Using the Shopify Order API to Gain More Control Over Fulfillment

Last updated on May 17th, 2022 at 02:56 pm

Did you know that 38% of online shoppers will abandon their order if they won’t receive their item within a week? 24% of shoppers report abandoning a cart if the merchant doesn’t provide a delivery date.

It’s evident that to remain competitive in the ecommerce landscape, companies need to speed up and streamline fulfillment wherever possible. Order management and fulfillment represent a significant portion of every ecommerce business. It takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get orders from warehouses to customers. The customers remain oblivious to the work required to manage inventory, orders, and delivery, yet they still expect to receive their orders quickly and efficiently. As ecommerce grows, this process only becomes more complex.

For smaller, emerging ecommerce businesses, managing inventory and fulfilling orders might be done at home or in the garage. As business takes off, you may manage and fulfill inventory across multiple fulfillment service providers, retail locations, and warehouses all over the world—and each of these locations often manages and executes orders in different ways.

Whether you’re managing order fulfillment on your own with Shopify, outsourcing to third-party fulfillment partners, using an app, or employing a combination of these things, there is one common thread: you need total visibility and control of your inventory and fulfillment process. That’s exactly what you get when using the Shopify order API.

Keep reading for an overview of Shopify’s Order API and the benefits of integrating outside tools with your Shopify store.

What Are Shopify APIs?

One reason that Shopify has a massive user base is because of its rich app ecosystem. There are over 6,000 custom apps available on the platforms app store that sellers can use to strengthen and enhance their stores with extra functionalities. Examples of these functionalities and exciting app opportunities include shipping management tools, CRM systems, marketing tools, and more.

The additional functionalities each businesses needs will vary—which is why Shopify also provides APIs to allow you to integrate with other outside tools. Shopify APIs fall into six categories, which can be broken down further by functionality.

Shopify Admin API

Shopify’s Admin API is the hub for systems that interact with Shopify. The Admin API allows you to add features that provide additional data on inventory, products, orders, customers, shipping, returns, etc. You can use the Admin API to add functions to your store through third-party apps.

Partner API

The Shopify Partner API allows partners to acquire data in a Partner Dashboard, such as app events, transactions (for analytics), and expert marketplace jobs. This access enables partners to scale by automating their operations.

Storefront API

The Shopify Storefront API lets you take your store to new channels, including apps, websites, and even video games. It gives you access to product information and allows you to perform tasks such as checking out purchases and creating orders.

Payments Apps API

With the Shopify Payment Apps API, you can access your payments provider and app configuration data. With this collection of payment information, you can resolve or reject payment terms, captures, and refunds.

Ajax API

The Shopify Ajax API is used with Shopify themes. The API calls can help update a shopper’s cart without requiring a browser refresh.

Messaging API

The Shopify Messaging API is currently in its beta version. The Messaging API allows you to send messages to the Shopify Inbox, which is an app that enables you to consolidate business conversations from other messaging apps across your tech stack.

Other Shopify APIs

Inside each of the above categories, there are APIs that are appropriately named based on the function they perform, such as:

  • Analytics API: Integrates your store with an analytics solution to deliver data to analytics software and provide reports of data-driven insights
  • Billing API: Allows app developers to charge Shopify retailers through their Shopify invoicing system directly; simplifies and streamlines the process by automatically receiving their revenue from Shopify
  • Delivery Profiles API: Helps a Shopify merchant create shipping rules that vary per product or per location
  • Discounts API: Can be used to create, delete, and update discounts
  • Draft Orders API: Allows you to create orders on behalf of customers—especially useful for ecommerce merchants who also receive orders in person, via phone, or chat—also helpful for recreating mistaken orders or taking pre-orders
  • Fulfillment API: Allows merchants more visibility into and control over the order fulfillment process
  • Media API: Facilitates the association of videos and 3D assets with a product
  • Order Editing API: Makes it possible for retailers to add, remove, or change items before and after an order has been shipped
  • Refund and Transaction API: Calculates and processes refunds
  • Reporting API: Allows developers to generate customized and app-specific reports that are available directly to merchants through the Shopify Admin dashboard
  • Shopping Cart API: Allows retailers to view, manage, and create customer shopping carts
  • Marketing Events API: Can track the performance of an app to provide insights on customer details, traffic, and sales
  • Translations API: Creates and retrieves translated Shopify resources

If you’re interested in the complete list of Shopify APIs, Shopify shares regular API releases and additional educational resources, including API documentation, quarterly.

What Is a Shopify API Integration?

API is an acronym that stands for Application Programming Interface. It is a software intermediary that enables two applications to share data and talk to each other. When two systems interact via API, one calls on the API for access to a specific piece of functionality or information in the second. The API would communicate the request and then bring the required data back from the other software. API connections allow business owners to integrate existing solutions with others without rebuilding features or reinventing the wheel from scratch.

Shopify APIs give the outside software you’re using access to your Shopify store’s data. If you’re using order management software, you can call on the Shopify API to find out how many orders you’ve fulfilled in a specific period of time. The API becomes the link that allows Shopify and your third-party software or internal app to work together.

Shopify APIs are complex and are updated often. They also have specific restrictions and regulations that you need to be aware of—whether you’re a retailer or a developer. For example, Shopify APIs require an app authentication process prior to integration, and all APIs are subject to rate limits.

New Shopify Order API: Fulfillment Orders

One of Shopify’s newer APIs is the Shopify Fulfillment Orders API, which provides a more efficient fulfillment model for partners to build on. This API models the ecommerce end-to-end fulfillment process into its sub-pieces. This model allows apps to sync data more accurately between their software and your Shopify store.

The Fulfillment Order API allows you to track each piece of the fulfillment lifecycle, including in-progress, open, canceled, closed, or incomplete orders—so you can achieve the most visibility of your Shopify order data. The API also improves order fulfillment accuracy by representing the exact items that need to be fulfilled in a given location for a specific order. If you currently use the Fulfillment, Fulfillment Services, Inventory, or Orders APIs, Shopify recommends migrating to the Fulfillment Orders API as soon as possible.

Why Use Shopify Fulfillment Orders API?

Several essential features lead developers and ecommerce owners to want to build or migrate an app with the Shopify Orders API.

Better API Architecture

The Shopify Fulfillment Orders API provides a better architecture for developers to build on. As the fulfillment process is broken down into sub-pieces, the fulfillment workflows are better represented. This means information flows more efficiently and accurately from your store and your 3PL or other software.

If you use an order management app, you can more easily identify the location of items and inventory level with the Fulfillment Orders API. You can also move or create fulfillment between your store and app more accurately.

For order management apps, you can more easily identify the inventory level and location of the order items using this API. You can also sync the following fulfillment actions between your app and Shopify more accurately:

If you use a 3PL, you can send information between Shopify and their fulfillment system more seamlessly. Using this API, you can show the alternating control of the fulfillment order at any given time. Your 3PL will clearly understand what is assigned to them and have the ability to accept or reject fulfillment requests accordingly.

Allows Fulfillment Flexibility and Complexity

Shopify retailers are as diverse as their stores—from what, where, and how they sell their products to who they are. These things will determine how orders are fulfilled and delivered to customers. Shopify built the Fulfillment Orders API to match this diversity and complexity.

Shopify continues to add features with the Fulfillment Orders API, such as local pickup and delivery, representing new ways merchants can deliver products to customers—all within the Shopify Admin dashboard.

A Better Merchant and Customer Experience

By using the Shopify Order API, you have a clear and accurate understanding of your orders and fulfillment process across all Shopify locations and channels, including your app or fulfillment service.

When integrating your 3PL or app with the Shopify API,  you can further develop and personalize your fulfillment experience for your business and customers. As your order volume increases, you can effectively scale your entire fulfillment process and business.

Quick and Easy Fulfillment With Flxpoint + Shopify Order API

The ecommerce industry continues to expand and propel digital transformation, so more companies are considering an accurate fulfillment solution a critical component of their tech stack. Many ecommerce retailers believe that one of the most significant barriers to delivering orders on time is the absence of real-time fulfillment visibility.

In addition to crippling consumer expectations, this challenge has led many ecommerce business owners to evaluate their entire technology stack and consider a robust total retail operations platform like Flxpoint to increase margin and drive operational efficiencies.

Integrating a tool like Flxpoint with the Shopify Order API provides a better fulfillment experience. Talk with an expert today to learn more about Flxpoint’s custom solutions and the future of fulfillment with the Shopify Order API.

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