Integration: the Secret Sauce behind Successful Ecommerce Sites

Ever wonder how eCommerce sites handle such a large volume of online orders quickly and efficiently?

How do they ensure details made online are available to customer service representatives when a customer calls in?

How do sites manage to make fast pricing and inventory number updates?

The answer is integration.

Integration is essential for many companies to carry out their day-to-day business. In this article we will explain what integration is, the benefits and types of integration and how Acumium approaches integration with our clients.

This is the first of a four part series. In subsequent articles, we will explain the types of integration in more depth: when they are used, why they are used and how they are done.

What is Integration?
Integration occurs between your website and your system of record (backend system). A common method of integration is secure file transfer: the process of files being dropped on a secure server and picked up by either your system of record (SOR) or your website. Some common backend systems that we integrate with are NetSuite, Prism, QuickBooks, AcctVantage and Microsoft Dynamics.

Why Do Businesses Need Integration?
Integration is generally done in batches or at specific times, for example, every time an order is placed or every hour throughout the day. A business that takes hundreds of orders a day would not be able to perform without integration between their site and backend systems. It would be an extremely time-consuming and error-ridden process to manually update records for every order placed.

What are the Benefits of Integration?

  • One System of Record
    Using a SOR allows you to push and accept data (ex: orders) between your backend system and your website and have one central place to store this information.
  • Efficiency
    Duplication of effort can be avoided with integration.
  • Accuracy
    Manual entry of data can lead to typos and mistakes. Integration will provide more accurate data for inventory levels, prices, etc. on your site.

Types of Integration
The type of integration you implement is important and often depends on the type of system being used and what it can handle. This is why it is important for us to understand the client’s SOR.

  • Order Integration: can be one-way (send orders from website to backend system) or two-way (send orders from site to backend and send order status back to the website/customer)
  • Product Integration: creating initial product listings on the site, adding new products or updating products, prices, inventory etc.
  • Customer Integration: customer information, such as account information and demographics

Acumium’s Approach to Integration
We utilize a consultative approach to integration. Our first step is to know and understand our client’s backend system and how it is being used. We analyze the internal business processes of our clients to determine the types of integration that can solve their needs and have the most positive impact on their business.

For example, if a business receives hundreds of orders a day, but doesn’t update their inventory numbers frequently enough they can find themselves with unhappy customers due to out of stock issues.

Once we understand the system and the current problems a client is looking to address, we can make our recommendations. Our goal is to make the process as simple and efficient as possible.

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