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Adding E-commerce Orders to your WMS

More and more companies are asking their 3PL service provider to accept e-commerce orders. Before you can fulfill those orders, you have to figure how you’re going to get them into your warehouse management system.

This could easily become the “EDI nightmare” all over again. There are dozens of shopping cart programs available in the marketplace and your customers could be using any number of them. Many of the major retailers have their own shopping cart software too. That means you have to spend more on IT resources to support each shopping cart program.

Fortunately we have a solution. When you outsource your EDI processing to Integral Group you get full support for all shopping cart programs at no extra cost. We view a shopping cart connection just like an EDI connection. We connect to the shopping cart, collect orders, map them into your WMS and off you go. All shopping cart activity is included in your flat monthly fee with no setup fees, mapping fees and transaction fees whatsoever.

See the connections page for more information.

When E-commerce used to mean EDI

EDI became a “hot” technology in the mid-1980’s and it’s still widely in use today. It’s considered “old” technology by some but you can’t do business in many industries without EDI. The retail industry has been the driving force behind EDI but it’s also prominent in logistics, healthcare, manufacturing and numerous other industries.

As the Internet became commonplace in the early 1990’s, EDI was no longer the only method of electronic communications. The term e-commerce was coined to incorporate EDI plus any other electronic methods of doing business that came along. This included proprietary order entry systems plus the simple transfer of files electronically between two companies. Internet shopping cart software was still in its infancy and not considered an e-commerce technology just yet.

It wasn’t until the mid- to late-1990’s that online shopping started to attract interest. Marketplaces like Amazon launched in 1994 and eBay in 1995, each having their own shopping cart. Traditional “bricks and mortar” retailers were still trying to figure out their online selling strategies. For most small retailers and entrepreneurs, online shopping wasn’t even an option.

Today, online shopping is prominent and continues to grow year after year. In addition to Amazon and eBay there is Rakuten, Alibaba and hundreds of specialty marketplaces. Traditional retailers now have an online presence and new retailers have sprung up who only sell online. Small retailers and entrepreneurs now have the ability to sell online and expand their reach beyond their local outlets.

As a result of this surge in online selling, shopping carts have displaced EDI the primary definition of e-commerce. EDI is still the dominant technology in B2B exchanges but shopping carts are the dominant technology in B2C exchanges.

In the end it’s just semantics. E-commerce is about doing business electronically using whichever method is most appropriate.

Making EDI Profitable for 3PLs

3PL Americas Magazine from IWLA published an article I wrote for the summer 2016 issue titled “Making EDI Profitable for 3PLs”. The article explains the origins of EDI pricing and how the Internet has opened the door to subscription based pricing for EDI.

In the article you will see that the formula for making EDI profitable for 3PLs is quite simple. However, for it to work, you will need an EDI service that charges you a flat monthly fee regardless of the number of trading partners or transactions each month. That means no variable fees whatsoever.

Integral Group is the only service provider in the Canada and the United States that openly offers EDI for a flat monthly fee with no trading partner setup fees, no mapping fees, no VAN fees and no transaction fees. We’re taking the lead in the industry and you can take advantage of even lower EDI costs.

See the full article on page 34 in 3PL Americas.

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