What you need to know about e-commerce integration—plus a guide to e-commerce data sources and APIs

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What you need to know about e-commerce integration—plus a guide to e-commerce data sources and APIs

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In 2024, retail e-commerce sales are expected to exceed $6.3 trillion. 

That’s more than the U.S. government spent in the 2023 fiscal year.

It may go without saying, but the volume of items being ordered and shipped everyday is massive—and with every Amazon package or HelloFresh delivery comes accompanying data and software needs. 

To perform efficiently at such a massive scale requires fully integrated data and software across a company’s entire e-commerce supply chain.

But achieving harmony between all of these disparate components is far from simple. 

A chorus of tools, processes, and people are integral to the success of your supply chain operations…and endless questions come to mind when you begin to consider how you’re going to merge, transform, and visualize the endless number of data points you deal with daily: How can I centralize all of my reporting data into a single location? Is it possible to integrate Shopify with my WMS? I receive four messy pdfs from four 3PLs every morning—how can I make this data actionable for my team?  

This guide only begins to scratch the surface of what’s possible when you zoom out and put operational and data efficiency first. But asking these questions is the first step toward understanding the connections you can make between your systems, people, and processes if you want to optimize your supply chain processes. 

Below, we’ll cover the ins and outs of e-commerce integration and the benefits that come from it, plus dive into a glossary of e-commerce data sources, integrations, and APIs. 

What is e-commerce integration?

E-commerce integration is the organization, centralization, and standardization of your data, software, and processes across the supply chain.

It usually entails connecting your inventory, warehouse, shipping, and sales processes by combining data from your ERP, WMS, CMS, and other management tools into one seamlessly connected source of truth.

What problems will e-commerce integration help solve? 

The more integrated your data is across the supply chain, the smoother your overall operations will run. If your data, systems, and workflows perform in harmony, you can safeguard your team from a variety of common issues.

E-commerce integration can help address:

  • Lack of data and data visibility: Your data is siloed, inaccurate, and/or not up-to-date. You don’t have a full, connected picture of data (and therefore, actionable insights) across inventory, warehouses, shipping, etc. 
  • Outdated systems: You’ve stuck with a WMS, ERP, Sales or other system that’s worked for you from the beginning, but it simply doesn’t offer the native automation or reporting capabilities you’re after. 
  • Developer capabilities: Your team doesn’t have the technical know-how to manufacture data visibility and reporting. 
  • Scalability: You have sufficient data practices and processes in place, but will require intensive manual work to remain efficient as your sales grow.

If these problems aren’t managed, they can result in delivery delays, long production cycles, unnecessary logistics costs, non-compliance, and poor inventory management—and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of how these issues can impact employee morale and retention. 

The first step to solving these problems is integrating your tech stack so there’s visibility around how supply chain inefficiencies are impacting your business—and the good news is that there are endless ways to connect your WMS-ERP-API-Data Analytics stack (along with third-party tools) to make sure your data is integrated across every step of the supply chain.

Benefits of e-commerce integration

There is no shortage of high-ROI benefits that come from e-commerce integration. The more connected your data, the more value you can extract from it. And major, multinational brands are realizing hidden value throughout their inventory processes due to integrating systems across the e-commerce journey. Here’s how that’s paying off: 

Improved SLA performance

Nights, weekends, early mornings, birthdays, anniversaries. 

Name a time or an occasion, and it might be spent deep in spreadsheets if you don’t have an integration set up between your inventory and order sources. At best, this lack of data visibility results in teammates doing overtime to manually compare orders with inventory, and at worst, it means sending a dreaded “no longer in stock” email to disappointed customers. 

With an integration in place between your e-commerce platform and WMS, it’s much easier to perform inventory and fulfillment tie out. This leads to a) time back for employees b) more consistent (and positive) customer experiences and c) reduced SLA breaches. 

Increased top-line revenue

At its very simplest, e-commerce professionals want to get the right item to the right person at the right time. What goes into making that happen, however, is an immensely complicated process—and making sure you have the right amount of inventory contributes to that challenge. This is where integration can come in handy: By integrating your WMS and ERP, you can help mitigate (and even predict) stockouts. Any interruption in the supply chain process can impact the ability to serve customers at the highest possible capacity. By smoothing out this process, your ability to manage more volume and scale increases, improving top-line revenue. 

Prevent revenue leakage

If there’s a discrepancy between your WMS and ERP, you may not be realizing the full potential of your inventory. 

Let’s say your warehouse is currently storing 100 pairs of earrings that are available to sell, but your ERP is currently only showing 25. Since your e-commerce platform like Shopify may only be getting information from your ERP, you’re now keeping 75 additional customers from buying the earrings. 

Setting up an integration here will give you the opportunity to perform inventory reconciliation—this ensures that your systems all reflect accurate information about your inventory which helps prevent revenue leakage. 

Save monthly shipping costs

Three things in life are certain: Death, taxes, and freight invoice errors. 

Some research reports even state that up to 25% of all freight invoices include some kind of error. And businesses have long accepted this, many of them even determining a variance threshold for errors that determines when they will or will not try to square up with their carriers. 

This is where an integrated (and automated) shipping cost reconciliation process can come in really handy. Instead of cobbling together data from emailed PDFs, your TMS, spreadsheets, and rate cards, you can set up an automation that scans incoming invoices for discrepancies against your other platforms. Shipping cost reconciliation is a great way to save on monthly costs.

Actions you can improve with fully integrated data

It should now be pretty clear why integrating data across your e-commerce processes is paramount to achieving operational efficiency: You’ll see cost savings, improved SLAs, less revenue leakage, and even improved employee morale. 

You’ll also be able to leverage your data in ways you weren’t before. As opposed to hiding within platforms and causing headaches when discrepancies across the supply chain arise, it will become the crux of how you make strategic decisions and increase efficiency across your team. 

Leading e-commerce brands use their integrated systems to make improvements and automate across data extraction, data cleansing, and data visualization/reporting.

Data extraction

By integrating all of your e-commerce systems, you’ll be able to pull data from almost anywhere—and automate the process of doing so.

Depending on the types of integrations you’re setting up between systems, you still might need to work with third-party providers for robust, accurate data extraction capabilities.

Generally, with integrated systems across the supply chain, it should be easier to extract data from PDFs, APIs, and spreadsheets, so you can pull in data from orders, sales, inventory, products, customers, and shipping.

Data cleansing

With more connected systems, your data continuously gets updated and maintained across all of your software.

With greater accuracy and visibility, you’ll be able to bring more structure to your data and data processes.

Integrated systems lead to cleaner data because it allows you to:

  • Set up more structured validation rules
  • Standardize formats and best practices
  • Enrich existing databases
  • Monitor quality/accuracy in real-time
  • Implement stricter data governance policies

Above all, you’ll be able to automate some, if not all, of these cleansing workflows.

Data visualizations and reporting

The more unified and accurate your data is across systems, the better your data visualizations and reporting stand to be.

  1. The more sources, the more insightful: By centralizing a suite of different data tools, your visualizations can consist of more profound insights, leading to faster, more informed decisions.
  2. Keep a real-time eye on performance: By feeding in real-time data across different areas of the supply chain, you’ll have complete visibility into warehouse operations, inventory, orders, and shipping.

Your data practices become more consistent and more predictable when your systems are integrated—you know when your visualizations and reports are updated, you know where the data is coming from, and the standards can be defined to be the same each time.

A comprehensive list of e-commerce data sources and systems

Now that you know why e-commerce integrations are critical to operating robust, scalable supply chain operations, now it’s time to cover how you can approach building and integrating your tech stack. 

Below, we’ll break down the e-commerce data sources and systems you need to know, including sales management platforms, payment management platforms, WMS’s, 3PLs, ERPs, and more.

E-commerce platforms

Sales management and e-commerce platforms typically include CRM features, sales automation, (some) inventory management, order processing, sales reporting, and more.

Within the sales and order management sector, Shopify largely dominates the market—depending on your needs, however, you may make do with leaner tools.

Examples

  • Shopify
  • Magento (Adobe Commerce) 
  • BigCommerce
  • WooCommerce
  • Squarespace

Payment/subscription management platforms

Payment and subscription tools help manage transactions, billing, and recurring payments—they mostly enable you in everything surrounding the movement of money.

Examples

  • Stripe
  • Recharge

Data analytics tools

Data analytics tools include those that help you derive actionable insights, reports, and visualizations based on data from some or all of your integrated supply chain systems.

In tandem with other tools, they can be used for forecasting, performance and inventory monitoring, and a variety of website testing and optimization.

Examples

  • Tableau
  • Looker
  • Google Analytics
  • Adobe Analytics

WMS & shipping partners

There are warehouse management systems (WMS) that fit a variety of e-commerce needs, some more advanced than others.

In any case, a WMS will help your team monitor and track the storage and (real-time) movement of inventory across one or multiple warehouses. They’re meant to be easily retrofitted into your supply chain systems.

Shipping software serves many of the same benefits of a WMS, though typically does not provide as much data and visibility into inventory and warehouse operations.

Examples

  • ShipStation
  • ShipHero
  • Fishbowl
  • Logiwa
  • Infoplus
  • Manhattan Associates

3PLs (Third-Party Logistics)

3PLs are logistics partners you can outsource your warehouse and inventory management, order fulfillment, and shipping to.

They’re most often used to help remedy complex geographic needs, shipping volume, or storage-type needs (like refrigerated goods, for example).

Examples

  • Shipbob
  • Stord
  • Deliverr
  • Shippo
  • Shipfusion
  • ShipMonk

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools

ERPs can serve as the infrastructural backbone to an entire e-commerce business—across warehousing, order fulfillment, and storage, but also across marketing, sales, customer support, and more.

While they may take the most work to integrate, when done well, an ERP can change the performance and scalability of your entire company through minimizing operational costs and maximizing profitability.

There are general-purpose ERPs, modular plug-and-play ERPs, and more customizable ERP instances.

Examples

  • Netsuite
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365
  • Brightpearl
  • ChannelEngine

Integrating your e-commerce data and systems

Oftentimes, the hardest part of e-commerce integration is understanding what can be connected and how to do so.

There are three levels of integration—depending on your needs, you’ll likely require a combination of them.

All of the e-commerce data platforms we highlighted above have a suite of integrations baked directly into their platforms. We’ll highlight those below.

E-Commerce platform integration

These platforms integrate well with a bevy of other relevant tools including payment platforms, customer support tools, analytics tools, ERPs, WMSs, and more.

By connecting your e-commerce platform to your ERP, WMS, and payment software, you’ll be able to centralize and visualize your e-commerce sales and customer data alongside inventory, warehouse, and shipping data.

Connecting these tools enables you to combine reporting and build holistic insights that cover the entire supply chain.

Shopify integrations

As the premier player for e-commerce platforms, Shopify offers seamless integrations with a variety of essential systems, including ERP, CRM, WMS, accounting software, marketing, payment gateways, analytics tools, and online stores. 

Shopify Plus is the “plug-and-play” tool that allows for easy connecting to your ERP, CRM, and other software.

Magento e-commerce integration

You can create integrations via APIs with Magento, connecting to ERPs, CRMs, PIMs, and different marketing softwares. The platform may require a more manual lift to integrate across all supply chain processes.

BigCommerce integrations

BigCommerce integrates with software across many different categories, including 35 ERPs (Netsuite, Brightpearl, Microsoft), nearly 150 shipping and fulfillment tools, finance platforms, product sourcing, order management, merchandising, and much more.

See the full breakdown of BigCommerce integrations.

WooCommerce integrations

Given WooCommerce is a plugin itself, its integrations are referred to more specifically as “Extensions.” Among those extensions are a range of e-commerce-aligned integrations.

Tools that easily integrate with WooCommerce include Netsuite, Quickbooks, ShipStation, Brightpearl, Google Analytics, Stripe, and all major carriers.

Squarespace e-commerce integrations

Squarespace integrates well with e-commerce payment and shipping merchants, as well as some WMS and shipping platforms like Logiwa, ShipBob, and InfoPlus.

E-commerce payment integration

E-commerce payment platforms usually include built-in integrations to many other platforms, including, e-commerce/sales platforms, CRMs, ERPs, analytics tools, shipping platforms, and warehouse management systems.

Stripe integrations

Relative to e-commerce, Stripe integrates well with tools like Magento (Adobe Commerce), Shopify, WooCommerce, and Oracle Netsuite.

Stripe integrates with some WMS platforms, though may require a third-party connector.

Recharge integrations

Recharge does not include the most robust array of e-commerce-specific connections, though it does integrate with tools such as Stripe, ShipBob, Klaviyo, Google Analytics, Alloy Automation, and Chargeflow.

Data analytics integrations

Data analytics tools are very complimentary to almost any tech stack, integrating well with e-commerce platforms, CRMs, payment management tools, and ERPs.

Integrating tools like Tableau and Looker with your other e-commerce platforms allows you to manipulate, customize, and visualize data across the entire supply chain. When integration capabilities call for it, you’ll even be able to embed visualizations in-app for real-time performance visibility across warehouses, shipping, and more.

WMS & shipping integrations

A WMS, in theory, should integrate with just about every software you use to manage your supply chain, including:

  • Order management systems
  • Transportation management systems
  • Inventory management software
  • Shipping and fulfillment solutions
  • RFID Systems
  • CRMs
  • Accounting software
  • Payment/Subscription platforms

ShipStation integrations

ShipStation can easily be connected to platforms such as BigCommerce, Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon, USPS, eBay, Squarespace, and Oracle Netsuite.

ShipHero integrations

ShipHero also allows for many possible e-commerce connections.

Such as:

  • E-commerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Magento
  • ERPs like Netsuite and Brightpearl
  • Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Walmart
  • Many shipping carriers

ShipHero can also connect to returns management and other platforms.

Fishbowl integrations

Fishbowl is more specific to inventory management, though it still connects with shipping partners like ShipStation and ShipWorks.

The platform also integrates with Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and WooCommerce.

Logiwa integrations

Logiwa’s main e-commerce integrations include BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Shopify, and ShipStation.

WMS integration with ERP

Perhaps you have an ERP or WMS in place, but want to introduce the other. If that’s the case, it’s important to consult which integrations come readily available for your existing ERP or WMS. In some cases, you may need to use a third-party integration platform to manage your ERP to WMS connection.

Logiwa, for example, offers an “out-of-the-box” connector that lets you quickly and easily integrate directly with Netsuite.

If you’re using Easypost, for example, you’d need to use a third-party tool, known as an Integration Platform as a Service, or iPaaS (more on that later). 

Tray.io is an example of a company that has a line of different integrations for both EasyPost and Netsuite.

By searching for active connectors among WMS platforms and ERPs, you’ll be able to see what is readily available to you, and if not, how much technical lift is required to make certain connections.

E-commerce ERP integration

By nature of what an ERP is and does, the platforms integrate with a wide variety of other softwares.

Netsuite e-commerce integrations

With Netsuite Connector, you can tap into pre-built connections and set up data-mapping between Netsuite and your e-commerce software stack.

That includes everything from storefront POS, to order management, inventory management, accounting, and more.

Some of the most notable Netsuite integrations available include:

  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • BigCommerce
  • Magento (Adobe Commerce)
  • ShipStation
  • UPS
  • DHL
  • USPS
  • FedEx

Netsuite can also integrate with your 3PL.

For more intricate or specific use cases, you may have to turn to an iPaaS. Celigo and Tray.io are two examples of iPaaS tools that include Netsuite integration capabilities.

Microsoft Dynamics e-commerce integrations

Integrating with other platforms may require a bit of technical lift, but Microsoft Dynamics should connect well with your supply chain tech stack.

You can visit their detailed documentation to see how to connect different tools to the platform.

Brightpearl integrations

Brightpearl offers a long list of platforms it can connect to. Notable e-commerce integrations include Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce.

3PL integrations

If you’re working with, or plan to work with, a 3PL, it’s important to note what platforms they can integrate with, so you don’t require a restructure of the tools you’re already using.

ERPs and e-commerce platforms generally integrate well with 3PLs—for example, Shopify, Netsuite, and Magento.

Shopify 3PL integration

Many 3PLs integrate directly with Shopify to make it simpler for you to feed in your e-commerce data. Red Stag, EasyShip, ShipWire, and ShipRocket are all companies that integrate natively to Shopify.

Netsuite 3PL integration

NetSuite connectors allow you to manage 3PLs from within its platform.

You can export orders from NetSuite to your 3PL. In return, you can export fulfillment data from your 3PL to NetSuite.

Within Oracle’s website documentation, they cover a long list of items regarding NetSuite and 3PL connectors.

Magento 3PL fulfillment integration

Magento allows for 3PL integration via API or through extensions. When connected, you’re able to manage 3PL inventory and fulfillment processes right within the Magento platform.

E-Commerce integration platforms (iPaaS)

Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) tools are specifically used for integrating and automating software across the supply chain.

They serve as third-party integration providers—in other words, they’re outsourced connectors between two different softwares.

iPaaS examples include:

  • Workato
  • Tray.io
  • Jitterbit
  • Celigo

E-commerce API

When it comes to any e-commerce platform integration, you always have the option of tapping directly into the API (or in some cases, an SDK (software development kit), which similar to an API can connect separate applications but also can facilitate the creation of applications and features).

While this requires the highest level of technical knowledge, it also provides the most customizable connection to any platform—whether in terms of data type, data delivery, timing, etc.

Many of the companies we’ve mentioned offer an e-commerce API—companies like Shopify, BigCommerce, Stripe, WooCommerce, NetSuite, Tableau, and much more.

There are also many different types of e-commerce APIs

Depending on the platform you’re interacting with, the type of data you’re looking to integrate, and where you’re integrating that data, you may only decide to tap into specific APIs for, say, customer data, shipping data, invoice data, marketing data, and so on.

Below, you can find some detail on popular e-commerce data platforms that offer API integration and a range of support content and documentation.

Shopify API

Shopify API integrations include:

  • Admin API to access orders, products, and customers, and customize the Shopify interface (REST and GraphQL)
  • Partner API to automate front and back-office operations (GraphQL)
  • Storefront API to build custom storefronts and unique shopping experiences (GraphQL)
  • Payments Apps API to manage user account and payment data (GraphQL)
  • Shopify Function APIs to customize backend logic

Shopify offers additional APIs for further customization, which you can find in their extensive API documentation.

BigCommerce API

BigCommerce API capabilities include:

  • Admin, Storefront, and Account APIs, all available through GraphQL
  • Store customization, Payments, Catalog, and Authentication APIs through REST
  • Shipping and Tax Provider APIs

Visit BigCommerce API documentation to read more.

WooCommerce API

Despite WooCommerce already being a plugin for Wordpress, they still offer robust API functionality, all available through REST.

WooCommerce API integrations include those for:

  • Authentication
  • Coupons
  • Customers
  • Orders
  • Refunds
  • Products (many)
  • Reports
  • Payments
  • Shipping

WooCommerce includes many additional APIs, listed out comprehensively on GitHub.

Stripe API

Stripe offers an entire world of APIs, all organized around REST.

APIs relevant to e-commerce include those for:

  • Payments
  • Products
  • Billing
  • Reporting

Visit Stripe’s API Documentation to see full details.

Tableau API

Tableau includes a range of APIs for:

  • Embedding visualizations directly into web applications
  • Creating dashboard extensions so your customers can directly interact with your data
  • Interacting with and reading data and metadata

They include detailed documentation on their site for context.

Google Analytics API

Google Analytics includes a range of data APIs for you to create highly customized programmatic reports. Read about those here.

ShipStation API

When integrating with ShipStation, customers have access to a general data API and a customization API.

  • ShipStation API to push and pull order, product, shipment, and customer data directly from the platform
  • Custom Store API for integrating your company’s marketplace directly into the platform

Visit the ShipStation API documentation page to read more.

NetSuite API

Oracle’s NetSuite offers a great deal of APIs across:

  • Accounting
  • Billing
  • Budgeting
  • Coupons
  • Customers
  • Inventory
  • Items/Products
  • Manufacturing
  • Payments
  • Sales/Subscriptions
  • Vendors

There are also many other APIs available, which you can explore through Netsuite’s API documentation.

Microsoft Dynamics API

Similar to NetSuite, given the range of the platform itself, Microsoft Dynamics also offers a wide universe of different APIs specific to e-commerce and supply chain integration.

APIs relevant to e-commerce include those for:

  • Inventory
  • Pricing
  • Customers
  • Orders
  • Supply chain data management

The only way to truly understand the extent of its capabilities, you’d have to review the Microsoft Dynamics API documentation.

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