Why Web 2.0 and Shipping Automation? Well people generally think of Web 2.0 Development as clean, modern design style, which is true, but it’s also about functionality that makes sites not only easier to use, but also easier to operate by automating tasks. So obviously if you’re shipping products yourself, say for example you have an e-commerce site, and all or some products are shipped by you instead of by a third party, you eventually need to package the products and print a label, no breaking news there. You could do it the old-fashioned way, which is charge the customer for shipping, knowing it’ll usually cover the cost of the carrier’s price, then go on the carrier’s site and print a shipping label. But this could become time-consuming once volume picks up, plus all of the carrier’s shipping prices fluctuate so if you’re not comparing shipping costs you could be overpaying in some cases.
What if there could be an automated shipping process? All of the shipping carrier’s realized that they needed to open up their systems so that websites can get real-time shipping information, which is why there is a UPS™ API, DHL™ API, USPS™ API, and a FedEx™ API. By the way, don’t let people tell you that there’s no way someone got the USPS API to work because “their technology isn’t as developed”, it’s not true, yes it’s more difficult, but after some back and forth with USPS, we got it to do what we wanted. Now back to automation, let’s say you have margins to charge for shipping, no more need to setup separate shipping types, a system integrated with all the Shipping APIs can let customers choose a shipping type (1 day, 3 days, 7 days, etc.) and then it’ll automatically check all the carriers and get the lowest priced label, then apply any margins you’ve setup (for example – increase shipping price by 10%). Then you get the order info and a ready to go shipping label. Just an example though, perhaps you have a special account with a carrier? Then you can use your account number and choose a setup with just one carrier. Lots of room for creativity in Web 2.0 Shipping Automation Development!