Elements to Building Integrated Retail Systems to Increase Sales
Effentii Corp 2016
Integrating essential business functions and e-commerce platforms, such as inventory management, accounting, media/marketing software and social media is critical for retailers doing business both traditionally and online.
There has been a lasting debate as to whether it is more practical to purchase entire platforms that handle all the various business processes and functions in a single product, or to integrate various existing packages specializing in specific functional areas, and tie them together into a working system to serve the needs of a business.
The debate has been muted in recent years, as a vast array of very effective and useful tools and platforms have come to market, which provide businesses with varied options in both functionality and scale. The time of having to purchase a single platform from a single vendor has changed, and businesses now have the opportunity to acquire the necessary functional support they need for their business, and add it as a component piece to existing platforms, and increase their business efficiency.
In practice, there are a few specific ways in which to integrate existing e-commerce platforms:
- Add-ons and extensions
- Multi-purpose connectors
E-Commerce Platforms – Extensions and Add-ons
The platforms for e-commerce today provide massive extension opportunities, with everything from shopping cart customization to mailing list management (and everything imaginable in between)
Examples of such platforms include (though not limited to), in no particular order:
- WooCommerce (WordPress)
Each of these platforms provide very strong foundations, upon which companies can build powerful functional additions to achieve success in the various elements of their business. Each one individually offer numerous plug-ins and extensions from third-party developers and companies to address specific business needs. Whether it is integrated inventory management, accounting, or other functions, there are extensions which permit the interaction and flow of data between each function. This provides business with the opportunity to have complete data integration and visibility across all business functions. In addition to third-party tools, direct API access if available to developers to further customize and integrate these platforms to existing company systems.
There are many platform specific marketplaces available for each of these e-commerce platforms, and the integrations don’t require custom coding or in-depth skill and knowledge of coding and programming to achieve excellent results – basically, plug them into the platform, and start integrating!
Similarly, multi-purpose connectors are provisioned by various third-parties which provide additional integration between various existing systems based on specific criteria and tasks.
The table below highlights some of the marketplaces available for the various platforms: