How do integrations work for ecommerce businesses?
Ecommerce software integrations connect your ecommerce site or marketplace to third-party applications so they can exchange information. The connection enables these apps for ecommerce to add new features and options to your software to improve your business operations.
The benefits of leveraging ecommerce integrations
Running an ecommerce business requires you to wear many hats. Because everything's online, your competitors have access to the same ecommerce solutions that you do. Integrations ease your managerial pressure by streamlining or simplifying different aspects of your business so that you have time to focus on new opportunities for business growth.
Ecommerce integrations are often also more cost-effective and less error-prone than having staff cover the same tasks, especially for monotonous tasks like bookkeeping. They're also valuable for customer communications since they can send out an automated message or response at any time of day.
11 third-party integrations for your online store
Here are the most important types of integrations you should use in your store.
1. Payment integrations
Payment integrations are usually payment gateways — intermediaries between your ecommerce store and the bank authorizing a payment. Customers often expect you to use one because it gives them benefits like:
- Making customers feel safe with their money
- Setting up recurring payments
- Customer support if a payment doesn't go through
When you select a payment integration, look for features like:
- Real-time payment processing
- Support for a variety of payment flows and methods
- Automatic handling of payment processor outages
Here are some of the best payment gateways available:
- PayPal: Charging a processing fee of 3.49% plus a fixed $0.49, PayPal is the most common payment gateway that ecommerce stores use. Small and medium-sized companies enjoy having no startup costs on monthly fees, high-end security to protect customers' financial information and the ability to accept international payments in different currencies.
- Stripe: Customers tend to prefer this newer payment gateway because it doesn't redirect them to another page for payment processing. Its well-maintained API helps you connect with new customers and customize your workflow to improve the customer experience. In return, you pay 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction.
2. Shipping integrations
Shipping integrations help you organize and streamline your shipping workflows, saving you money for shipping and pleasing customers with several features like:
- On-time deliveries
- Order tracking
- Easy returns
When you pick a shipping software, the main factors to consider include:
- Shipping volume: Your shipping integration needs to keep up with the number of shipments you have to send each month
- Features: Advanced features like dropshipping assistance, inventory management and freights shipments may be useful for your business, depending on its scope and goals
Some of the best shipping integrations available include:
- Ordoro: Ordoro is especially helpful for smaller businesses and large dropshippers who want to take advantage of its dropshipping features. It offers a free plan and two tiers of premium options — $59 per month and $499 per month — depending on the features you want. Paid plans also have no shipping limits.
- OrderCup: If you handle between 500 and 12,000 shipments per month, OrderCup offers an easy-to-use interface, multi-carrier shipping options and discounted shipping rates. It offers five tiers, ranging from $25 per month to $180 per month, each tier increasing your monthly shipments and handling more users.
3. Analytics integrations
Ecommerce analytics help you maximize profits, especially for ecommerce businesses, since you can gather data throughout the customer journey. A good analytics integration also relieves a lot of stress and uncertainty when you're making important business decisions.
Some benefits a good analytics integration can bring to your company include:
- Better audience segmentation
- Higher conversion rate
- Better user experience
When you choose an analytics integration, make sure the key performance indicators (KPIs) it includes are relevant and useful to your business.
Some of the best analytics ecommerce integrations include:
- Google Analytics: This powerful free tool identifies weaker areas in your site, like points in your checkout process that cause people to abandon their carts. It also helps you figure out where your traffic comes from and how they convert, along with ways you can optimize your site further.
- Woopra: This tool focuses on reducing cart abandonment rate through factors like how long an average customer takes to buy something and different drop-off points within your sales funnel. You can also review abandonment rates for different situations. Woopra offers a free plan for limited use and pro plans that start at $999 per month.
4. Inventory integrations
Inventory integrations help you manage and track your inventory as it moves around in different storage locations. Insights from these tools can give you a better idea of what customers want from your business.
When you choose an inventory integration, you should look for features like:
- Barcode scanners
- Inventory optimization
- Stock notifications
- Multi-location management
- Material grouping
- Report generation
- Purchase order records
The ability to easily manage large amounts of products and identify key information is also important.
Some of the best inventory integrations include:
- Zoho Inventory: If you're a small business on a tight budget, Zoho's cloud-based inventory management system offers a free plan for up to 50 orders per month and other affordable plans if your business has higher sales volumes. With it, you can create purchase orders, backorders and drop shipments, tracking every inventory item by serial number.
- Fishbowl: This hybrid warehouse and manufacturing inventory management software targets businesses using QuickBooks, adding many features that QuickBooks lacks, like barcode scanning and part tracking. It also includes features like inventory control and automatic reorder points. Their pricing is customizable upon request.
5. Point-of-sale (POS) integrations
A POS system lets you view inventory in real-time across online and offline channels, helping you build an omnichannel workflow and streamline inventory management. With a POS integration, you can:
- Track the products that are selling well so you can order more, along with the ones in need of promotion
- Offer cross-channel promotions like a more streamlined loyalty program
- Eliminate manual data entry, which is a common area for errors to leak into operations
When you buy a POS integration, you should make sure it has key features like:
- Buy-online-pickup-in-store or curbside delivery
- Loyalty programs, like reward points, store credit and gift cards
- Omnichannel fulfillment
Some of the best POS ecommerce integrations include:
- Square: A widely recognized POS system for small businesses, Square works with all major ecommerce platforms. It expands and contracts easily with your business's POS needs, giving you the flexibility to pay only for the features you're using.
- Toast: Toast is one of the best POS restaurant services available, handling inventory management, payment processing, handheld POS and online ordering. Its commission-free online ordering service also sends takeout and delivery orders directly to your restaurant POS system, so you don't have to worry about getting them mixed up.
6. Invoice and accounting integrations
If you're sick of crunching numbers at tax time, invoice and accounting integrations can solve a lot of headaches. They provide many benefits over manual bookkeeping, including:
- Clear financial reporting with charts and graphs that help you visualize information
- Accurate bookkeeping without the possibility of human error
- Easy cross-departmental collaboration
When you look for accounting software, here are some things to look for:
- Constant automatic software updates with easy-to-use tutorials, so your software is up to date with current best practices
- Support for multiple users
- Automated billing, payments and cash flow
- Sales tax calculation
- Payroll, timesheets and billable hours
- Tiered or scalable pricing
Some of the best accounting integrations for ecommerce include:
- QuickBooks Online: Best of its robust features in accounts receivables, banking and accounts payable, QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting tools for small businesses in various industries. Its plans range from $30 per month for one user up to $200 per month for 20 users; it's more expensive than other small business accounting tools.
- Zoho Books: Zoho Books is a great accounting software, especially if you already use the other Zoho suite apps, as well. Its mobile app functionality helps you receive payments, send invoices and categorize expenses on your tablet or smartphone. Plus, its customer support is generally great, offering several contact options if you need help.
7. Email integrations
Email marketing is a powerful tool that helps you build relationships with customers and potential customers. Email integrations generally use automation to maximize your emails' ability to convert readers.
When you choose an email integration tool, look for:
- Customization of communications
- Valuable data management and analytics
- High usability and reliability
Some of the best email integrations include:
- HubSpot: This all-in-one customer relationship management (CRM) platform provides valuable email marketing features as a part of the Hubspot Marketing Hub plan. It includes a lot of resources for people new to email marketing, along with many tools for email customization, customer segmentation and A/B testing. You can use HubSpot's freemium version or get a plan starting at $45 per month.
- Constant Contact: The intuitive dashboard and easily accessible features set Constant Contact apart. It also lets you incorporate automation and personalization so you can send out automatic abandoned cart emails, special offers and discounts based on past purchase activity. The pricing is based on your number of contacts, with plans starting at $9.99 per month.
8. CRM integrations
CRM integrations make it easy to effectively manage customer data and streamline internal processes. They give you a way to personalize each customer's journey through the sales funnel, increasing your conversion rate. Some other benefits CRM integrations offer include:
- Limited losses and costs on customer acquisition
- Stronger email marketing with more personalization
- Better inventory planning and forecasting
Look for these features in the CRM integration you pick:
- Robust analytics and reporting, like customizable performance dashboards
- Automated workflows that can send automated emails and text messages
- Customer history
- Cross-channel tracking
Some of the best CRM integrations include:
- Klaviyo: This automated marketing and CRM platform gives you features like historical viewing, predictive analytics and combined email and SMS to help you make personalized customer experiences. Its pricing depends on the size of your contact, ranging between $35 per month and $1,970, though you can get a free trial if you have fewer than 150,000 contacts.
- Salesforce Account Engagement: If your enterprise business is keen to scale and automate your B2B marketing strategies, this is a perfect option. Its no-code builder makes it easy to personalize email campaigns and landing pages to customize the customer journey. You also get full visibility into prospects' positions in the conversion funnel. Plans start at $1,250 per month and go up to $15,000 per month.
9. Search engine optimization (SEO) integrations
SEO focuses on getting your web pages to the top of search engines' results pages. It's a great way to improve your inbound marketing so that you can keep reaching new potential customers without directly advertising to them. With better SEO, you can:
- Drive brand awareness
- Bring new people into your marketing funnel
- Build brand authority and loyalty
- Expand remarketing audiences
- Reduce paid search costs
SEO integrations generally help you gather information that improves your SEO tactics in areas like:
- Keyword research
- Site architecture based on keyword research
- Technical SEO
- Local SEO
- On-page SEO
- Content marketing
- Measuring your SEO success
Some of the best SEO tools available include:
- SEMrush: This software includes 26 tools that help improve your SEO, like Keyword Overview, which tells you the search volume, competition and estimated value of a keyword. The Organic Research tool also analyzes your competitor's organic keyword rankings and pages so you can learn about the best-performing organic keywords in your niche. Pricing starts at $119.95.
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs includes a number of tools that help with SEO, like Site Audit, which analyzes and monitors your website structure, flagging SEO issues as it finds them. The Content Explorer also helps you find the most shared and relevant content for your niche across leading social media channels, so you can figure out the topics people are engaging with most in your niche. Pricing starts at $99 for small businesses and increases to $999 for big agencies and enterprises.
10. Live chat integrations
Live chat lets you provide real-time customer support, which can significantly reduce your cart abandonment rate. It's also a good way to build relationships with customers, often leading to higher repeat customers.
Make sure the live chat integration you get includes features like:
- Proactive capabilities
- Automation and dynamic templates
- Branding customization
- File and screenshot-sharing
- Audio and/or visual notifications
- Both chatbots and live chat, along with the ability to switch between both seamlessly
The best live chat integrations include:
- Reamaze: This tool's customizable chat experience and instant "check order status" bot help your team seamlessly resolve customer queries. It also has features like FAQ search, order status and other prebuilt bots to improve the user experience. Pricing starts at $29 per team member per month.
- DelightChat: This conversation-first tool lets you manage your store's support and resolve customer issues all in one screen. It's omnichannel, letting you manage queries from social media, emails and live chat. Plus, it doesn't penalize you for adding more users as you scale up your customer support.
11. Social media integrations
Social media platforms are hubs for internet users, making them a great place to find new customers and spread your marketing materials. Social media integrations generally help you coordinate your social media accounts so you can schedule and optimize content across all channels at the same time.
Your social media integration should include features like:
- Advanced post scheduling
- Integrations with the main social media platforms you'll target
- Different roles for cross-department and vendor collaboration
- Insights to learn more about your posts' engagement and reach
One of the best social media integrations right now is Loomly, a social media post scheduler that helps you plan, craft and optimize all your social content in one place. Its pricing starts at $26 per month for 10 social media accounts and two users. You can also engage with and respond to your audience directly from the app and use its ads manager to build objective-driven ad campaigns.
How to choose the right ecommerce integrations
The best ecommerce integration for your business aligns with your goals and simplifies or improves a part of your business that you would like more control over. It should have features that your business can use to increase revenue or reduce costs. You should also ensure that the pricing fits your budget and scales up with your goals.
Customize your ecommerce store with key integrations
As you may have noticed, even if you use integrations to streamline your company, there's still a lot to keep track of. Contact Cart.com to learn how we can help improve your end-to-end experience with key integrations like our feature-rich storefront optimization and management solution with limitless customization. We love to obsess over brands and think outside the box to find new opportunities to help you improve your business.