Data integration among software tools is a growing requirement. For Ecommerce platforms, streamlining that integration may soon become essential.
Commerce technology is changing, whether it’s headless CMS, NoSQL databases, Omnichannel commerce, edge computing, or big data, the ability to move information from one system or platform to another is an essential feature mid-sized and enterprise businesses should seek in software providers.
This might apply to companies that are brick-and-click retailers / multichannel more than most. That’s because these businesses need to sell products online, from a physical location, or through an outside sales team. That means all these businesses and their customers need access to product information, inventory levels, price updates, order history, account information, and more.
Offline, it gets complicated. If a potential customer is on a train and wants to keep shopping or complete a transaction, they need to be able to that even if they go underground or they lose their data connection.
Software solutions like Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, NetSuite, Salesforce and Magento are popular ecommerce platforms/whole-business software suites because they combine so many software tools. They help businesses that only sell online or in physical store; however, struggle against the changing technology stacks. They can also take a long time to implement, leaving a gap for emerging tools to speed up the process.
Below, we review some options.
Couchbase is a NoSQL database provider. It specialises in edge computing, working with the idea of storing information closer to its users. It’s lightweight and simple to use.
Stores can place a Couchbase server on each register, meaning the full catalog of products is available locally. Transactions will also be stored locally, then passed up to a store-specific Couchbase instance in real-time, which in turn updates the company’s cloud databases every few minutes. In other words, moving the full catalog takes a few milliseconds. Not only that, if a register loses access to the internet for whatever reason, it will continue operating as usual and share its transaction information once it reconnects.
Couchbase will also be used for mobile applications, which a company’s sales team can use in the field. They’ll be able to access the company’s full catalog and process transactions off or online in real time.
For product information management, a company can use a custom PIM using MongoDB, another NoSQL database. MongoDB is great for storing product information, especially when compared to a relational database such as MySQL, which struggles with large product catalogs. MongoDB is a NoSQL document database that doesn’t require every product to have access to every column, instead only storing the fields each product actually needs.
MongoDB stores information in BSON — binary JSON. It’s a familiar format for developers as it’s easy to use. It also makes sharing information stored in MongoDB a straightforward process, especially when using GraphQL – an open-source query and manipulation language for application programming interfaces.
GraphQL is a good example of technology that makes moving data between systems relatively straightforward. For example, Shopify powers around 800,000 online stores and runs a GraphQL API. As previously discussed, moving information from a MongoDB-based PIM to GraphQL is simple. For a private app, one that is built for a single Shopify store, authentication is handled with an HTTP header, and each business has their own access that enables them to add or update products, retrieve order or customer information, and even update pages or blog posts.
Taking the above example, the same GraphQL API can be used to connect a headless content management system to Shopify. A business that is using ButterCMS or Contently to create its marketing copy and long-form content could use either of these headless CMS solutions and integrate them with Shopify via GraphQL in 24 hours or less.
And it’s not just to headless CMS this applies to. Other kinds of software can do this too. Several Ecommerce platforms and point-of-sale systems have tax modules with varying levels of fraud detection, and even built-in search. Yet these platforms might not have the best tax solutions, fraud prevention, or search for a given business, which is why large platforms allow extensions and integrations. Yet, no matter how big the system or Ecommerce platform may be, it could still not have an existing integration for every tool a business wants.
For example, an Ecommerce company might have integrations for:
- Sales taxes
- Fraud detection
- Site search
- Order management
- Customer service
All of the above examples need the ability to move data. How easily this is done is an essential requirement for fast and modern integration. Some businesses may find connecting otherwise unrelated software, services, and technologies gives them a competitive advantage – the ability to move data at its core. So, when businesses consider a software platform, access to its database or API may be even more important than the platform itself.