As online retail grows at an unprecedented rate, businesses prioritizing streamlined shipping processes through effective integrations are more likely to retain customers and gain a competitive edge.
It's no secret that shipping is a significant part of ecommerce, and it's only become more critical over the last decade. With increasing consumer demand for faster delivery times and better customer experience, shipping integration is essential for businesses to remain competitive.
In this guide, we will explore what shipping integration is and how it can benefit your ecommerce business. We'll look at shipping integration software, the benefits of shipping integration, and potential challenges you may encounter.
Finally, we will outline how Extensiv Integration Manager can cover your shipping integration needs and set your business up for success.
What is Shipping Integration?
A shipping integration software solution enables businesses to connect an order source, such as a shopping cart or order management system (OMS), with a shipping carrier or platform. The integration facilitates the transfer of order data and shipping information between the two systems, allowing businesses to manage their shipping processes more efficiently and effectively.
A shipping integration can automate the entire shipping process, from generating shipping labels and tracking packages to updating order status and handling returns. It can also provide real-time visibility into shipping costs and delivery times, helping businesses make more informed decisions about their shipping strategies and reducing the risk of errors or delays.
Why Ecommerce Businesses and 3PLs Need Shipping Integrations
Effective shipping integration allows ecommerce businesses, brands, and third-party logistics (3PL) providers to gain control over their shipping process through automation and pinpoint accuracy. As a result, integration can have a widespread positive impact on various aspects of your business.
One of the most apparent reasons ecommerce businesses and 3PLs need shipping integrations is to streamline operations.
Shipping integrations streamline operations and reduce manual tasks, significantly reducing the time it takes to fulfill orders and resulting in faster shipping times. For example, shipping labels can be automatically printed once an order is packed. Additionally, the automated shipping process can minimize errors, reduce costs associated with manual labor, and improve customer service, which can help you increase profitability by streamlining your shipping operations and increasing customer satisfaction.
Integration also simplifies the entire process, from inventory management to billing. For example, automating the shipping process makes it easier for ecommerce businesses and 3PLs to track orders, provide visibility over the entire shipping process, and give customers comprehensive shipping information in real-time.
Expand Warehouse Capacity
Another critical benefit of shipping integration is the ability to expand warehouse capacity.
By integrating with shipping platforms, ecommerce businesses and 3PLs can increase their warehouse capacity and handle more orders as shipping integrations can reduce the time it takes to pick, pack, and ship orders, freeing up capacity for other tasks. Additionally, shipping integrations can help improve inventory management by providing real-time visibility into stock levels and shipping status. Warehouse managers can utilize this to optimize their inventory levels and reduce the need for excess storage space.
Expanding your warehouse capacity can enable you to store more products, ship more orders, and reach a broader range of customers, increasing sales and profitability for your business.
Increase Geographic Reach
Shipping integrations allow ecommerce businesses and 3PLs to expand their geographic reach.
Integrating with shipping platforms gives you access to multiple carriers and shipping options that increase your ability to reach customers in different regions. For example, if one carrier doesn't deliver to a particular area, another carrier may have better coverage of that region. Furthermore, providing real-time shipping rates to customers based on their location can help make your shipping more affordable and competitive. This can increase your ability to reach customers in different regions looking for competitive shipping options.
Expanding into other geographic regions is one of the fastest and most effective ways to increase sales and grow your business.
The Benefits of Shipping Integrations
Shipping integrations have a wide range of functionality that has benefits across the board for your business.
Reduce Manual Data Entry
The most obvious benefit is the reduction of manual data entry. Automating the shipping process eliminates the need for manual data entry, saving time and resources.
Integration also eliminates the need for manual handling and sorting of orders, which can decrease the time needed to ship out orders, leading to faster shipping times and improved consumer experience.
Additionally, removing the need for manual data entry allows you to reallocate human resources to other business areas, such as marketing and customer service.
Batch-Process Ready-To-Ship Orders
Another advantage of shipping integration is the ability to batch-process ready-to-ship orders. Batch processing allows ecommerce businesses and 3PLs to efficiently process and ship multiple orders simultaneously, reducing the time needed to fulfill and ship orders.
Reduce Order Cycle Time
Ecommerce shipping integration can also significantly reduce order cycle time. By automating the entire process, ecommerce businesses and 3PLs can reduce the time it takes to ship orders, resulting in faster customer shipping times without changing their operations.
How Does Shipping Integration Work?
Shipping integrations download order information from an order source, such as a shopping cart or OMS, and upload it to the shipping platform. After the order is packed and shipped, the shipping platform automatically retrieves tracking information and transfers it back to the original source.
Once integrated, the software can automatically route orders to the best shipping carrier and the lowest cost option for the desired destination, provide tracking information to customers and other stakeholders in real time, and automate various aspects of the shipping process.
Shipping integration helps you get the same work done in less time.
The Best Shipping Integrations for Ecommerce Fulfillment
Ecommerce fulfillment can be complex and challenging with many different steps from order placement to final delivery. However, with the right integrations, ecommerce businesses can streamline their fulfillment operations and improve overall efficiency.
These are some of the best shipping integrations available:
By integrating with ShipStation, Extensiv helps shipping managers efficiently manage their shipping and order fulfillment processes. With ShipStation, merchants can automate shipping labels and tracking information, saving time and reducing errors. Access to real-time shipping rates allows merchants to offer customers accurate and competitive shipping options. Additionally, you can track shipping and fulfillment metrics through ShipStation's reporting & insights tools.
Extensiv's DesktopShipper integration provides a simple and efficient way to manage shipping and fulfillment processes. With this integration, merchants can easily print shipping labels and packing slips while eliminating data entry. The integration also allows merchants to automate shipping workflows and track shipments easily. Additionally, the DesktopShipper integration integrates with various carriers, giving merchants access to a wide range of shipping options and rates.
With Extensiv's Shippo integration, merchants can utilize a powerful, flexible shipping and fulfillment solution. Access to discounted shipping rates from various carriers makes it easy to offer affordable shipping options to their customers. The integration also includes automated tracking and returns management, streamlining the shipping process. Additionally, Shippo's reporting and analytics tools allow merchants to gain insights into their shipping and fulfillment performance, enabling them to make data-driven decisions to optimize their operations.
Streamline Fulfillment Operations with Extensiv's Shipping Integrations
Extensiv's shipping integrations provide ecommerce businesses and 3PLs with the tools to streamline fulfillment operations. There is a wide range of integrations to choose from in our integration library, and we're happy to provide you with the best shipping tips to help you scale your business.
Our integrations are easy to use, and you can immediately take advantage of features such as automated order routing, label printing, shipping rates comparison, and tracking visibility.
With Extensiv's shipping integrations, you can save time, money, and resources while providing better customer service. Let us help you take your ecommerce business to the next level. Contact us today to learn more about our shipping integrations.