Case Studies / DHL

Building the first international carrier app in Shopify for DHL, a global leader in shipping and logistics  

case study aspirational dhl

First Glance

A global leader in logistics and shipping, DHL was founded in 1969 and has grown to operate in over 220 countries and territories worldwide. Their longevity can be largely attributed to their constant pursuit of innovation and growth to better serve their customers. To that end, the team at DHL Express, the business unit which focuses on international shipping and courier delivery services, reached out to Sunrise Integration to help them enter the Shopify ecosystem. With their first Shopify app, they would be able to expand their reach and offer much needed shipping services to growing ecommerce businesses.

The Opportunity

The apps made by third parties that were available in the Shopify App Store at the time didn’t fully address DHL’s needs. Those apps failed to provide access to all the APIs they needed. DHL’s team wanted a robust feature set and more control that required building a custom app.


With this app, their goal was to provide Shopify merchants an all-in-one carrier service. Merchants would be able to look up shipping rates, automatically show the shipping cost in their customers’ carts and create shipping labels and tracking IDs. Furthermore, the Sunrise Integration team built support for DHL’s label printers.


Because DHL’s team lacked knowledge about the Shopify platform, our experts happily filled in the gaps with our years of experience building apps for Shopify.

The Solution

Before building their app, one of the first international carrier apps on the Shopify platform, we underwent a thorough discovery process. First, we listened to their needs and goals and made the appropriate suggestions. Then we examined what DHL already released into the marketplace and compared that to their competitors’ offerings.


Our team analyzed DHL’s existing apps in Magento, Volusion, and BigCommerce as well as the existing third party apps in Shopify. Using the knowledge and insights we gained during this process, we were able to determine what DHL Express needed for their Shopify app.


The discovery process also consisted of a feature set review, API discovery to see what was doable and what wasn’t. Because Shopify did not support dimensional weight natively, we built a custom solution to address that as well.

The Outcome

When it was first released into the Shopify App Store, the DHL Express app quickly became popular eventually reaching 5,600 total installs. Being one of the first international carrier service apps in Shopify, it served as a demonstration for what carriers could achieve within the Shopify ecosystem. 

We made several updates and improvements to the app over several years as DHL’s needs changed:

"I want to thank the team for all the services you have provided over the years. The Shopify app Sunrise built for us was an ecommerce pioneer in the DHL network and demonstrated the great value of supporting ecommerce platforms in the express shipping world."

Looking to the Future

DHL Express’ successful first Shopify app paved the way for native integration into the Shopify platform. This was a significant step in bolstering DHL’s investment in ecommerce, allowing the business to evolve with the world’s massive demand for online shopping.