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Mar 20, 2017

How Reaction Commerce Built Shipping Using Shippo

reaction commerce shippo

We are proud to announce our partnership with Reaction Commerce, a completely open-source JavaScript platform for ecommerce experiences of today.

As a developer, I am excited to see Reaction Commerce partner with Shippo to provide shipping for their open-source, fully featured commerce platform built with developers in mind. This allows a completely native customer and seller shipping experience directly from the platform.

Reaction Commerce integrated Shippo into their platform using Shippo’s NodeJS client library. Since Reaction Commerce is an open source platform, I can use their code to highlight some best practices for integrating Shippo into applications and platforms.

1. Simple Registration for Retailers

Reaction Commerce has made it easy for retailers to ship from Reaction Commerce using Shippo.

Merchants plug in the Shippo API key into Reaction Commerce and then they can retrieve shipping rates for orders at checkout and buy shipping labels. Behind-the-scenes, merchants can enable or disable carriers, and adjust the displayed shipping description to customers during the checkout process. This is a great as it allows operators to easily optimize the carrier mix and improve customer communication.

To make this easy, Shippo provides a standalone registration flow to let your users easily get their API key.

shippo standalone registration

From Reaction Commerce’s perspective, the advantage of using Shippo’s standalone registration flow is that they don’t have to build billing, carrier, or other shipping management on top of their application. Through Shippo, each merchant automatically has access to their own shipping dashboard where they have full access to carrier account management, billing and other functionalities. The hybrid approach allows the daily use functionality to be natively integrated, while the back office operations can be done in Shippo and the platform doesn’t have to rebuild those features.

2. Address Validation and Handling

Reaction Commerce did an excellent job of gathering user input and separating address information in specific fields such as: name, street1, street2, city, region, zip, country, etc. Since each field is mapped to their respective counterpart in the Shippo API, once the address is validated, the same address object ID can be used to create the shipment. This is helpful for merchants that store end-custom addresses, their validated address object ID can be stored for any future orders they make, saving the need to validate again. Everyone should be parsing addresses like this if they are consistently using an API to validate addresses.

3. Generating Rates for Checkout

When it comes to generating rate selection for merchants, Reaction Commerce also takes a best practice approach. Since they have merchants enter the dimensions and weight of the items they are selling, it’s really easy to generate rates for all the orders.

Just looking at Reaction’s comments for the createShipment method, we can see that it simplifies the process for generating rates. All the merchant needs is the address from, address to, parcel size/weight, and their Shippo API key. Different rates are then generated based on carriers or service levels and displayed at checkout for customers to select from.

4. Shipping Label Creation

After rates are generated, Reaction Commerce also handles the actual label purchase and printing. Since the Rate objects have already been generated for the checkout process, after a selection is made, rate object ID is used to create the label using the Transactions endpoint. This is a great setup for stores that let end-customers select their rates, carrier, and service level at checkout.

If you are a developer who’s looking to implement shipping into your platform or application, these pieces will guide you on how to best do that.

  1. Utilize the standalone registration flow to allow merchants to start shipping via Shippo without having to build billing, carrier, or administration support
  2. Parse addresses from the get-go to easily validate them
  3. Create a great rate generating method to allow merchants to easily display shipping costs at checkout
  4. Help merchants generate the shipping labels smoothly

Building your own custom shipping solution doesn’t need to be complicated, especially using the Shippo API and dashboard. We provide the building blocks of shipping to help platforms, marketplaces, and retailers ship better. Check out our case studies to see how more companies built shipping to help their businesses grow.

Shippo is a multi-carrier API and web app that helps retailers, marketplaces and platforms connect to a global network of carriers. Businesses use Shippo to get real-time rates, print labels, automate international paperwork, track packages and facilitate returns. Shippo provides the tools to help businesses succeed through shipping.

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Richard Moot
was Developer Evangelist at Shippo

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