multi-channel integration

Published 19 April 2021 | Updated 9 July 2021 | Khrystyna Oliinyk

“Start Anywhere, Finish Anywhere” - this is what most of the customers prefer while they shop. To meet the demands of their customers, retailers have moved to multi-channel eCommerce, where the retailer can sell and market their products on multiple channels wherever their customers are. With the help of multi-channel software merchants can use different online platforms such as eCommerce platforms, marketplaces, social media sites and other places to sell and promote their products.

This type of software needs access to data from all eCommerce platforms and other selling places so that it can perform the necessary functions. Therefore, multi-channel integration is an all-in-one solution for eCommerce software providers like you.

This article is a comprehensive guide to implementing multi-channel software integration with multiple sales channels and eCommerce platforms without any hassle.

What is multi-channel integration?

Let’s get the basics right!

Multi-channel integration is the process of establishing a connection between multiple sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Magento and multi-channel eCommerce software so that the latter can easily interact with all sales channels to access the necessary data and perform its core functions. In order for multi-channel software to interact with eCommerce platforms, it is important that their APIs communicate with each other, and this is where integration comes into play.

With integration, there are certain function calls associated with APIs that allow two systems to interact with each other. When one system (multi-channel software) sends a data access request to another (eCommerce platform), it does so through function calls. The system sends the request to the server, the other system receives it via the same call. The other system checks the request, processes it, and sends a specific response back to the server.

Depending on the request, the response can be of different types. The server then sends the response at the sender’s end. This request and response communication is done via API request and API response methods with specific parameters that define the type of data to be transferred.

Key features of multi-channel software

If you are wondering why multi-channel software integration is so important, take a look at what role the software plays in carrying out eCommerce operations seamlessly and how multi-channel integration allows it to do so.

Following are some of the key features of multi-channel software:

Inventory management

When merchants start selling on multiple eCommerce platforms or sales channels, one of the common challenges they face is to manage inventory across all the channels. Different rules on each platform, different product suppliers, multiple customer geographies, and several other factors could easily mess up an inventory.

As a result, retailers are selling products that are not in stock, which impacts the customer experience. Moreover, it is neither logical nor practical to manually count or keep track of inventory.

In such cases, multi-channel software allows retailers to synchronize their inventory across all sales channels from one dashboard. The system automatically calculates inventory after each purchase and updates the inventory status so that retailers can replenish inventory in a timely manner.

Order fulfillment

Order fulfillment is the comprehensive process of receiving, processing, packing, picking, shipping, and successfully delivering an order to the customer. It's more than complicated as it sounds when it comes to multi-channel commerce.

First, it's difficult to keep track of all the orders coming in from multiple channels at once.

Second, it gets even more complicated when keeping track of the processing, packing, and picking of all those orders. Since retailers have to operate multiple warehouses in different locations and reconcile them with customer locations, the process becomes hectic and time-consuming.

Multi-channel software, therefore, helps merchants manage orders with custom-coded methods that keep track of orders received from e-commerce platforms, processed by the platform, packed by warehouses, picked and shipped by shipping partners, and delivered on time by delivery partners.

Product listings synchronization

In a multi-channel commerce scenario, merchants need to offer their products on multiple sales channels. These can be marketplaces, social media platforms, shopping carts, or any other channel they use to sell their products. Managing product listings on all platforms without multi-channel software and multi-channel integration can be extremely complicated.

Creating listings separately on different platforms and updating them based on market preferences is virtually impossible as a manual approach. However, multi-channel eCommerce software streamlines the process by allowing merchants to perform these tasks from a single interface across all platforms.

The merchants can create product listings with information like name, image, description, features, price, and other data related to products from one dashboard on all the platforms. Similarly, they can update this information on all the platforms at once.

Price updating

The eCommerce market is never the same every time. Owing to the competition in the industry, merchants keep updating their product prices by looking at their competitors and the sales made by them. They watch other customers’ purchasing history and behavior to draw patterns about pricing strategy and update product pricing accordingly.

However, in multi-channel commerce, it is tedious and intimidating to update product prices on multiple sales channels individually. Apart from being time-consuming, the task is really unproductive.

Fortunately, multi-channel software allows merchants to easily update product prices on all the sales channels at once with one dashboard. The interface is user-friendly and advanced so the merchants can manage everything from one place, without having to deal with multiple platforms.

All the above-mentioned features are of no use if the multi-channel software cannot access data from the sales channels. To be able to provide all the important functionality, multi-channel integration plays a crucial role in the entire scenario.

How multi-channel software can integrate with multiple eCommerce platforms in less than a month?

It is nearly impossible to develop in-house, separate multi-channel software integration with every eCommerce platform. You cannot spend years just developing integration with your software as one integration takes more than two months to develop and there are many eCommerce platforms on your list.

The easiest and the fastest way to develop multi-channel integration in less than a month is to use a third-party service provider like API2Cart.

API2Cart provides a unified API and allows eCommerce software vendors to connect their SaaS applications with more than 40 shopping carts and marketplaces at once. With API2Cart, you can:

1. Work with shopping platforms and marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify, and other industry leaders.

2. Eliminate establishing separate multi-channel software integration with every eCommerce platform. API2Cart does it in one go!

3. Manage and distribute products across multiple platforms.

4. Control inventory and update product prices on the platforms from one place.

5. Work with and manage products, categories, orders, prices, and all such data with API2Cart methods as and when required.

For example, to get a list of orders from different eCommerce platforms, your multi-channel software will have to execute the order.list method. It returns the following response:


{
    "return_code": 0,
    "return_message": "",
    "pagination": {
        "previous": null,
        "next": "BcHdEkJAGADQB3Kx2NXOXrjIWNpaJTIadzYj7PipL4Wn7xwmBbQQVeroU9nVsQd66LzNiW08zpkocy%2FgWmeEvIZ%2Bl1jfW35anTVtjKCXzLe2dHl%2FpiYwC7JGpn9JEAspAk5HUvKlrFQv2gMQVJ%2FjWybQjH6KIcyUKLDBHvfBxim1AUKqqeYEi6ec9qS9uu4f"
    },
    "result": {
        "orders_count": 1,
        "order": [
            {
                "id": "000000001",
                "order_id": "1",
                "basket_id": null,
                "channel_id": null,
                "customer": {
                    "id": "1",
                    "email": "admin@mail.com",
                    "first_name": "John",
                    "last_name": "Smith",
                    "phone": null
                },
                "create_at": {
                    "value": "2019-12-20T13:48:19+0000",
                    "format": "Y-m-d\\TH:i:sO"
                },
                "currency": {
                    "id": "USD",
                    "name": "US Dollar",
                    "iso3": "USD",
                    "symbol_left": "$",
                    "symbol_right": "",
                    "rate": 1,
                    "avail": true,
                    "default": true
                },
                "shipping_address": {
                    "id": "2",
                    "type": "shipping",
                    "first_name": "John",
                    "last_name": "Smith",
                    "postcode": "12345",
                    "address1": "Green str.35",
                    "address2": "",
                    "phone": "",
                    "city": "Chicago",
                    "country": {
                        "code2": "US",
                        "code3": "USA",
                        "name": "United States of America"
                    },
                    "state": {
                        "code": "IL",
                        "name": "Illinois"
                    },
                    "company": "",
                    "fax": "",
                    "website": null,
                    "gender": null,
                    "region": null,
                    "default": false,
                    "additional_fields": {
                        "prefix": "",
                        "suffix": "",
                        "middlename": "",
                        "tax_id": null
                    }
                },
                "billing_address": {
                    "id": "1",
                    "type": "billing",
                    "first_name": "John",
                    "last_name": "Smith",
                    "postcode": "12345",
                    "address1": "Green str.35",
                    "address2": "",
                    "phone": "",
                    "city": "Chicago",
                    "country": {
                        "code2": "US",
                        "code3": "USA",
                        "name": "United States of America"
                    },
                    "state": {
                        "code": "IL",
                        "name": "Illinois"
                    },
                    "company": "",
                    "fax": "",
                    "website": null,
                    "gender": null,
                    "region": null,
                    "default": false,
                    "additional_fields": {
                        "prefix": "",
                        "suffix": "",
                        "middlename": "",
                        "tax_id": null
                    }
                },
                "payment_method": {
                    "name": "checkmo",
                    "additional_fields": {
                        "additional_payment_info": null
                    }
                },
                "shipping_method": {
                    "name": "UPS Ground",
                    "additional_fields": {
                        "code": "custom_custom",
                        "provider_code": "custom"
                    }
                },
                "shipping_methods": [
                    {
                        "name": "UPS Ground",
                        "additional_fields": {
                            "code": "custom_custom",
                            "provider_code": "custom"
                        }
                    }
                ],
                "status": {
                    "id": "complete",
                    "name": "Complete",
                    "history": [
                        {
                            "id": "complete",
                            "name": "Complete",
                            "modified_time": {
                                "value": "2019-12-20T13:48:19+0000",
                                "format": "Y-m-d\\TH:i:sO"
                            },
                            "notify": true,
                            "comment": "Reference order #000000001
Payment method:checkmo
Shipping method: UPS Ground
Complete
" } ], "refund_info": null }, "totals": { "total": 9, "subtotal": 10.5, "shipping": 0, "tax": 0, "discount": 0, "additional_fields": { "hidden_tax": 0 } }, "total": { "subtotal_ex_tax": 10.5, "wrapping_ex_tax": null, "shipping_ex_tax": 0, "total_discount": 0, "total_tax": 0, "total": 9, "total_paid": 9, "additional_fields": { "shipping_discount_ex_tax": 0, "subtotal_discount_ex_tax": 0, "tax_discount": 0, "subtotal_tax": 0, "wrapping_tax": null, "shipping_tax": 0 } }, "discounts": [], "order_products": [ { "product_id": "5", "order_product_id": "1", "model": "sku_1", "name": "Product1", "price": 1.5, "price_inc_tax": 1.5, "quantity": 7, "discount_amount": 0, "total_price": 10.5, "tax_percent": 0, "tax_value": 0, "tax_value_after_discount": 0, "options": [ { "option_id": 0, "name": "Color", "value": "mint green", "price": 0, "weight": 0, "type": null, "product_option_value_id": null } ], "variant_id": null, "weight_unit": null, "weight": 0, "barcode": null, "parent_order_product_id": null } ], "bundles": [], "modified_at": { "value": "2019-12-20T13:48:19+0000", "format": "Y-m-d\\TH:i:sO" }, "finished_time": null, "comment": "", "store_id": "1", "warehouses_ids": [], "refunds": [], "gift_message": null, "additional_fields": { "base_currency_code": "USD" } } ] } }

We also provide a 30-day trial period for you to see API2Cart in action.

For more information on how API2Cart looks after the needs of multi-channel systems, book a free consultation call with our experts today.

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