Buying tickets, gifts, clothes, equipment and even food – most of us do it online. Being anywhere, using a phone or a laptop, it doesn’t matter, as long as we’re connected to the Internet. Simple user interface, fast actions and results. It’s so easy, it only takes a few minutes. This explains why the number of online buyers is increasing dramatically year on year. For example, the number of online-only shoppers in the USA is estimated at 230.5 million in 2021, compared with 215.4 million in 2017.

The Statistics Portal “Statista

The graph above shows statistics on online shoppers who have browsed products, compared prices or purchased goods online at least once in the corresponding year. You’re seeing an increase in online shoppers every year thanks to the active introduction of Omnichannel retailing.

What is Omnichannel retailing?

Omnichannel is a business model that companies are using to enhance their customers’ experiences. “Omnis” can be translated from Latin as “existing everywhere”. In our case – covering all customer communication channels: such as physical locations, online store, social media, online chat, mobile apps and phone communications. Customers can access all products and services in the most convenient way for them, while still being visible to the retailer.

Setting up your online store

Opening an online store in today’s digital world is not difficult; however, running an online business is more challenging. Here are some of the undeniable advantages of running an online store:

  • There are no rental fees
  • You need fewer employees to run the store.
  • Companies can overcome geographical limitations
  • The best of all, it’s open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Use e-commerce best practice

To stay ahead of the e-commerce game, you need to pay close attention to detail and research the best practices in e-commerce. On the Internet, there’s some great advice for entrepreneurs starting up their online business: choose an e-commerce platform, optimize page load speed, create unique content, promote products, etc.

However, there aren’t many resources talking about the technical and logistical aspects. Critical information such as the electronic exchange of documents between an online company and its trading partners or transport companies is crucial to such a project.

Another important e-commerce practice is full integration and electronic data interchange (EDI), to improve speed, accuracy, information quality and business efficiency.

The role of EDI integration in logistics and e-commerce

Even in traditional retailing, the term “logistics” was still far from clear. One of the definitions of corporate logistics:

“Having the right item in the right quantity at the right time in the right place for the right price under the right conditions to the right customer”.

When you run an e-commerce business, whatever method of supply chain management you choose(Drop-Ship or other), you’ll be faced with a significant amount of business documentation that you’ll need to exchange with your trading partners.

Now let’s do some simple math: how much time do your employees spend on order entry, shipping, invoicing, label generation? What is the error rate? Perhaps that’s why the return rate for products sold online is so high. Research into e-commerce product returns shows:

In my opinion, the above statistics, reflecting e-commerce product returns, seem frightening. Is it possible to reduce the above percentages? Can your online business avoid these mistakes?

EDI integration improves data quality, reducing transaction errors by 30% to 40%. This integration eliminates illegible handwriting, typing errors, lost faxes/mails and transmission errors.

Think and manage your online business better

The positive effects of EDI integration will be measurable in all the following departments: trade, production, logistics and finance.

in sales:

  • The sales cycle and the quality of your customer relations are improved, as is your turnaround time.

In production:

  • Lower production costs
  • Better inventory management
  • Short production times


  • Reduced processing time for mailings
  • Eliminating anomalies and errors
  • disposal of paper documents
  • Significant improvement in information quality

In finance:

  • Reduce billing time
  • Reducing disputes

In conclusion, moving to EDI integration gives a company access to an undeniable competitive advantage, reduces the costs of its products and services, improves business processes and meets the demands of customers and suppliers.

Contact our experts today to find out more about our EDI services or visit

What is EDI 846?

The 846 X12 is one of the most frequently exchanged electronic documents between business partners. It is especially important because of the evolution of the drop-shipping business, which has made great strides in recent years, all due to e-commerce and online sales. Basically, this document is derived from the paper document entitled ” Inventory request and advice “. This is a notification sent by the manufacturer to the seller, informing him of stock status and availability. It can also include pricing information.

In other words, this EDI message is for exchanging information on the availability of goods and merchandise.

EDI 846For e-commerce, up-to-date information on the availability of goods is very important. That’s why one of the main EDI requirements for
is the supplier’s ability to transmit an EDI 846 message. This is not just a requirement exclusive to Amazon; other major retailers such as Cabela’s, Wal-Mart, Costco, all have the same EDI requirement, to be able to feed their e-commerce platforms with accurate inventory information.

The EDI 846 document can be sent to trading partners as many times as required. This can be 2-3 times a week, or even several times a day; each retailer has its own requirements. The EDI 846 document enables suppliers to provide information on the trading partners for their products, without forcing them to make a purchase. EDI 846 is also often used to inform trading partners about the availability of goods at reduced prices.

EDI 846 inventory request and usage advice

The other obvious question about 846: who uses EDI 846 other than Amazon and the major e-commerce retailers? The truth is that not only can e-commerce retailers use this EDI transaction to exchange 846 documents, indeed, all trading partners can agree to use it to exchange inventory availability. Here are a few examples:

  • Sellers to provide information on inventory availability to a potential customer.
  • Seller’s representatives to provide the seller with inventory information.
  • A store to provide product availability information to another store.
  • The seller may request an inventory availability report.

What information does this X12 document transmit?

In EDI 846 transmission, inventory location identification, quantity and item description are the basic information included in almost all EDI 846 documents; however, additional information can be added such as:

– Expected quantity

– Number of items already sold

– Quantity in stock

– Pricing information

With EDI 846, online stores can optimize their deliveries. They don’t need to enter data manually into their internal systems, such as ERP. It provides online buyers with precise, real-time information on stock availability. What’s more, it reduces administration and order processing costs, and allows consumers to purchase items without having to keep stock on site.

For more information on how edi2xml cloud services can help you set up your EDI 846 with your trading partners, please contact us.