Businesses that deal with shipping must regularly work with the incredibly complicated domestic and international systems. Customers may never consider how big task shipping orders can be, as figuring out where thousands of boxes should go out of millions of addresses is a tricky job to get right 100% of the time. Thankfully, shipping is not an entirely manual process anymore, and there are many tools that make life easier for businesses of all sizes. Computers helped a great deal, but additional tools like programs, AI, and APIs take even more guesswork and human error out of the system while making the process more efficient at the same time.
These shipping tools are nothing new at this point, but that does not mean they are becoming irrelevant in 2021. More people shop online than ever before, so tools like APIs are more necessary than ever. For eCommerce businesses, the online functionality for all critical business systems is non-negotiable. So, below are just a few benefits that shipping APIs can bring to your eCommerce business in 2021.
What Are Shipping APIs
A shipping API might sound like a fancy tech term for IT professionals rather than small business shipping departments, but APIs are far more straightforward than they sound. In simple terms, APIs or application programming interfaces are plug-ins, instructions, applications, or bridges that let a different program use features from a separate program. You likely see APIs every day on the Internet as some of the most popular features are only possible because of APIs. Most large tech companies or online services have an API and use APIs in their own services. Many APIs are totally invisible as they are designed to work behind the scenes rather than on the customer-facing surface. Security APIs are something the average person never sees or thinks about, but those programs are constantly working to ensure the sites you browse are not compromised.
Most Popular Uses For Shipping APIs
There is no single shipping API, nor is there a single use for shipping APIs, as some of the best developments have come from experimentation. However, for businesses just getting into shipping APIs, there are some primary uses that are the best starting point. You do not need to be a computer scientist to use these shipping APIs either, as many APIs are close to plug-and-play levels of simplicity.
One of the most basic uses for shipping APIs is address verification. When customers enter their address in checkout, they can make mistakes, and even if they enter the correct address, the formatting can confuse shipping software and carriers. With an address verification API, the system will alert the customer that there might be an issue with the address so they can fix any mistakes or verify the address format. The best address verification APIs will also suggest better formats for carriers if the address the customer entered is valid. Most customers will go by what is on their lease or mail rather than what makes the most sense to your software.
Tracking And Delivery
After a customer places an order, the waiting game begins, and customers want to know when their items will arrive. Instead of only sending a confirmation email, APIs can let you send a tracking and delivery email to keep customers up to date on their order. It is never a bad idea to give customers more information and power, so let your system do the hard work for you with APIs. Once you set up the copy and branding on the pages, APIs can collect tracking and delivery information for you to share with customers. Use the information you already have and some technological power to make your life easier and make your customers happier.
New or small businesses may feel hesitant to add new technology like APIs if they are uncomfortable with similar processes, but adding these tools has never been easier. There is no reason not to take advantage of the power APIs offer, so add them to make your shipping process more efficient and less headache-inducing. Address verification can stop problems before they happen by correcting delivery addresses. Tracking and delivery APIs help you keep customers up to date on their orders while giving you another chance to add branding.