E-commerce integrations – challenges and solutions

E-commerce offers a great deal of benefits for businesses – for online shops, and marketplaces, as well as for platforms that combine different sales channels. These three elements are strongly connected, which is why the development of one of them affects all the others. This implies several challenges for the people responsible for e-commerce integration. In this article, we will discuss the most important ones and provide tips on how to deal with them.

The key role of integration updates

Integrators play a huge role in e-commerce. They are responsible, among other things, for the functioning of payment systems, listing offers on marketplaces, management of orders and inventory levels, as well as smooth cooperation with wholesalers and carriers. They enable shops to scale up sales and efficiently handle current orders.

There is great responsibility entrusted to the integration platforms. They must meet the requirements of many marketplaces that are developing and growing at a dizzying pace. And above all, they must not disrupt the operation of online shops or expose retailers to unexpected costs. Regular updates are therefore a must. Below we describe how you can improve this process on your platform.

Variety of platforms

Currently, there are a vast number of e-commerce platforms on the market. Amazon ranks first with a 37.6% share of global online sales. AliExpress and eBay also attract the highest numbers of users. Alongside global players, local marketplaces operating in selected countries continue to thrive. They all have a different API and their way of connecting systems. Consequently, when adding new integrations, it is necessary to read the entire specification carefully, although unforeseen difficulties usually arise during implementation.

For example, integrating with eBay requires parameters and configurations different from those of Amazon. Platforms also differ in terms of infrastructure or data storage and use a variety of authentication methods.

Such diversity makes integration configuration cumbersome at times. Therefore, it is worth using tools that standardise the integration interface for different platforms and keep track of changes in the API to implement updates quickly.

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Continuous changes in the API of the platforms

Another challenge in managing e-commerce integrations is that they are constantly evolving. Marketplaces are continually changing, and these changes need to be tracked and quickly addressed. The increasing number of integrations does not make the task any easier, but such ongoing updates are vital for the proper functioning of online shops.

In 2023, eBay introduced a new API for order management. Some payment and offer promotion features have changed. Amazon is also constantly updating its API, adding new features and removing old ones.

Changing settings require regular API updates. If you are managing multiple integrations, it can be challenging to keep track of everything. It is good practice to follow the changes before they are implemented. It is worth following the official marketplace channels, e.g. blogs or newsletters, to keep up to date with planned updates. Here, for example:

Testing new updates in the API can also be a challenging task. Not every functionality can be tested on test environments due to its complexity or lack of sufficient Sandbox environment provided by a marketplace.

The key role of integration

In an online shop, every element should work flawlessly, but when it comes to critical integrations, you cannot afford to make mistakes. It is primarily about transmitting information about orders, payments or shipments. If the system is not working for even a moment, it will not send the information about order processing and shipping to the marketplace or import the order into the store.

Some platforms, such as eBay, impose penalties on sellers if they do not transfer order details. This means that the integration has to work perfectly to protect sellers from losses. On the other hand, not having an order in the shop means it will not be delivered on time. Integrations also play an important role when accepting payments – a failure of such a system can cause errors in order billing.

To avoid such situations, it is essential to carefully test integrations before they are fully implemented. Do this also when platforms introduce new features in the API. Additionally, prepare a contingency plan for emergencies to quickly restore the proper functioning of the integration.

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The complex functioning of integrations

Sometimes, e-commerce integrations are simple, but they can also be very complex. Maintaining such integrations becomes difficult when a large number of new features are added. A simple integration could involve fetching orders from the marketplace, whereas more sophisticated ones may include automatic listing, inventory management, price synchronisation, or listing with different prices for different buyers. Usually, the configuration must be tailored individually for a given shop.

Before choosing an integration, it is worth considering what business objectives it must meet and what needs of online shops it should address. It is worth opting for platforms that are scalable and can be expanded in the future.

For extensive applications, some functions may not be necessary. Others may turn out to be difficult to implement. Therefore, it is worth using integrators to facilitate implementation in such cases. Extensive integration documentation and regular updates on API changes will also be a great advantage.

Face the challenges in e-commerce

The growth of the e-commerce market and the continuous digitalisation of business result in the emergence of more and more applications and marketplace platforms each year. Both sectors – e-commerce retail and SaaS – are growing every year, offering promising prospects for companies involved in the development of integrations. However, on the other hand, the functionalities of these platforms are constantly changing, so maintaining all systems becomes more and more challenging over time. Therefore, if you want to ensure that your e-commerce integrations are up to date, stay in touch with our Happy Team.

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