Shipping Simplified for Magento eCommerce
Courier and shipping is one of the most crucial part of the fulfilment chain in any eCommerce portal.
Magento interestingly comes with out of the box integrations with UPS, FedEx, USPS and DHL courier services. These companies have ready APIs to integrate with Magento.
Let’s quickly see the process: As soon as the order gets placed by the customer, following process takes place in-out of Magento:
1) An order email goes to the customer with invoice details... Inventory count in your Magento system reduces by 1 (or as many pieces of the item(s) ordered). Magento also has a system to alert you if you approach a critical inventory level and you can set those alert triggers (like alert when the inventory count goes below 10 or something). Your backend invoicing mechanism (I’ll deal with this topic in detail in a post later) and internal/external updates should be also in-sync with the shipping.
2) Another copy goes to the courier company (now the selection which courier company to pick can also be automated in the backend depending upon the reach of a company and cost associated with the shipment for the company), the courier company then allots a shipping-id or docket number to the packet and the packet leaves its premises.
3) As soon as the packet goes in transit, the courier company sends the shipping id to your system which gets captured by Magento and appropriate message/email/sms can get triggered to the customer.
4) Once the packet is received by the customer, the shipping company updates the status of the shipment to delivered and sends you a message, Magento system then triggers a Thankyou email (of course you can customise it) to the customer
What do you do if your courier company is not one of UPS, FedEx, USPS and DHL?
Apart from UPS, FedEx, USPS and DHL courier, where the integration is seamless as they have ready APIs to be integrated with Magento, there are many regional courier services which you’ll to integrate with especially in developing countries like India where remote access is not part of the already integrated courier services, here your services partner (like us) or your tech team can build a system where as soon as the order is placed by the customer, an email gets triggered to the respective courier folks and the customer, courier folks can then send their shipping number which can then be communicated to the customer, customer will be able to track the transit in courier company’ site. Here you can also enable full order tracking like this:
It is important to keep the customer informed about the status of the packet (like: pending shipment, picked for transit, in-transit, communication on the day of delivery) Full order tracking is an essential part of visibility for the customer to delivery status of his/her ordered packet. This consists of two parts:
- Order tracking from store i.e. before the order packet is shipped to the courier
- Shipping tracking: After the packet is with the courier and beyond.
For the first part, there is an interesting extension (link here), this enables users to track the packet, check if it has been shipped by and the courier tracking number (if it is with the courier, else it will display another message saying in process etc.) just by entering their email id and order number.
Once the packet is displayed being with courier, user can go to the courier company’s site and track the packet there.
Hope the above post was helpful, please feel free to drop in your comments.
[I also run Connecting Dots, a business & technology consulting and software services company. At Connecting Dots, we help startups and emerging companies build great businesses, we are also Magento solution partners and build great eCommerce portals]