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I am building my first e-commerce site (using CartWeaver) and I had a question about the shipping.
The CartWeaver documentation says "CartWeaver does not by default support this with good reason. Although connecting to shipping providers may sound like a very cool feature and some cart systems use it as a real selling point, the real-world truth of the matter is it is more often a headache and a maintenance hassle. Shippers quite frequently (with little or no notice) will change something, and if you don't modify your cart to the new specifications, your cart breaks. If the shipper experiences technical difficulties, your cart breaks. If the connection over the web to your shipper becomes interrupted, your cart breaks."
I was just wondering from those who have used dynamic connections to shippers if you found this to be the case? and if so, how often is there a problem? I would be going with UPS.
thanks for the help
Specifications can change but these are usually documented weeks or months in advance. Not being able to connect to UPS or whoever hasn't been an issue with the carts I've been involved with.
I've been using the UPS API for 4+ years now and while they have added additional parameters occasionally, they have never changed anything that would cause the cart not to work.
I don't use any type of safeguard on my site, if the curl to UPS didn't work it would throw an error and there wouldn't be any way to complete the order - and a whole string of "abandoned" orders would certainly get noticed.
I've also not had one email from a customer reporting an error.
To run an end of day on your WorldShip software the computer has to connect with UPS as well. I've never had that not work either.
if you sold post cards, then i guess you dont need it as all shipping is the same with media mail etc., but for the rest of us hard goods sellers, shipping is calculated based on parameters, and UPS (not me) gives back the rates. It is not only a part of all carts, it is ESSENTIAL for most of you are serious about your business.
with that logic, why not have the customer just fill out a form, and then you would call them back (after you call ups for the exact rate) and process the transaction manually over the phone with your payment processor. That way there are no breaks in the chain. bet if you did that you wouldnt have an ecommerce site for long.
besides when you grow, you will be using similiar APIs from UPS for integrating your backend order data into retrieving shipping labels and then printing them via a thermal printer. That alone saves us thousands of dollars a month.
get a real developer, not a lame cut-corners software package
Potential customers really need to see what the shipping cost will be. Otherwise few will order. And if you flat rate it you are going to eat a lot of shipping. Because shipping rates are skyrocketing and the "rural" delivery is way high.