Understanding Multi-Carrier Shipping APIs
If you are running a business and use an eCommerce model, you ship your customers products. Most companies do that these days, though some still use only brick-and-mortar store locations. Either option can work for you if you consistently come out with great products and have a strong market presence.
You should always look into technology that can help your business succeed. We will talk about one technology form in this article you should know about if you’re not using it yet. APIs have existed for some time, but some business owners might not necessarily understand their potential.
What Exactly is an API?
API stands for application programming interface. It is a way to connect computer or computer programs. The software for each device or program communicates with each other using a simple language that they can all understand.
You might also sometimes hear the term API specification. That is a standard or document that describes how to build one of these connections.
What is a Multi-Carrier Shipping API?
Automating your shipping is a great thing for a company to do. When you do it, it can save you both time and money.
You can look into companies that sell or rent shipping APIs as ongoing services. It’s similar to SaaS, or software as a service. You can automate many shipping aspects and help your company run smoother.
Having one API for 81 carriers or more is excellent if you can do it. The more carriers you can include as part of your shipping API, the easier it is to attract new customers. Your potential customers want easy shipping, and implementing this technology is a way you can provide that for them.
How a Multi-Carrier Shipping API Works
Say that you have a business website where potential customers can find all your products available for sale. They know they can order those products and get them shipped to their residences anywhere around the country.
If you have a multi-carrier shipping API and someone puts in an order, that API instantly goes to work. It communicates seamlessly with whatever parcel service delivers to that part of the country.
The API can communicate with the US postal service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, or any of the others you might know and recognize. You can see the new orders as they come in at a central hub that tells you everything about each shipment you need to know.
You’ll see who placed the order and when they did it. You’ll see what carrier will pick up the package and drop it off. You can see the expected drop-off time and how much postage that company charged you, which you can then pass on to the customer as part of the purchase price.
What Else Can a Multi-Carrier Shipping API Do?
Multi-carrier shipping APIs can do a lot more than that, though. You might look for ones that can automatically generate shipping labels for you with bar codes on them that the carrier can scan to track the package’s location. You can get one that integrates and communicates with popular shopping apps like Shopify, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce.
You can find one that you can set up within minutes if you’re reasonably tech-savvy. If you don’t handle this part of the business so much, that’s fine. You can get your IT department to do it if you have one. If not, you might contact an IT freelancer who can set up the API for you.
You can get one that comes with 24/7 live technical support if you ever have a shipping issue you need to address. Your API can also handle international shipping if you’re ready to make that leap. If your products catch on very well in the US, you’ll probably want to investigate foreign markets if you feel like these items have worldwide demand or potential.
You can use the API to look at shipping manifests whenever necessary. You can use it to cancel a label if a customer changes their mind before you ship something to them.
Usually, the more you learn about shipping automation with APIs, the more likely you will want to do it. If you don’t automate your shipping with the proper API, you’ll need to spend a lot more time working on the shipping process.
With the proper API in place, you won’t need as many employees, so you’ll save money on your payroll. You can then allocate those funds elsewhere within the business.