Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Why app integration is the way to grow

“There’s an app for that.” We would argue that this phrase may express a condition that is simultaneously essential and detrimental to e-commerce business as it exists today. Of course your business needs applications for CRM, email marketing, accounting, order and inventory management, and shipping. What a luxury that there are specialized software products out there to help you execute each of these complex tasks. And how convenient that most applications are affordable and easy to implement, so it’s easier than ever to work remotely and sync the data on any device that’s convenient.

At first it’s all butterflies and rainbows. With each app added, a bit of the workload is lifted and you’re able glean some initial insights based on the specific areas each app covers. But as the business grows and becomes more complex — for example, you add another marketplace or store, experiment with dropshipping, or want to sync all sales channels to a master inventory list — you need all of your data to take the plunge and move in together. You need your inventory software to play nice with your shipping carriers so that you don’t have to be the liaison for every blessed conversation. You need to view your sales data from all channels in one dashboard, so you can see and act on positive and negative trends.

Trouble is, data sharing makes specialized apps feel, well, less special. Sure, they’re each happy to have an exclusive relationship with you, but date night with every app in the business was not what they’d bargained for. Before long, you realize they’re all refusing to talk to each other and, what’s worse, it becomes harder for you to get any useful information out of the lot. You ask, “Should I offer free shipping?” Magento replies, “How should I know? I’m still trying to figure out if last month’s promo codes were worth the bother. Go ask QuickBooks.”

Whether you’re an e-commerce business owner, accountant, consultant, web developer, or warehouse manager, you know how important it is for all departments and systems to be on the same page. Fortunately, integrative solutions can have all of your apps working together like one big happy family. With app integration, you’ll save endless hours and bucketloads of money because you won’t have to repeatedly duplicate data. And because you’ll be using one set of data, you’ll have accurate metrics, be able to see across all channels of your business, and finally gain the ability to set some realistic KPIs. Sharing data between systems and even customizing how your apps work together through integration is possible and, dare I say, essential to the success of your company and its ability to scale. With the right solution, you’ll be surprised and how easy it can be to grow your e-commerce business — no group therapy required.

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