In an increasingly automated world, more and more companies are being forced by their consumers to provide instant results for their demands. This includes everything from streaming media, instant data, and even faster shipping so people can get their products quicker. And, if people don’t receive their products instantly, other businesses can suffer. This costs them money, which can cost people their livelihood.
To make sure products arrive on time, more companies are starting to rely on shipping application programming interfaces (APIs). These shipping API help enhance and streamline the shipping process for consumers. It also improves the shipping process from the vendor’s side by making it efficient and stress-free.
If you work with a business that needs to improve its shipping methods, but they’re hesitant to deploy new solutions, don’t worry.
We have 7 reasons why more and more businesses are switching to Shipping API.
Lower Shipping Costs
When it comes to business, most companies are worried about the bottom line, i.e. how much money they are forced to invest in any one process. If the company is conducting a massive amount of shipments, then the bottom line can be exorbitant.
That’s why many businesses are using shipping API: to lower shipping costs. In a study conducted by the Baymard Institute, experts found that extra costs like shipping, taxes, and fees were the top reason customers ended up abandoning their online shopping carts. To reduce abandonment rates, any business that wants to remain competitive in the current business environment must seriously consider lowering shipping costs.
Shipping API like ShipEngine can offer negotiated rates with many different carriers across the United States. By customizing results based on the client and the carrier, this can dramatically lower the cost of shipping. This can end up saving businesses money, saving the consumer money, and also help drastically improve the customer retention rate. ShipEngine, for example, can save businesses up to 40% off USPS postage and up to 29% off FedEx.
Shipping API also allows you to transfer over your own negotiated carrier rates if you prefer. This should free you to secure the best rates possible for your business.
Flexibility and Versatility
Shipping API can quickly display many shipping options to a customer. Customers like to tailor their shipping preferences to prioritize their time and budget. With the proper API integration, they can sort prices according to speed, cost, and/or security. By offering this specific customization, you can improve loyalty to the brand, which could improve customer retention rates for your company.
Shipping API can also compare speed, cost, and security options automatically. For example, if a customer wants to ship a fragile piece of equipment quickly, an API can generate multiple price estimates from different carriers. Based on the instant data, they can pick the right one for them and ship quickly. This ultimately provides the customer with the right options to fit their needs and increase their satisfaction.
Shipping API can provide discounted shipping insurance, allowing businesses and their customers greater peace of mind while cutting costs. For instance, shipping API enables businesses to ensure packages for just 1% of their total declared value. For businesses dealing with bulk shipments, this can save a tremendous amount of money by cutting costs and negotiating insurance rates.
Shipping API help businesses cut down on costs by validating addresses and tracking shipment instantly. APIs check addresses by referencing multiple databases, ensuring that an address is accurate.
Checking and validating addresses performs two functions. It protects against extra shipping costs required to correct an erroneous address, which raises the costs of operations and could force the customer to pay even more for their product. Validating addresses also improves customer satisfaction, preventing fiascos that result from undelivered packages.
Once an address is validated, shipping API can empower businesses to keep track of packages every step of the way. For critical shipments that need to arrive at a location ASAP, both carrier and customers need to be able to track packages to give updates at will. APIs like ShipEngine track packages automatically and for free, using various carriers to gather data about package location.
Specialization & Maintenance
Outsourcing technology to a Shipping API shifts maintenance and problem-solving to the hands of experts. In the past, many companies would have to rely on an in-house system of experts. The expertise could vary wildly as well, not to mention the costs of training experts to deal with unique pieces of technology.
Rather than having to develop a system in-house, training employees to use cumbersome technology and navigate various problems, a business can rest easy knowing that specialists are handling their system. Maintenance experts can be on call from anywhere in the world, allowing the best of the best to deal with any problem. Moreover, if something goes wrong with the API, there’s a team of experts waiting to fix the system. This takes the pressure off the business to solve sudden crises and ensures that their system runs more seamlessly.
Avoiding the Alternatives
Other technologies used in place of shipping API are slow, inefficient, and ultimately cost companies more money. A 2016 study of supply chain executives found that 85% were using electronic data interchange, also known as EDI. EDI relies on a system of computer-to-computer transfers, which can be considered an outdated and cumbersome technology. However, 43% of those using EDI were frustrated with its performance and 55% felt that APIs could be a feasible replacement.
Many think that it’s time to replace EDI and other old technologies. The technical problems with EDI increase the overall cost of shipping and waste employees’ time. To explain, EDI storage processes cause simple tasks like sending a package to take anywhere between 30 and 120 minutes. A delay that long increases the chance of missed pickups. A missed pickup can require more calls and emails to manage processes. This sort of inefficiency squanders employee hours on low-value tasks rather than on value-generating activities, costing companies huge sums of money.