What you need to know about integrating e-commerce platforms

30 October, 2017

When you’re using an e-commerce platform, integration with other systems and processes is key. Not only can you save time and money if everything is operating in a smooth and joined up way but you’ll also be able to deliver better customer service and improve business performance.

But what do you need to know about integrating e-commerce platforms with other retail systems?

Not every integration solution is the same

There are a number of different ways to achieve integration between e-commerce solutions and other retail systems, such as those for inventory management and shipping. Some e-commerce platforms are already fairly comprehensive and come with these solutions inbuilt – which can be a pretty simple and straightforward option for early stage businesses. As a company grows it may be necessary to vary this and to use other integration options, for example task-specific e-commerce solutions or multi purpose connections that will connect up any two systems.

Integration is particularly useful for small businesses

Where integrating e-commerce platforms with other functions really comes into its own is for small businesses i.e. those that don’t have a web team to manage the interaction between various systems. What the e-commerce solutions integration does is to remove a large number of tasks from the list, including managing databases and customer lists and information capture. Without the integration solutions available today these would all fall to the business itself, significantly increasing workload.

Not all integration options are created equal and impact on efficiency can be dependent on whether you get the right fit, here’s what you should bear in mind when choosing a provider:

  • Ability to tailor what they offer to the needs of your business. Ideally, avoid getting stuck with either a generic and immovable integration solution or one that is cobbled together and inconsistent.
  • Look for an integration solution specifically designed for your business’ point of sale.
  • Make sure you know what you want: the best integration solution will be robust, have tried and tested features and functionality and elements that add value – such as inbuilt accounts receivable or loyalty functionality.
  • What reporting does the solution offer – can it give you the information that you’ll need at a glance and does it allow you to create your own reports?
  • Is it simple to use? If hours of training are required then it might not be the right option.
  • What kind of support will you get and what track record does the provider have?

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