Shipping APIs Even the Playing Field for Small-to-Mid Size Retailers


Shipping APIs even the playing field for small-to-mid size retailers

Learn how Shipping APIs can seamlessly plug into the ecommerce platforms to help manage your business.

Any smart retailer knows it pays to have a mix of shipping carriers at their fingertips to maximize the benefits of each. The U.S. Postal Service® is an important one to have in your arsenal. Even the national players, like UPS and FedEx, rely on the USPS® for its unique benefits, such as efficient last-mile delivery.

At the same time, managing shipments for multiple carriers can be challenging, especially for the small- and mid-size retailers who may not have the budget to spend on hefty software suites intended for warehouse-sized distribution centers.

Fortunately, there is an easy solution: Shipping APIs that seamlessly plug into the ecommerce platforms you already use to manage your business that can also help you organize USPS shipments right alongside UPS and FedEx packages.

The Pitney Bowes Commerce Cloud offers a full suite of cloud-based solutions, analytics and APIs to help businesses crack the code behind global commerce. These solutions extend enterprise capabilities to small businesses, said James Fairweather, SVP and CTO, Commerce Services at Pitney Bowes.

“Our strategic goal is to offer everything we were doing historically for our larger clients, but on a modern platform that would allow us to support a wider range of customers and deliver new functions faster through APIs,” Fairweather said.

Here are some of the benefits of using the Pitney Bowes shipping API to manage USPS shipping in your ecommerce platform.

Multi-Carrier Shipping is Efficient and Effective

Working with more than one carrier is one of the easiest ways to save money on shipping costs while also maximizing your ability to meet your customers’ delivery expectations. Successful multi-carrier strategies take advantage of the differing strengths and skills of each carrier, whether it’s the UPS’s ability to ship larger parcels, FedEx’s overnight shipping or the USPS’s last-mile expertise.

For small to mid-size retailers, managing your carriers through a third-party solution via an API has the added benefit of providing the negotiating clout of larger enterprises without having to negotiate shipping costs or agreements directly with each carrier. Merchants using the Pitney Bowes API gain access to Commercial Plus pricing, which offers significant discounts for retailers compared to the Retail pricing or even standard Commercial pricing.

Simply put, it’s all about thinking of shipping as strategy.

Guaranteed Delivery for Priority Mail

The USPS offers delivery estimates for parcels sent via Priority Mail®. Based on the “ship to” and “ship from” ZIP codes, a package may arrive to its receipt in one, two or three days. That’s useful for retailers who want to be transparent with their customers about when a package will arrive, but it’s still just an estimate.

Pitney Bowes offers even more peace of mind by providing a 3-day guarantee on all Priority Mail shipments sent in the continental United States. If the package doesn’t arrive in 3 days or fewer, we’ll provide a rebate for the shipping cost. Details on Delivery Guarantee can be found here.

Flexibility in How You Pay for Postage

Cash flow is a concern for any business, but especially smaller retailers on a tight budget. The USPS requires you to pay for all postage in advance, which often means buying postage in bulk and hoping it covers you through the ups and downs of retail business.

But, what happens if a particular product goes viral, and suddenly you have to ship much more product than you predicted? You may suddenly have to purchase a lot more postage on the spot, an added cost that could immediately eat into all that new incoming revenue, money that you’d otherwise spend on replenishing inventory to keep up with new demand.

It’s simply better business to invest in your core competency – being a retailer – than in shipping. Retailers who use the Pitney Bowes shipping API can do just that, because they have access to a line of credit through Pitney Bowes Global Financial Services, our fully FDIC-insured bank.

A line of credit allows retailers to ride the ebbs and flows of business without having to shell out capital on the spot to pay for postage. If sudden demand creates a surge in shipments, you can pay for postage through your Pitney Bowes account, and take care of the expense next month.

At the end of the day, small- and-mid-sized retailers are faced with slim margins and pressure to keep up with fast-moving competitors. The Pitney Bowes shipping API empowers these retailers with the operational and financial flexibility of larger merchants, so that they can ship with confidence.

Shipping is a cost of doing business today, no matter how large or small a business may be. Read this Forbes Insights report to learn the art and the science behind effective, efficient shipping.