Integrating BigCommerce to NetSuite is a big (but necessary) step for growing merchants. When looking for integration solutions, it can be overwhelming to find and vet numerous providers. Since integration projects take consider time (and money) to implement, you want to make sure you’re choosing the best solution the first time around.
To help you find the best BigCommerce to NetSuite integration solution, we’ve put together a list of some of the most important questions you should be asking solution providers. Answers to these questions will help you understand what you’re getting for your money and will help set solutions apart from each other.
Important Questions to Ask about BigCommerce to NetSuite Integration Solutions
Integration of your vital systems pays off for both your operations and your customers. Through efficiency and automation, you can make promises to your customers than you can keep. You can guarantee delivery times, ensure you ship the right item, display accurate inventory levels, and personalize their experience.
Integration though isn’t easy. Mishandled projects can drain time and money. To avoid picking the wrong solution, consider the following when evaluating integration solutions between BigCommerce and NetSuite. In our own experience in integrating these systems, these areas have the biggest impact on whether you’ll select the right solution for your business.
What’s their experience with integration to your endpoint systems?
First, make sure that your integration provider has in-depth experience with integrating BigCommerce and NetSuite. There’s more nuance than you can imagine when connecting these two systems. Each system has its own set rules and requirements for how it handles data.
Be sure the ask your potential providers if they have integrated the two systems before and how the integration has benefitted their customers.
Are you tying my systems directly together or is it a middleware solution?
You should consider how BigCommerce and NetSuite will be integrated. Is the provider tying the systems directly together (i.e., point-to-point) or is it a middleware solution with an operational “hub” in the middle? These are two different approaches to integration that will affect your integration in different ways. We recommend using a middleware approach over point-to-point for the following reasons:
Point-to-point Integration vs Middleware Integration
In point-to-point integration solutions, your systems are “pointed” at each other or tied directly together. There’s a 1:1 relationship between your systems. The biggest drawback to this approach is that it becomes difficult to add, change, and remove systems as your business evolves. Each system change can require you to start your entire integration over from scratch because you must re-tie each system to each other.
While point-to-point solutions tend to be more affordable, they’re also more basic. Look out for limitations on what data types you can sync, how often they sync, and the volume of data you can sync. We find that most merchants outgrow these solutions quickly, rip out the integration, and then start their integration projects all over again.
Middleware solutions, on the other hand, have an operational “hub” that sits between your BigCommerce, NetSuite, and other systems. They have a “connector” for each system that connects to the hub that syncs and translates your data between your systems. Because systems are connected to the hub (not just directly together), adding and removing systems is much easier. It’s just a matter of turning off and integrating a new connector. You won’t need to re-build your integration.
While these solutions can be more pricey, they are better equipped to scale with your business. The operational hub can provide a more robust solution that handles larger data volumes and more complex business processes, which is why we recommend this integration approach.
Are you custom building an integration solution for me?
It’s also very important that you determine if the integration provider is building a custom, hard-coded solution for you. We most often seen custom integration solutions when systems are tied directly together. We caution against custom solutions because they could tie you to a single vendor forever. Your solution won’t be dynamic enough to support future changes as your business evolves.
Custom integration solutions usually are the result of letting an inexperienced vendor (without an integration practice) build it for you. In the end, you’ll pay more for the lack of experience. Just because a vendor you’ve worked with before knows your business well, it does not mean they’re integration experts.
What is your experience with integration for an eCommerce-focused business?
Over the last several years, the number of integration providers has greatly grown! Merchants needs integration and automation between systems for all sorts of reasons. For you though, this means that you need to vet solutions based on those that provide integration solutions designed specifically for eCommerce and retail (because not all integration solutions are).
As a merchant, you have unique requirements for selling across online channels. There are best practices when integrating for multichannel selling to enable capabilities like buy online, pick up in-store or buy online, return in-store. Integration platforms that serve the retail industry specifically are better equipped to plan for these types of requirements.
What types of data do they move?
As mentioned above, more basic integration solutions don’t always automate or sync all types of data. Inexpensive solutions might only focus on orders and inventory, but don’t include customers, products, and shipping/tracking data. If you’re a true multichannel seller, you’ll want to move all your sales data to ensure you’re operating as efficiently as you can across the board.
How often does the solution sync your data?
This is another big factor when evaluating integration solutions. How often does your data sync? Do you need to push a button to initiate a sync?
Don’t settle for anything less than real-time syncing of your data. For example, inventory levels should update as soon as someone buys an item. If syncs only happen every hour or daily, you’re putting yourself at risk for overselling or inaccurate data, especially during flash sales or other holiday sales.
How does the integration handle situations when my data is incorrect or missing?
Sometimes your data could be wrong or missing, which can break your integration. For example, what happens when a price on an order in your BigCommerce store is different from the price in NetSuite? What if a SKU on your eCommerce order doesn’t exist in NetSuite?
If your integration doesn’t account for exceptions in your data like these, it will continually break your integration because they aren’t accounted for. Challenge the integration provider by asking how they handle these types of data exceptions. Robust integration solutions will have an answer for you (since they’ll have rules and workflows built-in to check for these types of errors and fix them).
What level of support do they provide your customers?
When something does break with your integration, who can you reach? It’s important to feel confident in your integration provider’s support team. The reality is that you aren’t going to be obsessively watching your data flows to ensure that each transaction is flowing correctly through your system. Are they watching your data for you monitoring for any errors? The faster the support team can help you, the faster you can help your customers.
Who maintains my integration overtime (platform, connectors, etc)?
Just like your BigCommerce or NetSuite systems, your integration software (both the middleware platform and connectors) will need to have bugs fixed, routine maintenance, security updates, and product enhancements. It’s important to know who’s taking care of your integration software, how it gets updated, and how that will affect your integration.
In many cases, cloud-based SaaS or iPaaS platforms take responsibility to maintain their software over time, which is why you pay a monthly subscription fee. They’re routinely checking and fixing software bugs, ensuring uptime of your integration, and automatically pushing any updates to their platform.
How to Pick a BigCommerce to NetSuite Integration Partner
It’s a lot of work to research and vet different integration vendors. It’s certainly overwhelming if you haven’t done it before. To pick the right solution for your business, use the above criteria to help sort and understand different solutions. Every business has its own needs. Choosing the best solution depends on your budget, complexity of operations, and plans for long-term growth.
If you think you’re ready to dive into some integration options, start with nChannel. We automate sales data between BigCommerce and NetSuite. You can learn more about unique integration approach here.