Courier Services Integration
If you are shipping physical goods to your customers, having courier integration is an essential addition to your package. Our courier integrations typically support real-time quotes, pick-up (collection) requests, waybill generation and printing and track and trace. At higher order volumes, having courier integraiton can save you lots of time and reduce errors signficantly. It also gives you the option to pass the shipping cost to the customer and work with multiple couriers in an effort to get the best delivery rate for a specific shipment.
The real-time quotes can be used to get the available services and their cost for a shopping cart or order being placed, during the checkout process. The quotes can also be used in the admin portal, to see the available shipping options for the order. Multiple courier integrations can be set up to get more shipping options, typically to shop for the lowest price or in some cases to offer your customer choice between different services and different courier companies.
The pick-up (collection) request function is used to notify the courier that you have a shipment ready to be collected. Most couriers will allow specifying date and time interval for the pick-up. Shipment pick-up and delivery information is sent to the courier with the pick-up request, allowing for pick-ups from 3rd parties, such as suppliers or pick-ups of returns from customers.
The waybill generation and printing function eliminates the need to write waybills (shipping documents) by hand or through a 3rd party system, where you have to copy all the sender and recipient details over to the other system. The waybill is instead automatically generated inside our platform and you can simply open it and print it. This eliminates the possibility of making a mistake with the contact details or addresses on the waybill.
The track and trace function offers not only the ability to keep the customer coming to your website for information, which is an opportunity to market your products further, but is also used to automatically update the order status as appropriate (to shipped, delivery and delivered typically) and send any email and/or SMS notifications to the customer to inform them of the location of their order and upon delivery, send an automatic Thank You for Shopping from us email or even an automatic follow up email to check on their satisfaction with the product or service they received from your company.
Courier Account Types
Courier companies such as Fastway and TheCourierGuy offer pre-paid shipping options, meaning you either load credit into your account or buy shipping labels, as in the case with Fastway. The benefit of the pre-paid shipping is reduced possibility of surprise charges. It is also typically easier to open a pre-paid account.
Most couriers offer post-paid accounts, where shipping charges are accumulated over a period, typically a month and invoice is sent to you at the end of the period.
Courier Service Types
Majority of the courier companies offer several door-to-door service options, such as Same Day, Overnight and Economy. All options including picking up a parcel from one location and delivering it to another, anywhere in the country. At the delivery location the recipient must sign for the parcel.
Pargo is an example of a door-to-counter delivery service, they will pick-up parcels from your location and deliver it to one of their pick-up points throughout the country. Service is very cost effective for shipping to remote areas, where there are high surcharges for regular door-to-door deliveries.
Paxi is an example of a counter-to-counter delivery service, where you have to take the parcels to one of their drop-off / pick-up points and the recipients have to do the same. This is generally a cheaper service than regular courier options.
By default, most couriers either offer no insurance on the shipments or very limited value insurances, such as R 1,000 per parcel. Most couriers offer an option to take insurance on a shipment, which attracts extra insurance fee for the shipment, typically a percentage from the declared shipment value. Another option for insurance, especially if a reasonable number of orders is shipped daily, is to take business insurance covering goods in transit. This type of insurance may be cheaper overall.
South African Post Office (SAPO)
We do not recommend using SAPO as they are extremely unreliable, parcels often get lost or damaged and it is generally not worth the risk shipping anything of any value through them. If you need counter-to-counter or door-to-counter service, use Paxi or Pargo instead.