Experienced E-commerce Agency for Magento/ Adobe Commerce/ Shopify/ Shopware Development

Shopify Carrier Service API: Shipping Solutions for E-commerce

In e-commerce, shipping plays a pivotal role in customer satisfaction and business success. The Shopify Carrier Service API is the unsung hero that streamlines the shipping process, offering real-time rates and tailored options. 

So how does the Shopify Carrier Service API work, and why is it crucial for e-commerce success? Let’s explore the potential of the Carrier Service API and how it can revolutionize your e-commerce logistics.

Table of Contents

What is the Shopify Carrier Service API?

The Shopify Carrier Service API is a feature of the Shopify platform that allows third-party shipping carriers to integrate their services directly with Shopify’s checkout and shipping process. 

What is the Shopify Carrier Service API?

This API enables carriers to provide real-time shipping rates, shipping options, and delivery estimates to Shopify merchants and their customers during the checkout process.

How Does the Carrier Service API Work?

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of how the Carrier Service API functions:

  • Integration: Shipping carriers interested in using the Shopify Carrier Service API develop custom applications or software. These applications are designed to interact with Shopify’s servers through HTTP requests. The carriers need to have a Shopify Partner account to create and manage their integrations.
  • Registration: Carriers must register their custom application with Shopify and obtain API credentials (API key and password) to authenticate their requests. These credentials secure the communication between the carrier’s application and Shopify.
  • API calls: Once the integration is set up, the carrier’s application makes API calls to Shopify’s servers. These calls are typically made when a customer is going through the checkout process and is selecting a shipping method.
  • Real-time rate calculation: The carrier’s application calculates and provides real-time shipping rates based on various factors, such as the customer’s shipping address, the weight and dimensions, and the selected shipping service level (e.g., standard or expedited). The application uses this information to determine the cost of shipping.
  • Shipping options: The API allows carriers to offer a range of shipping options to the customer, such as ground shipping, air shipping, or express delivery. These options can be adjusted to align with the carrier’s services and pricing structure.
  • Delivery estimates: Carriers can also use the API to estimate delivery times. This gives customers an idea of when their orders are likely to arrive, helping them make informed decisions during the checkout process.
Carriers can use the API to provide estimated delivery times
  • Checkout experience: As customers proceed through the checkout, they see the shipping options, rates, and delivery estimates provided by the carrier’s application. This information is typically displayed alongside other details like product prices and taxes.
  • Order fulfillment: Once the customer completes the purchase, the merchant and the carrier work together to fulfill the order. The merchant typically generates shipping labels and sends packages to the carrier for delivery. Some carriers may add other services such as order tracking, return label generation, or pickup and drop-off options.
  • Customer experience: Integrating the Carrier Service API enhances the customer experience by providing transparency, convenience, and flexibility in choosing shipping options. Customers can make well-informed decisions about shipping and expect timely delivery.

Related topic: 10 Steps to Create Shopify API Checkout

Why Should I Use the Shopify Carrier Service API?

Using the Shopify Carrier Service API can offer several benefits for both online merchants and third-party shipping carriers. Here are some compelling reasons to contemplate utilizing the Carrier Service API:

  • Real-time shipping rates: By integrating with the Carrier Service API, you can give customers real-time shipping rates based on package weight, dimensions, and destination address. This transparency can lead to more accurate shipping cost calculations and reduce abandoned shopping carts due to unexpected or high shipping costs.
  • Enhanced customer experience: Offering real-time shipping rates, delivery estimates, and multiple shipping options can significantly enhance the shopping experience for customers. Clear and convenient shipping information can lead to higher customer satisfaction and increased sales.
  • Competitive advantage: The ability to provide accurate and competitive shipping rates and options can make your online store more attractive to customers. It can also help you stay competitive in the e-commerce market by offering various shipping services that meet your customers’ needs.
Using the Shopify Carrier Service API gives your online store a competitive edge
  • Reduced cart abandonment: By providing transparent shipping costs and delivery estimates, you can reduce cart abandonment rates. The reason is because of the percentage of customers who complete a purchase when they know what to expect regarding shipping expenses and delivery times. 
  • Integration with multiple carriers: If you work with multiple shipping carriers, the Shopify Carrier Service API enables you to seamlessly integrate their services into your store. This ensures that customers can choose from various carriers and shipping options during the checkout process.
  • Customization: The API allows carriers to customize the shipping options they offer to match their services and pricing structure. This flexibility lets you tailor the shipping experience to the specific needs of your business and your customers.
  • Efficient order fulfillment: The integration streamlines the order fulfillment process. It can facilitate the creation of shipping labels, tracking packages, and managing the shipping logistics more efficiently.
  • Scalability: As your online business grows, the Shopify Carrier Service API can scale with you. It can handle increased order volumes and complex shipping scenarios, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes.
  • Global reach: Shopify is used by merchants around the world. If you’re a shipping carrier, integrating with Shopify through the API can give you access to a global customer base.
  • Improved communication: The API ensures that the communication between your e-commerce store, customers, and the shipping carrier is accurate and up-to-date. This can reduce customer inquiries and support requests related to shipping.

Key Features of the Shopify Carrier Service API

The Shopify Carrier Service API offers a range of key features to enable third-party shipping carriers to integrate their services with Shopify. These features are designed to enhance the shipping and fulfillment capabilities of Shopify merchants. Here are some of the key features of the Carrier Service API:

1. Rate Calculation and Real-Time Shipping Quotes

The Shopify Carrier Service API enables third-party shipping carriers to calculate real-time shipping rates. This is a critical feature as it allows merchants to provide their customers with accurate shipping costs during the checkout process. 

The API considers factors like the destination address, package weight, dimensions, and any other relevant details to generate precise shipping quotes. This accuracy helps prevent surprises for customers and assists them in making informed purchase decisions.

2. Customized Shipping Options

Carriers can offer a range of customized shipping options through the API. These options might include different delivery speeds, services, or special handling instructions. 

This feature allows Shopify merchants to tailor their shipping offerings to meet the specific needs and preferences of their customers. It’s particularly valuable for merchants dealing with diverse product types and customer requirements.

3. Label Printing and Order Tracking

The API supports the generation of shipping labels, a crucial element of the order fulfillment process. Carriers can provide the necessary information and labels for packages directly through the integration. 

The API allows for order tracking

Furthermore, the API allows for order tracking, giving customers and merchants the ability to track the order journey in real time. This feature significantly enhances transparency and the overall customer experience, keeping all parties informed about the order’s progress.

4. Integration With Third-Party Carriers

The Shopify Carrier Service API is not limited to Shopify’s in-house shipping solutions. It is designed to facilitate integration with a wide range of third-party carriers and logistics providers. 

This versatility makes it suitable for merchants who work with multiple shipping partners or have specific carrier preferences. It enables seamless cooperation with an ecosystem of carriers to meet various shipping needs.

5. Shipping Cost Optimization

Carriers can leverage the API to optimize shipping costs for both merchants and customers. This might involve sophisticated algorithms that consider distance, package weight, packaging options, or discounts. 

By offering the most cost-effective shipping solutions, carriers help merchants save on shipping expenses and customers receive the best possible deal, which can be a crucial competitive advantage in the eCommerce landscape.

How to Enable Shopify Carrier Service API

Enabling the Shopify Carrier Service API involves a series of steps to set up a private app in your Shopify store, obtain the necessary API credentials, and configure your carrier service integration. Here’s a step-by-step guide to enabling the Carrier Service API:

Step 1: Create a Shopify Partner Account

If you don’t have a Shopify Partner account, you’ll need to create one. This account is your gateway to developing and managing your integration with Shopify.

Create a Shopify Partner Account

To create a Shopify Partner account, visit the Shopify Partner Program website and follow the registration process.

Step 2: Create a Private App

Once you have your Shopify Partner account, you’ll need to create a private app to access the Carrier Service API:

  • Log in to your Shopify Partner account.
  • In your Partner dashboard, navigate to “Apps.”
  • Click on the “Create app” button.
Create a Private App
  • Fill in the required information for your private app, such as the app name and developer’s email.
  • In the “Admin API” section, configure the permissions your app needs. Ensure that you enable permissions for reading and writing carrier services and reading shipping rates. These permissions are essential for the Carrier Service API.
  • After filling out the details and permissions, click “Save.” Your private app will be created, and you will receive your API credentials, including an API key and password.

Step 3: Enable Carrier Calculated Shipping (CCS)

In your Shopify admin:

  • Click on “Settings” and then select “Shipping and delivery.”
  • Scroll down to the “General shipping” section.
  • Enable “Carrier-calculated shipping” if it’s not already enabled. This allows Shopify to display real-time shipping rates to customers, a fundamental feature for the Carrier Service API.

Step 4: Configure Carrier Services

With your API credentials in hand, you can now configure your carrier service within your private app:

  • Develop or modify your application to interact with the Carrier Service API. This typically involves implementing endpoints for rate calculation and shipping label generation.
  • Customize your carrier service settings, such as delivery speeds, handling fees, and any other relevant options.
  • Ensure that your service can calculate accurate real-time shipping rates based on factors like the destination address, package weight, dimensions, and any other relevant data.

Step 5: Test the Carrier Service API

Before deploying your carrier service integration to a live environment, it’s crucial to thoroughly test it in a controlled environment. Shopify provides a sandbox environment for testing:

  • Create a development store within your Shopify Partner account to simulate a merchant’s store.
  • Use this development store to test your carrier service integration. Ensure it functions correctly and returns accurate shipping rates. Thorough testing is essential to identify and address any issues before going live.

Step 6: Publish Your Carrier Service

Once you’ve successfully tested your carrier service integration and are confident in its performance, you can deploy it for use by Shopify merchants:

  • Consider whether you want to make your carrier service available to other Shopify merchants through the Shopify App Store. If so, you may need to submit your private app for review by Shopify. Shopify will evaluate your app to ensure it meets their requirements.
  • Deploy your carrier service integration to the live Shopify environment or make it available for installation by Shopify merchants. Provide clear instructions and documentation for merchants on how to set up and use your service.

Troubleshooting Shopify Carrier Service API Not Working Issue

If you’re encountering issues with the Shopify Carrier Service API not working as expected, you can fix it. Here’s a guide on how to troubleshoot common issues with the Carrier Service API:

  • Check API credentials: Verify that you are using the correct API key and password for your private app. Ensure that there are no typographical errors or discrepancies in the credentials.
  • Review API permissions: Double-check the permissions you’ve granted to your private app within the Shopify Partner dashboard. Ensure that your app has the necessary permissions for reading and writing carrier services and reading shipping rates.
  • Verify CCS is enabled: In your Shopify store settings, ensure that “Carrier-calculated shipping” (CCS) is enabled. This setting allows your carrier service to display real-time shipping rates to customers during the checkout process.
  • Test in the Shopify sandbox: Utilize Shopify’s sandbox environment to test your carrier service integration in a controlled environment. Make sure your integration functions as expected in the sandbox.
  • Review code and endpoints: Examine your code for any errors, bugs, or issues in your integration. Check your API endpoints for rate calculation and label generation to ensure they are correctly implemented.
  • Monitor API response codes: Pay attention to the response codes returned by the Shopify Carrier Service API. Common HTTP status codes include 200 (OK), 401 (Unauthorized), and 403 (Forbidden). These codes can provide valuable information about the nature of the issue.
  • Review API requests and responses: Log and inspect the API requests and responses to identify discrepancies or unexpected behavior. Ensure that your integration is correctly sending and receiving data from the API.
  • Check for server-side errors: Review your server logs for any errors or issues on your server’s side. Server-side issues can affect the functionality of your integration.
Review your server logs to find any server-side errors
  • Contact Shopify support: If you’ve exhausted your troubleshooting efforts and cannot identify the issue, consider contacting Shopify support for assistance. They can often provide valuable insights and guidance to resolve the problem.
  • Stay informed about API changes: Shopify may update its APIs and services, so keep your integrations up to date. Ensure your integration remains compatible with the latest version of the Shopify Carrier Service API.
  • Debugging tools: Utilize debugging tools, such as error loggers or API monitoring software, to help identify and diagnose issues with your integration.
  • Thorough testing: Before deploying changes to a live environment, conduct thorough testing to verify that the issues have been resolved.

Remember that troubleshooting API-related issues can sometimes be complex, and it may require a combination of technical expertise, careful examination of code, and collaboration with Shopify’s support team to pinpoint and resolve the problem.

FAQs About Shopify Carrier Service API

  1. How do I get access to the Carrier Service API?

To access the Shopify Carrier Service API, you need to be a Shopify Partner or have a Shopify store. You will need to create a private or custom app in your Shopify Partner Dashboard or Shopify store admin and request access to the Carrier Service API.

  1. What are the authentication methods for the API?

Authentication for the Carrier Service API can be done using either basic HTTP authentication or by using OAuth 2.0. OAuth 2.0 is recommended for greater security.

  1. How do I calculate shipping rates using the Carrier Service API?

You will need to implement rate calculation logic in your app and then respond to Shopify’s requests with the calculated shipping rates. Shopify will call your app’s API endpoint to get the rates for a specific order.

  1. Can I create custom shipping labels using this API?

Yes, you can use the Carrier Service API to generate shipping labels for your shipments. You’ll need to provide label creation functionality in your app.

  1. Can I use the Carrier Service API to create tracking links for shipments?

Yes, you can provide tracking information and links to your customers through the API. Shopify will call your app to obtain tracking information for the orders.

  1. Is there a cost associated with using the Carrier Service API?

While Shopify doesn’t charge fees for using the Carrier Service API, there may be costs associated with building and maintaining your app and any infrastructure required to support it.

  1. What development languages and platforms are supported for integrating with the Shopify Carrier Service API?

Various programming languages and platforms can be employed for integrating with the Carrier Service API. It uses standard HTTP requests, ensuring compatibility with a broad spectrum of languages, including, but not limited to PHP, Ruby, Python, Node.js, and Java. You can also integrate using popular web development frameworks.

  1. How do I handle security and data protection when using the Shopify Carrier Service API?

You should follow best practices for securing your API credentials, including using HTTPS for communication. Shopify also provides recommendations and guidelines for securing your app, including OAuth authentication. It’s important to protect sensitive customers and order data as well.

  1. What programming languages and tools can I use to work with the API?

You can work with the Carrier Service API using a wide range of languages and tools, as long as they can make HTTP requests. Common languages for integration include PHP, Ruby, Python, Node.js, Java, and many others. Additionally, Shopify offers official SDKs and libraries in various languages to simplify the integration process.


E-commerce isn’t just about what you sell; it’s about how you deliver it. The Shopify Carrier Service API is the key to delivering a superior customer experience and staying ahead in the competitive world of online retail.

Shopify Carrier Service API offers a multitude of benefits, from real-time rate calculations to customized shipping options, cost savings, and improved customer satisfaction. It remains a cornerstone of innovation, efficiency, and customer-centric solutions.

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Marketing Manager of Mageplaza. Summer is attracted by new things. She loves writing, travelling and photography. Perceives herself as a part-time gymmer and a full-time dream chaser.
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