You’d think that shipping is pretty much a solved problem at this point. In reality, it’s still hard for developers to easily hook their applications into the APIs of major shippers and understand who offers the most efficient and cost-effective shipping options for their specific needs. Postmaster, on the other hand, provides developers with a single, easy-to-integrate REST API that allows companies to quickly compare rates across FedEx, UPS and USPS (more coming soon) and optimize their shipments for cost and time in transit.
While large companies like Amazon use sophisticated algorithms to optimize their shipments, most small businesses don’t have access to this data. Amazon, for example, knows when it can use basic ground shipping from one of its warehouses to get a parcel to you in two days instead of using a more expensive service. Postmasters allows anybody to route packages intelligently.
As Postmaster CEO and co-founder Jesse Lovelace told me earlier this week, one of the main pain points about integrating with existing shipping solutions isn’t just that they tend to be very old-fashioned APIs, but also the need to get the labels you print certified by them. This can take a long time, and it adds unnecessary complexity for a small business. “Carrier integration can be extremely cumbersome. Postmaster wants to not only make this process easier than ever before, but by harnessing shipping data and analytics, ensure that every shipment is optimized, routed and billed as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible,” Lovelace also said in the announcement today.
In addition to providing businesses with access to rates and shipping labels, Postmaster also provides tracking services over SMS, email and webhooks, as well as address validation. The company currently offers client libraries for Ruby, Python and PHP, with .NET, Java and Go libraries coming soon.
For now, the service is squarely focused on developers, but the team is also planning to launch a more consumer-focused product soon that may allow users to quickly compare shipping rates without the ability to print out labels.