Understanding E-commerce IntegrationDictionary.com defines “integrated” in the following way:

  1. Combining or coordinating separate elements to as to provide a harmonious interrelated whole: an integrated plot; an integrated course of study.
  2. Organized or structured so that constituent units function cooperatively: an integrated economy.

While there are other meanings associated with the word “integrated” the above two do the best job defining how integration plays a critical role in ecommerce success. The main data source for most B2B ecommerce initiatives is the ERP system, however, there may be infinite other stand-alone systems that need to be integrated in order to achieve efficiency and improve throughput.

Ecommerce Integration is Critical

In short, ecommerce integration connects disparate systems such as an ecommerce platform, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, content management system (CMS), a shipping platform, and other systems that store your organization’s product, category, and marketing data as well as systems that manage images and other rich content. Integration may also connect an organization’s internal business systems as listed above to third party plug-in application providers such as those for product reviews, payment gateways, and social media. The more activity between an ecommerce site and the organization’s ERP system, the more valuable integration will be to the B2B organization as well as to its customer.

Integration closes the loop between stand-alone systems via automation and removes the opportunity for individual interpretation of how data should be shared between systems—or if data should be shared at all.  Through scheduled data refreshes—nightly refresh, real-time calls, or some other predetermined refresh schedule—an organization’s data is synched so that each system reflects the same business critical information.