How an online store integrates Mail services into its business processes: the present and future of integration
So far, a separate system is responsible for each of these processes. To use the service of electronic registered letters, sending or fulfillment requires integration with each of them. And we want to make sure that the client gets access to all the features of Mail on a “one-stop-shop” basis, without extra effort and much faster. To implement this idea, we are creating an integration platform, which we want to tell you about.
Combining Single Window Integrations
To facilitate access to all mail services, we will need a system that will: 1) connect the Mail API to the store’s API without deeply diving into everyone’s business processes; 2) connect all our services through the “one window”. These tasks will be solved by the integration platform.
Now, to integrate the client with its API in Submission , fulfillment or Electronic registered letters we write an individual connector. Each service has its own. A connector is a "translator" that helps the store and the Post understand each other. It decrypts the information from the client API into our format, and then does it in the opposite direction.
We made one of these connectors to connect the Beru marketplace to Sending - a service that automates the preparation of parcels for delivery to departments. The connector receives data from the Yandex API in XML format, translates it into JSON for transfer to the Sending personal account, and adjusts our work order to the client process.
There are several actions on the part of the Post Office: assign a track number, send data to the system, transfer data to tracking. At the store: place an order, check the address, show the shipping cost and get a tracking number. These actions in the processes of the Mail and the store have a different order and can be called differently. At the first step, we have to check the address and calculate the tariff, and the store first forms an order. We need to help compare these steps so that the two systems can understand each other.
The store sends the Mail request “Create a new parcel from Moscow to Saratov weighing 1 kg”, and the connector places it into variables “Create a new parcel” “Route: Moscow - Saratov” “Weight: 1 kg”, which are understandable to our API. If Beru wants to connect to fulfillment in order to store and send goods from our warehouse, then he will need to write another connector.
The normal process of connecting to Mail services
The good news is that connectors are written for a specific API format (XML, JSON, etc.), so they can be reused for clients with similar requirements. But for this to work, you need to create a kernel through which all mail services will communicate and to which ready-made connectors will connect. This core, the foundation of the integration platform, will be the general mail order management system. Then the connection process will look like this:
Connecting to all Mail services through the integration platform
The platform will operate on the principle of a BPMN system in which analysts build the business process of a specific action. It will allow you to convert data from any format to the desired one. All that remains to be done manually is to combine the variables for order management.
Using connectors, we translate the data format and compare the order of actions, which takes one to two months. And the integration platform will allow you to connect a new client to all our systems in one to two weeks without complex development, with minimal involvement of programmers.
Change the structure of work with orders
Now all mail operations are managed by disparate systems, each of which is responsible for its own step and does not exchange data with the rest. OMS will combine all the tasks and will work with them from one point.
A unified order management system will close all customer needs within the Mail ecosystem. We will be able to pick up the leftover goods from one warehouse, transfer it to fulfillment, prepare it for shipment and ship it for delivery. It will also expand the capabilities of our internal processes - it will allow launching services that the Post does not yet provide: delivery of bulky goods, courier delivery from the department to a specific recipient, and others.
The general postal order management system can be imagined as a multi-armed operator who accepts all incoming tasks, determines priorities and deadlines, decides to whom and when to transfer the task, and controls all changes in the order from the moment it is received to completion.
For example, we received an application for the delivery of a refrigerator, which must be raised to the 25th floor without an elevator. The Post does not have a delivery service for such a large product and does not have its own movers. OMS will select a suitable contractor among our partners and direct the task to him. And when the partner receives an order for packages that do not fit in his car, we will be able to pick up the order for ourselves and load our own transport. Due to the fact that each OMS participant can act as a customer and an executor, we will have the opportunity to distribute orders between the Mail and partners in such a way as to optimally use the resources of each.
The OMS pilot inside the Mail will begin in the next month. After that, we will begin to develop an integration platform that will combine the order life cycle in OMS with the client’s business processes. Soon, one simple integration will be enough to connect several Mail services.
Open Mail API
Connectors are needed only for those online sites that have their own API standards. Those who do not have such restrictions can connect their warehouse, sorting system or workflow to the data exchange through the open tracking APIs and the Parcel Sending API .
This opportunity uses OZON. With the usual API capabilities, we were able to close the entire chain of creation, preparation and tracking of parcels for a huge marketplace that sends 300-400,000 parcels a month via Mail:
- Through the parcel sending API, an automatic sorter at the OZON fulfillment factory exchanges data with the Parcel personal account. At the time of weighing, the sorter starts registration in the Russian Post - this is a quick process consisting of several steps. And in response he receives a formed address label, which they print and paste on the box.
- The billing system calculates the cost and delivery time and sends this data to OZON systems.
- Through the tracking API, the OZON back-office tracks the entire route of departures and stores information about it in its own order management system. This data is needed to show the client where the package is and send notifications.
APIs are used by customers with their own order management system. If your store runs on one of the popular CMS: InSales, amoCRM, ShopScript, 1C-Bitrix or CS: Cart, then you can use applications that operate on the basis of the official Mail module.
Module for stores on CMS platforms
The module sends the package parameters from the store’s basket to the tariffifier , deadline calculation service and tracking service. From there we get information about the delivery time and cost and transfer it to the personal account of the Sending, where the preferred preparation takes place - an address label is formed and a track number is assigned.
From the Sending personal account, documents and tracking data are returned to the store management system interface. The seller can print shortcuts for the delivery of parcels and transfer the track numbers to customers in the usual CRM.
Branch selection widget
If buyers fill out all the order data without leaving the site, then the conversion to purchases will be higher. So that at the stage of delivery, they don’t have to remember the address, index and operating mode of the nearest branch or look for this information outside the seller’s site, you can use the widget with a map of post offices and order points.
The client selects a branch on the card and sees information about it: address, opening hours, payment methods, as well as the cost and delivery time, which are pulled from the open API services tariff.pochta.ru and delivery.pochta.ru .
The buyer receives all the important information in one window - the term, cost and schedule of the department
To install a widget on a website or application, you do not need special knowledge. The designer is set up in a few clicks and is available at widget.pochta.ru .
Although we have a set of solutions that cover almost any request from a business, we do not stop there and create a single entry point for customers. With it, companies will receive tools for easier integration of logistics into their processes, and Mail is another powerful channel for promoting and developing their products and services.
If you share this approach and want to participate in the transformation of services that will be used by hundreds of online stores across the country, then we are waiting for you in the team of Postal Technologies. Open vacancies in 9 cities of Russia can be viewed on the website hr.pochta.tech/vacancies .