When we began looking into how we could facilitate a vinyl subscription service, we wanted to find a partner who could solve all of the nuances of shipping at scale, without us having to build this product ourselves.
Nick Alt
Founder and CEO

Background

VNYL is a subscription service custom-made for music lovers. Members create profiles and share their musical tastes, and they can even connect their streaming channels. The VNYL team then sends members three hand-curated records each month, allowing them to discover new music specifically matched to their unique tastes.

The Challenge

VNYL ships hundreds of packages of records every day, servicing over 100,000 users. They needed a shipping solution that could keep up with their growing customer base. With their volume, manually creating shipping labels wasn’t an option—they needed a way to programmatically identify the best shipping options and automate the shipping process. 

One unique aspect of VNYL’s service is that many of its customers are unaware of the titles they’ll be receiving until their packages actually arrive. This element of mystery and surprise is a fun experience for customers, and VNYL wanted a way to share detailed tracking updates, but also keep the contents of a package a mystery until the actual delivery.

Since shipping is such a core part of VNYL’s service, Founder and CEO Nick Alt and his team specifically wanted an API solution that could integrate seamlessly into their e-commerce application and user experience, so that customers wouldn’t need to leave the app to find the status of their deliveries. Additionally, with their already large and continually growing member base, VNYL needed a way to handle shipping programmatically. Manually comparing rates and generating shipping labels simply wasn’t an option at their scale.

“Most of my team comes from a background in software development. When we began looking into how we could facilitate a vinyl subscription service, we wanted to find a partner who could solve all of the nuances of shipping at scale, without us having to build this product ourselves,” says Nick.

Summary:

  • Manual label generation wasn’t cost-effective or efficient as the business grew
  • Needed the ability to provide customers with shipping updates that wouldn’t give away the surprise contents of their package
  • Required an API solution that could be fully integrated into their application

The Solution

Shippo provided VNYL with a shipping API that could power better shipping experiences for their members, while also making VNYL’s internal shipping processes significantly more efficient.  

For VNYL, implementing Shippo’s API allowed them to automate their shipping-label generation process, offering significant time savings as the result of eliminating previously manual processes. Moreover, since VNYL offers free shipping to members, Shippo’s API helps them to identify the most cost-effective shipping option for every order, to reduce their costs. When offering free shipping to customers, margin optimization is critical for any business. 

For members, this provided the ability to access detailed shipping and tracking information directly in the VNYL app without having to navigate away to third-party carrier pages. Members can see the precise status and ETAs of their upcoming record shipments directly in the VNYL app. This is made possible by Shippo’s API webhooks, which allow VNYL’s application to detect when new shipping information is available, surface the information in the app, and notify customers in real-time with their shipment tracking info.

VNYL has also been able to create a few new features around the Shippo API. For example, when a package is delivered, using a trigger from Shippo’s API, VNYL automatically uploads music to a customer’s Spotify playlist.

“Many of the other shipping solutions in the market expect their customers to mostly use their web interface and only offer an API as an afterthought. When we discovered that Shippo’s API was their primary focus, we knew that their product would be a strong fit for us,” says Nick.

Summary:

  • Provides an API solution that can be fully integrated into VNYL’s application
  • Enables the ability to offer customers a menu of delivery options
  • Webhooks push shipping updates in the application and sends customers real-time notifications

The Results

With Shippo, VNYL was able to quickly scale their shipping logistics by providing a fast, efficient, and cost-effective solution. Shippo has also enabled VNYL to build new features into their application such as the ability to notify customers with real-time delivery updates, which they were not previously able to offer. And since Shippo has 99.9% uptime, VNYL and its members won’t experience interruptions in service, even if a specific carrier’s API goes down. Shippo is always on and ensures that VNYL customers won’t experience interruptions in service.

Since partnering with Shippo, VNYL has been able to focus on delivering an immersive music experience to its passionate customer base, instead of working out complicated shipping logistics. 

“Shippo offers the best value in the market in terms of ease-of-use, cost-effectiveness, and fast implementation. We were able to integrate their API into our app quickly and have everything we needed to scale our business”

—Nick Alt

Summary:

  • Reduced friction across the entire shipping, tracking and delivery process
  • Delighting customers using shipping data as triggers
  • VNYL can focus on music discovery and customer satisfaction

One API For All Your Shipping Needs

Shippo is a single, easy-to-integrate API that powers everything leading e-commerce brands need for shipping. From a single integration, businesses gain access to over 58 global shipping carriers. With Shippo, all carrier interactions are standardized, making it easy for businesses to compare rates and ETAs, print labels, schedule pickups, track shipments, facilitate returns, and more across several carriers in one place.

Some examples of how merchants use Shippo’s API:

  • Delivery ETAs on product pages: Based on a shopper’s geo-location, merchants can return delivery ETAs on product pages to increase conversion rates.
  • Live Rates ETAs during checkout: Ensure that you are not under- or over-charging for shipping by returning exact carrier rates and ETAs at checkout. 
  • Reduce Shipping Costs: Automatically identify the best shipping rate for each order across all supported carriers. 
  • Automate Label generation: Create automated workflows to purchase and print discounted shipping labels from all carriers in several supported formats. This is customizable based on your business needs. For example, you can always generate the cheapest label that has a 2-day ETA. 
  • Customer notifications and on-demand tracking: Trigger customer notifications with detailed tracking information, or use Shippo’s tracking endpoint to add tracking status to emails from your own email service provider. Unlike tracking pages from carriers, Shippo offers over 25 detailed sub-statuses, so you and your customers receive the most detailed information. 
  • Returns via scan-based labels: Automatically generate return labels for free. Only pay when a customer uses a label. You can either include these in all outbound shipments or generate them by request.

Additional Benefits of Shippo’s API:

Increased Efficiency. Integrating with various carrier APIs can require a lot of extra time and effort to implement, especially if done individually. Shippo’s API connects with major carriers across the globe, saving you both developer time and money. The API can also connect with popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, and others. 

Fast Setup. The developer-centric API can be implemented quickly, so you can get started right away. Shippo provides unmatched, developer-friendly documentation to help our partners get started. Features of the Shippo API include backward-compatible versioning, very clearly defined endpoints, example code, test mode, quick updates via webhooks, and more. 

Unmatched Reliability—99.9% Uptime. Shippo offers industry-leading reliability. Even in the event that a carrier’s API is down, Shippo’s patent-pending local rating and label generation allows customers to get rates and print shipping labels without any third-party dependencies.  

To Code or Not to Code. Shippo also offers an accompanying dashboard and web application, which allows non-technical users to review performance, edit settings, and print shipping labels without any coding. 

We’re Here For You. Our US-based Customer Support team is here to help with technical questions, while many queries can also be answered using our self-service Help Center.

Carriers include:

  • USPS
  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • DHL
  • Canada Post
  • Deutsche Post
  • GLS
  • Hermes
  • Australia Post
  • New Zealand Post 
  • Sendle
  • CDL
  • AxleHire 
  • LSO
  • And others

 

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