API Tracking

API tracking could be the boost that your fulfillment and returns operation needs to level up your success. API tracking adds both data and personalization to your customers so that you can offer a branded experience and up-to-date information throughout the entire buyer’s journey, keeping customers loyal and satisfied.


With the ShipEngine shipment tracking API, your customers get access to real-time tracking and delivery notifications so they can be up-to-date on exactly when their package will arrive—no surprises offers them peace of mind. Rather than subject your customers to black-box carriers, you can provide the ultra-precise data they crave and have come to expect in today’s info-heavy world.

With a custom branded portal via ShipEngine, your customers are led through a seamless experience that bypasses clunky (and ugly) generic carrier interfaces and instead puts your brand and the trust you’ve built with your customers front and center. Customers report having more satisfying experiences when the data is provided by the company they are shopping with rather than an unknown third party. Even better, when you use ShipEngine for your shipping API tracking, you can keep the brand experience cohesive not only on your tracking pages but throughout the entire process, all the way down to welcomed details like customizable labels. 

To sweeten the deal even further, with ShipEngine, you can view data on any platform using webhooks for precise tracking information from anywhere.

Besides boosting customer satisfaction through custom branding and real-time shipping updates, a well-functioning API offers business benefits from a variety of angles that save both time and money. In our post How a Shipping API Helps Automate Fulfillment and Save Money,  you can explore some of the broader positive impacts of implementing API tracking.

How API Tracking Works

Using an API for shipment tracking might sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple! Shipment tracking starts from the moment a customer places an order.

Once an order is placed, it’s time to decide on a carrier. Of course, not all carriers deliver everywhere or at the same pace, so inputting shipping criteria such as address and required timing will narrow down the list of carrier options. After the sender and recipient information are filled as well as info about the shipment itself such as weight and volume, then the API can get to work automatically retrieving the best shipping rates available.

If you favor specific carriers, you can narrow this list down to those options and retrieve rates only from those carriers. For example, if you only want to compare USPS, UPS, and FedEx without any information from other providers, you can compare that list to quickly choose the best, most affordable, and speediest option for shipping. 

API tracking makes this process simple, fast, and automated, so no one has to waste time manually inputting information into various carrier websites just like, as we’ll discover in a moment, no one will need to manually pull tracking data either—the API handles everything flawlessly on its own with no room for costly human error.

Once the carrier is chosen, then a shipping label is printed so the package can be on its way to its destination. This shipping label will contain a unique ID linked to important data about the package including its pickup and destination locations.  Remember, with the ShipEngine API, your packages can sport custom labeling to continue your customers’ branded experience through the shipping process and beyond, even once it arrives on their doorstep.

As your customer’s package makes its journey toward its destination, the shipping label will be scanned at each stop. With API tracking, the API is used to pull this data directly from the carriers. This data will supply consistent updates about the package’s whereabouts which will then be accessible to your customer to view via your custom-branded package tracking portal.

ShipEngine’s robust tracking API offers access to rates from 30 carriers and helps you streamline the entire shipping management system of your eCommerce business.

API Tracking Streamlines the Return Process

API tracking is beneficial for more than getting packages (and info!) to customers simply and affordably, it’s also a great help in the returns process. Even businesses with perfect quality control, fast shipping, and accurate order-picking will still get returns. Whether a customer has ordered the wrong item, ordered too many of an item, or simply changed their mind about their selection, customers who need to make a return should be offered the same seamless experience and smooth user experience as they enjoyed during the shipping process. 

With the ShipEngine tracking API, you can view return shipments from customers with the same precision and accuracy as your customers experienced when you sent the package to them. Get real-time updates at each hop en route so you know exactly when returned packages will be arriving back at the facility. Using a tracking API to streamline the returns process:

  • Reduces time and energy spent managing returns
  • Automates data collection and syncs return information
  • Determine the status of return requests instantly
  • Reduces the possibility of  human administrative error

Modern API Tracking for Any Business

API tracking supports ecommerce businesses of all sizes by automatically pulling data such as shipping rates and package location without the need to visit carrier websites. API tracking also supports a more customizable, brandable experience to enhance customer loyalty by keeping them in your domain throughout the entire buying and shipping process—returns included. Automated data sharing reduces human error as well as the time and energy needed to process shipments and returns, so your business’s resources can be put towards new channels for growth. 

Want to find out if ShipEngine’s shipment tracking API is a good fit for you and your business? Explore our Who We Help page to find out if we’re a good fit or reach out to us anytime to discuss your specific use case! 

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