Overview of Shipping API
An API (full form: Application Programming Interface) is a piece of programming software that acts as a bridge between various pieces of software, programmes, and platforms. Each platform will most likely have its own API and set of APIs that perform specific functions. API integrations can be found on every social media platform, streaming website, and weather app.
The emergence of the API economy has led to the rapid replacement of laborious manual data exchanges with requests for information. This has significant effects on the order fulfillment procedure, particularly in the complicated realm of shipping.
What are eCommerce Shipping APIs?
The data can then be used through API integrations to enable various operations with other applications. This is how API integrations work. In order to optimize various delivery processes, numerous ecommerce shipping companies each retain their own APIs that e-commerce businesses can interact with. These shipping APIs enable unrestricted data exchange between your online store and shipping providers.
What does a shipping API do in ecommerce & Why shipping APIs are important for ecommerce ?
There are several reasons why shipping APIs are vital for ecommerce, and their significance is only growing given the current trends in online purchasing.
Various tasks, like calculating delivery dates and transmitting important delivery instructions, can be handled by shipping APIs. Utilizing Shipping API interfaces properly can increase order fulfillment, lower RTOs, and boost customer satisfaction. Therefore, the first step in establishing a partnership with a new shipping partner is to ascertain which tasks API integrations undertake. These are the main tasks that Shipping APIs handle.
1. Order Creation and AWB Generation
The information on your shipping label guarantees that a package reaches its destination and travels there using the appropriate mode of transportation, such as Two Day Ground Shipping as opposed to Next-Day Air. By sending shipping information to the appropriate postal carrier, shipping APIs contribute to the security of this procedure. After that, the carrier creates the necessary label and returns it to the retailer. By using this approach, the merchant or 3PL avoids manually entering crucial information that could lead to mistakes and only needs to download and print labels.
2. Track orders
Every ecommerce business wants to sink their teeth into the creamy delectable centre of the top supply chain management candy, which is being able to track orders effectively. Multiple API connectors allow for more effective order tracking. Some of these APIs function to periodically retrieve tracking data from platforms used by shipping partners.
3. Secure shipping
No business is immune to possible supply chain difficulties, even in the ideal business climate.
However, you can be sure that any supply chain problems won’t be brought on by someone breaking into your tech stack thanks to the integration of shipping APIs.
APIs ensure that the transmission of your shipping data to your other fulfillment software or partners is seamless and that it is kept secure.
4. Multi-carrier pricing comparisons
Ecommerce companies will need to combine shipping options to deliver purchases to their customers quickly and affordably depending on the geographic distribution of their customer base. This is particularly true for purchases involving foreign shipment, where speed is sometimes sacrificed for cost.
5. Manage Cancelled Orders
To enable effective and efficient reverse logistics for cancelled orders, the majority of shipping providers use cancellation APIs. As soon as a cancellation request is received and approved by the ecommerce firm, these cancellation API connections get to work.
The new cancelled order is automatically created on the shipping partner page, and the return journey for the cancelled order back to the origin warehouse from whichever delivery milestone it is at is then set into motion. The reverse route can then be watched to confirm that the order is returned to the original warehouse without incident and without suffering any damage while in transit. After that, the item might be refilled and sold to a waiting buyer.
Common shipping APIs
1. Address validation
Your customers are human, which means they can make mistakes. This includes the chance that they’ll make a mistake while entering their address on your e-commerce website. The only time this error will cost you money is if you don’t have the right tools set up.
These expenses include more than just the cost of printing a fresh mailing label. Additionally, it comes in the form of labor for completing additional orders, dealing with returns, and the possibility of losing out on future sales from that customer due to a subpar customer experience.
With shipping API, address validation comes with the integration of your ecommerce store. This means that when a consumer enters their address during the checkout process, the API will automatically run in the background and check the address against the USPS database to make sure it is a valid address.
Additionally, it will make it easier to distinguish between a residential and business address, which may eventually alter the shipping options you provide to your consumers.
By doing this, you can efficiently lower human error, save money for your company, and give customers the greatest experience possible.
2. Multicarrier support
Depending on the size, weight, distance, and desired delivery time of your package, each carrier will determine the shipping cost in a different way. This means that depending on what you’re shipping, where you’re delivering it, and how long the buyer is willing to wait, the best shipping method may change.
You can compare shipping rates from various carriers on the same site by using a shipping API that supports multiple carriers.
You can even automate the process so that the cheapest shipping option is always chosen for one order and the fastest shipping option is always chosen for another. This can save your company time and help to expedite the fulfillment process.
A shipping API can also retrieve live rates from multiple carriers and present them to your customers, allowing them to choose from a variety of shipping options.
3. Shipment tracking
Consider the last time you purchased something online. You’ve probably tried to track the status of your shipment while it was in transit. Online shoppers, on average, check their order tracking pages 3.5 times per order.
Customers who shop online anticipate shipment monitoring. If you don’t offer it, your customer service team’s inbox will quickly fill up.
Having a shipping API that includes tracking notifications can assist your company in automatically maintaining those touch points throughout the product path and enhancing the customer’s post-purchase experience.
Because of the flexibility of a shipping API, it can also link with your existing customer outreach tools, allowing you and your customers to keep informed without having to answer any questions.
How do shipping APIs work?
As previously said, ecommerce APIs work by combining several sources of data to display integrated data. The most prevalent way is REST architecture, in which an API uses HTTP to ‘request’ information from your server, which then ‘responds’ in kind.
A shipping API will include API documentation, which describes what the API will provide and how a developer will integrate it into their existing architecture. Typically, API documentation will include the following:
- The manner in which the API communicates with other apps
- The procedure for obtaining and retrieving data
- How frequently requests can be made, as well as other important information
The UPS API is one of the easiest APIs to integrate into your website. There are three types of APIs that all use extensible Markup Language (XML) which is a common enough language that the developers on your staff will know how to handle it. The API is also well documented which should help with integration.
The FedEx API is also user friendly to developers as it is provided as a REST API. It uses OAuth 2.0 for authentication and JSON for handling requests and responses. Rest APIs are among the most common, making this a good choice for those that have worked in other APIs.
The DHL API is also provided as a REST API and supports OAuth 2.0 as well as JSON for the same functionality as FedEx API. It also supports XML making a flexible option for those setting up integrations.
The USPS API includes all the bells and whistles as FedEx and DHL, however, the biggest difference comes in its lack of resources. This makes it a little more difficult to set up, but the shipping rates tend to be better for smaller, domestic shipments.
Get top API Integration resources for your project
The integration of search, selection, and shipping APIs is a difficult procedure that necessitates both technical understanding and prior experience in this field. The only way to achieve a smooth and quick integration is to connect with a dependable technical partner who has experience in this domain. After all, even the most comprehensive documentation will not prevent you from requiring the services of expert developers who can integrate all solutions into your workflows. Vibidsoft can assist you with this.
Vibidsoft is a professional software and mobile app development company with over ten years of market experience. We have vast experience in the Logistics business and offer a wide range of services ranging from custom solution development to support and upgrade of old software.
If your company needs a shipping API connection to improve internal operations, simply contact us, tell us about your concept, and our solution architects and business analysts will come up with the ideal solution for your company.