Over the years, we’ve worked with a couple of different delivery companies for our fulfillment. We started with Fastway and moved to An Post about 5 years ago. The service has always been good and the prices very competitive.
But there was one missing link. A Shopify integration.
We used two systems in tandem: a completely manual system which involved attaching pre-printed labels to our boxes and then corresponding tracking codes into a duplicate sheet. And a second system - slightly more advanced but still tediously clunky. It was known as Auto Lynk and involved uploading a CSV file or manually entering customer details into a desktop app and printing labels via a Zebra machine.
Neither were fit for purpose. Both undermined An Post’s stated mission to be a serious player in e-commerce for the SME sector.
Sure, the big enterprise clients could probably develop their own systems for automating fulfillment but the little guys like us were left with an out of date system that added hours every week to our fulfillment processes and was wide open to human error with data entry.
We not only need our canvas prints and framed prints to arrive safely - we need them to arrive promptly and we want efficient communication throughout the transit process to keep customers informed on the estimated delivery dates.
So last November I decided to reach out to Gilles Ferrandez, An Post’s Sales Director who is leading the ecommerce modernisation roll-out. I offered my feedback on the system and expressed my hope that an API would be developed at some point soon. I was not expecting the reply I got!
Gilles not only explained that they were about to launch a replacement system with my much-hoped for API but he also offered me an early place in the roll out. To my delight, we went live with the system in late January 2021 and it is a total game changer.
It’s basically a white label system powered by Scurri - the Wexford-based company backed by Enterprise Ireland that has developed their own enterprise level fulfillment software. Scurri are on fire right now, spurred on by Covid and expanding into overseas markets and I can see why.
The new system is called eCommlink. With a little bit of set up from An Post’s side, the Shopify integration works right out of the box. You get a login to the portal, from where you can see all your live orders that have synced over from your Shopify store. The system automatically applies the correct label to each order based on rules you can define. The scan and print feature simply allows us to enter the Shopify order number and the label instantly prints via our Zebra printer.
What’s more you can log in to the portal from any PC, edit a label and hey presto it prints automatically. This is a wonderful feature where you have remote workers who can jump in, fix something and still physically print a label at the warehouse.
For merchants shipping to the UK post Brexit, An Post have built in Brexit-proof shipping labels to the service. The correct customs paperwork showing HS Tarriff codes, country of origin etc are all taken care of (you need to do a little set up at the start) thus ensuring a swift and hassle free transit through UK customs and onto your customer.
Once an order has shipped, the recipient automatically gets our Shopify powered shipping notification email AND one from An Post as well. Tracking codes are synced to Shopify and trackable from within the email. No more data entry for us! This feature has literally saved us hours of work a week and at busy times like Christmas will be an absolute life saver.
With this system, I believe An Post is really showing its commitment to the SME e-commerce sector in Ireland. Modern systems of fulfillment are absolutely essential to running a lean, efficient and busy webstore and An Post’s new system will be a huge benefit to the sector here and will drive merchant signups to An Post.