As eCommerce sales continue to climb, online sellers are looking for ways to revamp their operations to keep up with growing sales volumes. Do you spend most of your time just trying to keep up with order processing between BigCommerce and your other systems?
If this problem resonates with you, you’re ready to consider integrating your BigCommerce storefront with your financial, ERP, POS or 3PL systems to automate your online business. Learn more about the top signs that you’re ready for integration and how to pick the best integration solution for BigCommerce.
Signs You Need to Integrate Your Online Store
Are you currently experiencing any of the following? If you are, then you’re ready for integration for your online business.
How often do you oversell online? Mismanaged inventory can mean sold out inventory isn’t removed from your website in time. There’s nothing worse than having to tell a customer you can’t ship an item they thought they bought. It’s especially hard to keep up with constantly changing inventory levels during high sales volumes like during the holidays or when running flash sales.
Spending Too Much Time on Order Processing
Do you have dedicated staff members spending hours each day manually entering data from one system to another? In some cases, manual data entry can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in annual staff time!
Slow Delivery Times
Manual data entry for order processing can take so much time that it slows down your delivery times. Can you offer same-day or two-day shipping? Delivery times are crucial to a customer when deciding who to buy from. If you can’t deliver fast enough, customers will shop somewhere else.
Too Many Order Processing Errors
Manual data entry between your systems is also prone to human mistakes such as typos. One slip can lead to wrong inventory counts, shipping addresses spelled incorrectly, and even shipment of the wrong products to customers. These types of mistakes can start to add up in costs, while also frustrating customers.
Slow to Make Pricing Changes
Many consumers prefer to shop online to find the lowest prices or best deals. In a highly competitive space, merchants need to quickly change and update prices to reflect lower rates. How many sales are you losing because you can’t update your prices fast enough?
Are your customer service reps constantly trying to fix your own mistakes? Processes prone to mistakes can mean the customer tickets start to pile up.
In short, your customer experience can start to suffer if you don’t take care of your backend processes. You won’t be able to keep your customers trust and in turn, they won’t shop with you again. Luckily though, integration of your BigCommerce storefront can help solve many of these issues.
What is eCommerce integration?
Some of the main benefits of eCommerce integration include the following:
- Eliminate manual data entry between systems for order, inventory counts, item, customer, and shipping/tracking data
- Process orders in milliseconds, saving you money and time from annual staff time spent on data entry
- Sync inventory levels as soon as you sell an item to prevent overselling
- Automatically notify customers when orders have shipped, allowing customers to track delivery of their online orders
- Automatically push pricing changes to products to make sale prices show up faster
- Reduce delivery time for online orders and offer competitive shipping times
- Handle increase in order volume without needing to add more resources
- Automate the returns process
- Handle complex fulfillment options like buy online, pick-up in store
The benefits of eCommerce integration speak for themselves. You’ll increase operational efficiencies, while offering a better online experience for your customers. The tricky part is picking the best integration solution for your BigCommerce storefront.
How to Pick an Integration Solution for BigCommerce
There’s no doubt that integrating your vital systems pays off for both your operations and customers. Integration though isn’t easy. Mishandled projects can drain time and money, without delivering a solution that just works for your company. So it’s important you do your due diligence when evaluating different BigCommerce integration solutions. To help you do just that, we’ll compare the two most common ways to integrate BigCommerce: custom and off-the-shelf integration solutions.
When looking at these options, you should consider the following:
- Price – How much are you willing to invest?
- Complexity – How complex are your operations?
- Growth – Are you trying to aggressively grow your business?
- Needed Systems – What systems do you need to integrate with BigCommerce?
- Time – What’s your timeframe for this project?
- Support – Who will support your integration?
Custom Integration for BigCommerce
A merchant’s first instinct sometimes is to have a custom integration solution built for their BigCommerce storefront. You might turn to your in-house IT team, web agency, consultant, or vendor to write custom code that connects your systems. You’re familiar with them, they know your business well, and you like the price tag of the solution. So what’s the harm in letting them build out a custom integration solution?
Unless you’re connecting BigCommerce to an unheard-of system or have truly unique and complex processes, most merchants’ needs shouldn’t warrant going down this path. There are common risks that come up again and again with custom-built integrations that are worth considering.
Is there a single person behind your entire project?
Often these projects can be delegated to a single developer that builds, maintains, and supports your entire solution. What happens when they go on vacation? The reality is that they can’t because no one else would know how to fix your integration if a problem comes up.
How well do they know your systems?
Integration is hard. You have to be knowledgeable about ALL the systems you’re connecting so you can ensure smooth data transfer to and from BigCommerce. How BigCommerce accepts data usually isn’t how a backend systems like an ERP accepts the same data. For example, item data is used completely different in an ERP system. How familiar is your vendor with each of your endpoint systems and best practices for connecting them? Don’t settle for a solution where the builders are only an expert in one of your systems.
How flexible is the solution?
Custom solutions often result in hardcoded integrations that tie two systems directly together. What happens when you want to change your business processes, upgrade a platform or add a new sales channels? Depending on how your integration is structured, you could have to start your entire project over from scratch to accommodate these changes or be stuck with your current operations.
While the smaller price tag for a custom solution might be appealing, you can pay more in the end in several areas where it lacks. That’s why we recommended that BigCommerce merchants consider middleware solutions for their integration needs.
Middleware Integration for BigCommerce
Another approach to eCommerce integration is to use an off-the-shelf middleware platform. These types of solutions have a “hub” that sits between BigCommerce and your financial, POS, or 3PL systems to automate data transactions between your endpoints. The hub manages the connection, translation, and orchestration of data between your systems. Ideally, the cloud-based platform should utilize pre-built connectors that connect your systems through the hub.
These solutions often work great for BigCommerce users. The integration providers manage the platform and integration for you. You’re even still able to configure the pre-built connectors to your unique business processes. You’ll also have a peace of mind that your provider has extensive knowledge and experience in connecting BigCommerce with your other systems. And when you need to make a change to your business, you’ll be able to do so without re-doing your entire integration. It’s just a matter of adding or removing another pre-built connector.
If you want to learn more about approaching integration this way, check out how the nChannel integration platform can integrate BigCommerce.
At the end of the day, picking an integration approach for BigCommerce comes down to what works best for you and ultimately your customers!