Written by Starshipit
Consider the magic of the shipping process from the eyes of your customers. They place an order for a product online, typically pick from a range of shipping options and then receive their package soon after.
To them, it seems simple and effortless. After all, as science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.
With eCommerce shipping, there’s often always a bespoke shipping solution powering the shipping process and shaving hours off order times every week – not to mention hours of staff time.
But even the best shipping apps need some help, however, and that’s what we’re going to explore in this article. We’re going to look at why it’s so important to power your shipping solution with the right apps and integrations.
Unfortunately, there’s no rule for what a good shipping app or integration looks like. Depending on the needs of your business, the ideal app or integration for your bespoke shipping app will differ. However, there are some guidelines you can keep in mind when assessing different options.
Apps and integrations should easily integrate with your chosen shipping solution. Or, if a simple integration isn’t available, they should offer an API so you can build the bridge yourself.
It’s also worth doing some research. What are the reviews like for the app or integration you’re looking for? How well does it work with other types of software or platforms? It’s worth looking at Shopify integrations to gauge how useful a particular offering is. Chances are, if it’s on the Shopify App Store, it meets a minimum quality bar and you’ll be able to read reviews.
While we think Starshipit comes close, there’s no magic solution to handle the entire shipping process for your business. Even the best shipping apps require integrations and other apps to round out your bespoke shipping app and create a powerful shipping process.
What do we mean by this? Well, a great shipping strategy requires a shipping tech stack – meaning you have a powerful shipping app which you take even further by plugging in other apps and integrations.
You might integrate your shipping app with your eCommerce platform so that whenever a customer buys a product, the order immediately appears in your shipping app.
Then, you could integrate with several courier partners to give your customers a choice at checkout, and to automate the process of getting your orders out to customers.
But don't just limit yourself to eCommerce platform and courier integrations – the right shipping software should be able to link up with the other core pieces of software you use every day. Whether it’s your accounting platform, warehouse management tool or even your transport management system, when your software is communicating, you’ll find everything runs much more smoothly.
The core idea here is interoperability. You should be able to take the best shipping app for your business and mix and match other pieces of software as your business evolves. Your software needs will evolve as you grow, and your shipping solution should never be the bottleneck.
With all this mind, which apps and integrations should you focus on to empower your bespoke shipping app? This is where things get a little tricky. An eCommerce app that works for one small retailer may not work for a drop shipper. WooCommerce might be a good option for a business with a little more technical know-how, whereas another business might be better off with Amazon.
Basically, there’s little point making specific recommendations on apps and integrations for your business. Instead, we’re going to explore some of the main categories that we think you should consider. Starshipit customers will also know that they can get in touch with us at any time to talk through the integrations that might work for their business.
We need to start off with the core piece of software. While there are several shipping apps available, we truly believe Starshipit is the most flexible and interoperable option for businesses of all ages and stages. Starshipit has a massive number of integrations, and also includes a dynamic API to integrate with any piece of software your business requires. With Starshipit, you’ll have a reliable foundation for your shipping process.
You’ve got your shipping app set up – now it’s time to integrate your couriers. Being able to negotiate your own courier rates and then integrate your couriers with your shipping app allows you to simplify your shipping process. You can create rules for location, weight, SKY and shipping method to easily automate your delivery processes.
Next, you need to plug your eCommerce platform in. In doing so, you can automate the order process. Whenever a customer places an order, you can automatically move it across to your shipping platform. With Starshipit, you can even bulk print shipping labels and complete shipping documentation – this works even for international shipments!
You’ve now got your shipping platform, couriers and eCommerce platform talking to each other. It’s time to round out the set by pulling in your inventory and warehouse management systems. In doing so, you’ll have a complete view of your entire shipping process, and be able to easily identify areas of improvement and bottlenecks.
Lastly, integrating an account platform can give you that much more detail with respect to the financial side of your shipping operations. As we mentioned above, it’s all about visibility.
And what about that one piece of software that never seems to be supported? That’s where a dynamic API comes into play. Simple integrations with your bespoke shipping app are undoubtedly the easiest way to go, but a robust API means you can integrate whichever piece of software you require with your shipping platform.
No matter which apps and integrations you choose to power your shipping process, make sure you’ve got a powerful shipping solution at the heart of it all.
While it’s true that every stage of the eCommerce journey matters for your business, shipping is the part that matters most for your customers. Get the shipping process right and you’ll create loyal customers that will want to return to your business time and again.
Take Starshipit for a spin free for 30 days and see just how well it works with the other apps and services you rely on every day. If you’ve got any questions, we’d love to talk to you.