3 reasons for EDI integration with Shopify

This article was taken from our blog, published on our EDI2XML platform.

Shopping cart Icon on smart phone screen over blur mall

Many times, when I meet business owners and executives, the same question comes up during the discussion: why do companies operating eCommerce stores on Shopify or Magento need to have EDI integration? I decided to publish this post, and explain my points, by identifying the top (3) reasons why businesses running on Shopify, need to comply and integrate with EDI.

What is Shopify?

In a quick description, Shopify is one of the leading Canadian eCommerce platforms offered to clients based on monthly subscription fee, where companies and individuals can subscribe, put up their own items on the eCommerce platform, and start selling to the public. For more information about Shopify, you can visit their website, it has tons of information about how things are done.

Who uses Shopify?

Individuals or companies of all sizes, who want to sell products online to their clients and B2C consumers, are mostly the users of a platform such as Shopify. With less than 100 $ a month, they can start selling products and ship it to their clients.

A word about Drop-Shipping

One important thing to emphasize here is that with the emergence of the online retail and eCommerce over the internet, companies selling products online on platforms such as Shopify, are not necessarily carrying inventory of the products they are selling.

They do receive the order from the consumer online into the Shopify platform (or store), and than they transfer this order to the manufacturing business partner(s) for shipping and delivery, while “white labelling” the packaging delivery. This concept is called “Drop-Ship” (or Drop shipping) in the retail and eCommerce world. The store owner will receive the order from the consumer, who gets paid for the merchandise upfront. The Store owner forward the order to the maker for shipment and direct delivery to the consumer.

What EDI has to do in this context of eCommerce?

As a reminder about EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), it is a set of standards and processes to exchange documents of business nature electronically between business partners. What I mean by business documents is Purchase Order, Invoice. This data exchange can happen in both direction (in and out).

In the context of online sales over the internet on a platform such as Shopify and drop-shipping orders, the EDI comes into play for several reasons:

  • Most manufacturing an major distribution will require a system-to-system integration through some sort of EDI
  • Shipping companies require also integration via EDI
  • Consumer today is very well educated and require to be informed on the status of their orders at every step of the way during the shipping process.

As you notice, all the above requires system-to-system integration between so many heterogenous systems and platforms. All major companies and retailers are well equipped with EDI platforms and standards that they have been investing in developing for years now, so it is the right moment for them to pay off all their investments.

Top (3) reasons why you need EDI integration with Shopify

As you might have noticed from the previous sections, the reasons are very obvious, to have an EDI integration with your Shopify store:

  • If you are in the Drop-Ship business and you are selling online, chances are that your suppliers will impose on you to go on EDI.
  • When you are selling online on Shopify, and you have a high volume of clients, that require to be informed of their orders at any given moment, this is another reason why you need to have EID integrated with your Shopify store

  • In case you are dealing with shipping companies (FedEx, Purolator, UPS…) and you have high volume of shipments daily, you need to integrate your systems and Shopify with EDI

The above are the main reasons for such a need, still more reasons are out there, just wanted to share the most important ones.

But can we integrate Shopify with EDI?

Certainly, it is feasible, we do this every day. With the right team of integrators, that have years of expertise in integrating EDI to any system, there is no going wrong.

Founded in 1994 in the United States, is the world’s largest online retailer of books, apparel, electronics, music and many other products. Today, it has become one of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms. Amazon keeps pace with technology, using it to minimize the human error factor and improve efficiency. Amazon was an early adopter of process automation and electronic data interchange for its e-commerce platform.

Read more: Free Guide – Introduction to EDI Communication

Amazon Vendor Central or Amazon Seller Central?

We’ve heard these terms so often:“Amazon Vendor Central” and“Amazon Seller Central”. So, what are these terms? what do they mean? Let’s explore both, one at a time. Any company wishing to sell its products or services on the Amazon platform will be configured on this platform either in the “Amazon Vendor Central” portal or in the “Amazon Seller Central” portal. What’s the difference?

Amazon Vendor Central

Firstly, Vendor Central is a web portal used primarily by manufacturers and distributors. Access to Vendor Central is by invitation only.

A company that sells its products/services directly to Amazon, which in turn sells them to the end consumer, will be configured on Amazon’s Vendor Central portal. In a similar case, Amazon is the buyer of the company’s products. Amazon will sell the products under its own brand name to the end consumer. Usually, when a package is shipped from Amazon to the end consumer, packages are marked as follows: “Ships from and sold by Amazon.”

Companies using Amazon Vendor Central are considered 1P (or first seller).

Amazon Seller Central

Once again, Seller Central is a Web portal used primarily by the seller (or store owner on Amazon). Amazon offers its e-commerce platform for businesses that want to run their own stores on its platform and give them the opportunity of the Amazon marketplace. This service is offered against a fixed monthly fee for use, and other fees for transactions.

In this case, the manufacturer or distributor will sell its own products directly to consumers on the Amazon marketplace using the Seller Central account.

As a seller on the market, a subscriber will be able to manage the execution and logistics of his seller account according to (2) different options:

  • Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM): The seller can manage shipping, customer service and returns for each individual order. A ” Fulfillment by Merchant” order will be shipped from the merchant’s warehouse. The seller may also use the drop-shipping method subject to compliance with the Amazon Drop Shipping Policy.
  • Fulfilled by Amazon program. (FBA): Sellers will be able to allow Amazon to manage the fulfillment of their orders, via inventory sent to Amazon warehouses. Obviously, the seller has to list its products on Amazon as part of the FBA program, and Amazon will have additional charges for the use of its fulfillment resources.

Amazon data integration

Integration with Amazon, is the process of implementing one or more feeds to extract relevant data from the company’s system and send it to its Amazon account/store (i.e. product and pricing information, inventory data …). At the same time, extract order, customer and payment information from the Amazon account/store and send it to a company’s internal software system.

Automating data integration with Amazon

As described above, integration with Amazon is very important and crucial to a successful e-commerce business. The integration process doesn’t happen just once. It’s a continuous process of keeping the “synchronization” as close to “real time” as possible.

To be able to maintain a permanent, seamless integration between a company’s Amazon account and its internal software system, companies have no choice but to adopt “automated integration”.

Benefits of integration with Amazon

Here are the 5 main advantages of integrating with Amazon, which will also be detailed in another article in the future:

  1. Ability to deliver your products quickly to your customers in a highly competitive market
  2. Avoid chargebacks, credits and penalties related to poor or non-existent inventory and stock status on your Amazon account
  3. Avoid unnecessary non-productive human errors when manually handling orders received from your Amazon account
  4. Gain visibility and credibility for your Amazon account and products.
  5. Comply with Amazon’s terms and conditions for product delivery.

Amazon options for efficient integration?

Amazon offers (2) integration methods depending on the type of account configured for your company:

  1. EDI (X12) integration (in North America) for Vendor Central account customers
  2. Amazon Marketplace Web Service (Amazon MWS) for Seller Central account customers

Messages to exchange with Amazon

Whether you use EDI X12 or Amazon MWS to exchange messages, the following documents are mandatory for successful integration:

Amazon works with various suppliers and types of EDI software:

EDI X12 documents

  1. EDI 846 – Inventory status
  2. EDI 810 – Invoice
  3. EDI 850 – Purchase order message (Customer triggered)
  4. EDI 855 – Order acknowledgement
  5. EDI 856 – ASN (advance shipping notice)
  6. EDI 860 – Order change notification

Amazon MWS messages

  • Products
  • Controls
  • Acknowledgement of order
  • Order payment

Why integration with Amazon is crucial

Integration with Amazon is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Huge customer base: Amazon is the world’s largest e-commerce platform, with millions of active customers. By integrating your company or product with Amazon’s platform, you can access this vast customer base and considerably increase your visibility and sales chances.
  2. Logistics infrastructure: Amazon has a well-established logistics infrastructure and network of warehouses around the world. By integrating your business with Amazon, you can benefit from this infrastructure for storing, packing and shipping your products. This saves you time and resources by outsourcing these activities to Amazon.
  3. Consumer confidence: Amazon is known for its high-quality customer service and solid purchase guarantees. By being integrated with Amazon, you benefit from the reputation and trust associated with the Amazon brand, which can reassure consumers and encourage them to buy your products.Namtek-Consulting
  4. Marketing and promotional tools: Amazon offers various marketing and promotional tools for sellers integrated into its platform. You can take advantage of targeted advertising, personalized recommendations, loyalty programs, and other marketing strategies to reach a wider audience and increase your sales.
  5. Process simplification: Integrating your business with Amazon enables you to simplify certain business processes. For example, you can use Amazon’s features to manage orders, stock tracking, payments, and returns. This allows you to concentrate your efforts on other aspects of your business, such as product development or range expansion.

Amazon integration for your business

Don’t miss out on the huge opportunity for your company to sell on Amazon. We provide integration and automation for Amazon Seller Central users as well as EDI integration for Vendor Central users. Contact us today for more information, to request a quote, or schedule a demonstration.


Integration platform for business efficiency

Information technology is developing rapidly. Many experts call IT the fastest-growing sphere of human activity. Systems and applications integration plays an important role in the IT space, and has a significant impact on company performance as well as on all industrial and commercial sectors. That’s why we’ve seen a surge in corporate interest when it comes to integration…

What is “systems integration”?

According to Wikipedia: system integration is defined in engineering as the process of bringing together subsystem components within a single system (an aggregation of cooperating subsystems so that the system can provide overall functionality).

But it would be a mistake to think of “systems integration” as simply the assembly of hardware and software tools; the essence of the concept is much broader than that.

“Systems integration” is an activity aimed at improving a company’s efficiency, decision-making and information quality through an automated process, where “heterogeneous” systems can communicate and integrate with each other in real time.

Most companies in today’s business environment run many “heterogeneous” systems and software, yet there is no established communication between them. This type of environment creates a lot of inefficiencies and poor quality information, which in most cases leads to reduced profits and delays in management decisions.

Automated system integration acts as a bridge where data flows between heterogeneous systems, software applications and databases in multiple directions, based on predefined business rules, as if the systems were totally “homogeneous”.

Why do companies need “systems integration”?

Increasingly, companies are arming themselves with software and hardware to solve specific business needs. All this while adding new modules and “stand-alone” systems to their IT management system. Most of the time, these solutions don’t communicate natively with each other.

While the adoption of a specific software application (cloud or on-premise) may meet a company’s business requirements and solve a business problem, it will create a series of new challenges in its own right:

  • Redundant data entry; most of the data already exists in another system.
  • Need to hire more staff to manage more systems
  • Open the door to more human error when managing new systems.

The above challenges are relevant to companies of all sizes, whether small, medium or large.

How to solve integration problems?

To solve the integration problems identified in the previous point, companies should not hesitate to adopt integration projects to synchronize and orchestrate IT software, databases, processes and equipment.

To achieve this, companies will need to adopt an “integration platform” capable of exhibiting the following properties:

  • Easy to use (drag and drop)
  • No coding required
  • Quick to learn, develop and deploy
  • Easy debugging and simple error handling
  • Several options for triggering and launching processes and flows
  • Able to connect to most of the databases commonly used in today’s market
  • Able to connect to brand-name software systems (e.g. SAP, Salesforce, Oracle, SugarCRM …) with connectors certified by the manufacturer.
  • Generic API-based connectors for IoT projects
  • Extensible to go beyond “out-of-the-box” where you can build your own connectors for specific solutions.

Benefits of systems integration

The benefits of implementing a robust API-based integration that can connect to a wide range of enterprise ecosystems are invaluable. Here are the 5 advantages:

  • Real-time data synchronization

Having a robust integration platform responsible for orchestrating and synchronizing data and processes, eliminates delays in data publication. Data is synchronized between different systems in real time, without the need for human intervention.

  • Faster data processing

With an automated integration platform, which is able to synchronize data and trigger flows and processes efficiently based on rules and conditions, data processing also becomes real-time, eliminating the need for data extraction, transformation and loading (ETL). No need for a separate ETL tool.

  • Improved employee productivity

Data synchronization and orchestration obviously eliminate a lot of time and effort for employees to manage and enter/extract data from one system to another. Employees can focus on business-related problems business-related issues, where they can generate more revenue, rather than entering and manipulating data in “heterogeneous” systems.

  • Faster decision-making

Having a robust integration platform, with all the benefits identified above, business leaders will be able to make quick decisions and avoid the time-consuming process of extracting data from different systems and merging the sets to obtain a unified data sheet.

  • Increased profitability

Taken together, the above benefits will significantly increase the profitability of any company with heterogeneous IT systems and applications.

magic-xpi-scheme-iotWhat are the signs that a company needs an integration platform?

Here are the main signs in any company that an integration platform is needed to improve business processes.

  • Your company has several stand-alone software systems, with no direct links between them.
  • Your company has a combination of on-premise and cloud-based software solutions that are not connected.
  • Employees spend a lot of time on their daily work, feeding several systems
  • Your company has an e-commerce site managed separately from the internal ERP system
  • The company’s IT department is unable to provide reports and analyses on time.
  • Unable to meet your customers’ business requirements, deliver within 48 hours
  • There are major data mismatches between systems and solutions, due to redundancy.
  • Many employees work on report writing and data entry work
  • No visibility of company equipment data and performance (production machines, cameras, field service data, etc.).

Are you looking for an integration platform solution for your company?

For over 18 years, our company has been an official partner of Magic Software Enterprises, a global provider of software solutions, supplying Magic xpi, an integration platform based on a fully reliable SOA, and API-driven for all necessary connections.

The Magic xpi business integration platform provides enterprise-level integration, business process automation and data synchronization, with complete security and proven reliability.

Implementing a wide range of certified and optimized connectors and adapters, Magic xpi integrates leading ERP, CRM, financial and other enterprise systems, such as SAP, Oracle, Salesforce, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and many more.

Are you looking for integration solutions? Contact us today

What is System Integration?

business-process-integrationSystem integration is the process of bringing multiple systems or applications into one, allowing them to work together. The goal is so that every system that is being used at the company, be it your CRM, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Warehouse Management, B2C eStore, EDI, etc., will be using a single database. This reduces the need to constantly update different systems and resort to many hours of manual data entry. In today’s fast-paced business environment, it’s crucial that companies have management applications that can speak with one another and share information between them. This results in better visibility and accessibility of information, faster decision-making, reduced redundancies, increased efficiency and more.

Most of the time however we don’t just leave it at “system” integration but expand it to be “business process” integration. We encourage businesses to not only synchronize their internal applications but to streamline entire processes between their departments or business functions as well as connect to their external partners, suppliers and customers.

Integration Services

It’s no wonder that Integration Services have been on the rise over the last few years. As we see more importance being placed on technology in the workplace, business managers are taking notice of the negative impact associated to the use of multiple disconnected management systems. Today businesses are looking to have one clean data set and a complete ERP management system with an integrated eCommerce Store, WMS system, EDI module, Business Intelligence dashboards and more. The effects of such a powerful integrated management solution can bring endless potential to a company and allow employees to constantly have access to real-time business information. Tech-savvy business owners are quickly realizing how to apply technological advancements in order to play them to their advantage.

System and business process integration

System and business process integration has been valuable in eliminating redundancies and making information that much more accessible to decision-makers. Nobody likes to waste time and money on inputting data into multiple systems or continuously updating and searching for information in Excel spreadsheets. On top of it all, with disconnected systems or several separate databases, companies sometimes struggle with poor customer service. More often than not, customer accounts are found to be incomplete, out of sync and/or inaccurate. By integrating systems and processes, your customer service team will have accurate, complete, real-time information right at their fingertips. As I mentioned before, it’s all about providing employees and key decision-makers with access to information.

Unfortunately, not all systems were made to be easily integrated with others (this is a capability our consultants urge business owners to tick off when looking to implement a new ERP solution). The older, inflexible legacy systems were made with limitations to integration possibilities. IT companies, back then, did their best to keep their customers coming back to buy their products rather than make it easy for them to switch to another ERP vendor or to integrate with other software solutions. Essentially, companies felt like prisoners to the technologies they were using.

Today, IT Providers are trying to dissociate themselves from this old way and develop solutions that are much more flexible, simple and easy to work with or integrate with. Companies should no longer feel restricted by the business technologies they are using but rather they should feel empowered by them. System integration is a must for any company looking to streamline their processes and increase visibility and efficiency.

To learn more about how our Integration Experts can help your business, contact us today for a free 1-hour consultation.


This post was updated to reflect current trends and information.

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