DHL Shipping & Magento - Advanced Features | PART 6
Ready for Growth
The new DHL Shipping extension drastically reduces fulfillment effort by offering fully automated bulk label creation. In some setups though, shipping fulfillment is not done within the Magento instance at all. Instead, orders are exported to external shipping software. The challenge is to have all relevant data available: Did the customer select a pickup location or request a certain time slot for delivery? What is the HS code for the shipment item? Should a return shipment label be booked and enclosed with the parcel?
When creating shipping labels within the Magento instance, then DHL Shipping collects label settings from checkout, product catalog and module configuration. All these selections are now also available through the Magento order API endpoint, close at hand wherever they are needed.
When a parcel is on its way, both customers and merchants need to know where in the DHL network it is currently located. In all previous DHL extensions we displayed a link to the DHL Parcel Germany track & trace portal in the Magento tracking popup. The user had to leave the store to find out about the delivery progress.
With DHL Shipping 1.0.0, we integrate the DHL Unified Tracking API that allows to retrieve the tracking history for parcels and display every event directly in customer account or admin panel. The web service is able to return results for several DHL divisions, which makes it possible to offer tracking capabilities for future carriers with only little adaption.
Where My Money At?
A peculiarity in the order processing workflow is cash on delivery payments. Usually the merchant collects the order total amount before dispatching the parcel. Sometimes the order is purchased on account, which means that the items are shipped with a period allowed for payment after delivery. However, in both cases payment and shipping are separate, sequential actions. With cash on delivery, the courier is responsible for collecting the order total amount and transferring it to the merchant. The operator acts as courier and payment service provider, delivery and payment happen at the same time. The question to which account the money should go and how the merchant would associate incoming transactions to orders was not satisfactory solved in previous DHL extensions.
The new extension version no longer requires setting up bank account data in the module configuration. All proceeds go to the bank account configured in the Business Customer Portal provided by DHL Parcel Germany. What can be configured in Magento though is a reason for payment – parametrized for the particular order. In a similar manner, this important feature already existed in the DHL Intraship extension for Magento 1. It was now brought back into use to facilitate the association of incoming payments to orders.
The Magento platform offers some lesser-known features that require extension developers to go the extra mile. Merchants who want to make use of them will be pleased to find them supported now. The upcoming post reveals which “hidden features” can be utilized with the latest version of DHL Shipping.