Order Management Systems and E-Commerce Integration: Does it Really Matter?

26 July 2017 |

order-management-system-integration

Starting an online business nowadays has become so accessible both financially and technically, that the number of e-stores is growing in huge leaps. Surely, not each of the newly created shops can withstand the competition, and in many cases, their first year becomes the last. However, for a great number of e-shops, it becomes a trampoline to bigger volumes of sales through expanding the business via selling on the new channels and starting new stores.

Wonderful as it sounds, there are a number of established business processes to reorganize before one can count the grown revenue. The most typical challenge many e-merchants face is managing the increased number of orders from multiple sales channels, if their software wasn’t chosen with this potential need in mind. Fortunately, vendors of various order management solutions have already attended to this issue, creating systems that automate the routine tasks.

Due to the severe competition on the market, one of the key metrics in picking the order management system is the range of integrations it supports. Along with the key necessity of working well with multiple shopping carts (the more - the better as it automatically grows the number of potential clients), this software should also be able to integrate with shipping, accounting, inventory management systems, marketplaces like Amazon or Ebay, etc.  

Why Order Management Systems Benefit from E-Сommerce Integrations

In order to gain a deeper insight into why integrations with various e-Сommerce solutions matter greatly for order management systems, it’s important to see how all of them “cooperate” within an online store.

Let’s look at the whole cycle of the sale to understand the work principle:

  • First, a customer visits an online store or a sales channel like Amazon, and adds an item to the cart. Integration with various shopping carts and online marketplaces allows the order to be automatically entered into the order management platform. Even if the purchase isn’t completed, this data is very helpful in analyzing the abandoned carts and their “contents” to further decrease their number.
  • Next, when the order is confirmed and paid for, the platform sends the data to an inventory management and accounting software so that the inventory levels are updated, and payment is processed.
  • The final stage is automated creation of the shipping labels thanks the shipping system integration and sending the order to the fulfillment center.

Now it’s clear that an order management platform serves as the coordinator of all activity within an online store and works with all other e-Сommerce services. The more integrations it supports, the smoother the store will be functioning. For an online merchant it means having to devote less time to the technical side of the store and focus on business development instead.

Realizing this, order platforms compete in the number of integrations. According to the study by Softwareadvice.com, “Top order management systems support at least seven major integrations”. Some vendors even build in the accounting or inventory functionality into their solutions, though sometimes it overlaps with the systems already used by a merchant.

Why Users Care About Shopping Cart Integrations

Special attention should be given to shopping cart integration. According to e-merchants, the order management system that plays well with their online store and other sales channels has a number of benefits, the key one being better inventory visibility. The system that notifies its user of the item added to cart demonstrates the most popular products and lets a seller refill the stock in advance.

Moreover, integration with shopping carts reportedly increases the speed of order processing and delivery along with reducing the number of errors and time spent for these tasks. Clearly, the absence of order platform integration the would mean the necessity to manually process orders and enter the data into other e-Commerce systems involved in the process.

It would be mistaken to consider that it is only order management platforms which integrate with the other e-Commerce solutions. In fact, all of these services can integrate with each other as well for the sake of improved e-Commerce performance.

An example would be a shopping cart integration with a shipping system, which lets store clients see the shipping rates right at the checkout. This, in its turn, helps check whether it’s the shipping costs that prevent visitors from converting into customers - for example, by lowering the shipping rates and comparing the cart abandonment data before and after the change.

Honey is Sweet, but the Bee Stings: Difficulties with Developing Integrations for Order Management Systems

As mentioned previously, at least, 7 integrations are needed to be able to compete with the biggest players of the order management arena. It may sound easy, but in reality developing each integration requires lots of efforts and time to implement. The task is made more difficult by the fact that each service has its unique way of functioning, and there’s almost no way of using some ready “parts” from the previous integrations.

Adding support of multiple shopping carts looks no easier, but if you’re using the right tools, it could be. API2Cart online service has already done the work for you and provides the way of integrating your order management software with 30+ most popular shopping carts via its unified API. This not only saves you months of work and significant financial resources, but also provides scope for working on other important integrations.

So, if you’re determined to extend your software clientele and soon outgrow your competitors, API2Cart is worth trying. To discuss the aspects of your integration, leave us a message or schedule a call with our representative. If you would like to see how our API works, create a trial account and test it on a live store.