Shipping Integration: A Competitive Advantage
Matthew Fontaine Maury was a rather obscure naval officer with the uninspiring Naval 'Depot of Charts and Instruments' during the years prior to the American Civil War.He had what at the time was considered a curious habit. Maury kept meticulous, hand written logs taken from personal experience, forgotten record books, other sailors and more that included everything from weather patterns, dates and time spent in between destinations, tides, wind and current patterns.
At the time, this was seen as irrelevant information, a product of formality. However, over time this data accumulated and the enterprising Maury discovered that one could make accurate predictions about ship travel that resulted in more efficient sea travel. His introduction of standardized data recording and the insights that followed are responsible for the shipping lanes still used today and debunked the myth of the unpredictable seas.
For the shipping industry, this was the birth of the data revolution. However, data integration throughout the shipping industry is no longer in its infancy. Companies that collect and act on data are saving MILLIONS. In fact, global shipping is one of the most complicated, data rich industries in the world. If you're not taking advantage of this treasure trove of knowledge, you're already behind the competition and you're losing money. The good news is that with the right global shipping software integrated into your international eCommerce platform
, you can cash in on opportunities made available by insights garnered from the various pieces of hidden information your platform collects.
Choosing a Shipping Platform for Your Shopping Cart
Almost every company in the world ships through a major company. Any serious platform needs to have a DHL Global, FedEx, USPS (if you're based in the US) or UPS shipping integration built into the website shopping cart
. These companies have been using global shipping data fordecades, constantly discovering innovative ways to improve efficiency and cut costs. A good international shipping solution will be able to work with their platform and pass the information the shipping company collects on to you for more informed decision making.
These titans of international shipping can make astounding predictions with spot on accuracy. For example, formulas that take variables like weather patterns, wind speed/direction, fuel price fluctuation and a lot more variable predictions to calculate the price they charge to ship your goods. Luckily, you don't have to calculate this data yourself (although it could be useful to predict supply chain disruptions), but unless you have international shipping integration for your eCommerce store, you'll be missing an important piece of the decision making puzzle.
What to Know When Building Shipping Into Your Web Cart
Hands down the most important thing to know when building a web-based shipping solution for your online shopping cart software is the product(s) you're selling. Wal-Mart has made it's business off of knowing every minute detail about products they sell. To illustrate, Wal-Mart would know that certain perishable products rot at a faster rate in higher temperatures as opposed to exposure to colder temperatures. Wal-Mart takes this into account when calculating expiration dates. Therefore, expiration differs region by region and depending on when and where the product was shipped from, allowing Wal-Mart to maximize the shelf life of a product and save a lot of money.
If you ship your own manufactured products via orders from your eCommerce web store, you need to know how different international shipping variables like those listed above affect the product. If you ship goods manufactured by other companies, you should demand this information from them as well. If they can provide information about their product that saves you money, this makes them more competitive, so it's a win-win for both of you. Remember that, if taken in aggregate, even little things can add up to huge savings and profits. Figure out where you can make changes in your supply chain and make cost-effective decisions about whether or not to implement them into your online shopping cart checkout calculations.
Unfortunately, however, you won't be able to save a dime if these calculations aren't automated and integrated into your worldwide shipping platform. This is why it's imperative you choose the right platform based on the specific needs of your company. Make absolutely sure that you choose the right company when deciding to have someone build an international shipping integration for your eCommerce website
What to Look For: Hiring a Company to Build Your Integration
It's hard to think of every possible variable, let alone calculate them all properly for integration into your eCommerce cart. This is why you need to choose a company (or in house team, if you happen to be lucky enough to have one) with relevant experience. Not only can they build an amazing platform for you, they will likely be able to give you advice and experiences garnered from their work with similar past clients.
Next, because of the unique nature of your company, web based store, products and suppliers, you'll need a custom global shipping integration solution built specifically for the needs of your business. Purchasing a cookie cutter eCommerce shipping solution simply won't afford you the benefits and payoff of having an integration built only for you.
Lastly, you need an international eCommerce shipping solution that can scale as your business grows. Cookie cutter solutions generally run into problems when you start moving more volume. Additionally, any calculations that may have been built in will need adjustment. The best platform and company hired to build it will either scale automatically, allow you to make changes through a simple, easy-to-use interface, or work with you over time to make adjustments as necessary. Ideally the company you hire will do all three of these things and more.
Together, Clarity Venutres has over 300 years of experience building a plethora of custom eCommerce platforms and integrations for a multitude of companies from varying backgrounds and different industries. For an eCommerce integration relating to international shipping, Clarity has over 200 shipping API's and will work with your unique needs to build a scalable, customized solution that increases your bottom line. Check out some of our past work for companies who needed global shipping integration solutions
. Please call us today for a free consultation!
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