Empowering Purchase-to-Pay

On-the-Fly Import Duty and VAT Calculator

  • Web service to embed into e-commerce and procurement solutions
  • Comprehensive yet easily configurable billing mechanism
  • Outstanding on-demand scalability
  • Powerful API
  • Web widgets
  • Special extension for Magento

Context

You never know…

When buying online from a foreign supplier, on eBay marketplace or on boutique e-store, one estimates how much the purchase will actually cost delivered to doorstep. While the price and shipment charges are clearly stated in the merchant’s offer, the import duty is often a black box. It might be risky to underestimate those fees even if you have some previous experience, especially when you buy a new product.

There are several ways (often sophisticated and time consuming) you can get the information about applicable import duties, but there was no global solution able to aggregate data for a great variety of products, taking into account all the details specific to the import country / shipment type and, finally, provide buyers with accurate calculation right in the place they make the purchase.

…now you do!

Our client, BundleTech, is an innovative information technology consulting agency run by former Google and eBay executive specialized in shipment process improvement. The ambitious idea behind the future solution was to make import duties transparent and organically accessible for online buyers.

Business Model

BundleTech business model assumes the revenue is generated by charging individual users for each calculation on-demand or selling monthly plans to individual stores, marketplaces or retail networks.

Challenges and Solutions

Web service to embed into online stores, marketplaces and procurement solutions

According to the original business idea the software was required to be naturally compatible with a wide range of e-commerce solutions so that the calculation results would be available to the user on-the-fly right on the merchant’s website.

The business objectives entailed a number of challenges in the application development:

  • Design elegant and scalable solution architecture to stand high loads
  • Integrate the calculation kernel with a specialized data provider
  • Design and develop a time-saving product mapping mechanism to allow configuring associations of merchant’s product catalogs with unified customs codes (in particular, with HS — Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System)
  • Create web widgets for fast service embedding into merchant’s website front-end
  • Design a comprehensive billing module to allow configuring and refining targeted pricing plans

These tasks required profound experience in web applications development, integration skills and business knowledge. By engaging Itransition our customer obtained a reliable partner to overcome the challenges and avoid possible project risks.

Associating products, countries and duties

One of the major challenges was to develop and implement a smart mapping tool for synchronizing merchants’ internal product names and categorization with the unified international commodity coding system, and further with the specific classifications of importing country.

Itransition developed a flexible configurable tool that automatically finds, suggests and links the proper item name with the respective category in the classification of a particular country duty rates. Service administrators also have an option of manual mapping verification or adding appropriate associations for any specific item.

Widgets to deliver calculation results

The HTML/Javascript widgets that can be easily embedded into the product page allow getting calculation results without leaving merchant’s website. The combination of frontend widgets with the product mapping tool mentioned above provides ability for smooth and seamless integration with almost any e-commerce solution.

Billing mechanism

The billing mechanism of the Duty Calculator is a business-critical module that automates calculations supporting both pay-per-transaction pricing model and periodic flat fee subscriptions. Itransition developed a highly intelligent billing system transparent for administrators and subscribers. The billing module collects all the transactions performed under subscription and generates a bill on a monthly or weekly basis (depending on subscriber’s preferences). Retailers and stores connected to DutyCalculator have an opportunity to configure their billing methods by selecting services or setting up auto charging.

Online documentation

The documentation generation tool was requested in order to issue invoices and create packing lists. Users also have access to a comprehensive knowledge base that stores documentation related to import operations including duty rates and links to official sources.

Integrating with eBay

eBay Russia was the first marketplace that integrated DutyCalculator API. To make it work DutyCalculator mapped over 100,000 categories of products offered on eBay. In a month after the official launch the regional portal was performing over 300,000 calculations daily.

eBay portal is one of the most popular online services that integrated DutyCalculator API. There are two possible ways to calculate eBay items duty and VAT taxes:

  • DutyCalculator API integrated into eBay portal
  • API developed for eBay integrated into DutyCalculator service

DutyCalculator API integrated into eBay

DutyCalculator API was implemented as a major part of duty and taxes verification process on eBay portal. Users are able to review applicable duty for the chosen items depending on the price and the number of goods they ordered.

Product item parameters are passed through DutyCalculator API to categories matching tool where the product name is associated with the respective ones in the international duty and taxes database. The calculated duty and taxes are displayed via widget.

eBay API integrated into DutyCalculator

To facilitate the process and to differentiate the approach to import duty and taxes verification the client requested special API for eBay. This solution allows visiting DutyCalculator website to verify duty and taxes by entering item’s eBay ID without specifying any product parameters.

Screenshots

Highlights

  • Solutions

    Portals

    Billing & Payments

  • Industries

    ISVs

    Retail

  • Technology

    PHP

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