Key points:

  • Explore how Shipping APIs provide access to discounted rates and multiple carriers through a single integration, simplifying logistics and cutting costs
  • Discover how eBay uses Easyship's API to unlock global shipping potential, offering products to over 200 countries and streamlining cross-border transactions
  • Gain insights into how Shipping APIs enhance the customer experience with faster deliveries and detailed tracking updates, fostering brand loyalty and repeat business

The global eCommerce market continues to rapidly expand, with global sales forecast to hit $6.3 Trillion in 2024. This unprecedented growth is partly driven by the increasing innovation and integration of digital technologies, such as shipping APIs.

In this increasingly competitive market, shipping efficiency and flexibility are more important than ever. Shipping APIs are at the heart of this transformation, offering a powerful way for businesses to streamline their shipping processes while enhancing customer experience.

With solutions like Easyship, integrating these APIs can be seamless and beneficial. This post will explore what shipping APIs are, how they work, and how you can leverage them to optimize your shipping operations.

Table of Contents

What is a Shipping API?

Without getting too technical, a shipping API (Application Programming Interface) allows businesses to integrate shipping tools directly into their eCommerce platforms or business systems.

This integration enables automated interactions with multiple carriers and shipping services from a single interface, removing the need to process shipments or track packages manually. Easyship, for example, offers access to 250+ carriers through one connection, making this integration smooth and efficient.

Key Features of Shipping APIs

  • Multi-Carrier Shipping: Access services from various carriers like UPS, FedEx, DHL, and more, all from the same platform, similar to how Easyship provides connections with over 250 shipping solutions.
  • Rate Comparison: Easily compare rates and delivery times across different carriers to find the best option.
  • Shipping Labels: Automatically generate and print shipping labels for orders.
  • Shipment Tracking: Provide real-time tracking updates to customers and businesses.
  • Address Validation: Ensure shipping addresses are correct to avoid delays and added costs.

How Do Shipping APIs Work?

In short, shipping APIs work by acting as a bridge between your eCommerce platform and the shipping carriers' systems. Think of them as your resident shipping expert. This is a quick example of how a shipping API would connect online marketplaces or platforms with carrier accounts:

  • When an order is placed, the API sends the order details (such as package dimensions, weight, destination, and preferred delivery options) to the carrier's system
  • The carrier then returns the available shipping options, rates, and estimated delivery times
  • After the customer selects their preferred shipping option, the API facilitates the generation of a shipping label and tracks the shipment until delivery, all while updating the eCommerce system and customer with the latest information

This process allows businesses to automate their shipping operations efficiently and offer a variety of options to their customers. Designed to enhance the overall eCommerce customer experience and ultimately boost conversions.

Benefits of Using a Shipping API

Integrating a shipping API into your business operations can significantly enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction. Here’s a quick look at the top benefits of using a shipping API, particularly for national brands facing the pressures of market demands and operational challenges:

Benefits of Using a Shipping API
Challenge Benefit How It Works
Increasing expenses and pressures on profitability Cost Savings by Comparing Rates Shipping APIs allow businesses to compare rates across multiple carriers, ensuring they choose the most cost-effective options, which directly helps in reducing shipping expenses.
Inefficient tools and disconnected processes Streamlined Shipping Process By automating tasks like label generation, address validation, and rate comparison, shipping APIs eliminate manual steps, increasing efficiency and reducing errors.
Growing customer expectations Enhanced Customer Experience Real-time tracking updates and faster shipping options available through APIs meet customers' expectations for speed and transparency, improving satisfaction and trust.
International expansion challenges Access to International Carriers Shipping APIs provide easy access to a range of international carriers, making it simpler to manage global shipments and comply with regional regulations.
Need to reduce courier expenses Access to Discounted Rates Through Easyship and other shipping APIs, businesses can access discounted rates up to 91%, significantly cutting down courier costs.
Need to automate or outsource processes Automation of Shipping and Tracking Processes Shipping APIs automate critical operations such as selecting the cheapest carrier, generating shipping labels, and sending tracking information, saving time and labor.
Need to expand and increase sales Multi-Carrier Shipping Options With shipping APIs, businesses can offer customers multiple shipping options at checkout, enhancing the buying experience and potentially increasing sales.
Saturated market / low conversions Improved Shipping Rates Display at Checkout By using APIs to dynamically compare and display shipping rates, businesses can provide more options and transparency, encouraging higher conversions.
Fragmentation and complexity Single Integration with Multiple Carriers A single API integration provides access to various carriers, eliminating the need to manage multiple tools and contracts, thereby simplifying the shipping process.

How Shipping APIs Enhance Business Operations

  • Streamlined Shipping Process: By integrating a Shipping API like Easyship, businesses can automate many steps in the shipping process, from selecting the cheapest carrier to printing labels and sending tracking information to customers. This automation saves time and reduces the likelihood of errors.
  • Improved Customer Experience: With real-time tracking and faster processing, customers get their orders sooner and with more transparency. Solutions like Easyship drive a positive customer experience with their branded tracking updates.
  • Cost Savings: Using an API to compare shipping rates and services helps businesses choose the most cost-effective shipping options. This can significantly reduce shipping costs, especially for businesses with large shipping volumes, as Easyship offers up to 91% off rates with couriers.

Shipping API Integrations

Seamless Integration with eCommerce Platforms

Shipping APIs integrate smoothly with most eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and Magento. This integration helps synchronize order processing, inventory management, and shipping operations, enhancing overall efficiency. Easyship’s plug-and-play integrations with over 50 platforms exemplify this ease of use.

Single Integration, Multiple Carriers

With a single integration, businesses can access a variety of shipping services from multiple carriers. This flexibility allows businesses to scale and adapt to different shipping needs without additional development work. Easyship, for instance, makes it simple to connect with multiple carriers worldwide.

Shipping API Guide

Choosing the Right Shipping API

When selecting a Shipping API, consider the following factors to ensure it meets your business needs:

  • Carrier Coverage: Ensure the API covers all the carriers you plan to use, much like Easyship’s extensive network of international and domestic carriers.
  • Feature Set: Look for APIs that offer the functionalities you need, such as shipment tracking, address validation, and the ability to create shipping labels.
  • Ease of Use: Check the API documentation for clarity and support. Well-documented APIs like those provided by Easyship are easier to integrate and use.
  • Scalability: Your chosen API should be able to handle your current and future shipping volume.
  • Cost: Compare pricing models to find an API that fits your budget without sacrificing key features.

API Shipping in Action

Generate Shipping Labels

With APIs, businesses can generate shipping labels automatically. This includes populating labels with the sender’s and recipient’s addresses, the chosen carrier, and other necessary details. Easyship simplifies this shipping functionality by automating label creation based on the best carrier for the shipment.

Real-Time Shipment Tracking

APIs provide tracking functionality that helps both businesses and customers keep an eye on shipments from dispatch to delivery. This shipping software transparency is crucial for maintaining trust and reducing customer service queries. With Easyship, you can enhance your shipping capabilities with automated branded tracking updates.

Shipping API Use Cases

eCommerce Business

For an eCommerce store, using a shipping API means they can offer customers multiple shipping options at checkout. The API can dynamically compare shipping rates and delivery times, allowing customers to choose what works best for them. Easyship can boost this capability by providing direct comparisons across multiple carriers.

Fulfillment Centers

Fulfillment centers can use shipping APIs to optimize their shipping process, coordinate with multiple carriers, and generate return labels easily, enhancing the overall supply chain efficiency. Easyship’s network ensures that fulfillment centers can manage these tasks more effectively.

Easyship API: Powering eBay International Shipping Program

“We’re making global connections more accessible, affordable, and profitable, significantly increasing the volume of items available to shoppers in 200+ countries. Our partnership with Easyship makes it even easier for our sellers to tap into a universe of new business opportunities.”

-Adam Ireland, VP and GM, eBay US in TechCrunch

Easyship expanded its partnership with eBay to power the innovative eBay International Shipping program, launched in 2023. Easyship’s API has already been used in several services on eBay, including label generation, cross-border compliance, and tracking in the U.S. It’s also supported domestic and international shipments in Canada and Australia since 2019.

Find out how your brand can benefit from the most powerful eCommerce shipping API today.

eBay Q1 2023 Results:

  • Easyship unlocks over 50% of eBay’s 1.8 Billion listings for global trade
  • Easyship powers $3.68 Billion GMV
  • Over 10.4 Million shipments/year
Shipping API Guide


Shipping APIs are a game-changer for businesses looking to improve their shipping operations. By automating key processes and offering access to multiple carriers through a single integration, businesses can save time, reduce costs, and enhance the customer experience. 

Whether you’re a small online store or a large fulfillment center, a shipping API can provide the flexibility and efficiency you need to succeed in the competitive world of eCommerce.

Ready to streamline your shipping process and improve your bottom line? Explore how Easyship’s solutions can transform your business today! 

Alongside the marketing-leading shipping API, we also offer a range of easy-to-use shipping tools. Each is designed to help streamline your shipping experience and delight your buyers. Popular features include:

  • Shipping Rate Calculator: You can use our shipping rate calculator to compare shipping rates from different carriers
  • Comparison Tool: With our courier comparison tool, you can compare the different shipping services offered by each courier, allowing you to choose your cheapest way to ship based on other factors, not just the cost
  • Insurance: To help keep your packages safe in transit, Easyship offers you insurance up to $10000
  • Tracking: From custom-branded tracking emails to automatic message alerts, Easyship helps you maintain package visibility with your buyers throughout the delivery process
  • Shipping API: Easyship's powerful shipping API streamlines complex national brand operations, reducing costs and boosting sales for established retailers

Shipping API FAQs

What is the advantage of using a shipping API?

The main advantages are cost savings, improved efficiency, and better customer service. Shipping APIs automate many tasks, which can significantly reduce the time and effort involved in shipping operations, as seen with Easyship’s automated solutions.

Can I use shipping APIs for international carriers?

Yes, most shipping APIs support international carriers and can handle necessary customs documentation and other international shipping requirements. Platforms like Easyship are designed to facilitate these international transactions smoothly.

How long does it take to integrate a shipping API?

The integration process can vary, but with good API documentation, like that of Easyship, a basic integration can be completed in a few days. More complex integrations might take longer, depending on the specific requirements and systems in place.

What is a Shipping API?

A shipping API is a set of programming instructions and standards that allow eCommerce businesses to access shipping functionalities such as rate comparison, label generation, and tracking directly through their software systems. This helps automate and streamline the shipping process.

What does API stand for in logistics?

In logistics, API stands for Application Programming Interface. It refers to the methods and tools that enable different software applications to communicate with each other and perform tasks like accessing shipping services, automating shipments, and integrating various logistics operations.