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Guide to ecommerce integrations for order fulfilment

In this guide, we explain the different types of integrations that ecommerce companies use to automate their order fulfilment process, highlight the benefits of using these integrations, and provide advice on how to choose the right ecommerce integrations for your business.

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Different types of ecommerce integrations Benefits of using ecommerce integrations for order fulfilment Choosing the right ecommerce integrations for your business Conclusion
8 min to read
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Introduction

For ecommerce companies, handling order fulfilment operations is a highly complex task. Every day, ecommerce businesses have to simultaneously juggle numerous orders of various SKUs across multiple channels and locations around the globe.

But getting order fulfilment right is absolutely critical to ensuring ongoing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Recent research revealed that customers value fast and reliable delivery as the most important attribute of their online shopping experience.

Given that order fulfilment is so complex and critical, it’s surprising to see that so many ecommerce businesses still rely on time-consuming manual processes to handle their order fulfilment. A recent study showed that 55% of companies still use manual “pen-and-paper” procedures to manage their omnichannel logistics.

A growing number of ecommerce companies, however, are looking to improve the efficiency of their order fulfilment process.

We’ve found that there are two key tactics that can help your business dramatically improve your order fulfilment:

  1. Engaging third-party logistics (3PL) providers to manage your supply chain operations including order fulfilment. With a best-in-class 3PL provider like Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfilment (MCF), for example, you can delight your customers by offering delivery speeds as fast as one day and an on-time delivery rate of greater than 97%.
  2. Employing cutting-edge ecommerce integrations to automate and optimise the order fulfilment process. These integrations can reduce manual effort and enable you to automatically connect and synchronise your order management, inventory management, and order fulfilment systems. No matter if you outsource your order fulfilment to a 3PL or handle it yourself, you can use ecommerce integrations to streamline and simplify your order fulfilment operations.

In this guide, we will delve into the topic of ecommerce integrations for order fulfilment. We will:

  • Explain the different types of integrations that ecommerce companies use to automate their order fulfilment process with their 3PL,
  • Highlight the benefits of using these integrations, and
  • Provide advice on how you can choose the right ecommerce integrations for your business.
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Different types of ecommerce integrations

Broadly speaking, ecommerce integrations are software applications that connect your ecommerce website and other ecommerce marketplaces that you sell on with the back-end systems that you use to manage various areas of your online business including sales, CRM, inventory management, order management, and order fulfilment. According to Gartner, a typical ecommerce experience today consists of more than 30 integrated systems.

Ecommerce integrations serve as a bridge between the ecommerce sales channels that you use and your numerous back-end systems, enabling you to integrate, automate, and optimise your business operations.

When it comes to order fulfilment, ecommerce integrations can connect your 3PL provider’s back-end systems with:

  • The ecommerce system on your direct-to-consumer (DTC) ecommerce website: Most ecommerce websites today are powered by software systems designed by ecommerce solution providers such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Adobe Commerce (Magento), Wix, and WooCommerce. The systems produced by these ecommerce solution providers serve as the backbone of your DTC website – performing a wide range of functions including managing your catalog and listings, enabling catalog sorting, cart, checkout, customer notification functionality, and routing orders to order fulfilment systems. The aim of these systems is to deliver a seamless experience for shoppers on your website, so that you can increase conversions and revenue growth.
  • The ecommerce marketplaces and social media stores that you use: Many ecommerce business today sell across multiple online sales channels including ecommerce marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy and social media stores on Facebook, Instagram and other social media channels. In many cases, sellers route their social commerce shoppers to their website for checkout.

By using ecommerce integrations to connect your ecommerce website and marketplaces, you can ensure the fulfilment process runs smoothly and swiftly from online checkout to your customer’s doorstep.

Most 3PLs provide various types of ecommerce integrations that you can use to connect their order fulfilment system to the ecommerce websites and marketplaces that you are using.

MCF, for example, offers four ways to integrate with its systems:

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Direct integrations
These integrations are free-to-use apps – built by Amazon – that provide a direct connection between MCF and ecommerce solution providers like BigCommerce, Wix, and Adobe Commerce (Magento).
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Third-party integrations
These integrations are apps – built by independent software vendors (ISVs) – that directly connect MCF with various ecommerce websites and marketplaces. WebBee and Bytestand are a few examples of applications that link MCF directly to your DTC website built on Shopify or BigCommerce, and the NeverSettle app can connect your WooCommerce website to MCF within minutes.
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Inventory and order management systems
MCF offers over 100 third-party integrations – including Rithum, ShipStation, Listing Mirror, Sellercloud, and Pipe17 – which can help streamline and automate your order processing and inventory management across all your sales channels. These inventory and order management systems are aggregators that take in orders from many different channels and route fulfilment requests to your 3PL or other fulfilment method. They enable you to keep track of inventory levels, customer orders, and tracking information across all your sales channels, and can support complex fulfilment rules.
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Custom API integrations
Some ecommerce companies – usually large enterprises that have their own in-house developers or engage external developers – opt to build their own custom API integrations to connect their ecommerce websites and order and inventory management systems directly to MCF APIs. MCF’s developer-friendly APIs make it easy to create these custom API integrations.

Benefits of using ecommerce integrations for order fulfilment

Utilizing ecommerce integrations to automate your order fulfilment process can deliver a number of business benefits including:

  • Reduced manual effort: By employing ecommerce integrations, you can minimise the amount of manual effort required to handle your order fulfilment operations. Instead of having to painstakingly, manually enter every order you receive into your 3PL’s order fulfilment system and then monitor it, you can automate this process. This will save a lot of time for you and your team – freeing you up to focus on those areas of the business that matter most to you such as sales and product development.

  • Improved operational efficiency: With ecommerce integrations, you can streamline the order fulfilment process by automatically creating inbound and outbound shipments with your 3PL, syncing inventory across different sales channels, and tracking orders in real-time. This improved efficiency ultimately results in faster and more reliable delivery performance, reduced out-of-stock rates, and greater customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Greater multi-channel sales growth: Ecommerce integrations make it easy for you to set up and integrate sales operations on multiple online channels including your DTC website, various ecommerce marketplaces, and social media stores. With these integrations, you can automatically align your orders and inventory across various sales channels (so that you can successfully manage and grow your multi-channel business), and easily expand to new sales channels.

  • Increase sales conversion rate: According to the Baymard Institute, 22% of online shoppers abandon their carts during checkout because the delivery was too slow. With ecommerce integrations, you can leverage your 3PL’s order-promising capabilities to make accurate delivery estimates to shoppers at checkout. And if your 3PL – like MCF – is able to offer shipping speeds as fast as one day and real-time delivery estimates at checkout, you can make delivery promises to shoppers that will increase your conversion rate and reduce cart abandonment.
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Choosing the right ecommerce integrations for your business

Now that you know about the different types of ecommerce integrations for order fulfilment and understand the benefits of using these applications, you may be wondering – with so many different ecommerce integrations available today – how you can choose the right ones for your business.

Here are a few questions you should ask to help you select the right ecommerce integrations:

Where do you currently sell your products?
If you are only selling on your DTC website and sending orders from other channels like social media to your website, a “light weight” and low-cost application might do the trick for you. If you are selling on multiple sales channels, then you should probably explore using an order management system.
What back-end systems are you using today?
Check to see if the back-end systems you are using today to power your ecommerce stores and inventory and order management systems can be integrated with your 3PL’s back-end system. You may want to create a map of your systems architecture to see how all your systems can be connected.
What is your growth strategy?
Think about the growth strategy that your business is pursuing and which ecommerce integrations you will need to help support you. For example, if your business is looking to start selling on new sales channels, you will probably want to invest in a robust inventory and order management system that has feed optimization and product listing capabilities – and ensure that it’s effectively integrated with your other back-end systems.
Do you have access to developer resources?
If your ecommerce company has in-house developer resources or engages external developers, then you may want to consider building your own custom API integrations to connect your ecommerce website and back-end systems to your 3PL’s order fulfilment solution. Typically, only large-scale enterprises would have access to developer resources like these – and, if your company doesn’t, don’t worry as there are a whole host of direct and third-party integrations out there for you to choose from.
What ecommerce integrations does your 3PL offer?
Find out which integrations your 3PL provides, and see if you can use those to connect to your ecommerce stores and inventory and order management systems. MCF, for example, offers a wide array of free, direct integrations and third-party integrations that you can choose from.

You should have a discussion with your 3PL so that they can tell you about the integrations that are available and advise on which would be the best fit for your business needs and systems requirements.

Conclusion

By enabling you to connect, streamline, and synchronise your back-end systems, ecommerce integrations can revolutionise your online business – driving greater automation, operational efficiency, multi-channel sales growth, and customer experience.

Online customers today demand a seamless shopping experience from online checkout to delivery on their doorstep. And, with the right ecommerce integrations in place, you can provide exactly that.


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