Shipping API: What to Consider Before Integration
Modern supply chains consist of many connecting points. Today it is not just manufacturer -> retailer -> buyer. Companies work with multiple suppliers and customers, take orders 24/7, and ship goods seven days a week. For efficient operation, they need to minimize downtime. However, tracking every step of a product journey on third-party resources is time-consuming. Additionally, the diversity of interfaces prevents time-efficient logistics.
Third-party services integration provides businesses with new opportunities. It allows companies to synchronize sending and receiving times and to control all shipping channels from one place. If you want to implement a robust logistics mechanism in your app, you need to connect to shipping services via shipping or tracking API. Below we’ll explain what benefits you will get and what challenges you may face during shipping API integrations.
What supply chain challenges does 2022 bring to retail and e-commerce?
2022 will be driven by the continuous growth of Internet users and mobile app revenues. To stay afloat, companies need to plan supply chain and logistics according to current realities. Here’s a breakdown of challenges they will face:
Higher customer expectations
This will put significant pressure on industries, making them look for new ways to refine customer service. Healthcare, e-commerce, automotive, and other companies will strive to enhance logistics, personalize orders, and shorten delivery time. Given the vast geography of suppliers and customers, companies will need to partner with more shipping service providers to reduce delivery time. Additionally, they will have to develop multi-carrier tracking software to track cargo paths on their side.
Retail m-commerce sales share grows every year. The pandemic has created new shopping norms by making online purchases more familiar, convenient, and widespread. Even when Covid19 is left far behind, new habits will stay in our everyday life. People will prefer to buy online, which means more sellers will enter the online market. To hold the position, e-commerce companies will need to look for new shipping integrations to ensure fast and uninterrupted deliveries.
The rise of quick commerce
The fast pace of life prevents people from building long-term plans. Often, purchasing decisions are made on the spur of the moment, and users expect the order to be delivered right away. Today, one or two days spent on shipping is too long. When it comes to grocery items, users expect them to be delivered within an hour or less. In this regard, shipping API is used for integration with services that partner with local short-distance carriers by bicycle, scooter, or on foot.
In 2021, the driver shortage peaked at 80,000 people. Such a personnel crisis has affected many businesses, forcing them to look for new ways to plan and optimize delivery routes. Shipping API development played a vital role in this process. With its help, companies create custom shipping platforms that connect with multiple providers and help customize delivery on their side.
Today, sellers and buyers interact through various channels: online stores, social media accounts, brick-and-mortar shops, and more. The fragmentation of selling spots and warehouses creates new logistics challenges. A shipping engine that joins all selling channels and updates product stock in real-time solves this problem. Using tracking API, a shipping engine connects with different postal services and allows tracking delivery from one place.
Benefits of shipping API integration
Freight and carrier API gives access to various delivery providers. It streamlines the functionality of different apps: e-commerce stores, online pharmacies, automotive constructors, gifting services, warehouses, and more. Shipping API opens new opportunities for businesses. Here is how companies benefit from using it:
Lower shipping rates
By integrating various shipping services into your application, you can compare their prices on your platform. It allows you to choose the optimal rate after considering both distance and speed.
Less checkout abandonment
Many customers interrupt checkout when they cannot find a suitable shipping method. However, with multiple shipping options at hand, they are more likely to find an acceptable alternative and then continue shopping.
Package tracking API allows customers to trace a parcel and see up-to-date information about the status of their order. Also, it reduces the load on the contact center by eliminating calls regarding the parcel location.
Logistics API integration allows you to track shipping in real-time. This is especially important for manufacturing companies that depend on many suppliers and must plan their product assembly in advance.
Growing business prospects
Whether you run an e-commerce business or own a carrier company, shipping API opens new business opportunities and enhances UX. It optimizes supply chain planning, reduces delivery costs, and minimizes downtime during transportation.
Top 5 shipping APIs to skyrocket your business
Today, many postal services deliver within cities, countries, and worldwide. Integration with a particular service should be determined by the specifics of your business: the region you cover and your target audience. You will strengthen your brand and enhance your credibility in the eyes of customers by partnering with a reputable delivery organization. Several reliable carriers and shipping API for e-commerce are detailed below.
FedEx has been on the market since 1971, providing postal, courier, and other logistics services worldwide. It has a full-fledged shipping platform and well-developed API to integrate parcel tracking in your app.
The FedEx developer guide explains FedEx web services and advises how to integrate them into your software. With FedEx API, you can access a full range of freight management options, including:
- shipping rates
- shipping order labels
- real-time parcel tracking
- return management
- reports generation
FedEx is the number one choice for quick shipment and is best for fast delivery.
UPS is one of the largest American companies specializing in express delivery and logistics. It ships to more than 220 countries worldwide and has its own airline with a fleet of 237 jets.
UPS shipping API provides access to a full-scale service to monitor deliveries and manage parcels. It has well-structured documentation for XML/web services programmers to seamlessly integrate UPS shipping capabilities to your app. Among other features, UPS API enables:
- address validation
- labels printing
- shipping rates comparison
- dangerous goods shipment
- UPS locator to search the nearest UPS store, and more
UPS has been around for nearly 100 years and is best suited for traditional delivery.
USPS is a US federal postal operator with a developed domestic delivery network reaching every corner of the United States. USPS also serves international shipments, cooperating with FedEx and using its facilities. It is a relatively economical shipping provider often chosen by small companies and startups.
USPS API allows integrating parcel & shipping functionality directly into your software. It provides access to:
- an address database
- address validation
- shipment prices
USPS service is best for economical delivery.
DHL is a leader in the global logistics market. It provides express delivery of goods and documents around the globe by air, land, and water. DHL delivers to more than 120 thousand cities and sends about 1.5 billion parcels annually. It has a detailed shipping API for developers which provides wide opportunities for e-commerce solutions.
Among other things, businesses get the following by integrating DHL shipping API into their software solution:
- location of DHL pick-up and drop-off points
- documents management tool
- duty and tax calculator
- shipping labels creation
- assessing product match with a given shipping request
DHL API is best suited for worldwide delivery.
Unlike previous companies, EasyPost is not an independent shipping provider, but a multi-carrier API that integrates hundreds of shipment and tracking services around the world. EasyPost works with 100+ carriers, including those mentioned above and other well-known providers, such as LaserShip, OnTrac, APC, Courier Express, and more.
EasyPost API provides multiple options for e-commerce solutions, such as:
- e-shipping tracking
- insurance creation
- rates monitoring
- returns handling
- refunds conduction
It is best suited for fast shipping service integration.
How to integrate shipping and freight API into your app?
You need to follow three steps to integrate shipping API into your software:
1. Choose the best shipping API provider
2. Study the shipping API documentation
3. Integrate the API following the instructions of the selected provider
To make API integration fast and smooth it is suggested that you hire domain experts with deep expertise in web and mobile development. Erbis has been on the market for 10 years, delivering logistics solutions to startups and enterprises. So if you need assistance with application programming interfacing or cloud integration, feel free to get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.