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Your Guide to Integrating

This guide covers all you need to know about how to get the best experience when connecting your store to another Sales Channel via IDA Connect .


Be sure to read it through and act where needed.

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General

Once you have the Shopify app installed and connected to your Sales Channel, IDA then goes to work checking each of your products.

IDA matches any products that are on your Sales Channel that have the same SKU as variants in your Shopify store. Then every 5 minutes IDA checks for any updates in the master stock levels. If there is a change, it then compares the stock levels with those that should be on each matched sales channel. If there is a difference, IDA pushes the updated stock level to the sales channel.
 
IDA also checks orders every 5 minutes. If there is a new order on your Sales Channel, the order will be pushed to your Shopify store. And once the order is fulfilled, the details are then pushed back to the sales channel and the order has completed the IDA process.
 
There are some extra things IDA can do as well. Like add an extra line item to an order to identify the sales channel. Or set a shipping method based on which country the product was purchased in.
 
We will discuss these in detail shortly.

Get Your SKUs aligned​

When it comes to integrating, you need a way to match items on any system you want to connect. You are in luck because any system you want to connect through, IDA already has a way for you to do this.

 

The Stock Keeping Unit or the SKU is used for this purpose. This single identifier has been used by companies globally for a long time to identify every single variation of the item available. Nearly all modern systems will use the SKU as a way of identifying each unique variation. This SKU is then used to match items across each system and is why it’s a critical piece to get right.

 

To make sure you get a quick and easy integration, you should make sure that each of your variants have a unique SKU. You can use the Unmatched screen in the IDA Dashboard to make sure you have matched all items.

 

Some issues we see with matching SKUs include having spaces in the SKU or using an underscore instead of a dash or vice versa. The SKU needs to be identical to be automatically matched. If you are having problems getting your SKUs aligned, it might be worth using an app like Microsoft Excel to analyze your products and SKUs. You can export your lists from your systems and plug them into Excel to see what is happening.

It’s sometimes worth trying to open your exported file in a plain text editor as well like Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on a Mac. This helps identify when there are extra characters in your SKU.

Disable Old/Unused Products

With IDA, you will only sync those items that match and those that are active. This helps maintain near real-time sync to allow you to sell using one stock pool. If you have a large number of historical products or you maintain a seasonal catalogue, we suggest you deactivate any products not selling instead of relying on a zero stock count to make the product unavailable. The best thing is to go through your sales channels and make sure you deactivate any products that are not selling now.
 
We only sync stock levels for matched products so if you have 2000 products in your manager system and only 100 active on your Sales channel, we will only sync the 100 products, so this will keep things moving fast and reduce the risk of delayed stock level updates.
 

Have A Manual Process

Due to the nature of integrated systems, we cannot guarantee 100% delivery of orders or stock level updates. Because we don’t manage the systems we connect, and we have no control of the Internet, which is how we talk to each of the system, we don’t have enough control to make sure the sync is completed error free. In the cases where syncs could not be completed, you will receive a notification letting you know and, in some cases, you may need to complete a process manually. Having a manual process to ship an or-der or update stock levels will help in this situation.
 
We do run the sync regularly as well as use real-time notifications where systems allow for this to make sure we get the sync completed as error free as possible. And the regular sync means that for issues like time-outs, the process will normally run on the next scheduled event.

In any case, it would be very beneficial for you to have a manual pro-cess in place for times when things out of our control stop us from automating the process for you.

Operations

We have just touched on some of the reasons why things can go wrong but let’s have a look at the most common issues.

Oversells  

Oversells are when a product is sold on a sales channel, but you have no stock available.

 

There are a few factors that can be in play here. The first thing to check, was the stock level updated prior to the sale?
Some sales channels have conditions where they can cause an over-sell due to events like manual payment reviews. We see orders come in days after we sent a 0-stock level update for the product. In this case you will need to log the issue with the appropriate sales channel to have them investigate.

 

There is a straightforward way to check this. Go to the IDA dashboard and click on the Order to go to the Edit screen. You will see the order items. From here you can click on the Variant SKU to go to the Product screen. On this screen, you will see the event log entries. If you can see an event log for the variation being set to 0 stock and the time stamp on the update was prior to the order time, then you will need to check with The Iconic to find out what happened. If the update happened after the order date, log it with us to investigate. We can see if there were any delays in processing that may have caused the problem.
 
If there are no updates at all, check the Unmatched screen on the products page to see if it may be that the item is not currently managed, and you need to fix the SKU for the item.

Fulfillment Update Issue

In some cases, you may find that the fulfillment update for an order was not able to be processed. This mainly happens when we cannot automatically match the carrier in the Sales Channel to the one in the fulfillment.

 

In this case it would be quickest to manually update the tracking details in your Sales Channel and then be sure to go through the Carrier configuration instructions for your sales Channel a little later to make sure you are set up to match carriers correctly. If you get stuck, log a ticket with our service desk to see if we can better match the carrier.
 
This is most important when you change carriers. You may find that suddenly there is no fulfillment updates going through because we are unable to match your carrier anymore.

Do you sometimes see a negative stock level in Seller Center and wonder why this happens?

The answer is it’s because Seller Center reserves stock for any pending orders so when IDA Connect syncs the stock level of 0 quantity, the available stock level in Seller Center becomes negative.

Not sure what that means? Let’s have a quick look at an example.

Let’s take a look at Item 1 that has a stock level of 1 and see how it progresses through the order lifecycle.

ActionIconic StockShopify Stock
Last inventory syncQuantity: 1
Available: 1
1
Order for 1 Item1Quantity: 1
Available: 0
1
Order created in ShopifyQuantity: 1
Available: 0
0
Stock level sync to Iconic of 0 quantity
1 item still reserved due to pending order
Quantity: 0
Available: -1
0
Order mark as sent in Seller centerQuantity: 0
Available: 0
0

Hope this helps clarify why you see negative stock levels in Seller Center. It is a symptom of the combination of having your stock levels in sync and The Iconic wishing to reserve stock for pending orders.

You can safely ignore these negative numbers. You can also check that the items return to 0 available after you have fulfilled the order.

Setup

When it comes to integrating, you need a way to match items on any system you want to connect. You are in luck because any system you want to connect through, IDA already has a way for you to do this.

 

The Stock Keeping Unit or the SKU is used for this purpose. This single identifier has been used by companies globally for a long time to identify every single variation of the item available. Nearly all modern systems will use the SKU as a way of identifying each unique variation. This SKU is then used to match items across each system and is why it’s a critical piece to get right.

 

To make sure you get a quick and easy integration, you should make sure that each of your variants has a unique SKU. You can use the Unmatched screen in the IDA Dashboard to make sure you have matched all items. Some issues we see with matching SKUs include having spaces in the SKU or using an underscore instead of a dash or vice versa. The SKU needs to be identical to be automatically matched.
 
If you are having problems getting your SKUs aligned, it might be worth using an app like Microsoft Excel to analyze your products and SKUs. You can export your lists from your systems and plug them into Excel to see what is happening. It’s sometimes worth trying to open your exported file in a plain text editor as well like Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on a Mac. This helps identify when there are extra characters in your SKU.

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