The internet has revolutionized the way that businesses operate. It is no longer necessary to maintain a physical storefront in order for a business to be successful. eCommerce has exploded in recent years, making it an incredibly profitable time to start an online business or transition your business to a digital model. However, this also means that there is a great deal of competition in the eCommerce industry. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of online stores for customers to purchase from, which can make it difficult to be successful. Fortunately, there are a few ways to find equal footing with the competition. Effective eCommerce data integration can boost your online business’s performance by making it run more efficiently. Here is everything you need to know about eCommerce data integration as well as some software applications to consider for data integration.
What is eCommerce Data Integration and Why is it Important for Online Businesses?
Data integration is the process of accumulating data from multiple sources and holding it in a centralized space where it can be more easily accessed. This is especially important for eCommerce businesses where the data that needs to be collected is likely to come from a variety of places at differing times. This information includes product descriptions, how much of a certain product is in stock, customer location, and customer demographics.
In a nutshell, eCommerce data integration is the ever-changing relationship between front-end components of a business, such as a website, and back-end systems such as customer relationship management. Front-end and back-end components of a business must coordinate in order to ensure that information is constantly available, easy to access, and understandable. The best way to explain the necessity of eCommerce data integration is through an example. Let’s imagine an online storefront that specializes in selling shoes. Whenever a pair of shoes is sold data is collected on both the product and the customer. Shoe size, shoe color, and shoe type are all collected as well as customer location, customer spending habits, and even on-screen behavior. The shoe store can gather a great deal of information from this data. For instance, they might be able to determine what demographic of customers tends to purchase what kind of shoe.
Benefits of eCommerce Data Integration
Manual Data Entry Becomes Irrelevant
eCommerce data integration can almost entirely eliminate the need for manual data entry, which can be slow, and difficult. Additionally, data integration compiles all of the data that is automatically collected in one centralized source. This makes it easier to access and use to determine trends for your online store. Manual data entry also makes it more difficult to make routine updates to shopping platforms because data integration must be built from the ground up.
Time Can be Spent More Optimally
Automating your business’s data integration model also opens up your time to focus on other areas of the business. Your time can be more effectively spent in areas of the business that require a human touch such as customer relations management or employee relations. Automated data integration is also incredibly fast. For example, shipping APIs can collect data from a number of sources and determine the best shipping routes for multiple products much faster than any person ever could.
Customer Experience is Enhanced
A customer’s experience engaging with your online business is one of the most impactful aspects of the online shopping experience. As previously mentioned, there is a great deal of competition in the eCommerce industry and if your website is slow or difficult to navigate, then customers will likely take their business elsewhere. eCommerce data integration can enhance the customer’s experience by providing the business information on how customers tend to interact with a website, and how to improve it for them.
Data Integrity is Assured
Data collected through eCommerce data integration is also generally much more accurate than data that is collected manually. This is because artificial intelligence is incredibly consistent in executing repetitive operations compared to people. eCommerce data integration can eliminate human errors that can hold a business back.
eCommerce Data Integration Softwares to Consider
Segment is the most common customer data platform and for good reason. It is easy to use, quick to implement and comes with technical support options. Segment enables companies to collect, unify and route their customer data into any system where it is needed. This makes it easy to understand customer demographics and purchasing trends. Segment’s entry-level price is $120 per month.
Webgility prides itself on flexibility compared to other data integration software applications. With Webgility data is automatically synchronized securely across all of a business’s sales channels, meaning your books are always up to date. Another major benefit of Webgility is the relatively low price compared to its competitors, coming in at only $39 per month.