Overview of Shipping APIs in Detail
Shipping APIs are a vital part of any ecommerce business. Making use of various Shipping API integrations can automate and optimize essential shipping operations. This can be the key to providing your customers with the best post-purchase experience. An API is a software interface that enables information to be passed on between two programs and manages different software functions. Shipping APIs are API integrations that streamline delivery services. They can be used for everything from small simple tasks to large ones involving multiple steps. With the help of Shipping API integrations, ecommerce businesses and their shipping partners are showing their customers the real benefits of online shopping.
List of Top 5 Most Important eCommerce Shipping APIs
Since API integrations are essentially programming codes designed to carry out specific tasks, be it the transfer of data or pushing forward an action, they can be programmed based on each platform’s needs. Shipping APIs are similarly programmed to handle different delivery and shipping functions.
While these functions can vary greatly, there are a few common ones that every shipping company needs to provide to every eCommerce business with minimal complexity. Listed below are the most important Shipping API integrations every ecommerce business needs to be familiar with.
#1) EDD Shipping API
When customers are preparing to make a purchase, their decision can be influenced by a great many things. One highly influential factor in this decision-making process is determining when the order will arrive if purchased. That’s where this shipping API jumps into high gear. When a customer is viewing a product on its corresponding detail page on an ecommerce platform, this API enables them to provide their delivery pin-code or area.
It then uses this information alongside past data on the relevant shipping partner and similar deliveries to that pin code region to calculate how long delivery will take. The EDD (estimated delivery date) that is calculated is then displayed on the same product page. This allows customers to make an informed decision and the accuracy of the EDD calculated by this Shipping API can also increase their faith in your brand.
#2) Order Manifestation Shipping API
Order manifestation is one of the first and most important steps to be carried out after an order has been placed by a customer and received on your ecommerce site or online shopfront. This is the process through which an order is picked and packed, and made ready for delivery. The first stage in this process is to create the order on the shipping partner’s platform.
After the order is created, an airway bill, also known as a waybill or AWB, must be generated, giving the order it’s own unique AWB number. The information submitted during order creation concerning customer details and delivery destination are then used to print a shipping label. Finally, the order is prepared for pick up. Each of these stages makes use of independently functioning shipping APIs.
#3) Track Order Shipping API
Tracking your orders is one of the most important functions to be carried out during delivery. Once an order has been picked up, keeping abreast of its movements is the best way to assure its safety. However, there is another advantage to tracking orders and that is to ensure customers stay completely informed about their order. At any given point of time, a customer should be aware of which delivery milestones their order has crossed and which delivery milestones are left.
There are different Shipping API integrations that set to work pulling tracking data from shipping partners. Then another API sends the order tracking information to customers in the form of email and sms notifications. Keeping customers informed of their order’s whereabouts, even in case of delays, can increase their trust in your company and reduce their anxieties.
#4) Cancelled Order Shipping API
Even if you keep customers completely informed using Tracking API integrations, there is always a possibility that a customer decides to cancel their order. Whether it’s because of delays in the delivery or simply because the customer changed their mind, cancellations are inevitable. But they don't have to mean losses if a streamlined system is used to process cancelled orders. After a cancellation notification is received against an order, an API works to upload the details and create the cancelled order on the shipping partner’s platform.
This ensures that the shipping company receives the notification immediately and can accordingly take steps quickly to send the cancelled order back to the origin warehouse. Tracking APIs can also help ensure the order survives its reverse journey and reaches the storage facility safely. Once it has been returned, it can be restocked in the inventory and put up once again for re-sale, avoiding any unnecessary losses caused by lost or damaged orders.
5) Other Shipping APIs Used by eCommerce Companies
Ecommerce businesses function exclusively online, increasing their use of and their reliance on web-based solutions. And this reliance extends well beyond shipping into overall logistics requirements. How an ecommerce business displays its items to customers, markets it to larger audiences, and ensures that enough products are available to fulfill all the orders placed - these are all tasks handled by API integrations as well.
Despite not being a direct part of the shipping process, they are equally important in ensuring orders are placed and the business grows. The main API integrations, other than Shipping APIs, used by ecommerce businesses are listed below.
5.1) StoreFront API integration
A storefront, also known as a shopfront, is a platform through which an ecommerce business can host their brand, display orders and prices, notify customers of events, sales and discounts and process orders being placed. A storefront is essentially a pre-designed shopping website that ecommerce businesses can customise to make their own, like Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce.
All data for your ecommerce business is presented on your shopfront through the Storefront API integration, like products, prices and discounts. You can use the Storefront API integration to make other custom features available, depending on the storefront you choose.
5.2) Marketplace API Integration
Some customers purchase from an ecommerce business’s storefront. However, others may prefer to weigh their options and the goal of any company is to bring in as many customers as possible. While storefronts give businesses their own space to display their brand and their products, online marketplaces are basically eCommerce aggregators for organizations like Amazon, Flipkart and Nykaa.
They are open platforms where multiple ecommerce businesses can display and market their products and customers can shop at their leisure, view competitive rates and delivery options. Ecommerce marketplaces are able to manage multiple orders for multiple ecommerce businesses through the use of eCommerce Marketplace API integrations, which list inventory and process orders.
5.3) Inventory management API Integration
Inventory management may not be a shipping function but it is vital to the entirety of the shipping process. After all, if inventory isn’t well managed, there might not be orders to be shipped. Inventory management focuses on ensuring that for every order placed, the corresponding item is available and ready for shipment.
A variety of APIs are used by inventory management systems to give each item a unique identification code and keep track of the number of orders and corresponding changes to the inventory so no order is ever placed that cannot be fulfilled due to an unnoted lack of stock.
API integrations work tirelessly for ecommerce businesses, making sure every variety of tasks, functions and requirements are managed with true efficiency. Shipping APIs make up a bulk of the API integrations used to enhance customer delivery experiences. They are responsible for processing each order, picking and packing of the order and giving customers real time tracking updates to keep them excitedly awaiting their order.
This feeling of a satisfactory delivery experience is what will push customers to return to your website. That, along with maintaining a user-friendly purchase process that is easy to use, is something that is handled by Marketplace and Storefront API integrations.
And to avoid a customer ever receiving a post-order notice cancelling their order due to a lack of availability, inventory management API integrations jump into action. In every conceivable scenario of online shopping, API integrations are hard at work to give your customers the best experience.