Our five key points:
- Data management is easier with complete data from as many business tools and databases as possible.
- There are many types of data integration, from completely manual coding to low-code cloud-based tools.
- Data integration brings information into your data warehouse, ready for analysis by business intelligence (BI) tools.
- These insights can help drive marketing campaigns, build meaningful reports, and present your business positively to potential stakeholders or investors — as well as improve your reputation as a successful Ecommerce venture.
- Integrate.io utilizes ETL, ELT or CDC, and API creation and management to provide the most complete suite of data integration tools for Ecommerce businesses.
Your data management processes are only as effective as the quality of the data you collate. Gaining access to as much data as possible is vital if you want the business-critical insights that can set you apart from the crowd. For Ecommerce businesses, so many of the resources you use are online, such as cloud-based SaaS, ERPs, or CRMs. Integrate.io explains why data integration is such a big part of data management for Ecommerce and the benefits of an intuitive ETL and ELT tool.
Table of Contents
- What Is Data Integration?
- Types of Data Integration
- Benefits of Data Integration
- Data Integration for Ecommerce
- Essential Ecommerce Data Integrations
- Use Integrate.io as a Primary Pillar of Your Data Management Process
What Is Data Integration?
Data integration means connecting to many different sources of business data, extracting that data, and storing it in a suitable destination, such as a data lake or data warehouse. Data engineers may manage their own data integration, carefully coding data pipelines that connect data sources to destinations, often via transformation tools that ensure the data arrives in a unified format. Other businesses may use low-code data integration tools that allow anyone to access and utilize the many sources of data every business has.
Once the data is at its destination, it’s ready for ingestion by business intelligence (BI) tools. These will trawl data for patterns and insights or pick out specific figures for reports and spreadsheets. Many modern BI tools can work with both structured and unstructured data — respectively, data that is in a cohesive, consistent, readable format and data that is stored in multiple formats in no particular order. Data lakes are the ideal repository for unstructured data, but data warehouses are more common because of the benefits of being able to view data in a unified format.
Read more about data warehouses and their business benefits here on the Integrate.io blog.
Types of Data Integration
There are many types of data integration that you can employ as part of your data management process. Choosing the right type of data collation and transformation can impact how efficiently you gain useful insights from your business data. Each of these processes can be applied manually or by utilizing cloud-based, low-code tools.
ETL stands for extract, transform, load. Extraction is always the first part of the data integration process. It literally means using some form of digital tool to extract the data from the various sources you’ve connected to.
Data transformation is the next step in the ETL process. ETL tools transform the data into a cohesive format before loading it into your data warehouse. It’s like making sure you’ve packed all your belongings into separate boxes and labeled them carefully before moving to your new home. Once the boxes arrive, all you have to do is put them away.
ELT or CDC
ELT and CDC are essentially two names for the same process. CDC stands for change data capture, while ELT stands for extract, load, transform. Both terms refer to the fast capture and storage of data, often as it changes, helping provide real-time insights. A customer changing their address on their online account could trigger an ELT process, for example.
ELT is different from ETL because all the transformation happens inside your data storage solution. In this instance, we didn’t organize and label the boxes before moving home. We just put everything in the removal vehicle and drove it to the new house as quickly as we could. We know the removal team at the end will organize everything safely and securely. The important step was ensuring we got the data quickly and accurately.
APIs are a great way for disparate systems to speak to each other. They can also provide instruction to allow access to quite granular data. For example, you could program an API instruction to allow access to a single table within a large relational database. Integrate.io offers award-winning API creation and management to maximize the number of data sources it’s possible to connect to.
The amounts of data businesses are dealing with are growing exponentially. In 2021, the world generated 79 zettabytes of data. That’s approximately 79 billion terabytes, a number that is hard for anyone to get their head around. Big data is big business and will only become more vital as technology advances and more aspects of doing business go digital.
The recent Big Data Analytics Report from Research and Markets shows that market leaders are merging structured and unstructured data, with AI and IoT now a massive part of that. Without effective data integration tools, businesses in all industries will be left behind — especially those that operate primarily in online spaces.
Integrate.io offers multiple ways to connect to your business’s data, making it one of the most effective data integration platforms for Ecommerce businesses.
Benefits of Data Integration
It’s clear that data integration needs to be a part of your data management process, if only to ensure the quality of data you’re handling is sufficient. But what is the “why” surrounding data integration? Why do so many businesses make it such an integral part of data management?
Improve Business Processes
From major decision-making to running regular reports, everything functions more smoothly when you’re working with complete information. Having access to your enterprise data can help streamline a range of business processes. This could include how you work with partners. If you have problems with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, having data to take to them can lead to far more productive conversations. Being able to state that they failed delivery on 17% of occasions means you are dealing with facts rather than emotions. Your partner then has to respond with a strategy to improve this or leave you with the choice to change providers. Either way, interactions become less fraught, and business processes become a great deal smoother.
Save Space and Reduce Business Costs
One of the most common use cases for data integration tools is for cost management and space-saving. On-premises tools and data storage systems can have a huge footprint. SaaS providers remove the need for on-site data engineers. Switching to a SaaS data integration solution can often remove the lag or latency associated with many legacy systems, as the resources are at least partially managed online or at the provider’s end.
Prevent and Remove Data Silos
Data silos are clumps of data that are only accessible by certain members of the business or, in drastic cases, not accessible at all. These silos cost money by increasing the time taken to access business-critical information. These delays could be the difference between a satisfied customer and a lost lead, or a partner that recommends you to other businesses and one that complains about you online. Proper data management means breaking down data silos and ensuring they don’t form. Data integration is a key aspect of this.
Better Data Governance
Working on a complete data integration project for your whole business means you can take advantage of advanced analytics for a range of measurable benefits depending on your business needs. But it also means you can hone and improve your overall data governance strategy. Data access is easier to manage and limit when you’ve broken down data silos and improved communications across your whole business. Accurate data means you can quickly find out where there are gaps in your data governance policies and what you need to do to plug those gaps. Better data ultimately means data you can look after better, without time-consuming processes that require logging into multiple systems to find who has been accessing what and why.
Related Reading: 10 Predictions for the Future of Data Governance
Read more about the benefits of ETL versus an in-house solution here on the Integrate.io blog.
Data Integration and Ecommerce
Being able to access all your business data with a unified view is a game changer for many online retailers. Comparing metrics and KPIs with ease thanks to data connectors to your most-used business apps means you can spend more time building your online shop and less time becoming an amateur data engineer. But there are plenty of other compelling reasons that Ecommerce businesses invest heavily in data integration tools.
Book a conversation with our team and find out why Integrate.io is the data integration platform of choice for so many Ecommerce businesses.
Improve Customer Relationship Management
The customer experience is a major metric for all Ecommerce businesses. CRM (customer relationship management) tools are essential for collecting customer data such as contact details, buying habits, and communication preferences. Online businesses may also use an ERP, a business tool used for various reasons, from accounting to understanding customer pain points. What both of these types of systems have in common is that they are both far more effective when fed complete data from a range of sources.
Data integration platforms can bring information from such disparate sources as SMS communication, relational databases where transcripts of phone call conversations are stored, and even social media interactions. All of this helps businesses understand what makes their customers tick, so they can replicate what works and root out strategies that turn customers away.
Increase Business Profitability
Ecommerce businesses exist in a crowded market, so exploring ways to increase ROI is a primary focus. They need to find better ways to transform leads into sales, discover what’s causing customers to abandon their carts, and send follow-up communications that are meaningful to individual customers. Treating customers as individuals and presenting the human face of your business is essential for growth and longevity as an online retailer. Properly collated data from all your apps and tools can achieve that by honing your marketing and communication strategies more finely and allowing you to change as often as your target demographics and their needs do.
Connect to Other Ecommerce Apps
Data management means gathering data from the sources that matter to you and your business. That means the ability to connect to all the Ecommerce apps you use daily, from Shopify to BigCommerce to Square for payments and other financial tools. Not all data integration platforms will have the integrations you need straight out of the box, but the best will be able to advise you on how to create those data pipelines with ease.
Essential Ecommerce Data Integrations
In addition to your Ecommerce platforms and payments solutions, what other services can an effective data integration platform connect to?
Integrate.io offers connections to all the following services.
If you use Microsoft Azure as your SQL database solution, you'll be happy to learn that Integrate.io has pre-built connectors to bring any business-critical data directly from these databases into your data warehouse.
Amazon Web Services have numerous source systems you may want to connect to in order to get more valuable insights or simply access data you have stored away. Amazon Aurora is a popular relational database engine used by many businesses to store a range of data sets thanks to its high performance and manageable costs, plus full MySQL and PostgreSQL compatibility.
Of course, effective data management isn’t just about where the data comes from: it’s about where it goes. Data warehousing tools such as Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, and Google BigQuery are all available as connections when you start using Integrate.io as your data integration tool of choice.
Data analytics tools can provide your Ecommerce business with a range of actionable insights. Your fully integrated data can tell you:
- How many sales your company achieves over a specific period.
- What types of customers are buying certain products.
- How effective each type of marketing campaign is.
- How marketing campaigns measure up against each other.
- Cart abandonment rates and causes.
- Preferred methods of customer communication.
- Correlations between business growth or shrinkage and market changes.
Integrate.io has well over a hundred pre-built connectors to the apps and data sources that matter to your business; plus, with our API tools, you can connect to just about any other source you like. If you don’t see the integrations on our website, talk to us, and we’ll make sure we can meet your requirements.
Use Integrate.io as a Primary Pillar of Your Data Management Process
Integrate.io is a new data integration platform with ETL capabilities that can take your Ecommerce data from so many sources, transform it, and move it effortlessly into the data destination of your choice. The intuitive drag-and-drop interface has a very shallow learning curve, making it accessible to data engineers and managers but also to those with minimal coding or data management experience. This makes it ideal for new and established Ecommerce businesses, especially those that want to make better use of the data they know they have access to.
ELT/CDC feeds can use automation to bring data in as soon as changes occur. This can give your business real-time insights into buying habits and other customer data and help you create meaningful data sets for insights that drive real growth. Make smarter, faster business decisions by consolidating the information that matters to you and your customers. Use the reverse ETL capabilities to send critical information out to your CRM or ERP systems, making your data warehouse a highly profitable business tool.
Integrate.io won in an astonishing seven categories in the Spring G2 awards, and you can head over to G2 and find out exactly what other users are saying about our intuitive data integration solutions for Ecommerce businesses. Optimize your integration strategy with a tool used by some of the world’s biggest, most recognizable names in Ecommerce — Nike, Serena & Lily, and Caterpillar, to name just a few. The platform’s deep Ecommerce capabilities mean you can hone it to your exact requirements, and our team is always on hand to provide award-winning support and advice.
Schedule an intro call today to find out how you can improve your Ecommerce business’s data quality and data management processes with the integration platform built for online business.