Story image

Australia Post delivers APIs to power ecommerce channels

07 Apr 2015

The ecommerce revolution has changed the way postal and logistics services operate. With Australia Post reporting losses in its mail business that have lead to price hikes and talk of reducing services, their parcel delivery business which is tag-lined with "powering online shopping" has grown.

That growth is now being pushed with the release of APIs that allow applications such as NetSuite to integrate shipping through Australia Post tightly and easily.

"How do we get Australia Post integrated into large marketplaces and platforms like eBay and NetSuite so that when customers are buying in their native platforms they can also lodge with Australia Post or select our products directly," asks Ben Franzi, general manager of Sales, Global Ecommerce Platforms for Australia Post.

"When we look at ecommerce as a whole, there are essentially only two ways to buy and sell. You're either doing it at a marketplace or you're doing it off a platform. What we're trying to do is that our SMB community and large enterprises can buy and sell on their native platform and seamlessly integrate into Australia Post," he says.

In order to do that Australia Post has developed and released a suite of APIs that cover functions such as tracking, cost calculation, label printing and other essential services for shipping.

"We've built out a library of APIs that we're constantly expanding and updating that allow us to take lodgement from NetSuite but to also push information back into NetSuite such as track and trace, shipping costs and other information".

The integration with NetSuite, once it's released to all Australia Post and NetSuite customers will come at no additional cost and be relatively easy to set up. NetSuite customers can apply for an API key from Australia Post, enter it into the software's configuration and begin using the shipping services instantly.

According to Rob Hooton, the vertical market expert for ecommerce at NetSuite APAC "One of the barriers is merchants not understanding their shipping costs. So, the API gives them full visibility of their shipping costs. We know that when we talk to merchants that is one of the big barriers to conversion - what causes shopping cart abandonment - is shipping costs and delivery charges. By being fully open and clear through the APIs we hope to avoid all that".

While NetSuite offers the integration to all their customers, it doesn’t mean merchants are limited in how it's applied. If a merchant wants to make shipping free for orders over a certain value, offer fixed cost freight or pass the full costs to the customer, NetSuite allows merchants to choose how the Australia Post APIs expose costs and tracking to customers.

Other shipping tools have been integrated into NetSuite's products in the past but those have often been harder to integrate and maintain as they required hard coding into the application's core. Australia Post's API-based approach has simplified both the integration and maintenance.

As well as exposing costs and tracking to customers, the Australia Post APIs make different delivery and collection options available. For example, customers can elect to use Australia Post's 24/7 Locker Collect service or have parcels delivered to a local post office rather than a home address.

While the development and public exposure of APIs is a new model for Australia Post, this is a sign of the future with further development already planned.

"We've only got our standard parcel delivery API. The next wave of APIs will expand into express services, so you'll be able to do same-day delivery or next-day delivery," says Franzi.

"The vision is to have all of our services available through an API and even start thinking about payment solutions as well. It's not a set and forget strategy."

Automation beginning to impact Aussie workforce
18% of those surveyed said automation has already impacted their job ‘significantly’, with their duties changing or their role becoming redundant.
OVH launches public cloud down under
OVH Public Cloud services is expanding to Australia out of two data centres - one in Sydney and one in Singapore.
Acer’s new programme and portal for partners
A simple and manageable programme designed to incentivise, recognise and reward commercial partner achievements.
Interview: Culture and cloud - the battle for cybersecurity
ESET CTO Juraj Malcho talks about the importance of culture in a cybersecurity strategy and the challenges and benefits of a world in the cloud.
In ongoing cloud war, Google to acquire data migration specialist
Google is currently behind AWS and Microsoft in the cloud battle, and it would seem this play is an attempt to claw some ground back.
Ping Identity Platform updated with new CX and IT automation
The new versions improve the user and administrative experience, while also aiming to meet enterprise needs to operate quickly and purposefully.
Venafi and nCipher Security partner on machine identity protection
Cryptographic keys serve as machine identities and are the foundation of enterprise information technology systems.
Why Aussie companies are struggling with data
The top culprits in poor data quality in Oz are human error, different data sources, lack of comms, inadequate strategy, and too much information.