What is Carrier Integration?

Carrier integration definition

Carrier integration means a seamless software connection and data exchange between the e-commerce company's internal systems and those of a chosen shipping carrier.

Although it's tempting to lock in good shipping rates and develop a reliable partnership with just one carrier company or two, it's only with a multicarrier delivery strategy that you can boost sales conversions, enter new markets and — importantly — achieve scalable business growth.

A simple visual representation of an API carrier integration.
Carrier integration allows your internal e-commerce systems to talk to those of your shipping carrier

How does a carrier integration work?

Your developers use the carrier's Application Program Interface (API) to integrate and customize new carrier products inside the company's internal systems, so that all online orders and shipping data will be 'carried' across the shipper's applications and your own e-commerce tech stack. If you're outsourcing your deliveries to a third-party logistics company (3PL), they're also part of the equation.

From then on, it's a streamlined process in which you can automatically book order shipments, print shipping labels and provide real-time visibility into the shipment process with every order placed.

Types of internal e-commerce systems integrated with carrier APIs include your e-commerce platform, delivery management platform, Enterprise Management System (EMS), Transportation Management System (TMS) and Warehouse Management System (WMS).

Key benefits of multiple carrier integrations for e-commerce

Why are we even talking about this? Because when shopping online, your customers want a delivery-first approach that shows available delivery methods, prices and delivery times at every step of the journey — from product pages to checkout — so that they can choose the exact shipping option that fits.

Nothing provides a better value than integrating with not one, but multiple carriers, especially if you're looking to enter new markets and scale your operations.

Streamlined shipping processes

By eliminating manual bookings, your e-commerce and supply chain team saves time and resources on rate quoting, shipment booking, document creation and so on. This increased productivity also translates into a shorter order fulfillment, better order management, optimized resource allocation and reduced costs of logistics.

Lower delivery costs

Thanks to an API carrier integration, your software infrastructure accesses precise delivery windows and real-time shipping rates of your carriers, and if you are integrated with multiple, pre-selects the most cost-effective and convenient options for every order.

Ingrid Delivery Checkout does that in no time — integrate with available carrier products from the library, set up custom shipping rules and let the smart delivery selection module do the rest for your consumers.

Here's how delivery checkout optimization can save you costs →

Ingrid Delivery Checkout mobile view mockup
Ingrid Delivery Checkout

Data-driven supply chain management

Carrier integration brings in an array of data and analytics that can be used for informed decision-making in logistics operations. With shipping performance metrics, delivery times, first-attempt delivery rates, etc., you can identify areas for improvement, negotiate better shipping contracts and maintain efficient relations with your carriers.

Successful online market expansion

Entering new markets and scaling your business gets easier and faster when you can offer the best carrier services. It's best to use an SaaS delivery platform that can support you with local carrier API integrations. This way, you don't need to bounce between them from scratch and spend more time on core business objectives instead.

Mobile view mockup of Ingrid Tracking.
Ingrid Tracking

Real-time, detailed tracking information

Carrier integration opens a real-time window into the shipment process and each stage of the delivery journey. Accurate status updates create more supply chain transparency, higher customer satisfaction and increased operational control.

No more dreaded 'Where is my order?' questions.

Don't redirect customers to carrier pages, offer a branded order tracking instead →

Happy customers

95% of consumers go elsewhere if an online store doesn’t offer the desired delivery option, which in turn varies a lot depending on what they’re buying and when. Consumer habits, seasons, item specifications and estimated delivery times are some of the factors that determine the exact shipping option.

Make a long-term investment in multiple carrier integrations and a great delivery experience. Your satisfied customers will be more likely to return for another purchase and even put in a good word for you with friends, family and coworkers — instead of narrating how ridiculous the delivery was.

Here's proof you're missing out on a multicarrier delivery strategy →

Looking for new carriers? No need to build integrations from scratch

Ingrid Delivery Checkout is a delivery selection module that integrates into your checkout page to present accurate and flexible shipping information for every customer, including delivery times, price and available carriers.

You get personalized support in carrier API integration without complexity and in much less time.

See the full list of available carrier integrations and over 250+ carrier products →

Book a demo to see how the platform can improve your online delivery experience to perfection.

Ingrid Delivery Checkout implemented by Djerf Avenue

Bonus carrier integration terms explained

  • Carrier API;
  • Shipping method;
  • Carrier product;
  • Shipping option.

Carrier API

API is a software code that allows web applications to communicate and exchange data with one another. With a carrier API, developers integrate shipping services directly into your e-commerce website and shipping processes and tailor the code to individual business requirements and shipping carriers.

Shipping method

E-commerce delivery methods refer to various ways of transferring online purchases from your manufacturer, warehouse shelves, a 3PL provider or physical store to the customer's hands.

→ Home delivery;
→ Mailbox delivery;
→ Pick-up point;
→ Parcel locker;
→ In-store pick up;
→ Instant delivery.

Carrier product

Carrier products are shipping methods and services offered from carriers to retailers — for instance, DHL Parcel Home Delivery or DHL Express Economy.

Shipping option

Having integrated with multiple carrier companies that offer multiple delivery methods, merchants create custom shipping rules — tailored to different delivery scenarios and overall business objectives — for each carrier product. e.g., delivery zones, item specifications and price.

It's exactly the shipping option which the end consumer chooses at checkout, meaning what suits them best. Deliveries should fit people's lives, not the other way around.

Improve your delivery experience

You’re one step away from scaling your business. Book a demo to find out more.