Achieving best-in-class shipping practices is one of the biggest challenges for eTailers. Integrating with USPS, UPS and FedEx technologies, implementing real-time rates, and tracking and communicating order status are among the shipping issues facing online retailers today.
Teespring, an online service that enables individuals and organizations to create and sell custom T-shirts, recently implemented a shipping API from EasyPost to streamline shipping functions. The platform handles the entire e-Commerce order process, including T-shirt manufacturing, customer service and shipping/delivery.
Previously, the eTailer struggled with shipping-related error messages, outdated documentation, outmoded third-party systems, and lack of flexibility to scale shipping tasks properly. The API implementation alleviated shipping challenges, reduced hours dedicated to shipping and facilitated expansion.
The custom T-shirt producer has reduced shipping engineering “from one full-time person to a couple hours a week,” said Walker Williams, CEO at Teespring, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We integrated international shipping within a few hours, as opposed to the weeks it would have taken us. We also can monitor and update a customer on shipment status, and can include this information in marketing emails as well as on our site.”
In addition, by leveraging the EasyPost modular codebase, Teespring has expanded product offerings without shipping scale issues. In fact, Teespring has “more than doubled shipments” with the API, reported Williams, with growth “still going strong.”
The EasyPost API provides seamless access to a number of carriers, including FedEx, FedEx International, USPS, USPS International, UPS and UPS International. The interface provides address verification, rate calls, batch label generation, refunds, tracking, insurance and more.
Teespring implemented the API solution in June 2013, after experiencing challenges in working with the carriers. “The existing APIs for the carriers are unwieldy, to put it nicely,” Williams stated. “We had an engineer working full time just to be able to purchase shipping labels more easily. Additionally, as our volume grew, we needed to scale our integrations to the carriers, which took up more time. We also had to provide an international shipping function, which entailed equally complex integration.”
Furthermore, Teespring wanted to be notified when package statuses changed, instead of continually pinging carrier APIs. “Using the EasyPost API, we receive these changes automatically and can send out marketing emails with tracking statuses, instead of driving customers to the carriers’ sites,” said Williams. “The amount of work our engineering department has been able to tackle, once it wasn’t focused on shipping, has also been a benefit.”
Amazon Pushes eTailers To Improve Shipping Services
Amazon has set an incredibly high bar for a long time now, Williams noted. “Amazon’s significant edge is the shipping experience, such that 20 million Americans are Prime members. That’s how important shipping is to the experience.”
Williams added that Amazon already offers free standard shipping on goods over $35, and many customers willingly pay for faster shipping. “In addition, there’s been incredible growth in e-Commerce. More people are buying more goods online, which increases the competition in the shipping experience.”
The EasyPost implementation, compared to the direct integrations Teespring had already done, “was dead simple,” Williams said. The company has “by far the broadest breadth of services, from tracking and international to niche shipping options for high-volume shippers like us. Features like these continue to increase our quality of shipping, which means greater customer satisfaction. At the same time we can decrease the amount of time we spend on shipping, which allows us to focus on the rest of our online experience.”