The Six Point Plan – Step 2 | Integration

by | Jul 26, 2023 | Best Practice

In Part 1 of Step 1, we discussed options for your integrations and the various systems involved as part of the Planning Phase. In this Step 2 we are implementing that integration. What to expect and what you will need to organise.

If you followed my recommendation in part 1, you will have decided to use a 3rd party listing platform because this means you only need one integration to gain access to many marketplaces and any ongoing maintenance and development will be handled by them.

In this case, you’re main task is to connect your systems to the listing tool – you have some configuration to do on the listing tool and the platform, but we’ll discuss that in Part 5.


Even when using a listing tool, you will still need to build a custom connection which, unless you are a programmer, will need to be done by someone else. If you work for a larger business, you may have an IT team in house if not, you will need to find someone: you might ask your web developers (assuming you have one); you could ask the platform if they can recommend someone; you could place an ad on a freelancer site or use an IPAAS platform (Integration Platform As A Service).

In all cases, the developers will need to understand, in some detail, what their integration will need to do and here, you will need the involvement of someone who knows marketplaces. We can go back to the diagram again but that only tells part of the story: 


There are a few things to look out for here. Your developers, if they’re any good, will pick up on most of these but it’s worth ensuring these aspects are being handled as you require as I’ve been cuaght out by these in the past:

Order Numbers

When integrating marketplaces through middleware, you are effectively adding 2 new order numbers. As well as the one generated by your existing systems, you have one from the marketplace and one from the middleware. In most cases, it’s best to send the channel order number and use that. I’ve seen many instances where the website order number is used in the back end systems which makes it a nightmare to track down when a customer chanses their package using the marketplace order ID.

This can be problematic as some systems have character limits on the length of order number. Amazon orders are 19 characters so worth checking this won’t cause any problems.

Marketplace IDs

While you want every order to follow the same process flow as much as possible, there are instances where you might want to treat channels differently. For example, Amazon has. apolicy where you aren’t allowed to put promotional material in with the package – they view the customer as theirs and take steps to prevent marketplace sellers from luring them away. Amazon are known to spot check orders so, if you have to include a “10% off your first purchase from our website” offer in the box, you should consider including it on the back of the invoice or delivery note so, if you do get spotted, you can claim it was simply an oversight and you will correct the error immediately. So sorry, Mr Amazon Sir!

Similarly, if your account health on a given channel is in need to some urgent remedial action, you may want to prioritise orders from that channel, which means your packing team will need to know where each order came from.

Make sure that, once it reaches the warehouse, each order clearly states the source channel. This may require some adaptation of your order management system.


While it’s ok for product information to be sent on a daily schedule, changes to available quantities should be communicated in as close to real-time as possible to avoid overselling. This is actually the main reason you need a full API integration, full inventory files are too big and cumbersome to process quickly, with api calls you can simply send individual updates or “deltas” – if you sell an item on your website, you want to send that change top the marketplaces as quickly as possible.

A word of warning, I’ve seen stock quantities drift over time – if all your doing is sending a -1 update, if only one these updates is missed (which does happen) then your stock level is then permanently out. To counter this, it’s a good idea to send a full stock sync daily – overnight works. In this way, even if one update is missed, the levels are pulled back into line. This can often be included in your main product feed.

Automated Emails

If you have automated updates set up to notify customers of changes to the status of their deliveries and you route marketplace orders through the same platforms, it’s likely your system will notify Marketplace buyers in the same way. The problem is that the marketplaces themselves will be doing the same thing so the customer could end up with multiple messages all telling them the same thing.

You can’t stop the marketplaces from sending their messages, so it’s a good idea to switch them off in your own systems instead.


Once the integration has been scoped and the developers know what they are to build, they will give you a timescale. There’s not a lot you can do here but make sure you get that in writing and yopu should certainly discuss options should they not hit that deadline. It could have a serious impact if the development goes over and you miss some important selling time.

Once work commences, there’s not much you can do until it comes time for testing. Most channels don’t offer a sandbox so you’ll likely be testing on the live environment. It’s a good idea to only list one, cheap item at a time to test the order flow and make sure all the steps are working.

At this point, while you’re testing orders, it’s a good idea to involve your customer service team so they can get familiar with the new systems and processes before you launch fully. It’s also helpful for them if you do it close to the launch date so everything is fresh in their minds.

I would typically allow a week for testing but this might take longer if you find a complex problem with the integration (which is why you want to get involved and ask questions during scoping to ensure there isn’t anything major getting overlooked.

In the main, you’re testing the order process from end to end. You need to ensure that all the channels are getting updated correctly, items are getting picked and packed properly, tracking numbers are being sent back to the channels and customers are getting the correctc udatesr getting the the correct updates. Once you’re happy, you should be ready to list.

Go Live

One last piece of advice: don’t launch close to a weekend. You want to have everyone around in case something goes wrong. In general, I will only launch new campaigns between Monday – Wednesday.