Author: Elliott Rebuck Feb 16, 2023 7 Min READ

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Integrations

7 Min READ
The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Integrations

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According to Zoom Info, "companies use an average of 75 technologies, with the amount going up as the number of employees increases." Whether your business is approaching this threshold or has already crossed it, you're not alone if data silos make you feel frustrated. After all, disparate systems negatively impact order processing, collaboration, and decision-making and result in poor customer experience. You may find some relief by manually sharing data across your tech stack.

Still, limitations become evident when sales spike, you add more software or team members that handle nuanced manual data entry processes are out of the office, and workloads increase. A more promising solution that offers superior scalability and reliability is integrating your ecommerce ecosystem so you can automate the flow of data between your apps.

Optimize your fulfillment tech stack with ExtensivIn this article, we will explain what ecommerce integration is, the benefits it brings to your ecommerce business, common types of integrations to consider, and options for integrating your ecommerce business. Let's dive in.

What Is an Ecommerce Integration?

An ecommerce integration connects two commerce platforms or apps used to fulfill a product sold online. In simple terms, the source where data originates sends information to a destination using an application programming interface (API) connection. Order sources and destinations can vary in software type, from shopping carts and marketplaces to order management systems (OMS) and warehouse management systems (WMS). Integration settings allow you to choose what information you share by mapping properties in each system, how it is shared using one or two-way syncs, and when it is shared by configuring triggers that automate data workflows.

Benefits of Ecommerce Integration to Your Business

Ecommerce integrations offer many benefits to businesses of all sizes across many industries. Correctly configured integrations use automation to streamline back-end business processes, increase data integrity, shorten order cycles, increase profits, and improve customer experience. Moreover, these integrations can enhance the checkout process by connecting with cloud-based payment gateway solutions, ensuring secure transactions, and improving customer data management.  

Better Inventory Management

Few things are worse than telling a customer a product they purchased is out of stock. However, with the proper integrations, you can synchronize inventory levels across all order sources every time an order is received. Synchronizing inventory data reduces stockouts and overselling and allows customers to purchase on their preferred sales channels. Best of all, it eliminates the manual data entry required to update inventory levels on multiple platforms, which often introduces human errors.

Automated Order Tracking

Integrating your ecommerce business keeps your customers informed at each stage of fulfillment and sends notifications to them automatically. As a result, customers get more precise delivery estimates, reducing the workload of your customer support team. Additionally, integrations help you plan for delays so you can inform customers and keep them satisfied with a voucher, promo, or personalized apology.

Scale Ecommerce Sales  

As the popularity of online marketplaces increases, driving traffic to your online storefront becomes more challenging. By embracing this change in consumer behavior, you can increase your brand’s visibility and find new customers by tapping into additional sales channels. For example, integrating your product details and inventory with marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy can quickly increase your sales.

Informed Business Intelligence

Integration solutions also enhance your business intelligence goals since they provide better insight into and control over your data. For example, you can locate, modify, and exchange data with other systems using ecommerce integration technologies. In addition, your business may gain access to real-time insights drawn from the data you already have by using an integration platform like Extensiv Integration Manager.

Common Types of Ecommerce Integrations

To meet diverse business needs, ecommerce solutions often require connectors that enable a seamless flow of product information across back-end systems and the ecommerce website. When integrating your ecommerce ecosystem, you'll want to prioritize implementation after considering the systems you use and the business objectives that will help you achieve your goals.

Shopping Cart Integrations

Shopping cart integrations are pivotal in connecting your online storefronts, like Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce, directly to your order fulfillment systems, streamlining the path from sale to shipment. These integrations automate the translation of orders from your online store into actionable warehouse tasks, coordinate inventory across all sales channels, and automate tracking updates in near real-time. By eliminating manual data entry, businesses can ensure accuracy, improve customer satisfaction, and unlock the potential for scalable growth. Emphasizing features such as seamless order processing, inventory synchronization, and automated customer notifications, shopping cart integrations are indispensable for modern ecommerce operations seeking efficiency and expanded market reach.

Marketplace Integrations

Marketplace integrations are crucial for ecommerce businesses looking to extend their presence across leading online platforms like Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy. These integrations facilitate the automated exchange of orders, inventory updates, and tracking information, ensuring your products gain visibility and are available for purchase on these high-traffic venues. This streamlined approach not only boosts exposure of your online business but also simplifies the management of various sales channels, enhancing operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. By leveraging a comprehensive iPaaS solution, businesses can effortlessly navigate the complexities of online marketplaces, maintaining consistent product listings and synchronized inventory to prevent stock discrepancies and efficiently fulfill customer orders.

Order Management Systems (OMS) Integrations

Integrating an Order Management System (OMS) optimizes optimizes the management of sales from multiple channels, enhancing both the accuracy and efficiency of integrated ecommerce strategies. This integration is essential for businesses aiming to consolidate their operations into a single, cohesive platform. Among the top integrations, Extensiv Order Manager stands out for its comprehensive approach to unifying ecommerce sales and inventory management, ensuring timely updates, and preventing stockouts. Other notable integrations include DSCO for dropshipping, Apparel Magic for the fashion industry's specific needs, Dear Systems for small to medium businesses, Cin7 for omnichannel retailing, and Zoho for an extensive suite covering orders, inventory, and customer relations. These integrations collectively offer a robust solution, enabling businesses to navigate the complexities of ecommerce with ease and precision.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) Integrations

Integrating a Warehouse Management System (WMS) into your business operations is crucial for enhancing the efficiency of warehouse activities, including receiving, storing, packaging, and shipping goods. A well-integrated WMS ensures near real-time synchronization with your entire ecommerce ecosystem, reducing errors, boosting operational efficiency, and lowering fulfillment costs. Key integrations with systems such as Extensiv 3PL Warehouse Manager for third-party logistics providers and Extensiv Warehouse Manager for direct-to-consumer brands streamline warehouse management processes. These integrations enable features like near real-time inventory tracking, automated picking and packing processes, and efficient returns handling. Additionally, connections with platforms like Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment, ShipHero, and InfoPlus Commerce offer expanded capabilities, from leveraging fulfillment networks to accessing detailed operational insights. These integrations not only improve warehouse management but also adapt flexibly to market demands and customer expectations, ensuring that businesses can find the right solutions to meet their specific needs.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Integrations

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is essential for optimizing supply chain communications and automating the exchange of documents like advanced shipping notices (856) and invoices (810) to meet Service Level Agreements efficiently. EDI integration ensures that transactions between big-box retailers, suppliers, and logistics providers are accurate and swift, facilitating seamless operations without manual intervention. This not only streamlines the supply chain process by minimizing errors and speeding up transactions but also allows businesses to focus more on customer service rather than being bogged down by the intricacies of supply chain management. Integrations with platforms such as CommerceHub, DSCO, BlueCherry, and Integral Group exemplify how seamless communication across the supply chain can significantly enhance operational efficiency, making EDI an invaluable tool for modern ecommerce systems and logistics operations.

Point of Sale (POS) Integrations

Integrating your Point of Sale (POS) with your ecommerce platforms bridges the gap between in-store and online sales, creating an omnichannel shopping experience. By synchronizing inventory, customer information, and transactions across all channels, businesses can manage their operations more efficiently, spot trends, and make informed decisions. This seamless connection ensures consistency, improves customer satisfaction, and supports well-informed business strategies. Extensiv’s POS integrations with LightSpeed Retail, Neto, and Vend enable retailers to enhance operational efficiency, gain insights into customer behavior, and drive sales growth by providing a comprehensive view of their business operations. Such integrations are essential for retailers aiming to thrive in today's omnichannel retail environment, allowing for better inventory management, a cohesive customer experience, and streamlined backend processes.

Shipping Integrations

Shipping integrations are essential for enhancing ecommerce fulfillment, offering businesses access to real-time shipping rates, streamlined packing and label printing, and connections with multiple delivery providers. By integrating platforms like ShipStation, DesktopShipper, and Shippo, businesses can automate their shipping processes, from rate comparison to tracking updates, ensuring a seamless operation. These integrations allow for more efficient order processing, reduced manual errors, and improved customer satisfaction by offering various shipping options and keeping customers informed about their order status. By leveraging shipping integrations, sellers can not only enhance operational efficiency but also provide a better shopping experience, meeting customer expectations for fast and reliable delivery. This streamlined approach to shipping is a key factor in maintaining competitive advantage and customer loyalty.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Integrations

Integrating Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems with ecommerce operations is vital for streamlining business processes and enhancing efficiency across various functions, including human resources, accounting, and distribution. By connecting ERP software, such as Apparel Magic and BlueCherry, with your online platform, businesses can automate inventory management, ensuring near real-time updates and accurate product availability. This integration not only simplifies the tracking of financial data and improves accounting accuracy but also supports scalable growth by managing an expanding range of products and increasing order volumes. The benefits of ERP integrations include unified business operations for better decision-making, streamlined financial processes, and enhanced inventory management, laying the foundation for sustainable growth and improved customer satisfaction. Through strategic alignment between ERP systems and ecommerce platforms, businesses can achieve operational excellence and provide seamless user experiences for their customers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integrations

Integrating CRM systems with ecommerce platforms enhances customer management by automating social interactions, email marketing, and personalizing the shopping experience. ByDesign Freedom helps businesses manage sales activities and customer engagements, offering insights that drive targeted marketing efforts and improve service. On the other hand, Infusionsoft (now Keap) focuses on marketing and sales process automation, facilitating personalized communication and customer segmentation. Incorporating Salesforce integration introduces an enhanced layer of functionality, offering a single platform aggregating all customer interactions, from online engagements to physical store visits, thus providing a complete perspective of the customer’s experience.  These CRM integrations streamline operations, allowing for efficient tracking of customer preferences and histories. They enable personalized promotions, increasing satisfaction and loyalty, and providing analytical tools for data-driven decision-making in sales strategies and inventory management. Integrating your CRM software not only simplifies backend processes but also significantly boosts customer engagement and business growth.

Compare Your Options for Integration for Your Ecommerce Business

After identifying the need for ecommerce integration, you have a few different options for connecting your ecommerce fulfillment stack. Depending on your needs and resources you may use a combination of different solutions. 

Native Integrations and Plugins

Most software providers offer free integrations to popular platforms. While they're quick and easy to set up, they usually only support a basic set of functions and a small set of default properties. Chances are, you'll need an integration that is not offered and if it is, you won't have the ability to map custom properties that drive your business. Therefore, native integrations and plugins aren't that useful.  

In-House Employees and Consultants

Hiring in-house employees or consultants is time-consuming and expensive due to the technical nature of integrations and the high cost of skilled labor. Setup often takes longer than expected due to scope creep or a lack of experience building integrations from scratch. In addition, when things go wrong, you might not know right away, and fixing issues can take time due to limited resources. 

Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)

The popularity of Integration Platforms as a Service, or iPaaS, is rapidly growing. This is because it's faster, more affordable, and more dependable than hiring a high-salary employee or contractor to build and maintain custom integrations. Moreover, if you decide to hire a seasoned IT professional, there's an increasing chance they will recommend a simple and cost-effective iPaaS solution anyway. Easily connect your systems with support from a passionate team of trusted experts who ensure integrations are up to date and downtime is minimized. 

Conclusion

Now that you have an overview of ecommerce integrations, you are probably left with one question: Where do I get started? With Extensiv Integration Manager, you can seamlessly connect your ecommerce business and overcome the limitations of traditional integrations. 

Browse our integration library, explore our plans and pricing, and start a 30-day free trial!

FREE DOWNLOAD The Merchant Guide to Integration Platform as a Service Discover robust, scalable, and user-friendly integration solutions.    

Written By:
https://www.extensiv.com/hubfs/elliott%20profile.jpeg
Elliott Rebuck

Since 2007, Elliott has been immersed in ecommerce, warehousing, and omnichannel fulfillment. With 14 years of in-house experience at pioneering skate, surf, and snow brands, he is now a Marketing Manager at Extensiv, committed to empowering brands and 3PLs with cutting-edge technology for enhanced efficiency and growth.

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