automatically filled in with the quantity ordered by the buyer.


    When providing a customs description, it is important to provide sufficient details for customs authorities to clearly understand the nature of your shipment. Avoid using generic terms and instead, provide specific information about the item, including its purpose, composition, and intended use. To streamline this process, you can set a customs description for each product in your WooCommerce inventory. Refer to the "Product Customs Details" section in the Configure Default Settings part of the guide to learn how to do this. Alternatively, if no customs description is set, InstaShip will automatically retrieve the main product description, allowing you to further expand upon it if needed.

    Weight (KG)

    Please input the weight of the line item in kilograms. If the quantity field contains more than one item, please enter the individual weight, as it will be multiplied by the quantity to calculate the total weight for the line item.  If you have set up a product weight in WooCommerce, this field will be automatically populated.

    Value (£)

    Please enter the value of the line item in GBP (British Pound Sterling). If the quantity field contains more than one item, please input the individual value, as it will be multiplied by the quantity to calculate the total value for the line item.  InstaShip will automatically populate this field with the "Price" set within your WooCommerce product settings.

    HS Code

    Please provide the HS code for your line item in this field. You have the option to set the HS code for each of your products (refer to the Product Customs Details section of the guide for more information). If you require any assistance with the classification of your goods, please feel free to contact us for non-legally binding advice on how to classify your goods accurately.

    Country of Manufacture

    Please enter the country of manufacture for your line item in the designated field. It is important to note that the country of manufacture can impact the amount of duty and/or tax charged by the importing country. If your product utilizes materials sourced from multiple countries or undergoes significant processing or "re-work," you may need to conduct additional research to determine the appropriate country of manufacture. The official UK Government guidelines are an excellent resource to consult for guidance, and if you have any doubts, reaching out to your local chamber of commerce can also provide valuable advice.

    Declared Freight Cost

    Import duty and taxes are calculated based on the total cost of goods, including shipping and insurance. In this field, please enter the shipping costs that your buyer has paid. InstaShip will automatically populate this field with the shipping costs charged for the order.

    Transit Cover

    Import duty and taxes are calculated based on the total cost of goods, including shipping and insurance. In this field, please enter any additional transit cover costs that your buyer has paid. This will ensure accurate calculations for import duty and taxes.

    Signed By

    InstaShip generates electronic customs declarations. In this section, please provide the name of the exporter of record or the company representative who is responsible for and agrees to the statements displayed.

    Successful Booking

    After clicking "Book Shipment," you will receive a confirmation of successful booking. InstaShip pulls your documentation into WordPress and saves it locally, allowing you to complete the entire process seamlessly within your workflow and environment.


    Shipping Labels

    Upon receiving the notification of a successful booking, you should typically see a "View Label" button, unless the selected service does not require labels. In the rare event that the button is not visible, it could indicate an issue with label production. We recommend waiting a few minutes and refreshing the page. If the label still hasn't been generated within 10 minutes, please feel free to reach out to our operations team for further assistance.  Additionally, your shipping labels will be stored against your order in the "My Account" area of the ParcelBroker website.

    Customs Documentation

    If you are exporting your shipment outside of the United Kingdom, you should see a button labeled "View Customs Documentation". Please review the documentation to ensure its accuracy and completeness. For DHL, FedEx, UPS, and Parcelforce, the customs declaration operates on a paperless basis, and your declaration will be sent electronically upon booking. However, if you choose any other carrier, you will need to print and attach four copies of the invoice to your shipment. Additionally, please note that your customs documentation is stored against your order in the "My Account" section of the ParcelBroker website.

    Cancelling a Booking

    If you need to cancel a booking, please get in touch with our operations team. They will assist you in voiding any labels, canceling collection requests with the carrier, and refunding any payments back to your ParcelBroker Account. Additionally, please note that since your shipment labels are stored locally within WordPress, you will need to manually delete the shipment data to initiate the order process again. You can do this by clicking the "Delete Shipment Data" button, which will clear the paperwork associated with the cancelled booking.

    Updating a Booking

    If you need to modify a booking, please reach out to our operations team. Once they have confirmed the requested changes, you can click the "Refetch Paperwork" button to retrieve the updated versions and store them locally within your WordPress environment. Additionally, you can always access a live copy of your paperwork from the "My Account" section on the ParcelBroker website.

    Tracking Number

    After a successful booking, the ParcelBroker tracking number will be retrieved and displayed in the sidebar of WooCommerce. You can find it labeled as "Tracking Number". This tracking number can be used to track your shipment on the official ParcelBroker website tracking page. Additionally, you have the option to include the tracking number in your WooCommerce transactional emails sent to your customers.


    Transaction Email Shortcode

    Once you have successfully completed a booking, you can trigger a WooCommerce transactional email to your customer, that includes the tracking number. This allows your customer to conveniently track their shipment and reduces the need for them to follow up for updates.

    To include the tracking number in your email, use the following shortcode in the settings page for WooCommerce emails: {instaship_uk_tracking}. Don't forget to include the link to the official ParcelBroker tracking page: