What is shipping API and benefit for eCommerce businesses?
Shipping API (a.k.a shipping application program interfaces) is an API for shipping and logistics information tracking. Online sellers can use shipping API to offer a coherent online and offline shopping experience to customers.
Why do online sellers need to provide a good shopping experience to their customers? Good shopping services are essential because 38% of customers said they would not shop at the same online store again if the product delivery experience were unpleasant.
There are many things to do to improve the customer shopping experience, but most people ignore a crucial part of the overall customer experience improvement. That is product delivery. Many problems caused by product delivery can be solved through logistics API integration.
Let's first look at the problems brought by the delivery service. We will go to the delivery service solution later.
What problems does product delivery cause?
The following problems are the top 6 issues raised by package delivery.
#1 Errors occur in the shipping label creation process
If you are not using shipping API, you may encounter problems such as missing information or writing invalid information. As an online merchant, you can reduce these errors during the label creating and uploading process.
#2 Delivery Delay leads to loss of customers
We can promptly deal with problems such as missed orders and delivery delays. By using shipment tracking API, we can receive delivery status in real-time. If there is a problem, we can actively solve it, before customers find out the problem and choose to return the order.
Besides, the shipping API enables us to schedule a pick-up with a courier at any time, thereby improving the delivery speed and reducing the probability of returning the goods before the user regrets placing the order.
#3 Employees spend too much time on the non-core work
The more time employees spend processing logistics documents, such as printing invoices, sorting labels, and product lists, the less time they spend doing the core work. We can use tools to automate repetitive tasks to help our staff to focus on the growth work.
#4 Customers can't track their package status
A lot of customers tend to go to the store for shipment tracking information. It can lead to lower productivity in the customer service team because they spend too much on answering courier status details instead of helping customers finding the right products.
Using powerful shipping & tracking APIs can help us ease the problem above. We can create a shipment tracking information page for customers. Make it self-service for them to track their shipments.
#5 Your partner couriers don't have a post office at your customers' addresses
Some of your courier partners don't provide services for some of your customers. It is necessary to connect with more couriers. That's the only way to provide customers with more courier options. It can help us avoid the loss of revenue caused by not having the courier options that your customers want.
#6 In-house developers have to spend most of their time managing shipping API integration
It takes a lot of time to integrate the API of the couriers directly. It takes at least one week to get permission and API key to use the API of the couriers, and sometimes several weeks. The reason is that couriers' real business is shipping, not providing API services. For more in-depth information, please check this article "why do companies pay for the shipping API integration services?".
What is the shipping solution?
We need to use shipping API and tracking API to solve the problems above. Most third-party eCommerce logistics service providers or couriers offer shipping API to do the shipping label creation and shipment pick-up schedule.
After completing the shipping, there is shipment tracking waiting for online retails to deal. Once the online store owners confirm the orders are shipped, they can use the shipping API to upload the package tracking number to the order management system, then use the tracking API to send shipment updates to their customers via emails or SMS.
In short, the process is:
● Use shipping API to print shipping labels and schedule shipping and pick-up services.
● Use tracking API to upload shipment information to an order management system or to a marketing tool.
By employing the shipping API integration, online retailers can save a lot of time dealing with the pre-shipping issues and replying to customers' shipment questions.
Besides, most third-party eCommerce logistics service providers have a branded shipment tracking page for online sellers. Sellers can recommend more products to returned customers by using shipment status update to attract customers to visit the web stores.
3 Best Third-party shipping API & tracking API integration providers
There are many universal packages tracking API providers on the market. If you are not using any of the eCommerce tracking software, the following 5 shipment tracking API providers are selected for you to get a general picture of the tool market.
You can also use the following list "11 Ecommerce Tracking & Shipping API" as a simple shipping API alternative comparison.
ShipEngine provides delivery tracking API integration services in North America. Shipping APIs like ShipEngine is a great solution for eCommerce platforms, third-party fulfillment providers. It is a great Shippo API alternative.
Supported Couriers: 18
Main Features: Label Generation, Rate Shopping, Tracking, Address Validation, Estimated Duties & Taxes, Seller Fulfilled Prime, Order Imported
Price: Label Generation, 2½¢ per label, the first 250 labels generated are free. Rate Shopping, ½¢ per rate quote, the first 500 rate quotes are free. Tracking, 1¢ per tracked package, the first 250 tracked items are free. Address Validation, 1¢ per US address validated, 6¢ worldwide, the first 250 addresses validated are free. Estimated Duties & Taxes,12¢ per estimate. Seller Fulfilled Prime 20¢ per label. Order Imported, 5¢ per order
Shippypro is a European carrier tracking API provider. It supports many European and North American couriers so it is often considered as one of the powerful shipengine alternatives. Its shipping functionality can cover most of an online seller's needs.
Supported Couriers: 110+
Main Features: Customizable Branding, Shipping Label Creator, Rate Comparison, Tracking Dashboard, Tracking Notifications
Price: The fast-growing plan starts at €29 per month for up to 250 shipments per month. The professional plan starts at €79 per month for up to 250 shipments per month.
KeyDelivery is a courier tracking API that supports over 1200 carriers globally. It is a new courier API alternative. If you want an affordable parcel tracking service provider, it is a good choice to try. The courier auto-detection feature can help you auto-identify the carrier name with the carrier code.
Supported Couriers: 1200+
Features: Shipping Label Creator, International Shipping, Domestic Shipping, Unlimited Data Export, and Import, Real-time Tracking Webhooks, Global Address Validation, Branded Tracking, Shipment Status Auto-update, Order Analysis Dashboard, Tracking Dashboard
Price: It is free if the credit is used under 50 shipments per month. The price starts at $9 per month up to 100 orders.