Just a few questions about implementing APIs and using FTPs to get inventory lists.
I am creating a Shopify store that sells books. The books are distributed from three locations, all in different countries. I have one distributor saying they have APIs that need to be added to my Shopify site so that they can check the inventory they have. I have another distributor saying that they want to use FTPs to share inventory.
I understand the general gist of this all, but I do not understand how Shopify works with these types of things.
Could someone please explain to me what the process would look like to integrate these functionalities? Can I do it on my own or do I have to hire an official Shopify Developer? Is it just a matter of pasting code somewhere and changing placeholders, or is it way beyond that?
Thanks in advance!!
Book sellers are typically in the dark ages, forced to use 10-20 years old technology like Acumen. The best that system can handle is indeed FTP of CSV, as the other options are email and SOAP.
Your skills will have to be sharp to hook up 3 external suppliers to your Shopify store. Each external connection will take custom coding. And then there is the routine but still substantial work of integrating a secure App with Shopify to do all that.
I have hooked up 5 book sellers over the years with varying degrees of success. One had a stupid number of SKUs to update daily (250,000+) while others experience issues with tracking numbers and fulfillments since these external companies often ship partially. My advice to you is to have patience, and ensure you get the best support from these companies you can. I have seen how they shy away when you shine a light into their primitive operations, exposing their lack of 2020 functionality.
Thanks so much for sharing some insight! The inventory will be a lot less than 250,000+ so that's a good start haha.
The distributors work with other publishers as well that use Shopify, so they seem to have a good understanding of how they need to integrate with it.
But I am wondering, is a Shopify Developer needed just to implement something like this? Or do you think, with some helpful community posts, YouTube tutorials, and basic developer knowledge I could do it on my own?
The one distributor provided me with a map for Shopify's order file output to direct to their order file output, does this make anything that much easier?
My old analogy remains somewhat appropriate. When your car needs an oil change, do you jack it up in your driveway and change it yourself? When your transmission sticks between gear shifts and makes grinding noises, do you break out the tools and replace the work parts yourself? If you answered yes, then you are a skilled mechanic in the minority so carry on. Making your very own App is much like that. Unless your current toolbox is full of tools you know how to use well, your efforts to self-satisfy will occupy many hours, with some of them being frustrating as you try and level up on the basics of Internet computing skills. Luckily for you, 99% of the skills needed are by now well-defined and the number of tutorials is innumerable, it is no longer an elite skillset, but still, the sheer amount of information you'll encounter could throw you for a loop too.
Feel free to contact me. I turned the latest greatest Shopify fulfillment codes into, you guessed it! Dropshipper App! Actually, as me, I could never call it that, that is lame. I would call it, something distilled from: "turn yourself into a Dropshipper on Shopify with this App!"
Anyway, I can call it what I want, when I want, but basically, you can be a Dropshipper on Shopify. Your four established e-commerce customers will install an App from the Shopify App Store with your name on it! Or, maybe not. You can keep it private to just your and your customers too. Totally up to you. That App connects them to you! And bingo, bango, bongo, you're a perfectly functional Dropshipper, fulfilling all their sales, and keeping their inventory in line with reality. And you don't have to do much, and the App I made does most of the work. Except for the stuff you have not told me about. I did all the hard work, so you don't have to!
So ya... just ask... open sesame. Whatever.
I'm Operations Director at HighCohesion. We integrate Shopify to sFTP / FTP for some really exciting Shopify retailers (Alessi, Pure Electric, Grenade etc.), in addition to a whole lot of other cool systems through our SaaS platform.
Some of the integrations are simple, but many are complex (think split orders, currency/language conversions, lookups, fallback options etc.) and take only minutes to setup.
Please drop me a line if this sounds like a solution to your problem.
I have never heard anyone use the words FTP and "exciting" together, so thanks for making me chuckle into my coffee. Also, your optimism about it only taking minutes to setup an exchange. Arguably sure, but a tad facetious too. Par for the course. Marketing be that smoke and mirrors biz.
Thanks for taking the time to reply @HunkyBill. Different strokes for different folks on what excites them, I guess!
Handling more complexity in HighCohesion, does take longer to configure, sure, but a Shopify to sFTP integration does take just minutes with us. From there, you've got a whole load of configuration and customisation options at your disposal.