Implementing shopping cart integration sends shopper purchase data from an e-retailer directly to the fulfillment center in real time. This method of communication allows for expedient, accurate and trackable order fulfillment.
Order tracking involves two objectives. The first is customer satisfaction and the second is inventory control. The communication between the shopping cart and the fulfillment warehouse computers happens via an application programming interface, commonly referred to as an API.
Online retailers who use fulfillment centers to fill their customer orders should consider shopping cart integration a part of the shopping cart function.
The Set Up
When setting up the API, the retailer may choose to hire information technology experts to install and maintain the program. However, this is expensive and complicated and may lead to mistakes or system failure. Retailers should consider partnering with companies that offer shopping cart integration services, either independently or as part of the fulfillment service package.
Additionally, some shopping cart platforms are better suited to integration, according to the article Shopping Cart Integration: Which Ones to Integrate With and Why? from an industry insider. Therefore retailers should carefully consider which shopping cart provider to choose before integration.
The shopping cart program must be compatible, even if the retailer contracts with a fulfillment center that offers integration,
The importance of integration is two-fold, as it ensures customer satisfaction and inventory control.
First, when a buyer places an order with an e-retailer that uses shopping cart integration, the order is traced according to which items the fulfillment center puts in the box and each location the shipping company registers the box through delivery. Ideally, that information is available in real time to the seller and buyer via the Internet.
Second, using stock keeping unit (SKU) codes, bar codes and other identifiers the fulfillment warehouse can update the seller’s inventory information as it changes. For the inventory control portion to be optimal, the retailer should work carefully with the fulfillment center to develop SKU and bar codes as well as detailed item descriptions.
Correctly implemented, shopping cart integration is a valuable tool to keep e-commerce operations running smoothly.
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