"I have these 3 systems, an ERP, and a Shopify Plus shop, but how the bleep will I get them all to communicate with each other?"
You landed on Shopify Plus.
You're picking Ross and his team at Growth Spark.
But now, some confusing, annoying, logistical-nightmarish-type questions are popping up during project scoping. GULP. You snap at the barista about skim milk. But we all know it's not about the dairy, is it Wanda? It's about your ERP.
"I don't know how my accounting system will talk to my online store, Ross! Stop asking me!"
New Shopify Plus entrepreneurs often think they need to build a custom-coded, multi-system pipeline to push and pull data between their systems… themselves. No need.
Spend 4 minutes learning about pre-built system integration choices. Using one of them means you won't have to build it yourself.
Can an app do it?
Shopify offers great and FREE apps on their store for merchants/entrepreneurs to take advantage of. They save you time, and automate some function that brings up your bottom line value. Win, win. A great example is MailChimp. You need to mail your customers. You don't want to press send 18,963 times. Win, win.
There are other third party, low price, "DIY" apps that give you the tools you need to integrate common systems with one another. Like Shopify and Sage 50 integration, for example. You are at the helm doing the actual integration with the tool ready to go, for a small fee.
But as in life… not everything is easy, or $99/month. What about your enterprise ERP to Shopify Plus integration choices?
What is a connector?
To talk about ERP integration is to talk about "connectors". So, what is a connector?:
- It is developed by a third party
- They made it already
- It attaches to a specific business system
- Sage, NetSuite, Shopify, Shopify Plus, SAP, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc…
- It pushes and pulls data from multiple, pre-canned fields
- Data like customer name, SKU, order quantity, cost, discount, email, shipping address, etc…
- It needs to be maintained
- A new version of that business system gets created, for example
Find an integration expert that has pre-built connectors for the business systems YOU ALREADY use.
Here's an example entrepreneur running 4 disparate business systems:
- Shopify Plus
- SAP Business One
- Home Depot (in store EDI)
- Salesforce CRM
They find an integrator that has already built connectors for these.
Then, to get running, they connect the 4 "connectors" to a universal integration platform. (Also built by the smart third party vendor)
The platform pushes & pulls data between the 4 systems, making sure to translate the data in the language that the unique business system speaks:
- Shopify Plus speaks XX0
- SAP Business One speaks X0X
- Home Depot speaks 000
- Salesforce CRM speaks 00XX04
The integration platform translates data coming from all of the selected connectors - in the middle - and pushes it out to the other business systems.
Order data from the online store goes, correctly, into your CRM and into your ERP.
There are a whole bunch of integrators that have pre-built connectors for you, and your ERP.
Commonly, pricing is presented in a range depending on the connectors required, and the data "workflows" that you need. Anything out of the box requires custom work. And usually, set-up is extra.
Projects can take as little as 4 minutes, and as long as a few months, depending on complexity. Resource allocation, how many systems the project crosses, if your systems are all up and running, testing requirements or integrating unique fields can often require extra time, for example.
Let the nerds help you with your ERP integration homework
While other Shopify apps improve Shopify Plus SEO rankings, customer referral targets, and boast fancy graphic designs, system integrators are the ones that are not super sexy, but solve that annoying data order problem you have.
It is the stuff you need, but don't want to talk about.
This is a guest post by the eBridge Connections team. Still kind of confused about connectors and ERPs? Read a 24-mini-page eBook on eCommerce Integration for Dummies. Or reach out to your favorite nerds at eBridge Connections right now.