How to Shop for a Shipping API
by Allys Ton
As consumers turn to shopping online, businesses are racing to get their brick-and-mortar store online, or to bolster their existing site to better serve their customers. While setting up an online marketplace with Shopify or WooCommerce is relatively easy, business owners are finding the shipping portion to be a logistical hassle.
Shipping is the final frontier that business owners navigate to get their online orders to customers. Shipping influences how customers experience the brand they purchased from. So while a beautiful website is necessary for any business, shipping is the key to success in the world of digital retail.
If you’re a first-time buyer of shipping technology, or in the market for an upgrade, we break down what you need to know to enable your online business for shipping success.
TL;DR EasyPost is a RESTful Shipping API that enables small to enterprise sized businesses to ship smarter. Our technology is flexible and adapts to your specific business needs, offering a robust integration to dozens of carriers and a full suite of shipping tools. Best of all, integrating with EasyPost can be completed in as fast as one business day. Let’s get shipping.
Step 1: Find a Reputable Multi-Carrier API
You need a multi-carrier solution that allows you to ship with carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS (and hopefully dozens more). A mix of weight and distance is usually how these carriers differentiate themselves. Since there is no one-size-fits-all carrier, having options when it comes to service level, transit time, and cost will enable you to have greater choice and flexibility when it comes to shipping.
Benefits of using a multi-carrier include:
- Save time and money integrating once, rather than with multiple carriers directly
- Access to exclusive shipping rates and programs
- Increased flexibility in your shipping operations
Step 2: Consider the Shipping Functionalities You Need
A shipping API that is built for ecommerce should streamline your shipping operations as much as possible — so that you can spend more time focusing on your core business and not worry about the shipping. The following tools help to both simplify your shipping operations and enhance the customer order experience.
Shipping: The functionalities you’ll want are the ability to connect with carriers, to rate shop between service levels, and to purchase, generate, and print a shipping label. A key indicator of a good shipping API is that they offer regional carriers, who provide expedited shipping for a fraction of the cost of the big guys. Your shipping API should allow you to find the right service level, at the right price, every time.
Tracking: The tracking experience should be more than directing your customers to the carrier’s website to locate their package. Instead, your multi-carrier shipping API should enable you to provide a branded, customer-centric experience. Pushing tracking updates from carriers regularly and having webhooks available to enable automated SMS and email alerts are at the core of a good tracking experience.
Address Verification: A CASS-certified address database is your best bet at ensuring deliverability of your packages and should be a requirement in your shipping API. Running address verification at checkout, or label generation, will reduce deliverability issues by 67% and ensure your parcels are delivered to the right address on time.
Bonus: Shipping Insurance! You can avoid the high fees, complicated claims process, and long wait times for a reimbursement check that burden carrier insurance offerings, if your shipping API offers this service.
That’s a lot to ask of a single Shipping API; however, EasyPost offers all of the above! Our solution is both flexible and scalable, so it works for small businesses, mid-market companies, and enterprises alike.
Step 3: Integrate and Ship!
Compared to direct carrier integrations, EasyPost’s RESTful Shipping API is a breeze to integration. In as little as 4.5 hours, you can enable our complete suite of shipping tools for your ecommerce business. Best of all, you can get started for free with our Developer Plan! Your first 50,000 shipments are on us.
|Integrate with EasyPost||Direct Carrier Integration|
|Register an Account: 10 Minutes||Register an Account: Several days, depending on approval process|
|Read “Getting Started Guide” and Start Making Simple API Calls: 15 minutes||Read Documentation and Start Making Simple API Calls: 2-40 hours|
|Integrate with Your Application: 4-40 hours||Integrate with Your Application: 40-160 hours|
|Maintenance: Low, EasyPost handles it for you||Maintenance: Medium-High, each carrier has their own compliance standards|
|Time to Integrate: As quick as 4.5 hours||Time to Integrate: Several days to weeks|
What Can You Build
Need shipping technology inspiration? Look what our customers have built using our flexible, scalable shipping technology!
- Nationwide Retailer: In 2 weeks, EasyPost supported a 1,985% increase in Ship-from-Store locations to enable tens of thousands of daily shipments for one of our largest customers.
- International Grocery Supply: Utilizing EasyPost, they were able to offer same-day grocery delivery in NYC to thousands of residents during COVID-19. Read the shipping case study.
- Returns Platform: Offer returns globally and provide refunds when packages are scanned utilizing our Tracking API. Their merchants enjoy the automated experience.
- Cloud ERP: Created a 7-figure net-new revenue stream white-labeling EasyPost and offering all their merchants our shipping solution.
- 3PL Fulfillment: Enabled EasyPost for domestic and international shipping. Our technology powers their Ship-from-Store and micro-fulfillment service.
- Carriers for A Carrier: As a carrier themselves, they leverage EasyPost’s API to generate labels from other carriers and bolster their existing network.
More case studies can be found here. We’re excited to see what you build with us!
Allys Ton is Head of Brand at EasyPost and leads the marketing efforts across the company. Working in the intersection of ecommerce, shipping, and technology has been a pleasure since she gets to interact with dozens of innovative companies — many of which are EasyPost users and that she is a loyal customer of. In her free time, she watches “Abstract: The Art of Design” on Netflix, is a cat-mom to 4 bengal cats, and enjoys baking pastries.