If you’re trying to elevate your business to a new level, you should consider implementing shipping APIs. They offer a multitude of benefits and can give you a powerful competitive advantage.
But what precisely are APIs? API is short for application programming interface. These interfaces allow different programs to communicate with each other instantly. APIs work like bridges connecting separate islands (programs) and allowing traffic (secure information) to move from one island to another. APIs bring programs together and allow them to exchange data.
Chances are you encounter APIs on a daily basis. One common example of APIs are the social share buttons at the bottom of articles. Those buttons, which allow you to like an article or share it in a tweet are APIs in action. You also use APIs when you allow different sites and apps to add events to your Google Calendar.
APIs are commonly used for website login, checkout, and calendar services. But they are also extremely useful for improving shipping processes. Shipping APIs come with a host of benefits for organizations. Here are seven of the most important advantages.
Quickly Compare Options
Shipping APIs allow you to compare shipping rates for a given package across all carriers. This allows your business to immediately see available options and choose the best fit. And, of course, this ultimately cuts costs and time spent manually comparing different options.
Lower Shipping Rates
Shipping APIs offer negotiated rates with carriers. Because these APIs represent more than just one company, they can ship with extreme discounts. Some APIs can save you 40% on USPS packages and almost 30% on FedEx packages. These discounts help you cut operating costs and function more efficiently as a business. They also allow you to pass on savings to customers, increasing their satisfaction.
Reduce Checkout Abandonment
Checkout abandonment plagues many businesses. You likely lose many of your customers at the checkout step. A large part of this cart abandonment is due to shipping issues. About half of shoppers abandon online carts if they don’t like their shipping options. 60% will turn to another retailer to find better shipping options. By using shipping API’s improved options and rates, you can offer your customers a better deal. This prevents them from leaving your cart and finding another retailer.
Automatically Validate Addresses
Shipping APIs can automatically check and validate addresses. This prevents fees and delays for packages shipped to nonexistent or incorrect addresses. Shipping to the correct address is important for reducing costs and building company loyalty. Having to re-deliver a returned package or send a new package is costly for your business. Moreover, shipping issues reduce customer trust in your business. About 70% of customers are much less likely to shop with your business in the future if they buy an item that isn’t delivered within 2 days of the promised date. Delivering packages safely and quickly protects your company’s reputation and future revenue from returning customers.
Integrate Real-Time Tracking
Shipping APIs allow you to seamlessly add real-time tracking into your app, email, or text messages. This gives both your business and customers access to quick, important information. This can be reassuring to customers who are anxious about delivery status. By using APIs to provide real-time information, your business can reduce the number of customer questions about package status. This saves time on customer support.
Slash Administrative Work
By using an API to automate so many aspects of your shipping, you cut down on the time employees have to spend on tedious shipping tasks. Using APIs, you can automatically pass information between different parts of your business and customers. Otherwise, you’d have to spend employee time identifying and communicating that information.
Because APIs reduce the time and money needed for tedious, administrative tasks, you can refocus those resources on what really matters to your business. Using APIs, you streamline your internal processes. You automate tasks that aren’t essential to your operations. That frees up time and money that you can use for your top priorities. Identify your business’s core needs and direct your newly recovered resources there. This prepares you for growth and improvement, propelling your business into the future.
Do you use shipping APIs? Let us know why in the comments.
Guest Post By: Nick Rojas
Nick Rojas is a self-taught, serial entrepreneur who’s enjoyed success working with and consulting for startups. Using his journalism training, Nick writes for publications such as Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. He concentrates on teaching small and medium-sized enterprises how best to manage their social media marketing and define their branding objectives.