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Integrating your eCommerce platform with a customer engagement tool doesn’t have to be hard

Jacopo de Flumeri, Senior Pre-Sales Consultant
Integrating your eCommerce platform with a customer engagement tool doesn’t have to be hard

As a marketer, you’ve almost certainly had to deal with integrations between different tools within your MarTech stack, some more complex than others. You’ve probably also experienced delays on important projects due to integrations that took too long or were not flexible enough to allow an agile use-case development roadmap. This can be so frustrating.

But that’s not all. Next time you embark on a project involving system integrations, you might be afraid of having another bad experience and risk focusing on the wrong thing: placing too much importance on integrating data, when your goal is to devise marketing strategies that the tools themselves should solve.

What options do you have to tackle this dilemma? In this blog post we’ll answer this question, starting from the assumption that a customer engagement tool should:

  • Be easy to use, marketer-oriented, and not require specific technical skills
  • Not be distracting; the marketer should be able to focus on strategy and then the tool will think about solving and activating it
  • Allow front-end configuration without requiring continuous development by the IT department or system integrator

In other words, once the basic data integration has been defined, it must allow each use case to be created quickly, as it is often necessary to make corrections, optimizations, and improvements in order to achieve strategic objectives.

There are three paths that can be taken:

  • Use native connectors, if the tool provides them
  • Use connectors that act as middle layers
  • Create an ad hoc integration via API calls (or possibly file exchange, or both)

If your tool provides native connectors, it will be as easy as a couple of clicks! So, let’s take a look at the other two paths for integration if there isn’t a native connection.

Using Connectors

Connectors are a quick, easy, and above all cheap, way to integrate two systems, whether they are native connectors or middleware. But there’s always a “but”… Connectors are work for simple implementations, not for tailor-made integrations. If your eCommerce or CRM platform has specific customizations for your needs, connectors are no longer able to provide what is required for a truly effective integration.

Deciding to use connectors depends on how much you consider it worthwhile to invest in an integration at that moment for your business. For example, a new startup will have very different needs than large, established companies. However, one thing remains the same: using standard connectors will lead to standard results. If you want to make a quantum leap with your marketing, it’s not the best solution.


Develop an Integration

If you choose to develop an integration a range of options open ups up to you. But first you need to figure out who it will be developed by:

  • Your IT department, who will have to plan when and with what internal resources to proceed
  • A system integrator, who will assess the effort required and quote a cost for the activity

In both cases, the effort will depend on the integration requirements. This brings us to another point of attention: integration should not drive the business, it is the business that must drive the integration. Ask yourself, what is the minimum set of data I need to build my marketing automation use cases for the customer experience I want to create?

This is where the differences between customer engagement tools come into play:

  • Will the integration need to be continually updated to accommodate new ideas that have not been foreseen? Or does the tool allow plenty of room to maneuver and the possibility to create new strategies without requiring additional effort?
  • Is the creation of use cases simple and will it not require people with technical skills?
  • Is the tool open-API?

To put it into context, here are some examples of frequently asked questions:

  • Can I create a simple abandoned cart flow without any data integration, taking advantage of the website tracking capabilities that the tool offers me?
  • Can I synchronize my eCommerce transactions without requiring the development of API calls to IT or the system integrator?
  • Can I inject content into my website or eCommerce platform without integrating with the site’s CMS?
  • Can I query an external system, such as a CRM, via API within a customer journey and trigger a real-time, personalized response?

If the answers to these questions are “yes”, then integration will never be a major hurdle to overcome. It will just require the development of a few API calls for essential information, such as:

  • Customer synchronization and unsubscription management
  • Synchronization of transactions or other offline data
  • Product catalogue synchronization



Following the above guidelines, you can go from 6-12 months for an integration to 3-4 weeks! And that’s without precluding the possibility of extending the integration in the future, and at the same time allowing you to have an extremely fast time-to-market, both in the onboarding phase and in the development of new use cases.


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