Types of B2B eCommerce Integration


B2B eCommerce Integration is one of the most important topics for Engineering directors overseeing purchasing at Hardware-centric startups. It is the reason why companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and others are so successful. Each company has its own way of doing things, but they all have one goal: to help customers buy more easily, faster and cheaper. 

If you want your customers to buy from you, then the B2B E-Commerce integration provides you with an opportunity to do that. The first step towards achieving this goal is to identify your target audience, analyze their needs and develop a strategy that will help you fulfill them.  

In this article, we will discuss the different types of b2b eCommerce integration techniques that can be used at hardware-centric startups: Manual (CSV file upload), Real-time API, and Scheduled (SFTP or API).

Real-time API

This is the most common type of integration that happens between two companies. It is used to fetch data as soon as it is available on the vendor’s website. Real-time API is a great fit for companies that have a large number of vendors because they can get their products and details more quickly than with other integration methods. 

Generally, it is a direct connection from your website to a b2b e-commerce platform that allows users to carry out a b2b transaction without leaving the site. The process involves an internet-enabled device (phone or tablet) connecting to your web application using a browser.

The application then passes all product data, including variants and quantities, directly to the platform. When orders are placed, they remain in queue until fulfilled. Real-time APIs are ideal for quick analysis of data from multiple sources. 

This type of b2b e-commerce platform integration can be used for things like Self-service ordering for the buyer (e.g. order online, pick up in-store), automatic inventory management (e.g. reorder based on b2b buyers orders), and order fulfillment (e.g., automatically ship b2b buyers orders). 

Real-time API allows for faster data transfer and more accurate information processing by using a single source for data analysis and reporting (back office). It allows for greater flexibility in terms of pricing and product selection as well as improved buyer experience through automated order fulfillment, order tracking, and tracking analytics. 

Being the most advanced method, it is an excellent way to create powerful cross-sell campaigns between your website and other sites, as well as track conversions at different stages during the checkout process across multiple websites with one single click!

Scheduled (SFTP or API)

This type of integration happens when there is no real-time data available for certain items or categories, which may be due to an event, such as holidays or seasonal sales. Companies can use this method if they need to see what items are on sale at certain times, or if they want to see what products will be available before making a b2b transaction. 

With this method, your company connects directly with an external eCommerce provider via secure FTP or SFTP protocol. You must upload products online and manage them through their system while they are stored on their servers. They manage fulfillment and shipment details so you don't have to worry about it at all.

This method is a great way to upload files in bulk from your website. The advantage of this approach is that your customers don’t need to wait for the files to be uploaded, and you don’t have to manage the process manually. It also provides a high degree of security since all your customers are uploading their own data to your store.

Manual (CSV file upload)

This type of integration allows vendors to upload their products into a b2b commerce platform manually, instead of having them automatically downloaded from their websites like real-time APIs and scheduled integrations do. 

If you already have an existing relationship with your suppliers and they’re willing to accept manual b2b orders, then CSV file upload is an ideal route for your b2b eCommerce integration needs. 

This method does not require any special coding skills; instead, it just requires that you manually enter information about each order into a spreadsheet format and then send it off. This form of digital commerce integration is the one that you mostly see in startups. 

Even though the method is simple, it can be quite time-consuming.  Furthermore, this type of integration is ideal if you want certain files to be uploaded on a schedule or when certain actions occur within your b2b commerce system.

For example, if you want customers to be able to order a product after they make a purchase, but only after they add it to their cart, then this might be the best option for you!

Key Takeaways

The integration methods are based on three concepts; scheduled, manual and real-time, each with its own benefits. While these types of eCommerce integrations are similar, there are several key differences.

Scheduled integrations allow businesses to automate these processes as it can be scheduled to run at specified times, or triggered by a manual entry and uploaded as a CSV, while manual data entry is preferred by some businesses, who have regular buyers who receive regular emails with orders. Real-time API integration allows customers to place an order at any time and have the available inventory data updated immediately in the background.

In summary, digital commerce platforms are good for products with large (and often changing) price points, such as hardware. They're also great when it comes to managing b2 borders and purchase history, especially if your team is scattered across the world. They're not ideal for small orders that don't require a lot of overhead behind them, nor for social media and branding needs.

This new age has made it easier for companies to focus on what they do best instead of worrying about how they want to make money. Now, both big and small companies can benefit from leveraging these technologies by making sure their online sales channels are as efficient as possible.

Table of Contents