Courier companies and third party service providers are stepping up to meet the rising demand of delivery fulfillment pouring out of the ecommerce sector. While major courier companies are offering direct ecommerce integration, some of the smaller service providers are yet to do the same, often because their main goal is to keep costs down wherever possible.
With your product's delivery needs assessed, you can now consider the best way to integrate courier solutions into your site.
If you’re running a small ecommerce business with a low sales volume and you’re still finding your feet, you may be manually sourcing courier services per sale with an approximate of what it will cost built into your markup. It may also be that you run a brick and mortar store where products are usually picked up on site with logistics arrangements as an afterthought. In either case, it is highly recommended that you move away from this practice as soon as possible.
Integrating shipping fees and courier services directly into your checkout process not only helps you better understand what your product costs to customers, but also adds a sense of transparency that helps customers build trust with your brand.
When customers have to pay separately to have their product delivered, it feels like a hidden cost that they did not agree to, which reflects poorly on your brand. Most importantly, it can be time intensive and even costly (if you’re unable to spend an hour or two comparing quotes), and perhaps even altogether unnecessary.
Many courier companies will provide a free plugin for your online store, meaning that all it takes is finding the right company for you and following the directions they provide.
Platform Specific Integration
If you’re using Wix, Shopify or Wordpress for your online store, platform specific plugins are most likely the best solution for you. Courier companies and solutions are likely to provide easy to use plugins that will have you up and running quickly and effectively. They will provide all functionality, integrated into your checkout process.
Most courier solutions will provide this service for the big ecommerce platforms, but some traditional couriers will not. Before selecting a courier company to partner with, be sure to check whether they are ecommerce friendly. This functionality should be considered a higher priority than overall price, as without it, you’ll have to return to the time intensive manual courier management which will ultimately deter your business’ ability to scale.
APIs are more complex than platform specific integrations, but this extra complexity usually has the payoff of more versatility. The main motivation for choosing the API route is its ability to integrate into any website, even those built from the ground up as opposed to a site built on a siting building platform.
If you’re still finding your feet in the world of ecommerce, it’s unlikely you’ll need to go this route as you will need to hire a developer to set this up for you. If you have big plans to scale quickly and have capital available to lay down this infrastructure, you might find APIs useful because you won’t need to switch to this form of integration later down the line when your business scales up to enterprise level.