Integration Foundation Decisions

These decisions will determine how Shipper accounts will be managed and structured and how the user interface for shipping will be managed.

Shipper Accounts

This is broken down into two main categories Grey and White label.

  • Simply put a Grey label is a co branded integration Shippo manages billing and support and Shippo Master Accounts are available with the major carriers. User authentication is handled through OAuth.
  • In a White Label integration the integrator owns the above items and the shipper is unaware of Shippo’s involvement in the tech stack. This will require a robust billing and reconciliation system, customer support, and limits the use of Shippo Master Accounts.
    • White Label integrations can leverage the Shippo sub account structure to manage individual Shipper accounts in a segregated fashion. This will allow for a better system for billing reconciliation and carrier management along with other reporting and audit functions.

User Interface

These are the options available for the User Interface (UI):

  1. OAuth into the Shippo web application, this is for Grey Label integrations only and is the simplest path to integration. Shippers will be redirected to the Shippo web app to purchase labels and orders are synced into the web application from an integrator's system.
  2. OAuth with Native UI, this still leverages OAuth however some or all of the UI is native to your application. For example, you may build a label purchase workflow but choose to have users update billing and carrier information in the Shippo web application. This option does not apply to White Label integrations.
  3. Native UI, this is a user interface and experience where all the aspects of shipping are native to your system. This can apply to both Grey and White Label integrations but is most commonly used by White Label Integrators. Because you are not associating this application with Shippo you will need to manage user accounts and authentication.

For options 2 and 3, Shippo has a SAAS offering called Shipping Elements. This is a UI Shippo builds and maintains and you can integrate using an iFrame. This allows you to rely on Shippo to maintain and update the shipping experience while keeping users inside your application.

Choosing the right path

As seen above, each integration method has excellent reasons why partners may choose one over the other. To help in deciding which path is right, take a look at the following user stories and select those that are most aligned with your business needs.

  • As a (Platform) I want to handle invoicing my customers for shipping costs
  • As a (Platform) I want to be able to offer closed carrier registration carriers to my customers
  • As a (Platform) I want to be in control of the entire customer experience
  • As a (Platform) I want granular access to merchant shipping accounts
  • As a (Platform) I want to be able to retrieve account details of an individual merchant
  • As a (Platform) I want to be able to update a merchant account
  • As a (Platform) I want to avoid all or part of user account maintenance
  • As a (Platform) I want my customers to know we are working with Shippo
  • As a (Platform) I want to facilitate order fulfillment, but not handle any billing details
  • As a Platform, I have significant engineering resources to devote to building a fulfillment workflow for my customers
  • As a Platform I have the ability to provide support to my customers when they have questions about order fulfillment

Answering the questions above should give you an idea of which direction you should be leaning when it comes to an authentication method selection when working with Shippo. While your selection here is not binding (partners have migrated in both directions) think deeply on this in the beginning so you are setup for success from the start.