Royal Mail launch Shipping & Tracking API

By Chris Dawson September 2, 2014 - 6:38 am

Royal Mail featRoyal Mail have launched a new parcels shipping and tracking platform to enable e-retailers to improve integration between their IT systems and Royal Mail’s software.

The new Shipping and Tracking application programming interface (API) is available to all Royal Mail business account customers. It is the next step in the programme to introduce new online tools across consumer, small business and medium business customer bases.

The new API will enable e-retailers and other parcels customers to benefit from fast, easy and flexible integration of systems, the ability to monitor usage and customise reports. It will also receive full IT support from Royal Mail.

Customers using the system will have access to all of Royal Mail’s parcel services both for UK and international destinations. Customers will also be able to track the progress of their consignments, check the track status of an item and retrieve the tracking history of their shipment.

The system also means new customers can connect their systems to Royal Mail much faster than previously. The Royal Mail Shipping API, available to customers at no additional cost, uses up to the minute technology and a common technical language to connect Royal Mail’s systems and a retailer’s order processing systems to easily and seamlessly enable shipping and tracking services.

There are three groups of people who will be most interested in the new Royal Mail API:

1) Large customers who want to integrate directly with Royal Mail services. This could include companies like Amazon and large high street retailers who can benefit from connecting Royal Mail’s API directly to their own inhouse IT infrastructure.

2) Smaller businesses who are more tech savvy and want to link Royal Mail directly to their website orders (and possibly marketplace orders). If you’re building a system for instance based around Magento or a similar platform the new Royal Mail API will enable you to do this. You may also wish to use services such as Metapack for shipping but still wish to integrate the tracking API into your back end CRM software.

3) Third party companies (e.g. multichannel management companies or shipping consolidation services) may wish to use the new Royal Mail API functions as an easier more flexible way to connect for their customers.

The new API is free to use and you can find out more information on the Royal Mail website.

  • Cambridge_Blue
    3 years ago

    Wonder if this is similar to the RM ‘direct integration’ option Linnworks launched many months ago and then charged their customers for the privilege of what should have been a standard API integration.
    Interested to know if this different or better than the current Linnworks RM channel integration many are currently using?
    Certainly an opportunity for some of the smaller players to provide a professional shipping option.

  • 3 years ago

    @Cambridge_Blue I’ll find out soon enough. I’ve been in contact with our RM account manager and filled in the pre-communication form and now waiting to hear the next step.

    We’re using Linnworks and I’m personally interested in using the Tracking API and the Linnworks API to update our order notes with Royal Mail tracking information.

    For me, its too early to say if the integration will be any better than Linnworks current RM offering via OBA. I may find out soon enough once I have an API key and a copy of the documentation.

  • Robert McIntosh
    3 years ago

    How will online buyers and sellers be affected if Scotland votes for independence on 18th September 2014?

    An independent Scotland would be a foreign country with postage to and from England requiring customs slips and associated higher rates.

    I’d like to know how my online business will be affected in this case.

    Will the extra costs be exorbitant because as a small business I couldn’t afford to absorb them and would have to look at increasing prices which can only lead to me becoming less competitive and then having to pay off staff?

    I am seriously considering moving lock stock and barrel if I couldn’t remain competitive here. And I’m not alone with that intention. Worrying times indeed for myself and my employees.

    • 3 years ago

      The biggest unknown will be in regard to Scotlands relationship with the EU. There are suggestions from the Yes side that Scotland will continue to use the Pound Sterling. But if they want to remain in the EU they may very well have to adopt the Euro.

      There are something like 170 different currencies around the World. In theory Scotland could adopt and use any of them. After all several Central and South American Countries use the Dollar. This is not ideal but it can work. The real problem comes if there is a financial crash. Then you really could do with your own currency or one in a currency agreement such as the Euro. Then like Greece you have the strength of the Euro Zone around you(that really means Germany bails you out).

      So I for one am awaiting what happens after the vote if the result is a Yes. If it is No then as far as we are concerned little or nothing changes.

      It might be interesting to think back to when America was being colonised. They had little or no money. So they adopted whatever came their way. Which usually meant what the Pirates and Privateers could sieze from the Spanish and Portugeuse(pieces of 8 etc). Each coin was given a value and when you went shopping you spent your time working out the value of the various monies in your pockets.After all the name Dollar comes from Spanish and the symbol for the dollar the two lines crossed by the wavy line is actually a symbol of the straights of Gibraltar(again from Spanish).

      Of course in those days coins still basically had an intrinsic value of gold or silver in the coin as the coins face value. This actually continued until recent times in such as Africa and Asia where trade was often carried out with Trade Dollars which were minted specifically for Trade and contained 1 ounce of Silver. My favourite is the old Maria Teresa Taler which was still being minted until recently dated 1780 (this coin is often described as the most beautiful coin ever minted). Which was used for Trade purposes all across Asia and Africa.

      But in this day and age we need a currency that is acceptable by the Banks and International Financiers and especially if Scotland is wanting to stay in the EU by Brussells.

      As far as Postage and Customs is concerned it is all part of the same consideration. If Scotland stays in the EU(if they will have them) then it will be no different to sending goods to Ireland or France.

      The real problem comes for Scotland as well as for Internet Sellers is if Scotland having Voted to be Independent then finds that it cannot remain in the EU. Then a whole new can of worms opens up and that really could be a mess. This is actually a distinct possibility because several EU Countries(Spain as an example) are terrified of regions of their own countries pushing for independence if Scotland does Vote Yes. And as all the Countries of the EU will have to vote to accept Scotlands continued(or indeed fresh Membership) it is likely that Spain and some others might veto it.

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