This part of prebooking documentation will guide you through the prebooking mechanism flow. After getting familiar with this section, you will:
- gain an understanding of what the prebooking is,
- learn which problems it solves and when it can be applied,
- familiarize yourself with general prebooking mechanism and how it works.
The big picture
Picture yourself as a customer of an online shop operated by your favourite merchant. You decide to buy the offered goods and click the payment button to finalize your order - you pay for your order and find yourself on the order summary page soon after. But the journey of your ordered goods has just begun.
The following story does not reflect the true complexity of fulfilment process. It was simplified to instill an understanding of the problem space and introduce the concept of prebooking without the unnecessary cognitive load. ✨
This journey may span over couple of complex business processes, one of which is booking the delivery with the carrier of your choice. Booking indicates the readiness of shop to pass your package over to carrier, so that it gets delivered to your address. But how much time has passed between you converting (e-commerce nomenclature for finalizing your order) and the shop doing the actual booking of your package with a carrier?
As a customer, you probably want the answer to this question to be "hopefully not much time". Your carrier of choice won't know it as well, because it will get the information about the delivery the moment the shop books a delivery. However, the answer to this question can be vital from carrier standpoint, which in turn will make the delivery time as short as possible for you, the customer.
The carrier would be able to optimize its resources and prepare, knowing that the order has been made, but the package is not ready to be picked up yet. Uncertainty about packages can lead to longer delivery times when the carrier's resources are overloaded, be it parcel lockers or trucks. The answer to this problem is the prebooking.
Prebooking is the Ingrid service for informing the carrier about all the e-commerce carts that should be booked with the carrier (while it is not a promise). As a carrier if you want to optimize your resources planning, Ingrid prebooking gives great insights based on all merchants orders going through Ingrid Checkout.
From the technical standpoint, the prebooking action is a callback to carrier API endpoint, emitted the moment that customer converts and finalizes the order. It shortens the information feedback loop about incoming packages that will be booked later by the merchant. Detailed description of webhook mechanism used for prebooking and exact message format can be found in the integration guide.
We provide free tier of prebooking service with generous number of prebooking callbacks to carrier API per month. To learn more about tiers and limits, contact us here. 🎁
You can leverage prebooking to:
- avoid over-booking the pickup points or fulfilment centres,
- generate shorter delivery times,
- optimize truck loads and routes,
- create a better customer experience.
The sequence diagram below describes the prebooking flow between the Customer, Merchant, Ingrid Delivery Checkout API and Carrier API.
Prebooking flow is triggered by customer conversion through finalization of order. Request that completes the checkout session is sent to Ingrid Delivery Checkout API with additional order information (like e-mail address and phone number) and then a webhook towards carrier API is fired.
The webhook carries over the information about the order, such as customer information, delivery promises and addresses taking part in the delivery process (like warehouse address and delivery address).
Right now you should be familiar with prebooking concept. If you want to learn more about integrating prebooking into your system, go to the integration guide.