Parcel shipping software and shipping APIs have come a long way recently and are the perfect way for your apparel brand to streamline the shipping process. This is simply because a shipping API gives ecommerce brands much more flexibility. A shipping API allows other software or programs to integrate directly into your business system or ecommerce platform.
Shipping APIs can be customized to specific business needs such as those that are unique to ecommerce apparel brands but also to shipping carriers. All of this helps your brand by improving the fulfillment process significantly.
Every business has its own set of unique challenges that it needs to overcome in order to grow and the most common challenge for ecommerce brands is logistics. Understanding the many variables involved in the shipping process and how shipping technology and APIs can help your apparel brand will help you to succeed in a very competitive market.
This ebook will break down every aspect of shipping APIs and help you to understand how X Delivery’s powerful shipping API can optimize the shipping process for your ecommerce apparel brand:
What is a Shipping API?
API stands for application programming interface and refers to software that functions as a way to connect two different and unrelated applications. Through an API, these various applications can communicate with each other automatically. Therefore, a shipping API allows your store platforms or systems to easily connect with the shipping carrier that manages your logistics without manual intervention.
As a result, your apparel brand can integrate the shipping functionality of your chosen carrier directly into your online store or ecommerce platform so that these two separate applications can automatically start the shipping process once an order has been placed.
Essentially, a shipping API is a behind-the-scenes conduit that connects customers and couriers. Shipping APIs are flexible and can connect to your ecommerce platform, your warehouse management system (WMS), or your order management system (OMS)–all to provide you with advanced shipping functionalities. Since they create an automated checkout and delivery process, it streamlines all the parts of the shipping process that are repetitive, tedious, and time-consuming to do manually. Best of all, this efficiency helps to create a more positive shopping experience for your customers.
How Do Shipping APIs Work?
As you learned above, APIs connect two separate applications and allow them to automatically communicate with each other. Additionally, the information transferred between these applications is displayed on a single interface, making it easy for users to access the important details. There are complicated aspects to APIs that the programmers will work on, but essentially an API will let one application make a “request” through the connection while the other “responds” to that request automatically. But all you need to be concerned with is ensuring the shipping API you use correctly supports the delivery needs of your apparel brand.
So if you were to partner with X Delivery and use our shipping API, it would allow your system to integrate with our system, which then connects you with our vast network of national shipping carriers. This provides your ecommerce apparel brand with multi-carrier functionality and support. Instead of needing to integrate with all the individual shipping carriers you use, you only need to connect our shipping API once to have access to our full carrier network.
Besides this, you have advanced tracking functionality that allows you to be transparent with your customers in terms of the shipping process. Not only does our shipping API automate the checkout and shipping process, but it also helps you to build trust with your customers.
How Shipping APIs Streamline the Delivery Process
Shipping APIs are incredibly useful to online retailers in any niche. Although you could connect your platform to individual carriers via their API, it may be beneficial for you to consider a third-party shipping partner such as X Delivery. This is because our API integration connects you to a variety of carriers, ensures flat-rate shipping costs, and even shortens delivery times.
To see what our parcel shipping software and API can help your brand, let’s dive into the details of how this shipping technology helps to streamline the delivery process:
Validating Delivery Addresses
The last mile of the fulfillment process is usually the biggest problem in the ecommerce industry. This is mostly because of invalid addresses, which lead to failed deliveries. Errors like these are not only expensive for ecommerce brands but also cause customer dissatisfaction. Not to mention the increased carbon emissions from having failed deliveries returned to the warehouse.
Unfortunately, some customers will fill out their addresses incorrectly, which results in unavoidable surcharges for them as well as extra logistics costs for you. All of this significantly slows down the delivery process. To mitigate this, addresses need to be verified and validated before the shipping label gets printed and the parcel gets shipped.
Luckily, shipping APIs are able to cross-reference the address entered with available databases in order to verify that it’s an existing address. However, if the address is not found, the order gets flagged and the automation is paused until the customer is contacted to provide the correct address.
Generating Shipping Labels
The next step of the process involves the generation of shipping labels. The information that gets printed on the shipping label is important for ensuring that it gets delivered to the right destination within the estimated timeframe. This is actually one of the primary functions of a shipping API. Although the order is placed and paid for on your ecommerce platform, the API sends this data to your shipping carrier. The shipping label is then generated and printed at the fulfillment center where the order gets packaged and dispatched.
A shipping API ensures that this process happens almost instantly after an order has been placed and the address verified. The customer data is sent directly to the shipping carrier, who is able to generate and print the shipping label that can either be sent back to the merchant or used in the fulfillment center to package and process the order. Since no information needs to be input manually after an order is placed, there are fewer errors that occur. This speedy administrative process is also what allows us to provide your customers with fast 2-day delivery times.
Choosing the Best First, Middle, and Last-Mile Carrier
There are many stages to the shipping process and one parcel may need to travel with various carriers before it arrives at its final destination. Manually choosing the most relevant first, middle, and last-mile carrier for each and every order based on the geographic location as well as shipping option is not efficient at all. There are usually numerous variables to consider as well as costs to compare, which makes it a complicated and time-consuming process.
Our shipping API simplifies this job enormously by evaluating which of our shipping carrier partners is the best option based on availability, destination, and capacity. Since we have a network of different carriers, our API will always select the absolute best option for each of your orders. This saves valuable time, ensures that we can charge a flat rate for delivery, and guarantees that your packages get delivered to customers on time.
Many customers feel some anxiety after placing an order online. Even more so if they don’t hear anything from the brand after paying for that order. Unless you’ve already established great trust with your customers, it’s vital that you manage their expectations during every step of their journey with your brand. You need to communicate consistently with your customers, even after you’ve made the sales.
One of the best ways to ease a customer’s mind is to provide live shipment tracking so that they know where their package is at all times. This eases anxiety and the transparency thereof helps to build trust and foster loyalty.
A shipping API is a great way to offer your customers real-time tracking information–an effective way for you to proactively alleviate any anxiety they may be feeling. Since the API is integrated into your system as well as your shipping carrier’s system, your customers will receive automatic updates about the movement of their packages. This keeps your customers happy and reduces the workload for your customer care department. Up-to-date information can be sent directly to your customers via their preferred method of communication, which means that they’re always in the loop about the location of their order.
What are the Benefits of Using a Shipping API?
There are many benefits to using a shipping API for your ecommerce apparel brand. For example, it can lower the cost of shipping, minimize administrative errors, streamline the shipping process, and ensure faster deliveries.
Let’s take a look at all the different benefits of using a shipping API and why you should consider integrating this technology:
Simplify the Delivery Process
A good shipping API simplifies your delivery process and makes your life easier. It takes away the need for complicated tech stacks or huge teams of people that do a ton of manual work. Shipping APIs are designed to give you one simple interface that has minimal distractions but does a lot on the backend.
All of this frees up your time so that you can focus on what matters–growing and scaling your ecommerce apparel brand. With X Delivery as your shipping partner, we do all the heavy lifting for you, thanks to our advanced shipping API. Our powerful shipping API can streamline and optimize the delivery process for you in ways that you never could have imagined.
Logistics that Works
An API essentially gives you safe and reliable shipping for each and every order that is placed in your online store. If you want to include shipping and delivery as part of your business model, then you need a shipping API in order to keep up with your competitors. There is no other way to fully automate the checkout and delivery process and if you can’t automate these steps, you won’t have the capacity to scale your brand.
So, not only do you save time, but you also provide a better shopping experience for your customers. It’s a win-win. Here at X Delivery, we’re fully aware that traditional logistics is broken and we strive to fix it and give ecommerce brands a logistics system that works by utilizing available technology such as shipping APIs.
Unlimited Shipping Resources
The ecommerce industry is a competitive market regardless of your niche because of ecommerce giants such as Amazon. In order to stand out from the rest, you need to make use of all the resources available to you.
These companies have set an incredibly high standard when it comes to online shopping and speedy delivery. And you can do the same if you leverage an API integration that connects you to multiple shipping carriers, selects the best one for the job on your behalf, and automates the entire delivery process. The X Delivery shipping API gives you access to unlimited shipping resources that make your life easier and significantly improve your customer’s experience.
Reduce Operational Costs
Ultimately, a shipping API saves you time and labor, which means that it also reduces your operational costs overall. It reduces the need to hire, train, and pay individual employees to do the tedious administrative tasks manually.
In many cases, you would require a separate employee for each of the different steps in the process; especially if you ship high volumes of products. Instead, a shipping API automatically completes all the various tasks and everything in-between seamlessly. This helps to minimize the labor costs involved in running and managing an ecommerce brand.
The manual input of doing everything from generating shipping labels to validating addresses to choosing the best shipping carrier for each step of the journey is time-consuming and can be a huge expense for businesses. However, by partnering with X Delivery, you will have a powerful shipping API to take over all of this.
Improve the Customer Experience
The way your customers experience shopping with you can make or break your brand. So it’s important that you give them the best experience possible. A shipping API is one of the best ways for you to manage your customers’ expectations because this shipping technology is designed to streamline the delivery process.
Everything is automated from start (order is placed) to finish (order is delivered). This automation ensures that errors are avoided and the best options are selected for each and every order resulting in faster delivery times. Plus, the advanced shipment tracking software keeps your customers informed of what is happening and when they can expect their delivery. All these factors contribute to a better customer experience, which will help you gain their trust and loyalty.
Decrease Cart Abandonment
Abandoned carts are the bane of any ecommerce brand’s existence and many companies put tons of effort into trying to reduce the number of abandoned carts they get. One way to do this is by being transparent in terms of shipping options and costs.
Many people tend to abandon their cart once they get to the shipping part of the checkout process. Most of the time, it’s because they are unprepared to pay the delivery rate or are unhappy with the expected delivery rate.
However, with the X Delivery shipping API, you’re charged a flat rate for shipping regardless of the destination. This means that you can provide various shipping options (including free shipping). You could also have standard rates, which can be communicated to customers in advance so they’re not shocked by the extra charges during checkout. Finally, you can even mitigate any objections they may have by offering fast 2-day delivery just like larger competitor brands.
Streamline Your Ecommerce Apparel Brand Today
The ecommerce industry may be booming but it’s always changing too. In order for you to keep up with competitors, you need to be willing to embrace shipping technology and software. Integrating a shipping API is one of the simplest ways for you to automate the many steps of your check-out and delivery process.
By partnering with a reliable shipping company such as X Delivery you can save time and money so that you can focus on growing and scaling your apparel brand. Get started on streamlining your ecommerce apparel brand today by signing up for X Delivery. Reimagine delivery with X Delivery and watch your brand thrive.