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What Is the Role of Integration in Ecommerce

If you run an eCommerce business, integration can transform the way your company operates for the better.

What Is the Role of Integration in E-commerce

You will see greater efficiency and accuracy, and much more. Let’s take a closer look at the role of integration in eCommerce and how it can benefit your brand.

In basic terms, eCommerce integration is the coordination between your eCommerce platform and other systems, such as inventory, accounts, order fulfillment, and shipping.

When an eCommerce website is connected to back-end systems like enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems, retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers create smooth flows of information between the systems, enabling all parties to enter data only into one single system.

For example, you might use an enterprise resource planning system to track inventory levels. Accurate numbers of each product in stock are then automatically calculated and updated. Without such an integration system in place, retailers, suppliers, and manufacturers would have to manually update inventory levels.

Also, businesses that use the dropshipping model can use prebuilt vendor integration tools, such as API integrations for eCommerce stores, to help automate operations.

At the end of the day, integration in eCommerce creates a more efficient, accurate, and streamlined process. You can save time and money by integrating crucial business systems with your eCommerce platforms and ensure your product information, orders, invoices, and shipping data remains consistent.

Types of eCommerce Integrations

There are various ways of bridging systems, so it’s important you select the best method for your long-term business goals. The path you choose should depend on things like the workflow, objectives, and development resources. Here are the three primary types of eCommerce integrations.

API

To connect two systems in real-time, use an Application Programming Interface. When you use an API, data is automatically updated. Real-time integrations can work either one-way or two-way. As one of the most popular ways for storing data is a Google Sheets, there is no wonder many businesses decide to go with a Google Sheets API that helps them easily import their business data to a Google Sheet.

With a one-way integration, a message is sent from your eCommerce platform to another system, such as a customer order being sent from your website to the enterprise resource planning system.

Two-way integration allows both systems to communicate, which means things like inventory changes are automatically updated at both ends.

SFTP

Most eCommerce vendors prefer using APIs, but not everything needs to be updated in real-time. For instance, product description changes aren’t as urgent as other elements that need updating. In which case, you can schedule API syncs or import CSV files via an SFTP server.

With an SFTP transfer, you gain a higher level of file protection during transit. If you work with numerous suppliers, using an SFTP integration could be the right option for you.

Manual

The third option is the cheapest option, but time is money, and using a manual approach can take a lot of time. With the manual integration approach, you use CSV file uploads.

You can manually push specific files in the required direction without needing additional setup, integration, and development expenses.

Manual CSV file upload is best for eCommerce businesses that use simple data sets and have slow-moving inventory.

Finding the Right Integration Option for Your eCommerce Business

Each eCommerce integration option has its own advantages and disadvantages, and each one has its own best use cases. The precise integration method you use is ultimately up to you, but it should provide you with a high degree of integration and flexibility without the need for expensive investments and training programs.

To develop the right integration strategy for you, make sure you fully understand the various options available, such as API, SFTP, and manual approaches, so you can informedly evaluate how data flows between systems and discover whether it achieves the desired results.

The Benefits of Integration in eCommerce

The above information should go quite some way in discovering just how advantageous integration in eCommerce can be. Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits:

  • You can eliminate duplicate entries, such as inventory levels.
  • You can ensure data like inventory is always accurate.
  • The speed of data exchange is vastly improved.
  • Updates can be tracked in real-time.
  • Customers can receive automatic notifications on the status of their tracked orders.
  • Product information and pricing changes are updated quickly in a single system.
  • You have the opportunity to grow your eCommerce business through new online markets without losing any operational efficiency.
  • You can react to market changes much more quickly.

Preparing for eCommerce Integration 

Many businesses put off integration in eCommerce because it sounds complex and they fear projects could run over budget or take too long. But integration is simpler than you might think, and you can easily avoid potential problems. The key is to plan and prepare.

Begin by identifying your manual processes that are prone to errors. When you identify slow, complicated, and unnecessary steps, you can remove them with integration practices so that your team members can focus on more crucial and high-value tasks.

The next preparation step is to look at the journey your customers take. When you review customer and shopping activities, you can identify areas that can be streamlined with eCommerce integration.

You should then consider how information flows between your systems. So, check things like how your data is routed, how you manage customer information, and how your accounting system handles payments. Again, you can then identify which areas should be integrated.

Once you know which areas can benefit from integration, you can select the right integration strategy, such as using APIs or a manual approach. Whatever method you choose, as long as you integrate the right elements, you will support your current and future eCommerce needs.

Final Thoughts

When your eCommerce business uses integration, it can become much more efficient. With integrated data, you gain insights that can enable you to make smarter decisions that align with your business strategy. An eCommerce integration platform also makes it easier to handle increased demand without the need for additional resources.

It helps to eliminate errors and provide better customer service too. In turn, all of those benefits will result in your eCommerce business generating more revenue and profits.

At the end of the day, the eCommerce marketplace is crowded, so it takes a lot of work to ensure your business stands out.

But when you streamline processes, have better access to accurate data, and provide excellent customer service and satisfaction via adopting eCommerce integration, you can ensure that your business gains a good reputation and generates more sales.

From logistics to manufacturing to distribution, by adopting eCommerce integration, you are enhancing your entire supply chain.

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