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March 14, 2013

Should you Go It Alone or Go through a Provider?

Understanding the Integration Requirements for eBay and Amazon

Should you go it alone or with providerWe sometimes hear from retailers that they are debating between handing their marketplaces integrations in-house and using a platform solution. With our 10 years of experience integrating with marketplaces, we’ve come up with the main questions that retailers should ask themselves before embarking upon building and maintaining an integration with eBay and Amazon.  We’ve delved into detail about these integration considerations in a free white paper available for download, but below are some of the highlights. 

Do you have the IT resources in-house to support marketplaces?

Charging an in-house technical support team with all the responsibilities of managing a direct integration can be taxing and time inefficient, especially if the team is not dedicated to e-commerce and is a shared resource with other departments. Retailers should push for dedicated technical support to manage their e-commerce presence, or should consider the benefits of outsourcing technical support.

Are you equipped to handle uploading and maintaining thousands of product listings?

Product details such as price, quantity and condition must be mapped into the data feed in order to go live on eBay, which can be a confusing and time-consuming process for many retailers. A third-party software provider can make a retailer’s processes more efficient by eliminating manual mapping, managing the quantity and advertised duration of each listing and more.

Is your data in the correct format?

Instead of requiring a developer to build new code to match the fields, or worse, make a wholesale database change, you can use a third-party technology to map existing information automatically to accommodate for situations such as these. If requirements on the marketplace change, a simple update within ChannelAdvisor’s system can quickly adjust your listings.

How quickly can you update your product list?

For online retailers, one of the most demanding aspects of running an integration directly with a marketplace is maintaining it. As a channel partner on eBay, ChannelAdvisor can automatically manage relist and withdraw capabilities and ensure accurate information at all times.

Are you prepared to prioritize updates and operations?

Many retailers’ integrations are deterred by the eBay system’s complexity, with restrictions on adding new products, relisting products and revising products. As a preferred partner on eBay, ChannelAdvisor does not have these restrictions, allowing retailers to add, relist, or view inventory in real time.

Does your integration meet eBay’s compliance requirements?

Retailers must develop an integration that is robust enough to meet eBay’s certification standards if they want to exceed operational limitations—a tough and time-consuming assignment to spring on IT staff. Many retailers rely on an e-commerce solution to take care of their marketplaces integrations and keep up to speed with all changes to the program, whether they might be API additions or deletions or changes in requirements.

Do you have the 8 required Amazon feeds?

Generating the eight feeds required to list items on Amazon is not a small task for any retailer. With a technology that effectively reduces these eight feeds into three or four, retailers will see that fewer moving parts eliminates many failure points between their data and Amazon’s system, which translates to faster selling progress.

Is your data properly optimized to avoid listing errors?

With so many different tags and item-type classifications to choose from, associating a product with the exact item listed on Amazon is consistently one of the biggest challenges retailers face. ChannelAdvisor’s technology has been proven to list retailers’ products effectively by offering templates that cleanly outline the data and present the exact format suitable for Amazon,.

Are your products matching with the correct Amazon listings?

Listing items on Amazon requires more detail than listing on eBay and on other marketplaces, as evidenced by the attribute data requirements. Software that provides tangible performance metrics, displays errors and highlights where adjustments are necessary can separate the accomplished online retailers from the ones who have yet to reach their potential.

Are you doing everything you can to maintain your best DSR?

Along with listing completeness and quality, a positive Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) on eBay is a factor in determining Best Match, the default order for search results. In order to achieve this, a retailer must pay close attention to details such as submitting shipping updates, issuing refunds, and escalating Unpaid Items (UPIs) to Disputes.

Do you know what it takes to attain Featured Merchant Status on Amazon?

A sure way for a retailer to improve ROI and win the Buy Box more often is to achieve Featured Merchant Status, which is contingent upon a retailer’s selling history, Order Defect Rate (ODR), and excellent customer experience. More than 90% of ChannelAdvisor’s third-party retailers on Amazon have gained Featured Merchant Status and are eligible to win the Buy Box2 using this feature.

Can your in-house solution reprice products and juggle inventory across multiple marketplaces?

As online retailers running direct integrations spread their e-commerce reach to more marketplaces and more buyers, they must pay close attention to the status of all inventory. ChannelAdvisor’s tools allow retailers to advertise any quantity on each marketplace and use a Repricer to keep them competitive within pre-set price margins.

Download the full white paper to capture all the details, or give us a call and we’ll be happy to walk you through integrating and how ChannelAdvisor can help automate, integrate and optimize your listings.

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