What is an integration?
An integration always involves sending data or information from one place to another. Any technical integration is based on the principle of achieving the most efficient connection possible, with as few steps or intermediate elements as possible.
When it comes to managing product information, every company needs to use integrations on a daily basis to facilitate their work, whether they are manufacturers, distributors, or retailers. Integrations make data exchange more accurate and save time and resources across the entire network and supply chain.
In short, in companies that handle product information, e-commerce channels, or omnichannel sales strategies, integrations allow them to connect one software or app to another, whether both are proprietary or third-party, to share data in technical, design, marketing, sales, and customer service workflows.
Why integrations are key in omnichannel e-commerce
People often think that product information resides only in a website’s or a marketplace’s product pages. However, it is actually a resource used in multiple daily tasks that span every department of a company.
Customer service teams need product data to handle inquiries and complaints accurately. Updated catalogs are key in communicating and cultivating quality relationships with the retailer or wholesaler network. Catalog design teams need to receive that data easily and reliably to generate resources without delays...
Not to mention that product information is an element in continuous transformation: data updates, new product launches, stock changes, data customization by market or country... These changes often come from different sources or are stored in different repositories, for which a strong integration is necessary to avoid information leaks and misunderstandings that hurt both the inner workings of a company and the
product experience and brand image.
As a business grows and expands its omnichannel strategy to more channels and countries, the complexity of managing product information makes it essential to implement integrations that streamline daily tasks and keep the sales network functional and up-to-date.
What types of integrations are there?
All integrations refer to connectivity between various systems, but may belong to different categories, with complementary functions and objectives.
The most common integrations in manufacturing, distribution, or product sales companies may span different stages of the business, from manufacturing to building customer loyalty.
Content management integrations
Promotion and marketing integrations
Additionally, these types of integrations are usually adapted to a company’s business volume, from startups to enterprise level, and the best ones offer the necessary flexibility to adjust the power and functions of each integration depending on the business’s circumstances.
On the other hand, integrations can be created internally or externally. In other words, companies may choose to create their own integrations in their IT department via API, or rely on preconfigured plugins and connectors from third parties or those included in systems they already use, to ensure a fast connection and proven results.
Benefits of integrations for product information
More reliable and efficient product information management
Elimination of manual and repetitive tasks
Accurate and up-to-date product data in real time across all channels
Easy to scale and implement omnichannel strategy
Faster product and catalog launches
Reduced costs and time for channel and software management
Types of integrations for companies with product or service catalogs
A company that sells products or services and that needs to manage a lot of data can implement integrations at B2C and B2B level that streamline the entire business network and reduce the administrative burden, both in the work and the communication with third parties and with other apps that are external to the company.
An ecosystem of integrations allows a more effective strategy for working with product information and prevents information loss, misunderstandings during changes and bottlenecks when sharing or providing access to content.
They are undoubtedly the most important for any manufacturer or retailer displaying their catalog in any public or private channel, and especially the more channels are integrated and the more complex the omnichannel strategy becomes.
Integrations between product content storage, management, and publishing software streamline the hundreds of daily tasks performed by many different people and departments, in many different locations, from maintaining an e-commerce website, to product listings on marketplaces, to generating customized catalogs by country or customer.
The essential platform for all types of companies, brands, and retail stores, from which to implement all the necessary integrations is a
PIM (Product Information Management) system. We will see the specific connectors that allow us to link to this software in the following section.
Even companies dedicated only to offline sales need some kind of integration with their catalog to manage stock in warehouses (Warehouse Management System or WMS) and
points of sale (PoS)
. Al sumar canales digitales, se multiplican las integraciones con plataformas de CMS (Content Management System), marketplaces, aplicaciones móviles,
payment platforms (PayPal, Apple Pay, Amazon Pay...), shipping managers, etc., are multiplied, and it’s important to create a fluid strategy that streamlines the synchronization across many different channels.
These would be all the methods of connecting marketing actions and contact data with ad platforms and social media sites that support native ad management and retargeting, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or YouTube.
This also includes the integrations with communications platforms for which an analytical record must be kept, such as email marketing in Mailchimp or Hubspot, or invitations to events and digital presentations.
Generating a digital catalog or a website is a huge job that requires integrations that are always up to date to ensure proper navigation, loading, and visibility among users. It is possible to use integrations that make it easy to send information to product pages and landing pages, and collect information from contacts and visits generated in them.
Continuously analyzing the activity in any channel is essential to improve the positioning and sales of products or services, and to understand if they fit the demands of users and their market. This type of integrations, therefore, are essential to collect data on SEO, visits, time spent on site, CTAs, from tools like Google Analytics to Hotjar or SEMRush.
Customer service integrations
The shopping experience is everything today, both in online and offline channels (and in the omnichannel experience of combining both types). To ensure that customers are always well-informed and well-served, it is key to have integrations for Customer Success and support teams, from chats to platforms that help store CRM (Customer Relationship Management) contact data, purchase histories, updated catalogs, and accurate records of inquiries, complaints, claims, and returns.
All the key integrations that a PIM system allows
A Product Information Management (PIM) system allows you to easily manage all the content of a product or service catalog (texts, metadata, technical data, SKUs, images, videos, multimedia, documents, category trees, translations...), and most interestingly, to connect it to any channel that requires any of these data.
The flexibility of a PIM system makes it possible to customize the selection of data to be exported to any other system or platform, and to automate its delivery and regular updating. This is a function that saves a lot of work, especially when connecting product information with marketplaces.
Product data plays a key role in many departments and actions along the supply chain, which justifies the importance of choosing PIM software that is the best equipped with connectors and APIs that facilitate integrations of all kinds (or give us enough freedom to create and customize them).
Likewise, for manufacturers, a PIM system offers phenomenal support, allowing them to effectively control and share their catalogs with customers, both B2C and large B2B corporations. And for retailers, it is an excellent platform to incorporate all supplier data and resources (contact details, order history, current orders, catalogs, and updated prices...).
E-commerce platforms (CMS)
Content Management Systems (CMS) are widely used in product and catalog management companies to design the websites and feed the e-commerce sites with continuously updated product content.
These CMS platforms need to constantly receive texts, images, videos, technical data, metadata... The volume of this content is usually enormous and, as companies grow, management can become complicated to the point of needing automations to prevent errors and save time on a daily basis.
The integrations of a PIM system with any e-commerce CMS platform allow you to submit updated product information and ensure that it will be optimized to improve search engine rankings. A well-equipped PIM system should include native connectors for all major CMS platforms, like Magento, Shopify, PrestaShop, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, WordPress…
Apart from the brand website or online store that companies usually manage through a Content Management System, the second main channel for products are online marketplaces.
Manufacturers and sellers need to compete with hundreds of other alternatives and attract potential buyers, who increasingly prefer to view, compare, and purchase products and services on marketplaces. It is essential to have updated product information adapted to the requirements of each marketplace to avoid penalties and improve positioning in the marketplace's internal searches.
Connecting data from the PIM system directly to a marketplace or being able to export the desired product information in the right format is made easier by connectors that automate the preparation of product information for
Data and multimedia storage and management systems (ERP, DAM)
A management system present in most companies is the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), where data related to orders, inventory, stock, prices, sales reports, manufacturing data, invoices, lists of suppliers, or distributors... are stored.
Integrating an ERP with the company's PIM system facilitates the exchange of data and, above all, its updating in both systems at the same time, to avoid different versions and prevent people or teams in the same company from using different and outdated data.
The second most common management system in companies dedicated to products and services are DAM (Digital Asset Management) platforms, which collect and store any type of visual or multimedia resources.
A good PIM and CMS connectivity should also offer direct integration with widely used DAM systems, such as Dropbox, or better yet include its own DAM functionalities to function as an all-in-one platform from which to store, view, enrich, and export in the appropriate formats the audiovisual resources needed by each channel.
And, of course, it is always possible to connect traditional Excel sheets to a PIM system, in order to collect them in one place and avoid the multiplicity of versions that is so risky for product management.
The exchange of product information between companies and distributors, or between suppliers and large customers, is a complex and tedious process in the B2B sector. Buyers in this industry increasingly expect and demand the same level of customer experience that is already pervasive in B2C, so both manufacturers and businesses with their own supplier platform must catch up with win-win integrations.
eProcurement systems are based on technology that enables the purchase of B2B products, equipment, or services through a uniform interface to display catalogs from all suppliers and send orders in real time. Supported by a PIM platform
, an eProcurement strategy allows faster, always up-to-date product information sharing and reduces both costs and preparation times for digital catalogs.
Additionally, the management of large orders is streamlined, can be completed in fewer days, and results in fewer returns by always providing accurate and enriched product data in the PIM.