Launching an app to streamline logistics & supply chain management for Shopify merchants
Codal helped build a Shopify app for Flexport that enables merchants to streamline their logistics and supply chain management. With an intuitive user interface, powered by complex public APIs, this app simplifies the process of transporting goods from suppliers to fulfillment centers via ocean-based service.
It takes an average of 20 vendors to complete a single product shipment, each with their own unique systems and processes. Flexport’s mission is to unify disparate parties in the supply chain through a cutting-edge digital platform, where merchants can book shipments, receive estimates, check active orders, and more. The Flexport platform offers a wide range of features and functionality, specializing in the transportation of cargo from suppliers to fulfillment centers.
Both Shopify and Flexport have a shared goal of making life easier for eCommerce merchants. By integrating these two technologies, store owners could take advantage of Flexport’s advanced logistics and supply chain management capabilities, all from within their Shopify account. To make this a reality, Flexport needed to develop a Shopify app that merchants could install on their dashboard in just a few clicks.
Enter Codal. Given our many years of experience with the Shopify platform, Codal was able to provide technical expertise and guidance in merging these two game-changing technologies—and ultimately streamlining supply chain management for businesses across the globe.
In July of 2022, Codal kicked things off by meeting with technical teams at both Flexport and Shopify. A wide range of personnel had to be brought together for this project, including designers, engineers, QA analysts, and data scientists from various teams at Codal, Flexport, and Shopify. Our project managers established a cadence of communication to ensure maximum transparency and workflow efficiency between teams, from kickoff to launch.
After defining key project goals, milestones, and a timeline for deployment, Codal’s technical experts dove deep into the Flexport ecosystem, learning about the custom software and third-party tools that currently power the business. Flexport’s public APIs became our main point of focus, as these would facilitate the transfer of data between Shopify and Flexport. The APIs were newly developed and had never been used to integrate with an outside-developed interface, so it was our job to identify gaps that would need to be filled in order for the app to function properly.
With a deep understanding of both Flexport and Shopify’s APIs, Codal was able to help strategize and execute a global logistics app with a fast and simple user experience. This involved modifying Flexport’s initial user flow mockups to meet our UX guidelines, and aligning them as closely to the Shopify Polaris UI framework as possible.
Once they’ve downloaded the free app, users can start receiving estimates and booking shipments immediately from their Shopify dashboard. New users are prompted to create an account with Flexport by filling out a basic form. If they already have an account, the app is trained to automatically recognize their email address or company name, notify them of the existing account, and prompt them to log in. To support this stage of the customer journey, we integrated Flexport’s APIs with Mulesoft—but given the young and untested state of the APIs, our developers needed to make midstream updates to fully build out the integration.
When booking a new shipment, users select the origin location of their supplier and the destination fulfillment center. Next, they fill out the cargo details, from its weight and volume, to the number of shipping containers required. Once this information has been entered, they are presented with a price estimate, along with a booking cut-off date and expected arrival time for the shipment.
For power users of the app, all of their shipping activity is presented on a single dashboard. In addition to creating a new booking, they can view active shipments, as well as click through to see a more detailed breakdown of each shipment. The page also populates with new freight estimates and requested bookings that still require action—either on the part of Flexport or the merchant—before they can become a shipment.
The Flexport Shopify app makes booking shipments from suppliers to fulfillment centers as easy as booking a flight.
As part of Flexport’s vision for the future of logistics and supply chain management, anyone with a Shopify store and an internet connection can log onto their account, receive estimates, book cargo, check the status of active shipments, and more—all without the help of a sales representative.
With strategic planning, an agile development process, and effective collaboration across teams, Codal helped launch a beta version of the app in only four months. Announced at the 2023 Shopify Winter Editions, the app became publicly available to download for free on the Shopify App Store. Today, it’s helping online merchants replace slow, error-prone logistics tasks with a fast, efficient system—available directly on their Shopify dashboard.
We’re extremely proud of the work we’ve done so far to help simplify global trade, and we’re excited to continue working with industry leaders like Flexport and Shopify to digitally transform the logistics and supply chain management space.
“Codal continues to be a great partner for Flexport. We launched our v1 Shopify in under 5 months, which is impressive by any standards, and you’ve kept up and rolled with the punches ever since. Though Codal is an outsource, our teams have gelled and work together like we’ve been working in tandem for years. I’ve been in ecommerce tech for 20+ years and I’ve never worked with a team that has been able to deliver results like Codal, and I’ve worked with some pretty great teams.”- Steve Bozicevic, Director of New Product Development at Flexport