June 03, 2016

Ecommerce Retailers: Thinking of Integrating With Your 3PL? Read This.

In Wednesday’s blog, Logistics in 2016: The Year for Online Supply Chain Optimization, we talked about the constantly changing demands and challenges supply chains face and how industry technology evolves with them. We also explained the effect big-name technology companies like Amazon and Uber have on the logistics industry.

While phrases like disruptive technology and uberization glamorize the industry, it’s important to remember the “little guys” of logistics technology as well – most importantly, integration technology.  

3PLs are oftentimes referred to as change agents within their customers’ businesses. They must flex with the changing demands and challenges their customers face. This is especially true when it comes to integration technology. Although, with popularity among different platforms changing every year, and those platforms updating sometimes every month, it can be difficult for even logistics providers to keep up.

For example, when FreightCenter completed market research to determine which ecommerce platforms were most useful to its customers Magento, WooCommerce and GoDaddy were found to be the most popular. We developed SaaS-based options around those platforms which allowed our customers that used those platforms to easily integrate their ecommerce sites with our technology.

“Today is a whole different story. With platforms like Shopify, Volusion and Bigcommerce gaining in popularity, it has become difficult to determine which platforms we should devote our resources to,” says FreightCenter’s Senior Marketing Manager, Terese Kerrigan.

The popularity of platforms isn’t the only concern; however, keeping up with each platform’s updates is a battle within itself.

“The main issue we face is having the staff to dedicate towards keeping the ecommerce tools up to date,” says FreightCenter’s Software Support Specialist, Justin Raynor. “When an ecommerce platform releases an update, it can break our web-service connection string which can then prevent our clients from receiving rates.”

FreightCenter is one of the few logistics providers that has its own in-house software development team. Justin supports the team of six in determining necessary updates to FreightCenter’s integration software and is responsible for ensuring customers receive quality product. He’s the first point of contact for customers interested in integrating with our technology.

His number one tip for ecommerce retailers wanting to integrate with their 3PL’s technology?

“Do your research. Know exactly what product and services you require.” You can then take this information to your 3PL and they can help you decide which integration is most useful and whether or not they can support it.  

What ecommerce platforms do you use? Do you have experience integrating your platform with your 3PL’s technology? Share your thoughts.