Shopify and S.F. Express Integration Considerations for Ecommerce Order Fulfillment
If you are running an ecommerce or retail business in Hong Kong, you’re probably considering or you’ve used S.F. Express or Hong Kong Post before as part of your process for fulfilling your ecommerce orders. If you’re using Shopify to power your ecommerce storefront, then you’re probably wondering how you can integrate S.F. Express fulfillment options into your online store. At the time of writing, we’re not aware of any native integration that exists between S.F. Express and Shopify, but many companies nonetheless use both for their online business. As a Shopify Partner and ecommerce agency based in Hong Kong, we are outlining a few tips and considerations for setting up your Shopify store to better support your operational process if you happen to be using S.F. Express for fulfilment.
Improving Customer Experience by Adapting Your Online Store to Match Fulfilment
Many merchants in Hong Kong will be familiar with S.F. Express, which is a courier service headquartered in Shenzhen, with domestic Hong Kong delivery services and global delivery throughout Asia, South and North America, and Europe. S.F. Express has services such as door-to-door pickup, S.F. WeChat to submit and track orders, pick-up and drop-off services at S.F. Service Centres and S.F. Stores, to name a few. A succesS.F.ul ecommerce businesses in Hong Kong considers customer experience holistically from discovery through to order fulfilment and customer service, which means fitting your brand’s online store to reflect the range of services that S.F. Express offers for customer convenience.
If you are already using, or considering, Shopify for your online store, you can make important changes for order fulfilment without writing a single line of code. Below is an example of how turning on a required field can improve customer experience and your team’s operational efficiency.
Suggestion: Make Phone Numbers a Required Field for Checkout
Part of integration just calls for streamlining the information that is collected at the store checkout and used for delivery. As a courier, S.F. Express typically requires a customer’s phone number for shipments to ensure delivery. Shopify’s checkout is designed to help customers make an order in the most convenient way, which means that the default setting is to require minimal information.
Making a quick change to your required data fields is a simple, but crucial, setup. You do this by going to your Shopify merchant console and selecting “Required” for “Shipping address phone number”. Shoppers can only complete the order after providing information that helps you schedule an S.F. Express delivery, which ultimately helps your company deliver a higher standard of customer service.
Customizing Shopify Checkout to Match S.F. Express Delivery Options
In addition to door-to-door delivery, S.F. Express drops off at 100 S.F. Service Centers and S.F. Stores, as well as over 500 EF Lockers in Hong Kong. EF Lockers are designed for ecommerce, enabling customers to pick up items at their convenience beyond business hours and brands to ensure that items are collected. But without a direct integration into Shopify, how can merchants offer this feature without increasing operational overhead?
Again, presenting the pickup locations during the checkout process helps your company take an order from Shopify and copy it into and S.F. Express delivery order. One way to do this is to use Shopify Plus to customize your Checkout Page, which requires some coding.
Tip: Pass Selected Delivery Location from the Cart Page into the Checkout Form
If you are not using Shopify Plus, you can consider customizing the Shopify Cart Page (instead of the Checkout Page) to ask a customer to input a Pick Up Point. When the customer clicks “Next”, you can pass the selected pickup location into the address field of the checkout form. This pre-filled checkout is a small user experience enhancement is saves your customers time time, while also ensuring that a customer has provided a consistent delivery address or chosen from a list of standardized drop-off locations.
Offer Customers Flexibility in a Cost Effective Way
It’s commonly believed that free shipping not only increases competitiveness, but also customer retention. To cover costs, many businesses offer free basic shipping after a certain purchase amount. This is where you, as a merchant, can take advantage of S.F. Express’ different fulfilment options to provide customers with greater flexibility. For example, you could offer shoppers free shipping if they choose to pick up at a Service Centre or charge for a more expensive door-to-door delivery.
Shopify Plus merchants can use Shipping scripts to tailor the way shipping information and prices are displayed for your checkout. Non-Shopify Plus merchants can use shipping carrier APIs to integrate into the system or platforms with integrations such as Easyship, which is a local Hong Kong platform with over 250 shipping solutions that includes S.F. Express. Additionally, you can also manually set fixed delivery prices on the Shopify merchant console, Settings section, which will display as options for shoppers to choose from.
Generating Orders and Automating Order Integration for S.F. Express Shipments
Once a customer has placed an order on your Shopify store, merchants have a few methods of placing an order with S.F. Express:
- S.F. Express App
- S.F. WeChat
- Order Now (via S.F. Express Website)
- Dropping off at an S.F. Express Service Centre or S.F. Store
In addition, businesses can use the S.F. Express EasyPrint to process online and offline orders and create batch labels. S.F. Express also has an API that allows merchants to create integrations to automate S.F. Express payment creation and label printing, which merchants can use to integrate into their online systems. Merchants using Shopify can also make use of the platform’s REST APIs to retrieve order information for the purpose of passing that forward to creating your S.F. Express shipment.
While merchants with limited monthly orders can initially connect Shopify and S.F. Express into their existing operations by ensuring data collection at the Shopify checkout matches S.F. Express delivery requirements, businesses that have high-volume inventory management should explore investment to automate order processing and fulfilment.
If you would like to learn more about how to integrate your S.F. Express order fulfilment process with Shopify, please get in touch!
Based in Hong Kong, Wave Commerce specializes in serving the unique technology and marketing needs of clients with strategic ecommerce businesses. Our team has worked with emerging brands as well as enterprise clients and built technology used by thousands of online shops worldwide. Also try out our product, S Loyalty, one of Shopify’s most popular loyalty programs.