What is the Need for Shipping API in the eCommerce Industry?
An Application Programming Interface (better known as an API) is a code-based software intermediary that passes information and enables actions to be performed between two applications or systems. APIs act as a repository of information for its respective system in order to facilitate functionality. For example, the YouTube API enables 3rd party platforms to display YouTube videos on their websites. APIs have been enhancing efficiency for a wide variety of internet-based industries from social media to - yes, you guessed it - eCommerce.
One of the main jobs any ecommerce retail business is tasked with is shipping orders to customers. As the number of orders being shipped increases, ecommerce businesses typically employ courier services provider companies with tech-enabled solutions to ensure maximum order fulfillment. These solutions usually make use of a wide variety of API integrations, known as Shipping APIs. Shipping APIs automate and accelerate a myriad of delivery functions that ensure overall efficiency is improved and customers enjoy the best online shopping experience.
Top 6 Key Reasons Why Your Ecommerce Business Need Shipping API Integrations
Managing an online business is a multi-faceted process, requiring every single function to be carefully crafted and user-friendly, prior to customers making a purchase until after the order has been fulfilled. This is where shipping APIs can help, whether the task is keeping your customers informed, keeping track of all your orders, and even helping you turn failed deliveries into successful ones. There are 6 main areas where Shipping APIs help businesses.
1. Displaying Delivery Date
One of the many advantages of shopping online is that customers can make their purchases after viewing all the information available about any given product. Numerous factors can influence a customer to make a purchase and one of those is the estimated delivery date (EDD). Users can specify their desired delivery pin code, and an EDD API integration processes the data submitted by customers.
It analyses the submitted pin code alongside historical data of shipping partners to determine approximately when the delivery will be completed. This date is then displayed on the Product Information page so customers can place their orders accordingly. The more accurate the date displayed is, the more customers are likely to trust your ecommerce brand.
2. Order Manifestation and AWB Generation
Once an order has been placed on your ecommerce website, it is still not ready to be shipped. First the order has to go through the process of manifestation. This process essentially builds the order in the shipping partners platform so it can be shipped smoothly. The first step to this process is to submit the order details to the selected shipping partner designated to handle the order.
One shipping API integration works to create the order after which another API generates an AWB (airway bill). The AWB number is the identification code for each order. Shipping or Courier API integrations also work to print the shipping label and then finally assign the order for pickup.
3. Tracking Orders
After an order has been created and prepared for pickup, the major part of a shipping partner’s work begins - transportation of the order. While the order is in-transit, there are a lot of things that can happen which may cause delays or result in a stuck shipment. Customers tend to get anxious when they are unaware of where their order is, whether the order is delayed or on track to be delivered on time.
Tracking API integrations take information from shipping partners to enable orders to be tracked while in transit. Each time a delivery milestone is crossed, like pick-up, on the way, and out for delivery, shipping API integrations take these tracking updates and send them to customers in real-time. With each tracking update received, customers get to feel the excitement and anticipation of receiving their order.
4. Streamline Cancellations
Cancellations are an inevitable and unavoidable part of running an ecommerce business. Especially in cases where orders are cancelled mid-transit, starting the return journey of the order swiftly can help reduce the likelihood of the cancelled order getting stuck or lost.
Shipping APIs can help process cancellations quickly and with clarity. Using a shipping API integration, the cancelled order goes through a process similar to manifestation. The cancelled order has to be created on the shipping partners platform, which sets into motion its new journey back to the origin warehouse. Once safely returned and restocked in the inventory to be resold.
5. Edit Orders
Both ecommerce businesses and their customers need to edit orders from time to time. Information like the delivery destination or contact information may need to be changed. Alternatively, an ecommerce enterprise may want to customise delivery options for certain orders or make discounts or offers applicable to it. Updating all of this information on the respective storefronts and shipping platforms is a job that can be easily carried out with the help of API integrations.
6. Manage NDRs
An NDR (non-delivery report) is the notification made by shipping partners informing ecommerce businesses of a first failed delivery attempt that occurred in a given time frame. A large number of NDRs can end up becoming RTOs after multiple delivery re-attempts fail.
However, this conversion rate can be drastically reduced with the help of certain shipping APIs. After an NDR has been notified, the cause for the failed delivery can be identified. Based on the cause, customers can be contacted with issue-specific queries. The most effective shipping API for NDR management is one that takes the information provided by customers and shares it with the shipping partner to ensure the next delivery attempt
How to Manage Shipping API Integrations?
There are so many Shipping API integrations that eCommerce businesses need to implement to ensure efficient delivery. Managing multiple shipping partners is hard enough. Add multiple shipping API integrations with each carrier to the mix, and you’re left with a very heavy task on your hands.
This is where multi-carrier integration shipping software and systems come into the picture. These are shipping software that enables businesses to manage any volume of orders across multiple shipping partners through careful and consistent management of Shipping API integrations.
They make use of the latest technological solutions to make using Shipping APIs an easier and more efficient process. A good multi-carrier integration platform, like ClickPost, provides innovative solutions like single API integrations for multiple functions and uses push and pull APIs to ensure real-time tracking updates on orders can be sent to customers.
All eCommerce companies have the same goal: to increase their order volumes and optimise order fulfillment. Shipping APIs have truly been revolutionising the logistics industry. They enable nearly every major function carried out in the delivery process. From the moment a customer begins viewing a product page, Shipping API integrations set to work, passing on accurate information to customers about when their orders will arrive and where their orders are once placed.
Even cancelling orders becomes easier using the help of eCommerce Shipping APIs, which adds to customer loyalty. Shipping API integrations automate processes in such a way that losses can be minimised and resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.