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All Things Shipping | July 31, 2015

Shipping for C2C and P2P E-Commerce Marketplaces

Running a consumer-to-consumer, or peer-to-peer marketplace and looking for a shipping solution to power transactions between your buyers and sellers?​ Shippo’s multi carrier shipping API is technology meant for just that. We power dozens of marketplaces like Mercari and Vinted, who use Shippo’s API to simplify all of the operational processes involved for building shipping rate retrieval, customer checkout, label-creation, & shipment tracking into their marketplace.

Shippo’s API was built developer-friendly. It takes just 4-6 hours to integrate and is a portal for connections to multiple shipping carrier APIs. This saves your developers time because, instead of integrating several carrier APIs, they can access all carriers from one single Shippo API. This also gives the end-user flexibility for their shipping, enabling them to compare rates and create shipping labels with a diverse array of carriers. Shippo has heavily discounted shipping rates with both USPS and international shipping carriers that marketplaces pass on directly to their customers. They can either choose to use those carrier accounts or plug in their own shipping account credentials.

Once you’ve integrated the API, you have all sorts of opportunities to customize the way it supports the front-end of your marketplace. Below, we walk you through the various options to design your marketplace’s flow on top of our shipping API:

Label Purchase (Shippo’s core value)

What affects your sellers:

  • You’ll need to create a ‘Buy Shipping Label’ button, which will most likely appear on your seller’s “Orders” page.
  • This leads to 1-2 additional pages, depending on the flow you choose
  • In two stages, you’ll need to capture five things:
    • Stage 1​
      • To & From Address
      • Weight
      • Dimensions
    • Stage 2
      • Select Rate
      • Show Label
  • You can decide to have your sellers submit the information above or you can input some/all of it on the back-end and only show a label to your seller.
  • Once you’ve created the label with a tracking number (a link on our server), you’ll need to put this link and tracking number in your UI

Product Details

  • Payments: Important process to think about
    • You are our customer. We pass on the shipping charges to you and you bill your sellers.
    • It’s your decision whether you want to:
      • Pass on the shipping rate as-is
      • Mark it up (and make $)
      • Subsidize it (in some areas)
  • Settings: You don’t have to expose these to your sellers & can keep it on your back-end instead.
    • Label Format: PDF vs PNG
    • Carrier Accounts: You can have, for example, one USPS account for all sellers OR allow your sellers to enter in their own USPS account credentials instead of using yours.
      • The latter option, allowing your sellers to enter their own carrier accounts, is typically a v2.0 feature

Have any questions about these opportunities for customization? We can help you think through them. Send us a note at! All questions and musings are welcome.

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.

Shan Lian does Product Marketing at Shippo

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