The best shipping API does all the above, integrating seamlessly into your existing software while offering exceptional documentation that is easy to navigate.
What’s the best shipping API for your business? Only you and your team can ultimately answer that question, but there are 5 things that any company should consider as it evaluates options:
- Features: The best shipping APIs offer a robust, customizable solution.
- Carriers: The more carrier integrations, the better.
- Scalability: Your business will grow over time. Find a shipping API that can scale along with your business.
- Support: A shipping API’s support should go beyond a simple guide.
- Technology: The best shipping APIs offer dev resources that expedite the integration process.
At ShipEngine, we recently publishing an e-book titled “How to Choose the Best Shipping API.” This e-book includes deep dives into the 5 categories listed above.
For example, the section on features includes an in-depth rundown of label creation and the different ways that shipping APIs can generate labels and then make them available. Some companies may need to generate labels and download them at a later date, while others may need to generate labels and download them immediately. This is where the “customizable” part of a shipping API comes into play — the best shipping API for your business is the one that lets you generate and download labels in a way that fits into your existing workflows and processes.
Shipping API Checklist
The e-book includes a shipping API checklist, too. Have this list of questions ready when discussing features and benefits of a shipping API with an onboarding specialist:
- Can I integrate shipping functionality into my app, website, or order management system?
- Can I create both outbound and return labels?
- Can I send real-time tracking updates?
- Does this API verify, correct, and standardize recipient addresses?
- Can I connect all of my carrier accounts to the shipping API?
- Are there any regional carriers that you offer that can grow my business?
- Does this API support features like end of day manifesting and customs forms creation?
- Does this API offer negotiated rates with any carrier partners?
- What is the pricing structure? If there are multiple pricing options, which is best for my business needs?
- What is the subsecond speed at which a single API call takes to be made?
- What is the API’s rate limit? How many calls can I make per minute/hour?
- Can my rate limit be increased should my volume increase?
Support & Technology
- Do you offer a sandboxing test account? If so, is it complimentary?
- How many support channels are there? Chat, email, phone support, etc.
- How robust is the developer guide and other documentation?
- Are there any SDKs (Soware Development Kits) that help expedite the integration process?
The “How to Choose the Best Shipping API” is ready for download. Get your copy here.
And, if you want to talk to an expert about shipping and APIs that might work for your business, get in touch with us.