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Shipping Methods

How Tos (6)

You can find this section under Shipping > Shipping Methods in the IRP Admin left navigation menu.

Shipping Methods are the services that you will use to ship products to your customers. You can set up Shipping Methods for all services provided by any courier.

Here is an introductory video about the Shipping Methods section
Note: The video is intended only to provide a general overview of the area. Currently IRP videos are not maintained in line with each software release and therefore the features in IRP Admin may work slightly differently from the way they are shown in the video.


IRP Commerce has partnered with Intersoft, a complete multi-carrier shipping integration solution, to enable the full and complete integration of Royal Mail, FedEx, DHL and other multiple carriers into the IRP order flow. You need to purchase an IRP Licence to benefit from this functionality. This licence will allow all shipping actions to be implemented without leaving the IRP and provide substantial efficiency savings for all in-house dispatch operations where dispatch teams previously had to enter order data, print labels and pay for them from a separate system.

We are confident that this integration will help IRP clients to save money in real terms by introducing efficiency into their order processing via the IRP. It should allow teams to put any current time wasted on manual input and logging into different systems to better use.

For more details, see the How to Set Up the Intersoft Shipping Integration on the IRP help topic.


Currently, IRP Commerce also provides a standalone Parcelforce integration. This is available for use, Free of Charge, for as long as it is supported by Parcelforce. If a time arrives in the future where Parcelforce require a change to this integration for it to continue to function, the Parcelforce Label solution will be migrated into the IRP Intersoft Shipping Gateway Licence and provided as a service from within this gateway along with the other carriers mentioned above.

The Customer Own System Solution (COSS) from Royal Mail integration is currently being deprecated. This solution has been superseded by Intersoft and will therefore no longer be supported. Please contact your IRP Account Manager for more information.

How To Guides (6)


This material is currently being reviewed and will soon be updated.

Setting up the Royal Mail Integration in the IRP is a five step process:

  1. Contact your Royal Mail Account Manager
  2. Create Shipping Labels
  3. Set Up Shipping Methods
  4. Set Up Shipping Rules
  5. Send Labels to Royal Mail for Approval

These steps are defined in further detail below:

Contact your Royal Mail Account Manager

Contact your Royal Mail Account Manager and let them know that your Software provider uses the COSS Solution for Label, OBA and Weight Report production. Several IRP customers are currently using Royal Mail Integration so if you mention this, this may speed up the process.

You need to confirm the following with your Account Manager:

  • Royal Mail Account Number
  • PPI Number
  • For each Royal Mail Service you will be using, you will need:
    • Service Code - Each Royal Mail Service has a unique code which is used to identify it, e.g. OLA.
    • Manifest Name - As Royal Mail expects the service to appear on the Shipping Manifest, e.g. OLA Int'nl Contract Signed For
    • Is the Service Tracked?
    • Does the Service use Barcodes? - Some Royal Mail Services, including both tracked and un-tracked Services, use Barcodes. Barcode Ranges will be issued per Shipping Method by your Royal Mail Account Manager in an appropriate volume. The range will include a Start and End Barcode.

With this information you can begin creating the Royal Mail Shipping Labels for each Service. Please note that you will most likely be provided a test barcode range at this point rather than a live range. After testing is complete and Royal mail has confirmed its success, you will need to change the barcode range to the live range.

Your Royal Mail Account Number should be entered against the Royal Mail Account Number Application Setting. After entering your Account Number, click the button to save it.

At this stage you can also discuss OBA Billing with your Account Manager in Order to pay for the Royal Mail Services you will be using.

Create Shipping Labels

The Royal Mail Integration requires Shipping Labels that have been approved by Royal Mail. These labels must be created manually using image editing software such as Photoshop or GIMP, and so forth.

A separate Label must be created for each Royal Mail Service you will use. The images used for Labels must be 300 dpi, 1800 x 1200 pixels in size, and must be a .jpg file.

Your Account Manager will be able to tell you what information/images are required on each label. These will include:

  1. Return Address - This text appears at the left side of the label. It must begin "Return to:" and be followed by your Return Address.
  2. Service Image - Dependant on Service. These images can be provided by your Royal Mail Account Manager.
  3. PPI Number - The PPI Image must include your PPI number. This can be provided by your Royal Mail Account Manager.
  4. PPI Image - Dependant on Service. PPI Images can be generated with PPI numbers here. We recommend that you use the 14mm x 54mm size option.

The image below shows these elements and their positions on a Royal Mail Shipping Label.

When creating the labels, place the relevant elements in the corresponding locations shown above. Your Royal Mail Account Manager or the Customer Solutions Team will be able to provide the component images for the labels as well as instruction/advice regarding placement.

You can download a Blank/Example label to which you can add the separate elements:

You should repeat this step for each Royal Mail Service that you plan to use.

Set Up Shipping Methods

To add or edit a Royal Mail Shipping Method, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Shipping > Shipping Methods in the IRP Admin left navigation menu.
  2. To add a new Royal Mail Shipping Method, click the button at the top of the screen. To edit an existing Royal Mail Shipping Method, click the button at the right side of the Royal Mail Shipping Method that you want to edit.
  3. Enter or edit the following details:

    Detail Required Information
    Shipping Method Details
    Shipping Method ID
    The unique IRP identifier for this Shipping Method. This is generated automatically   when adding a Shipping Method.
    Display Name The Name of this Shipping Method that will appear on the front end of the website. Click the 'Translate' button to change the language you are editing.
    Manifest Name
    Where the Name to be displayed on a Collection Manifest is different to Shipping Method Name, enter a Manifest Name. Otherwise, the Name displayed on the Manifest will be equal to the Shipping Method Name. For example, a Shipping Method has a Name value of 'Royal Mail 1st Class'. Customers understand this value so it makes sense for this to appear on the front end. Royal Mail refer to this service as 'CRL01 - Packet Post Daily Rate 1c' and they require this Name to appear on the manifest.
    Integration Provider

    To set up a Royal Mail Shipping Method, you must select 'Royal Mail' here. This will allow you to enter the information gathered in the Contact your Royal Mail Account Manager step and add the label you have created.

    Selecting 'Royal Mail' here will open the Royal Mail section, beneath the Shipping Method Details section.

    Check this box if you have to pay VAT on this method. In the vast majority of cases, this should be set to true. In the case of Royal Mail in the UK however, this should be false. Changing the Carrier above will set this to false if a Royal Mail integration type is selected.
    Earliest Ship Day

    The earliest point in the working week at which an item can be shipped.

    This should be defaulted to 'Monday 09:00'. If you are creating a Shipping Method specifically for Saturday shipping, you would set the value to 'Saturday 09:00'. This has no effect on availability of Shipping Methods on the front end.

    Latest Ship Day

    The latest point in the working week at which an item can be shipped.

    This should be defaulted to 'Friday 16:00'. If you are creating a Shipping Method specifically for Saturday shipping, you would set the value to 'Saturday 16:00'. This has no effect on availability of Shipping Methods on the front end.

    Used when printing 'Approved' Order sheets. Higher priority Shipping Methods will have their sheets printed first. If priority shipping does not apply to your dispatch process, set this value to 0.
    Additional details requested when a parcel with this Shipping Method is being Auto-Dispatched.
    • Request Parcel Dimensions: Check this box to prompt the user to enter the width, length and height of the parcel prior to dispatch.
    • Request Parcel Weight: Check this box to prompt the user to enter the weight in kg of the parcel prior to dispatch.
    You should enable these settings only if the Shipping Method needs these details for Manifests or API calls.
    Tracking URL
    This is the full URL (including http://) a customer can go to enter their tracking code as provided in their emails and My Account. If it is possible to go straight to the exact parcel by putting the tracking code in the URL, put the placeholder ‘$$TrackingCode$$’ in the URL e.g.$$TrackingCode$$. The IRP will automatically replace that placeholder when required.
    Avg. Shipping Cost The average ex Tax Cost of this Shipping Method as charged to your company. This value is used for profit calculations. You must enter a numerical value for this setting.
    Royal Mail
    Tracked Service
    Specify whether this is a Tracked or non-Tracked Royal Mail Service. This specification will determine which Collection Manifest Parcels delivered with this Shipping Method fall into.
    Service Code
    The abbreviated Royal Mail Service Code to be on the Postage Label, e.g. SD 1pm, OLA, etc.
    Has Barcodes
    Some Royal Mail services may or may not have Barcodes associated with them. If this Method has a Barcode Start and End Range, check this, otherwise leave it unchecked. Checking this option will open the Barcode Range Start, Barcode Range End and Codes Remaining options.
    Barcode Range Start The Start of the Barcode Range as specified by Royal Mail. Please Note, this value will be updated as each Barcode is used. This can be seen by the deprecation of the 'Codes Remaining' value.
    Barcode Range End The End of the Barcode Range as specified by Royal Mail. This value will be used to calculate the 'Codes Remaining' value.
    Codes Remaining

    The number of Barcodes remaining in this Shipping Method's Barcode Range.

    Users can be set up to receive emails alerting them when the amount of remaining codes drops below 100. To set this up, ensure that the Receive Admin Alert Emails option against the users Admin User account is enabled.

    Each time an Order is dispatched when the selected Shipping Method's Code remaining value is less than 100, a text email will be sent to all Admin Users who have this setting enabled. The content will provide information on the Method name, ID and the number of Codes Remaining. For example,

    Royal Mail Int'l Contract Airsure (ID: 144) are running low Only 49 codes remaining. Please Request More.

    This should prompt the user to contact their Royal Mail Account Manager in order to get a new Barcode Range/Extend the current Range.

    Front-End Display
    HTML Description
    The HTML Description for this Shipping Method, to be displayed to the Customer on the front end ShippingMethodDisplay.aspx page.
    Display Info
    Information on this Shipping Method to be displayed beneath the Method name on the Postage.aspx page/Step 3 of the Checkout Process.
  4. When inserting a Shipping Method, click the button to save the details. If successful, the following message will appear:

    You are now able to enter details on the Postage Label Customisation tab.

  5. Enter or edit the following details:

    Detail Required Information
    Postage Label Specification
    Label Size
    The orientation of the Postage Label. Postage Labels are printed at 300dpi with dimensions of 6" x 4" for Landscape orientated Labels and 4" x 6" for Portrait Labels.
    Rotation before Printing
    Depending on Label printer configuration, the Label may need to be rotated prior to printing. Select this rotation here.
    Render Customer Notes
    Specify whether Customer Notes should be rendered on the Label for Parcels delivered using this Shipping Method.
    Render Order ID
    If ticked, the Order ID will be rendered on the bottom right corner of the Label.
    Render Royal Mail Cruciform
    Set to true if the Royal Mail Cruciform image is required to be printed on Postage Labels for this Shipping Method. Please Note, this is only applicable for Shipping Methods with Royal Mail set as their carrier and that use the Royal Mail Standard Label Size.
    Upload Background

    You can upload the Label Image you have created in the Create Shipping Labels section here.

    To add the Label Image, click the button, navigate to the required image on your machine and select it. Click the button to upload the image.

    NOTE: Label backgrounds are images that you write on top of to create the labels and as such cannot be easily changed unless you are using Royal Mail’s Customer Own System Solution (COSSv2). If you are not using COSSv2, to change any of the elements you will need to recreate the backgrounds, using either design skills that you have yourself or using a professional graphic designer.

  6. When you have entered or edited all of the details, click the button.

You should repeat this step for each Royal Mail Service that you plan to use.

Set Up Shipping Rules

With the Shipping Methods created you can now set up the Shipping Rules for the Royal Mail Shipping Method you have created. The How To Add or Edit a Shipping Rule article in the Shipping Rules section covers this process in detail.

Send Labels to Royal Mail for Approval

With the Shipping Rules Live for each service, you must generate a number (amount should be defined by your Account Manager or the Customer Solutions team) of test orders in your Admin. Use the Auto Dispatch Orders feature to generate the Label PDF which you must print out using your Label Printer.

Once you have printed the labels out you should deactivate the Shipping Rules so that they cannot be used by Customers. Once you have deactivated the Shipping Rules you have set up, contact the Export Technologies Support Team with a list of the Order IDs you have created to have the orders set to cancelled status and stock levels reset via the database.

Royal Mail will require that you send them PDFs of the printed out labels. We have found that the best method to do this is by using Printer Scanners or Smartphone Applications such as Genius Scan, to generate the PDFs containing the labels that you have printed out, before emailing them to the Customer Solutions Team for approval. The Customer Solutions Team will be able to guide you through the approval process.

Once the labels have been approved, Royal Mail require that a few live labels be sent through for approval. To do this, the Shipping Rules must be activated and accessible by Customers on the front end. It is important that you are using Live Barcode ranges where necessary at this stage. After you have received confirmation from Royal Mail, the IRP setup is complete.

Use the Royal Mail Shipping Integration

You can use the Auto Dispatch Orders feature to auto dispatch Royal Mail Orders, adding the packages to the Royal Mail Manifest for the collection driver who will arrive at the times specified by your Account Manager. To do this, go to the main Orders.aspx page and click the button. This will allow you to print collection Manifests and Weight Reports for the various couriers currently integrated with the IRP.

Printer Settings

Royal Mail recommends a Zebra GK420d Label Printer for Label printing. When printing test labels for Royal Mail, the following Printer settings were used by Export Technologies. These have been provided as a starting point for clients. Depending on your Printer/Shipping Method Setup, you may need to use different settings to ensure that the labels print out correctly.

FAQs (1)

With Parcelforce, what do I do if a Shipping Method has specific settings that are different to the global ExpressLink Application Settings, for example if there is a different Contract Number ?
If, for example, you are supplied with two shipping Contract IDs from Parcelforce, add the main one with the most services attached to it in the Parcelforce Application Settings, and the second code behind the other Shipping Method in the Shipping Methods section. You can edit the Shipping Method as follows:

1. In the ‘Parcelforce’ section of the ShippingMethodEdit.aspx screen, check the box for ‘Method has Unique Settings’.
2. Add the different setting, for example the Contract Number.
3. Click ‘Update Shipping Method’.

All default Parcelforce settings can be amended in this way if a particular method has a unique variant on the value.

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