6 eCommerce Benefits of Shipping APIs in 2020
Shipping is one of the biggest struggles for any eCommerce store owner, learn how shipping APIs can improve your customer experience and bottom line.
In today’s evolving e-commerce environment, a customer-centric philosophy is what will ensure any successful business can maintain a competitive advantage.
A 2019 study found that a brand’s shipping experience can be just as important as the quality of its products.
The study showed 75 percent of patrons have abandoned an online purchase and nearly 60 percent have forgone certain retailers entirely as a result of poor shipping experiences. Even so, the symbiotic relationship between the shipping and purchasing experience remains an afterthought for many retailers. Technological advancements have infiltrated almost all aspects of consumer life and play a significant role in almost any industry, and as a result, customer expectations are at an all-time high. This article will discuss some of the different benefits of integrating shipping APIs into your e-commerce strategy.
An API or an “application programming interface”, is an intermediary software that serves as the perfect automation tool for almost any e-commerce business processes, especially shipping. Integrating shipping APIs will undoubtedly improve customer relationships, keep your business in tune with shipping trends in 2020 and simplify your overall business operations, making for an easier, enjoyable and more valuable customer experience.
1. Solve Abandonment Issues
Checkout abandonment issues are a plague that many eCommerce businesses deal with today. A large portion of these customers lost in the checkout process give up because of complicated or unsatisfactory shipping experience. Some online retailers make the mistake of viewing transaction forms as a formality because the customer has already made it this far. However, consistency, simplicity, efficiency is highly valued at this stage. Lengthy, over-complicated payment and shipping forms are a quick recipe for a fed-up customer and a swiftly abandoned cart. Using APIs can prevent them from abandoning their cart by offering the widest selection and best deals on rates for any customer’s needs.
2. Provide a Branded Experience
Being able to create a well-branded experience at every touchpoint of the customer journey helps foster customer loyalty and build brand recognition. APIs offer the ability to print your businesses’ branding or logos on carrier-approved shipping labels. A great example of ways businesses are now extending their branding is the signature Amazon smile on the side of every amazon package. Not only does it make an impression, but it also informs customers what exactly is sitting at their door before even opening.
3. Validate Addresses
Any failed or delayed deliveries or address changes can negatively affect your reputation. APIs offer address validation which guarantees that packages arrive at the correct destination on the first try. The website submits a request using the API to confirm the customer’s address is entered correctly and identify any potential deliverability issues. If anything is invalid or incomplete the shopper will have the opportunity to correct it before completing the order. This eliminates the costs of redoing packaging or any other incorrect delivery labels and documents.
4. Multi-carrier Functionality
The ability to customize shipping functionality for your specific needs will help your company improve workflow and efficiency. There are several popular options when it comes to shipping carriers and each offers different unique advantages. For example, FedEx is best known for speedy deliveries and offering next-day shipping options. However, UPS offers a much larger global presence, which allows them to eliminate unnecessary routing through different companies. So an online retailer it’s in your best interest to be able to partner with multiple carriers. APIs allow the sharing of information between multiple sources so that you can access information and create standardized labels.
5. Live Pricing and Tracking Options.
Making sure you can offer the most reliable and up-to-date information is important for any business owner. A shipping API integration offers you and your customer’s real-time quotes from many different carriers, allowing shoppers to choose the shipping method they prefer based on live shipping rates. Consumers love being kept in the loop, and APIs can help seamlessly track packages across various carriers as well as update them on the delivery status. Accommodating the shipping preferences that best suit your customer’s needs provides a high level of value to your audience and will inspire loyalty.
6. Offering Efficient Returns
Yet another way shipping APIs can help accommodate online consumers is by providing cheaper and even free returns. Pay on use return offer customers and easy return option without charging merchants for labels that go unused. The increasingly popular try-at-home features and pre-paid return programs are helping compete with brick and mortar sellers. Including these return labels in all outbound packages makes it even easier for customers to quickly send in returns.
In 2020 there will undoubtedly be even more opportunities we predict more opportunities for small businesses to compete with these big-brand experiences. Familiarizing yourself with the mentioned benefits of APIs will surely keep you ahead of the curve. Shipping APIs act as an invaluable behind-the-scenes conduit between customers and couriers and distribution centers. Your specific business will have unique challenges to overcome in order to provide the best user experience, but any great businessman knows it’s not just about making the sale, it’s about cultivating valuable relationships and exceeding expectations. Mastering the variables of an effective and efficient shipping strategy can help you increase profitability, improve relationships and get your business one step closer to long-term success.