Just like people are working behind the scenes to make a movie come to life, APIs in life work behind the scenes to create the mesmerizing magic of automation technology. Since our technology is on an abstract cloud these days, we needed a real-world interface to monitor the performance and functioning of these APIs, especially in a sector like e-commerce that is heavily dependent on various technologies working in harmony. To achieve this goal, Shipping API monitor systems were developed.
The e-commerce industry is heavily dependent on third-party software services to provide a seamless purchase experience. It is not feasible for an e-commerce company to develop and establish an entire logistical supply chain to support its operations. Therefore, most organizations partner with 3Pl partners and software services for shipping and delivery services. Monitoring the performance of these partners becomes essential to determine their reliability.
To understand how eCommerce companies monitor and analyze the performance of their third-party shipping and logistic partners, let’s take a closer look at the concept of Shipping API Monitoring systems.
1) What is Shipping API Monitor?
A shipping API Monitor can be defined as a system or software that can monitor and track the performance, health, and reliability of a Shipping API. The API monitoring systems monitors and analyses the health of the API by tracking the downtime and outages by requesting responses from the API in a fixed time frame. This can be particularly useful regarding shipping APIs as they play an integral role in the e-commerce and logistics ecosystem.
Shipping API monitors are beneficial for enterprise-grade organisations as these organisations have independently negotiated SLA terms with their logistics partners regarding the downtime of the API. API monitoring systems allow these organisations to track where the APIs perform as expected. They can determine the optimal combination of courier partners with the help of the data collected by the API monitoring systems.
Another excellent use case of the API monitoring systems in the shipping industry is tracking the partner's performance by collecting specific data points from the API’s database. Shipping API monitoring systems can be helpful when you have to follow the delivery time, shipping delays, and other exceptions that often occur during the transit process.
Even integrated Shipping API monitors help you track and access all your shipping data through a single-window dashboard, irrespective of the number of carriers you decide to ship with. These integrated API monitors not only help in monitoring and analysing your shipping operations and help you improve your order management and fulfilment workflow. As a result, these systems become excellent value-adding services as they impact the backbone of the entire business model.
2) Why do you need a Shipping API Monitor?
APIs form the backbone of the technology that provides various features on your e-commerce platform. It is essential to monitor these building blocks and connectors of technology. Shipping APIs may work behind the scenes, but they take care of everything from order creation to label generation. Here are some reasons you should invest in a Shipping API Monitor.
2.1) Impact on revenue
Since the shipping APIs are responsible for one of the most crucial functions of your e-commerce business, a reliable monitoring system can help you evaluate this department's performance. The insights provided by these monitoring systems directly impact your revenue as they can optimise your fulfilment operations for maximum efficiency and help you choose the right fulfilment partners.
2.2) Impact on Customer Experience
Since the Shipping APIs are responsible for most of the shopping and post-purchase features on an e-commerce platform, the APIs can directly impact the customer experience. Monitoring and analysing these key contact points with the customer can give you valuable insights into customer behaviour. You can then cater your products and services toward an optimized customer experience.
2.3) Improve Brand Perception
The customer experience essentially dictates the brand perception and the likelihood of a customer returning to make another purchase. Improving brand perception through regular monitoring and insights into your delivery experience can enhance your delivery experience and ensure that the customer returns for future purchases.
2.4) Ensuring Proper and Effective service
Most e-commerce companies use third-party logistics services to provide and improve services on their platform. The shipping API Monitor allows them to check whether the services they are paying for care provided to them and their customers. This also ensures that 3PL partners adhere to terms negotiated in SLA agreements.
2.5) Functional Website Monitoring
APIs perform almost all the functions on an e-commerce platform. The Shipping APIs are responsible for most shipping-related operations, including tracking, shipping rate calculator, order creation, and notifications to customers. API Monitoring systems allow you to monitor these functions on a functional level and improve customer experience by finding the pain points.
3) How does Shipping API Monitor work?
The Shipping API monitor uses the request-response module to track and monitor the performance of the APIs. The Shipping API Monitoring systems send a request to the Shipping API through a web URL provided by the shipper/carrier partner or through an HTTP request and receive and record the response sent out by the API.
It then analyses the API's data, response speed, and time to display accurate monitoring and analysis of data to the clients. The Shipping Monitor tests out various services in this request according to the user's requirements. The API monitoring systems can test whether certain functions on the Shipping API like the Shipping Rate calculator and tracking APIs are working to provide more in-depth insights into user data.
The system then confirms and checks it against the acceptable limits set in the Shipper’s API documentation. This helps the customers determine whether the Shipping API has been performing according to service terms and can help choose a better fulfilment partner based on the data insights provided by the Shipping API monitor.
APIs are responsible for most of the automated and integrated functions performed in the Shipping and logistics supply chain. But, since technology is not the industry's primary objective, the technological developments and resources of the industry may not always be reliable and up to the standards promised. Shipping API monitors gain a lot of importance in such scenarios where the technology is not the final product but rather a medium of delivery for shipping and delivery services.
API monitoring systems allow us to gain insights into the performance and reliability of the Shipping API. They will enable us to analyse the performance data to optimise the fulfilment process and make an informed decision regarding the third-party partners.
The Shipping API Monitoring systems track the health, reliability, and response time of the API and compare them with the service agreements stated in the API documentation by the shipper. The Monitoring systems also allow you to track the actual shipping performance of the API, including delivery times and management of shipping exceptions.
5) FAQs about Shipping API Monitor
5.1) How often does the Shipping API Monitor perform the tests?
Most of the API monitoring systems use a time frame of 1-2 seconds to test and record the response from the API. They also have a specified number of failed responses to determine the functional status of the API.
5.2) Can I track multiple carrier APIs over the API Monitoring systems?
Depending on the Shipping API Monitor system you deploy, you may need to use different monitoring systems to monitor multiple Shipping APIs. However, if you use an integrated Shipping API, you may not need multiple systems to monitor the performance of your shipping API.