Shipping API: An Overview
Shipping today is fragmented and opaque, and unfortunately most shipping API’s perpetuate that experience.
- Shipping API’s typically return quotes rather than rates, which introduces risk into pricing.
- Many don’t consider packing costs in their quote returns, making the landed cost non-transparent.
- Most shipping API’s don’t aggregate multiple modes, thus limiting service and cost options.
- They lack visibility into shipment status. Without updates between pickup and delivery, sellers and their customers are left in the dark.
eCommerce retailers are in the middle of a shift in the online consumers’ demands for fulfillment and delivery. This shift is showing the emergence of the “on-demand shopper” that expects items in their hands immediately via same-day delivery. Industry leaders call this the Amazon Syndrome, which is defined as the set of online buyers’ expectations that “shipping should be free” and “delivery should be instant”. As it happens, the Amazon Syndrome is so prevalent that Amazon has escalated their famous Prime shipping subscription service to a potential program referred to as “Prime Now”. The evidence of this new service is Amazon leasing a new warehouse outside of Boston, which hints at same-day delivery (within one-hour) in the Boston area.
What does it cost to ship? From the outside, the question seems innocent, innocuous even. Our world revolves around costs, so how could they be so difficult to determine? Every day people are easily accessing and comparing the costs of new cars, real estate, electronics, cupcakes, airfare, groceries and gasoline. So shouldn’t it be easy to access the same information about the full cost of shipping?
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