Visibility throughout the entire supply chain is a process that every company aims to achieve. Effective integrations between supply chain systems and e-commerce platforms allows complete visibility to stock levels, tracking information, order notifications, and all other crucial data that exist in warehousing and fulfilment operations. Knowing exactly where a product is within the warehouse will increase your speed to market and efficiency in inventory replenishment. Integrating existing warehouse management system (WMS) and the e-commerce platform provides supply chain managers with a seamless flow of data between both systems, eliminating disruptions caused by inventory variations and logistical operations.
This visibility to supply chain and e-commerce data can also be passed through to mobile devices and other connected technologies. By doing this, companies are provided even greater access to important business data to help understand any gaps and inefficiencies within the fulfillment processes. For example, once a product gets shipped, the shipper can update the tracking code which will become visible to the warehouse manager, the business owner and the consumer. This not only creates a better customer experience, it also ensures the supply chain team that the product has been delivered to the correct destination on time.
How platforms like Shopify are changing the game for supply chain integrations
Over the past few years, a number of tools have been developed to streamline the entire ecommerce process from payments to order fulfillment. As these tools add more features, it makes even more sense for larger businesses to integrate with these platforms. Even website build platforms like Wix and Foursquare have developed their own form of e-commerce solution. However, one platform seems to be staying ahead of the competition.
Once a small business solution, Shopify has now proven itself as a major enterprise e-commerce player, and large businesses have been quick to realize the benefits it has to offer, with features such as order processing & fulfilment tools, payment system integration, support for multiple Country sites (i.e. .com and .ca), as well as performance reporting and insights. The key tools that are changing the way that Shopify integrates with 3PL’s include, inventory management, inventory tracking, and purchase order tracking.
As ecommerce platforms give sellers more complete solutions for their ecommerce operations, 3PL services need to ensure they have the capabilities to integrate with each new software development. Everything from tracking when an order comes in to sending a tracking code to the consumer should be seamless. If everything is seamlessly integrated properly, 3PL companies can use analytics to track trends in peak fulfillment times, revenue of orders shipped by day and sales by channel to make informed supply chain decisions based on historical data. Companies eliminate the possibility of human error, for instance, if an order is placed and gets sent automatically to the 3PL instead of an employee manually sending the order, there is no risk of duplication or incorrect information and your orders will get processed by your supply chain provider faster. This creates a process which will reduce returns, exchanges, expedited shipping and replacements.
Advances in technology enhancing overall experience
Recent enhancements to ecommerce interconnectivity include integration with social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and Buzzfeed, tracking conversions through enhanced analytics and monitoring all interactions on one platform. These features allow curated shopping experiences, enabling visitors to convert and complete their purchase directly on those apps and networks, reducing friction in the customer journey and seamlessly flowing orders into the system. Virtually unlimited APIs and plug-ins allow for simplified connections to internal and external data sources, while built-in tools are available to enhance almost any aspect of the customer shopping experience, as well as back-end systems. These tools include: enhanced return label functionality, returns tracking and automatic tracking code updates.
As the flow of orders speeds up, supply chain and 3PL logistics providers are forced to find efficiencies in their processes to keep up with the increased demands. With the right integration, processes including order picking, returns and shipment visibility can be optimized to keep up with customer demands and expectations.
Getting ecommerce Implementations right the first time
As the purpose of these advanced features is to improve the customer experience and streamline the e-commerce process, it’s expected that your supply chain partner will be on top of the most current trends. SCI’s approach to integrations includes leveraging our internal talent to build flexible applications that work with any e-commerce platform, such as Shopify, NetSuite, Oracle, and others.
SCI’s proven track record of success with e-commerce integrations have created a wide variety of communication protocols that are used throughout a business’ internal and external systems. All integrations developed and implemented by SCI are mapped to the individual requirements of each business and the systems they work with. Linking systems between customers, suppliers, and other business partners requires extensive expertise and a clear understanding of corporate information security standards. SCI always makes security and data protection an essential element of any integration implementation.
Staying one step ahead
Leading the way in e-commerce requires an emphasis on continuous improvement, which translates to not only being on the forefront of integration technologies, but actually having experience working with them. SCI is constantly working with the most current technologies, functionalities and features to improve their overall business. We keep a constant eye on the latest trends and ensure our employees are trained on the newest technologies.
Enterprise and larger e-commerce retailers need partners like SCI to ensure their system integrations are implemented correctly and securely, to maximize their effectiveness.
Contact SCI today to learn how a custom systems integration can benefit your business.