Until recently, there have been no solutions which allow easy integration between Zen Cart and USPS. This issue is primarily caused by USPS not allowing postage paid labels to be created through their own API but through the APIs of two different private companies: Endicia.com and Stamps.com. It’s a shame because you can do everything through the USPS API except create a label that you can actually just drop in a mailbox and off it goes. Instead, the labels are created without postage requiring you to go to the post office and purchase postage before handing your package over to the postal worker. So, after spending dozens of hours creating a USPS API solution only to find out this crucial limitation in the later stages of development, we created two different solutions, one for each of the third-party APIs.
This module is a semi-integrated solution. It does not use Endicia.com’s API, but instead creates an XML file of all pending shipments which can then be imported into Endicia’s Dazzle software. Once the labels are created/printed by Dazzle, the shipments can be exported to another XML file which can then be uploaded back into Zen Cart. Orders are automatically updated to shipped status and tracking provided to customers via email and through the order history.
This solution is completely integrated with Zen Cart and does not require any third party software to create the labels. You can quickly go through each order and create a shipping label in about a minute or less and display the resulting label in your browser for printing.
So, which one is right for you?
Being able to print labels from any computer is a major advantage of the integrated solution using the Stamps.com API. At the time of writing, this module does not support bulk label printing (this feature will be added in the future). Therefore this might not be the ideal solution for a company with hundreds of daily shipments. On the other hand, the Endicia.com solution does support bulk exports of orders using an advanced algorithm for boxing products (lots of care is needed to accurately define your products weights, dimensions, and attribute’s weights and dimensions in addition to defining all possible boxes that you may ship with). If you need to create only one label, it also has the ability to export single orders where the admin can define the weight, dimensions, etc. Therefore, the ideal solution depends on the number of daily shipments your company makes and whether or not you need to be able to create labels from multiple locations without having to install third party software on every computer. Once the Stamps.com module supports bulk exports, there really won’t be any advantage to the Endicia.com XML solution. Regardless, to keep things fair, Endicia.com and Numinix.com are already discussing the development of a similar integrated solution using the Endicia.com API. You can expect to see this module completed later this year.