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online shippers



11:03 am on Jun 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


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


11:22 am on Jun 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Surely the same would be true of connecting to PayPal, Google Checkout, authorize.net etc and I haven't seen anyone that doesn't support them on those grounds. Strikes me as a tad lame.

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.


1:18 pm on Jun 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I would agree with their assessment in theory. When you connect to an outside API accross a network, you are introducing another point of failure into the checkout process. For this reason, we've also done shipping lookups internally. Zone and rate information can be downloaded from UPS and stored in a local database. The only drawback, of course, is that this information has to be updated periodically as rates change.


8:15 pm on Jun 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

yea, it seemed kind of odd to me. I was just wondering how ofter it is a issue?


8:43 pm on Jun 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

That sounds ridiculous to me.

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.



10:17 pm on Jun 15, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I've used UPS integration for four years. Of all the things to complain about, it's never broken the cart.

#1 issue is that the rates it serves, and then what we get billed, are often substantially different, and no one at UPS can tell us why.


8:23 pm on Jun 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

^ maybe the fuel surcharge

just pad the returned rates by a certain percentage to account for this

The number of times the UPS or USPS rates API is down is negligible.


2:48 am on Jun 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think that cartweaver did not offer that essential module to reduce development costs, and then convincing you to order anyway by incorrectly telling you it is a waste of time. I would not use cartweaver, IT IS REDICULOUS

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


9:34 pm on Jun 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

In my several years experience I would call that an absurd claim from the cart company. I've had UPS integration for years and have never had a problem with it shutting down the site.

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.


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