A shipping API gives companies greater flexibility by allowing programmers to integrate shipping functionality directly into your business systems or ecommerce website. You can customize the shipping application programming interface (API) for specific business needs and shipping carriers to improve fulfillment. 

Every business has its own unique challenges it needs to overcome for the best overall user experience and growth. Understanding the variables of an effective shipping strategy and what a shipping API can offer for your business can get you closer to long-term success.

How Do APIs Work?

“API” stands for Application Programming Interface. APIs allow two different applications to transfer information between one another and display this information to a user in a single interface. Generally speaking, APIs make it easier for developers to take advantage of and use certain technology in their applications. This is achieved by simplifying the programming and only providing developers with the actions they need.

Shipping APIs integrate with several carriers regionally and globally (USPS, FedEx, DHL, Royal Mail, etc) to provide multicarrier functionality and support. Instead of integrating with individual carriers, a shipping API only needs to integrate once to have access to the full carrier network.

For the most part, shipping APIs are used by ecommerce businesses to send orders to customers, allowing for many options that can meet many businesses’ requirements. Shipping APIs are the bridge that connects businesses with shippers and customers.

How Does Shipping Affect an Ecommerce Business?

When shopping online, the leading cause of shopping cart abandonment is extra costs (shipping, tax, fees) according to a study by the Baymard Institute. With more and more brands offering free shipping, why would a customer want to pay extra and wait longer for their products to arrive?

However, if stores offer discounted or free shipping, even if it means waiting additional days or shopping more to qualify, customers are more willing to go through checkout. To that end, some shipping APIs, such as ShipEngine, will have negotiated rates that significantly lower the cost of shipping. This allows businesses to provide the best shipping solutions and make sure products are shipped properly and arrive as fast as possible.

A reliable shipping and delivery API will help avoid errors and complications by managing customers’ orders from the moment the order is placed to when the package is delivered to their doorstep.

What Benefits Do Shipping APIs Offer?

1. Simplification.

A good API will provide you with a simple interface with minimal disruption so you can focus on growing your business.

2. Safe and reliable shipping.

By using shipping APIs, online businesses can insert shipping and delivery directly into their business model and fully automate the checkout process. Not only will this save the business time, but it will also provide a much better shopping experience for the customer.

3. Real-time shipping resources.

In a market where big companies like Amazon have set a high bar for the ecommerce experience, being able to leverage an integration with a variety of shipping carriers to get the best shipping options for your customers (cheaper, faster, etc.) is key.

Shipping API integrations include real-time quotes from many different carriers, allowing shoppers to choose the shipping method that works best for them.

4. Global address validation.

Regardless of shipping volume, failed deliveries and address change surcharges can damage a customer’s perception of your business and cut into your revenue. Address validation services will guarantee packages arrive at the correct destination the first time.

5. Real-time tracking.

Being able to track packages across various carriers and create tracking events to keep customers up to date is a valuable tool. It gives the customer greater insight into expected time of delivery as well as any unexpected issues that can happen during the shipping and delivery process.


Building an automated system to process orders and arrange shipping is necessary for store owners to focus on growing their business. And having all the information and tools to ensure the best shipping and delivery experience is possible with shipping APIs.

By using shipping APIs, you can streamline the whole process and make sure you stay ahead of your competition by easily shipping to numerous locations regionally and internationally.

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