According to a recent Oberlo research, worldwide retail e-commerce sales will surpass $5.9 trillion by 2023. This represents a 1.8 percentage increase above the growth rate in 2022.
Businesses of all kinds are working hard to increase e-commerce sales. But it gets more challenging to manage volume as you develop and scale. As your brand grows, your e-commerce system will require other third-party methods to work all the different components, but how you get these systems to communicate with one another is a whole different problem.
Consider all of the systems on which your growth strategy is dependent. If they still need to be integrated, businesses should evaluate how this may affect their business model and investigate why it may be ready for integration and how to proceed.
What Is E-commerce Integration?
E-commerce integration connects your e-commerce platform to your other essential tools, such as your ERP, CRM, warehousing system, marketplace, marketing app, POS system, or 3PL. Because e-commerce integration automates the flow of information between your plans, you only need to enter data once, reducing the need for duplicate entries.
Without this connectivity, companies must manually transfer data between their numerous systems. In addition to being inefficient, human data entry is highly error-prone, which can lead to overselling and missing orders. It must also be more sustainable for fast-growing businesses, consuming vast resources and restricting future growth potential.
Furthermore, companies often create data silos using many separate platforms. This particular data causes significant fulfillment challenges and makes it impossible for enterprises to gain a comprehensive view of their operations, restricting their ability for reporting and data-driven decision-making.
Benefits of E-commerce Integration
Undoubtedly, investing in something new, like e-commerce integration, is a huge decision, so let's speak about how it might benefit your company and customers in the real world.
Better Inventory Management
Automated inventory management replaces the time-consuming and error-prone human data entry you've been doing before. It will be easy to maintain your best-sellers in-store while avoiding overstocking on less popular items. Furthermore, real-time updates will ensure that you never oversell an item.
Order Tracking Automatisation
Send automatic notifications to clients to keep them informed at all stages of the fulfillment process. Give more precise delivery estimates so they are satisfied if the products are on time. Also, plan for delays so you can notify the customers and keep them pleased with a voucher, discount, or personal apology.
Remember that one of the key reasons why e-commerce integration is vital is that it makes it easier to gather and retrieve data. As a result, you may be able to amaze your consumers with highly personalized outreach that shows your appreciation for their company. Such integrations allow you to deliver customized suggestions on your site and advertising while using the customer’s name in the subject line. You can further segment purchasers by analyzing their interactions on and away from your site.
Expansion to New Channels
Using integration to grow to new channels, you may reach additional clients and stay in touch with your present ones more regularly. You can quickly begin marketing via email, text, or direct mail with new tools. Additionally, you can implement push notifications and other features to keep clients interested in your promotions and product launches.
Save money by offering discounts when a client is about to pay the total price and stop losing buyers due to abandoned carts since a sale was not taking place. Instead, use business intelligence technologies to create targeted, smart promotions that can help drive sales, upsells, and repeat purchases throughout your client base.
Challenges of E-commerce Integration
Despite the numerous benefits of e-commerce interfaces, there will undoubtedly be problems during installation. You should have a concrete plan to cope with possible difficulties. Here are the significant challenges you may face during the process of e-commerce integration.
Some e-commerce websites need to be improved by clumsy, out-of-date legacy technologies that are difficult to integrate with your other IT systems. The longer these systems stay in place, the more difficult updating and modernizing them will be.
A large number of Data Sources and Targets
E-commerce integrations can have a variety of sources and targets, including your e-commerce platform and other software programs, databases, data warehouses, websites, files, and more. So you must include connectors that can efficiently move data between different locations in your e-commerce integration solution.
Problems with Data Quality
Even if your e-commerce connectors are correctly configured, your data workflows may still have quality concerns, such as duplicated, inaccurate, inconsistent, or out-of-date data. Without a way to increase data quality, you'll suffer from a “garbage in, garbage out” situation, compromising your insights and projections.
How to Integrate an E-commerce System?
We've talked about the benefits and challenges of e-commerce integrations. But one concern remains: how can your e-commerce platform and data be integrated with your other IT systems?
The most basic option is to utilize point-to-point connections to link one application or system to another. This strategy is rapid and inexpensive because you may employ a “pay-as-you-go” model as your IT ecosystem grows and evolves.
However, point-to-point connectors have several drawbacks. Most significantly, there are no means to control or administer the complete network of connectors from a single location. This makes troubleshooting and recovering from errors and failures substantially more difficult.
As your e-commerce business expands, you'll likely require a dedicated solution for e-commerce connections. In this case, you may need help from a custom e-commerce development company that can help you integrate any system into your e-commerce platform. It will give you the most flexibility from any other integration option and certainty in the final result.
Communication is frequently one of the most pressing issues in business. This can include instances in which one department needs to communicate with another, missing orders, over-sales, and even problems with a foreign government. Fortunately, with the correct e-commerce integrations, tracking and utilizing your data is easier than ever. All you have to do is set it up correctly.
Before getting any e-commerce integration, thoroughly go through all the benefits and challenges of it and decide whether you need it. If the answer is yes, then make a wise choice and entrust the process to professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is e-commerce integration?
E-commerce integration refers to the process of synchronizing your e-commerce platform with other crucial business systems like ERP, CRM, warehousing system, marketing apps, and more. This synchronization automates the flow of information between systems, reducing the need for manual data entry.
How does e-commerce integration benefit a business?
E-commerce integration provides several benefits, including improved inventory management, order tracking automation, personalized customer outreach, expansion to new marketing channels, and better promotional insights. It also reduces human errors in data entry and allows for better data-driven decision making.
What are some challenges of e-commerce integration?
Challenges can include dealing with out-of-date legacy systems, managing a large number of data sources and targets, and addressing data quality issues. These can result in difficulties in integrating different IT systems, inefficiencies in data movement, and compromised data insights.
How is e-commerce integration accomplished?
E-commerce integration can be achieved through point-to-point connections between systems or through the use of dedicated e-commerce integration solutions. The method chosen often depends on the complexity and scale of the business.
Is there any risk of data loss during e-commerce integration?
While data loss is always a risk during any form of data transfer, reputable e-commerce integration services use various precautions to prevent this. However, it's always advisable to create a comprehensive data backup before starting the integration process.
What is the role of a custom e-commerce development company in e-commerce integration?
A custom e-commerce development company can assist you in integrating any system into your e-commerce platform, providing a dedicated solution for e-commerce connections. They provide a highly flexible approach to integration and can help ensure a successful outcome.
Can e-commerce integration help in customer relationship management?
Yes, by integrating your e-commerce platform with your CRM, you can better manage customer data, enabling personalized outreach, improved customer service, and more effective marketing strategies.
How does e-commerce integration affect inventory management?
Through e-commerce integration, inventory management becomes automated, reducing human error, and ensuring real-time updates. This helps prevent overstocking or understocking, leading to more efficient operations.
Can e-commerce integration help in overcoming the challenge of data silos?
Yes, e-commerce integration can break down data silos by bringing together data from various systems. This provides a comprehensive view of operations and improves data-driven decision making.
Does e-commerce integration require ongoing maintenance?
Like any system, e-commerce integration solutions will require periodic updates and maintenance to remain effective and efficient. Working with a dedicated e-commerce development company can help manage these ongoing needs.