5 eCommerce Benefits of Shipping APIs in 2021
Shipping is a critical part of online business. It is also one of the steps with the most complaints and errors. The world is a big place and lining up orders to go from place to place. It is a tricky task that has plenty of points where mistakes and accidents can ruin a flow. Thankfully, businesses no longer need to manage shipping orders on pen and paper as modern technology is here to help. You can manage your digital store from a smartphone. You can also digitize your shipping process with the power of APIs to make your shipping process workflow the best it can be.
APIs are a common digital tool that can be leveraged to significant effect, and there are many ways you can use APIs to improve your shipping in 2021. Below are just five ways you can use APIs to improve your business’s shipping and branding to make 2021 the best year yet.
Fewer Errors With Better Verification
Addresses might seem like one of the simplest parts of the shipping process, but they can also cause the most misunderstandings and issues. Not all addresses make sense, and not all carriers are the best at finding unusual addresses. You can never solve delivery issues entirely, but you can use APIs to give orders their best chance at arriving in front of the correct door. Address verification is one of the most popular shipping tools for good reason as it checks the address a customer enters to ensure it is a valid and recognized address. Most of the time, when the address verification API asks a customer to reenter or double-check their address, the changes will make delivery more accessible and less confusing for people further down the process. However, this API is not perfect as some addresses are valid but do not look like it. Leases and property titles can say something different to the street sign, and poor house numbering can make deliveries complicated. Do not assume your address verification API will catch and fix every address, which is why you should include a Delivery Instructions box so customers can warn carriers about hard-to-find doors.
More Shipping Options
Customers want shipping options when they arrive at the checkout stage. Expensive or slow shipping is one of the most common reasons customers walk away from a sale, so offering more options with an API is a fantastic way to earn more sales. Instead of forcing customers to accept one flat rate, offering different carries, prices, and speeds. Prices and speeds will vary depending on where the order is coming from and being sent, but some options are better than no options.
Chances are your business is not a shipping company, and physically moving customer’s orders will be done by a separate courier service. However, that does not mean your job is done once the order makes it to the carrier. Customers want to know when their order will arrive as their money is somewhat in limbo until their goods arrive. Some carriers offer live tracking, but it can be challenging to find the right code and entry box.
Save your customers some searching and use an API to connect the two websites. Include the order tracking number in your confirmation message or send it in an email later if it generates the next day with a link to the right tracking page. Some companies offer live tracking through the confirmation page, and while saving those extra steps is nice, most customers will be happy if you give them an easy way to use the tools to track orders on their own.
Oftentimes communication between multi-location, multi-carrier is a central sticking point that is difficult to solve. Getting multiple locations and multiple companies to communicate correctly is a nearly impossible mission, as human error and time zones are just a few of the hurdles you would need to fix. One of the best ways to solve communication is to take humans out of it and let automated systems talk to each other, so everyone reads and acts upon double-checked information. Once a customer completes a sale, an API starts working to create a shipping label and tell the inventory warehouse those items are no longer for sale. Rather than an employee retyping the customer address and warehouse workers manually counting stock, APIs can send the information along with no slowdowns or confusion.
More Branding Opportunities
Adding APIs to your shipping process can give you a variety of new confirmation, validation, and thank you pages that you can stick your company branding on for some extra reinforcement. For each new page in the shipping process, you can at least add your company logo and a thank you for your purchase message on the final confirmation screen. The more you do to make this experience pleasant, personalized, and memorable, the more likely a customer will return to your brand in the future.
Shipping is a critical but complicated industry. With so many moving parts and people, it can be hard to make sense of the madness, but shipping APIs are here to help. Use these tools to make every process more manageable and less sticky while also improving the customer experience.