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Why retailers are no longer building direct integrations


Written by David Renwick

Managing eCommerce fulfilment isn't exactly easy. On top of needing to source products, support customers and manage the financials, there’s the task of actually getting orders out to customers in a timely fashion. Not so simple!

Recall the typical process: Your team likely copy and paste new orders from your eCommerce platform (or platforms) into your courier service. Then, you send out the tracking code and take the relevant information back to your eCommerce platform.

There’s a problem with this so-called “direct integration” approach. For one it’s cumbersome, but it could also limit your efficiency and be extremely costly for the growth of your business.

In this article, we’re going to explore this issue in more detail, as well as the best solution.

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The problem with direct integrations

Firstly, let’s clarify what a direct integration is. You can classify a direct courier service integration in one of two ways:

  • An app built by a courier to connect your ecommerce platform to your courier account.
  • An integration built by you to connect your eCommerce platform to your courier.

This approach is often used when retailers are using one courier, but what happens when you want to bring a second courier service onboard? Or a third? This is when the problems of direct integrations start to show. Suddenly, you need to maintain multiple courier integrations and it’s a time-consuming process to add new couriers.

This is just one of the reasons many retailers are choosing now to avoid building direct integrations entirely. So, what’s the alternative?

Why retailers are no longer building direct integrations

Many retailers now opt to use a centralised piece of shipping software to manage their courier service integrations. There are a range of benefits to this approach, but primarily, using a dedicated platform means you’ll no longer need to build integrations yourself – you’ll only need to set up your courier accounts.

Here’s why retailers choose to use shipping software instead of using direct integrations:

1. Eliminate shipping admin

Shipping software sits “in the middle”, between your eCommerce platform and your courier services. Instead of copying and pasting orders, tracking codes and other details from your eCommerce platform (or platforms) to your couriers, your shipping software can manage imports and writebacks automatically.

2. Free up development time

Instead of developing custom integrations for each courier and eCommerce platform, shipping software has integrations that are ready to go. All you need to do is click “enable”.

For example, Starshipit features integrations with over 60+ leading couriers, eCommerce platforms and warehouse management systems. This means Australia Post, DHL, Fed Ex, Sendle, Uber, Shopify, WooCommerce, Cin7 and more.

Basically, you can spend less time building integrations with each platform and more time focused on the other parts of your business.

3. Be first to market with new courier services

When you’re no longer responsible for building direct integrations with different courier services, you can instead focus on growing your business. This also means you’ll be able to add new couriers whenever you like, allowing you to access new products. For example, Starshipit just recently added Uber, meaning you could add an on-demand shipping option with the click of a button.

4. Rely on the experts for support

When you use a dedicated shipping solution to manage your integrations, this also means you no longer need to support each integration yourself. If there’s a problem, you can simply reach out to the solution provider and use their support team to work through the issue. This can be a huge win during busy peak periods.

5. Switch different couriers on and off

Once you’ve enabled your different courier services, shipping software then gives you complete control over which couriers and products you wish to use. For example, if one courier isn’t performing during a busy period, simply assign your orders to a different courier. More on this below...

6. You can take advantage of shipping automation

Shipping software allows you to automate the most time-intensive parts of shipping. For example, with Starshipit’s rules engine, you can set up custom rules to fire when certain conditions are met. Let’s say you have orders coming in from a certain postcode, you might set up a rule to assign those orders to a specific courier. Or, you may want to apply free shipping to orders over a certain dollar value.

How you can use Starshipit to run your shipping and fulfilment

With Starshipit running your shipping and fulfilment, you’ll never need to build a direct integration again. Instead, you can focus on running your business. Here’s why leading retailers choose Starshipit – and some of the major benefits:

  • 🚚 Support for all major couriers – Starshipit supports all major couriers, including a huge range of domestic and international couriers, meaning you can get started in minutes.
  • 💻 One dashboard to manage your couriers – Manage your entire shipping operation – including your couriers – from one location. Make changes to your courier products, add new services and more.
  • 🤖 Automate your shipping with rules – Set up rules to save time and money every week. Automatically assign orders to certain couriers based on conditions and actions that you set.
  • 🔔 Shipping notifications and branded tracking – Create and manage your shipping notifications and branded tracking pages from one location, instead of hopping between different courier systems.
  • 🔙 Manage returns – Returns are a tricky thing to get right at the best of times. When you use Starshipit, you can set up a dedicated returns portal so customers can self-service returns.

Never build a direct integration again

If you’re thinking about how to best run your eCommerce business, then you’ll want to consider how a centralised shipping platform can help you save time and avoid needing to build (and manage) direct integrations.

Interested in seeing how Starshipit can help you to save time and money on every order? Try out platform for free for 30 days (no credit card required) or book a demo with one of our helpful team members.

You can also check out more of our case studies to see how other retailers have moved away from the direct integration approach to grow faster and deliver better experiences for their customers.

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David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Product Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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