1) What is a Shipping API?
An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of agreed-upon requests and responses that can be used to communicate with and pull data from an application. In terms of shopping, shipping APIs allow you to directly integrate shipping functionality into another application. This can include everything from order creation to getting tracking updates. Shipping APIs are generally integrated into the backend applications of service providers to manifest orders and keep track of the shipping reports. On the front end, shipping APIs are generally used to provide tracking updates to the customer, to send notifications about shipping milestones, and for exception handling purposes.
2) What are the standout features of the Shopify Shipping API?
A Shopify shipping API acts as a communication layer between your ecommerce store on Shopify and your logistics service providers. The Shopify API allows you to streamline your order creation and fulfilment process and push updates to customers. It also allows you to automate certain tasks as and when needed.
To add a shipping API to the Shopify platform, you need to install an add-on to your Shopify store. This allows you to choose an appropriate application as per your requirements and budget. You are able to choose your provider to enable the Shopify Shipping API features and additional features.
Due to a large number of options available on Shopify platform, you should be able to find an application that meets your needs and supports the APIs from your logistics partners. The Shopify apps you will be looking for will vary based on your geographical location and the shipping services you are using.
3) How can you use the Shopify Shipping API to streamline your business processes?
By using the Shopify Shipping API, you can significantly streamline and automate your business processes. You can save time and money by automating tasks like order creation and sending updates to customers. You can also send updates and shoe tracking information in real-time as the data is directly sourced from your shipping partner. Implementing the Shopify shipping API also allows you to ship at scale due to the large amounts of automation. This can be especially helpful for stores that are processing a large number of orders.
4) How can the Shopify Shipping API take your customer experience to the next level?
Using the Shopify Shipping API can make a significant difference to your customer experience. The real-time tracking updates provided to your customers can increase customer interaction and brand loyalty. If you are providing a customized and branded tracking page, it can be used to upsell your products and place advertisements. You can automate the exception handling processes to offer real-time and user-friendly solutions to your customers. You can also streamline the return and replacement processes by automating returns of items under certain parameters.
5) Best Practices to adopt while implementing the Shopify Shipping API
Some of the best practices to adopt while implementing the Shopify Shipping API are -
5.1) Make sure that you are choosing a Shipping API app that supports the shipping partners you are using, and are likely to use in near future.
5.2) Take a detailed look at the pricing model of the Shopify Shipping API app you are considering. Generally, the pricing will depend on the volume of orders you are processing and the features you want.
5.3) If you are not tech savvy, stick to no-code solution. If you have the technical expertise to use more advanced Shopify Shipping API apps, you should opt for them. Advanced Shopify Shipping API apps will provide you with many more options to customize the entire workflow.
5.4) As the Shopify Shipping API app will be critical for the functioning of your Shopify store, make sure that the app you are choosing is stable and reliable. The best way to do this is to take a look at the user reviews. If an app has been in the market for a significant amount of time, the user reviews will provide you a good idea about the overall reliability. Apps with very few or nonexistent reviews are best avoided.
6) Few disadvantages of using the Shopify Shipping API
Due to the huge amounts of options and customizations that are on offer, there are virtually no serious disadvantages of the Shopify Shipping API. Most of the common issues stem from user error and lack of proper research before opting for a Shopify Shipping API app.
6.1) Lack of support for your shipping partners
Lack of support for your usual shipping partners is a common issue that occurs when Shopify store owners are not careful and thorough while choosing their Shopify Shipping API app. To avoid this, take a detailed look at the documentation before opting for any Shopify Shipping API app. If you are having any confusion regarding carrier support, it is best to mail or chat with the customer support of the app to clear things beforehand.
6.2) Out-of-date Shopify Shipping API Apps
If you are opting for any free Shopify Shipping API app, you might soon run into issues. This is because shipping APIs from carriers are constantly updated, and features are being added regularly. If the app you are using is not keeping pace with the changes, you will soon run into stability issues. This issue is generally nonexistent with paid and well renowned Shopify Shipping API apps.
6.3) Lack of advanced features and integration
If you are using multiple logistics service providers to manage your supply chain, you are likely to have difficulty integrating all of them in the Shopify Shipping API app you are using. These apps are generally best used for integration with shipping carriers only, and any other complex integration with other service providers might result in issues. This can be avoided by using well known apps, especially from developers who are already present in the logistics SaaS (software as a service) field.
Shopify Shipping API is the easiest way to integrate your shipping service providers with your Shopify Store. To use the Shopify API, you need to opt for a Shopify app that will allow you to integrate the required shipping APIs with your Shopify store. There is a wide range of apps available on the Shopify store, and you can choose one according to your requirements.
Using a Shopify API app can streamline your business processes and allow you to ship a large volume of orders without manual intervention. Complex and labour-intensive tasks like order manifestation and tracking can be automotive using Shopify Shipping API apps. This can also improve your customer experience significantly by offering real-time shipping updates and exception management.