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The Shipwire Blog/Shipping Partner Program Letter – Summer 2011

Shipping Partner Program Letter - Summer 2011

Shipwire is very proud that two of our partners have invested in our vision.   Thank you to all of our partners and affiliates for your continued support.

This past holiday we shipped more packages for more sellers than ever before.  We are prepped and ready for an amazing 2011. More partners than ever can now share in the growth of outsourced fulfillment with our shipping partner program.

Shipwire will be expanding our warehouse network in 2011. Ask your subscribers where they want Shipwire next. Here are quick links to our warehouse interest forms that you can e-mail out: Asia, Europe, Australia, and U.S. East Coast.

Shipwire has a lot of exciting partner related updates. If you have an integration to our API, pay particular attention to the API Updates and Best Practices sections.

New Shipwire Features You Should Know About

The team launched so many new features over the past year it’s hard to know where to start.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Enhanced stock and inventory level reports. Keep sellers aware when their inventory levels fall low.
  • Enhanced reports and data.  Merchants can pull date range reports across a huge swath of data and download as .csv files.  Great for analysis and financial reconciliation.
  • Guaranteed same day shipping across our warehouse network.  Get us the order in a timely manner and it will go out the same day.  We also launched enhanced shipping and receiving accuracy guarantees.  Nothing says “our butt is on the line” like a Guarantee.
  • Enhanced drop ship fulfillment features, that ensure proper branding throughout the shipping process.
  • Insert and marketing collateral management.  This allows merchants a very low priced mechanism to insert marketing or sample inserts into any outbound order.
  • Automated wholesale (B2B) lot breaking features in our Los Angeles facility.
  • New account dashboard and warehouse view for merchants.

In addition we upgraded our Los Angeles facility in early summer 2010 and again this summer to prep for the huge holiday volume surges. The new facility is processing massive order volumes. Get ready for some serious new warehouse announcements from the team soon.

Shipwire Anywhere – Free Order Management For All Mankind

Outsource to Shipwire warehouses OR use Shipwire software for "do-it-yourself"

You all know that Shipwire provides outsourced storage and shipping services from our network of global warehouses.  To accomplish this we”ve invested heavily and built a massive Cloud-logistics platform (SaaS). So, why keep it all to ourselves? Why not let customers and partners use it to manage shipments and orders from anywhere?

That is the idea behind Shipwire Anywhere. Shipwire Anywhere is a free order management (OMS). Now anybody can use Shipwire software to manage orders at their own “locations”, i.e. office, storage unit, garage, retail store or small warehouse. You can add as many “locations” to an account as you want.

Shipwire software has always been free for merchants, and Shipwire Anywhere is no different.  It is hosted inventory and order management software for the multi-location shipper.

  • Works with all existing Shipwire API integrations! (All the integrations will work with it).
  • Manage inventory levels and supplier shipments through web-based control panels, just like a Shipwire warehouse.
  • Free online label printing at all locations (huge savings).
  • Manage and route orders across Shipwire warehouses or Merchant locations (Yes, it is smart and puts orders where the inventory will ship to the buyer the cheapest).
  • Set up inventory level alerts and run reports, just like a Shipwire warehouse.

For partners, Shipwire Anywhere means your Shipwire integration can be used by more sellers! Now your “do-it-yourself” shippers can benefit from your Shipwire partnership.

  • Free shipping and order management features for all your users.
  • Free multi-location USPS online-label printing.
  • Works with or without use of a Shipwire warehouse.

It is available today. Anybody who signs up for a Shipwire account will get it. Free Trial subscribers included!

API Updates

If you haven’t reviewed our Fulfillment API documentation in a while, it is worth a look.  Here are a few recent additions:

  • Please prompt users to create an API USER anywhere your application asks for Shipwire credentials.
  • A few weeks ago, we launched Inventory Updates by country.  Shipwire will report inventory by country to make it easier for global sellers to operate regional or localized storefronts.
  • Merchants who wish to limit inventory queries to certain SKUs can now do so. It is documented in the InventoryUpdate DTD.
  • Similarly, tracking update queries can now specify individual orders for which to retrieve updated tracking information.  This can make bulk update requests more efficient.  You can request tracking updates by cart order number or Shipwire ID.  See the TrackingUpdate DTD for more.
  • Tracking update responses now include additional information about order tracking status, including full carrier name information, detailed order costs, and a carrier-specific tracking URL (when available).  See the TrackingUpdateResponse DTD for more information.
  • Fulfillment requests can now customize order processing behavior on a per-order basis.  We”ve added flags to allow you to hold orders, allow duplicate orders, request guaranteed same-day shipping, and more.  Check out the OrderList DTD.  In a near-term release, we will be giving merchants more direct carrier selection control per-order.

Two BIG REMINDERS for partners regarding your Shipwire API usage.

  • Connect to the right URL: To improve load-balancing and redundancy, Shipwire now hosts our web services on a dedicated subdomain:  We announced this last year, but please ensure your API requests post to the URL prefix.  While we have not announced the deprecation in support for API calls to the domain, we will be doing so in the near future.
  • Tell us your AffiliateID in every order: Please ensure that your 4 digit ID is being sent on every request to the Shipwire fulfillment API.  Put it in the <AffiliateId> element of the OrderList.  We use this to help clear up any discrepancies for referral commissions.

If you haven’t integrated our real-time shipping rates into your application you should review the   Shipwire API documentation, sellers love it.

Feel free to comment on this blog post if you have a recommendation for more API features to embed shipping and order fulfillment functionality into your application.

Best Practices For Integrations

As you consider integrating to Shipwire or review your integration, we want to share a few best practices.

  • Network Outages:  It always makes sense to review how your application will respond if your request can’t reach Shipwire servers.  For example, developers should consider using cron or a similar scheduling mechanism to retry a fulfillment request in case there is a temporary issue with connectivity.  In particular, if you integrate to the Shipwire real-time shipping rate API, ensure you have sensible flat-rate or table-based order pricing available as a fail-over in the event your application can’t reach Shipwire servers.
  • Order Holds: Please ensure you are reviewing the responses from fulfillment requests to see whether any exceptions (order holds) arose during the order post.  These indicate that further action may be required by the merchant before the order is ready to ship.  More detail can be found in the SubmitOrderResponse DTD.
  • Rating API: Optimize shipping costs by ensuring that your storefront checkout retrieves shipping rates from the Shipwire rating API.  The rating API automatically selects the most optimal warehouse and carrier options, returning the best carrier and rate available for each class of service.

Shipwire Marketing & Sales Best Practices

A few tips and tricks to help you get the word out about your Shipwire integration.

You have a landing Page. Your partner tracking URL can redirect to your Shipwire landing page or any page on Shipwire.

Case studies work.  There is no better way to prove something works, than to let a satisfied customer make the point for you.  If one of your customers is getting a lot of benefit out of the integration, grab a quote from them and put it on your blog, tweet it or put it on your features page.  If you want to team up with Shipwire marketing to do a case study please reach out.

List a few benefits. Many of our partners just list that they have a Shipwire integration. While we think our brand rules, we are not “Bono”. When you mention Shipwire, here are a couple features that make the point well.

  • Instant access to warehouses in the U.S., Canada and Europe
  • Multiple warehouses can help you cut domestic shipping costs by 35% and International shipping costs by up to 75%.
  • Get free shipping and order software for your garage, warehouse, office or retail store. Multi-location USPS online label printing, inventory management and order management features.

List the Shipwire API calls that your integration supports. There is a lot under the hood of some of the best integrations. Tell readers what you support and what you don’t.

Seek feedback.  Inform your users what the integration does today and where you could take it.  See what feedback you get.

List Best Practices. When we post a new compatible application we try to include a list of tips and tricks for the integration or a link to our shopping cart troubleshooting guide. Users e-mail us all the time with new tips to share with next user. A number of users have told us that they solved the problem by running through the troubleshooting guide. Feel free to link to it yourself.

Is Shipwire Marketing Your Integration Correctly?

Any integration to Shipwire gets a reciprocal page on and gets listed on our compatible solutions page.

Each page describes the application and the Shipwire features supported.  Please review your page and send us an e-mail if any updates are needed.

We also do joint blog posts and press releases.  If you would like us to consider a post for our blog that highlights a customer success with your integration or a new feature you have released, please contact the partner team.

If you want to work with Shipwire Partner Marketing to outline a marketing plan, joint press release or blog post send an e-mail to partner (at) Shipwire (dot) com.  We also support partners using content from our blog to seed your own blog posts.  If you have any questions please just send an e-mail and we”ll get right back to you.

Thank you for your partnership,

Nate Gilmore
VP Shipwire
twitter: @shipwire
partner (at) Shipwire (dot) com

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