E-commerce Integration By Implementing EDI And API

  November 14, 2023       By Ray Atia

E-Commerce Integration By Implementing EDI And API

The B2B e-commerce industry is surging at a fast pace and becoming increasingly competitive. Effective communication is the key to making your B2B e-commerce business stand out. 

Running a successful B2B e-commerce business involves managing multiple lines of communication between manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and other types of B2B sellers. The smoother and faster these interactions are, the more reliable your e-commerce brand becomes. 

In this context, manual information exchange can make your e-commerce business susceptible to a host of errors and delays. This can further hamper your brand's growth and result in dissatisfied partners/service providers. Fortunately, electronic information exchange integrations help address these problems and streamline business communication up to a great extent. 

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are two integrations known for facilitating data and transactional exchange between businesses. Both integrations allow for fast and secure data exchange from system to system. But given that both of these technologies have their differences, which is better for e-commerce: EDI or API? 

Invented over sixty years ago, EDI has been around for longer and is more widespread. The high level of security is one of the key reasons why EDI is still preferred in various industries, including e-commerce. This mature technology employs standardized electronic formats, making it easy for systems to process the information. So, this greatly reduces or even eliminates the need for manual work, making it much more reliable. In addition, it is important to note that EDI is not a programming interface. EDI files consist of information about business transactions, including purchase orders, invoices, inventory inquiries, shipments, etc. Trading partners transfer these files to each other, and they load them into their systems to read the message contained. 

API, on the other hand, is a software intermediary that allows communication between two applications. Put simply, an API is an interface between software programs, enabling them to interact with each other effectively. This is similar to how a user interface helps humans interact with computers. So, it also eliminates any intervention from users, thus reducing manual work and chances of errors. In addition, API’s facilitate fast and real-time communication. However, API’s lack reliability and security when compared with EDI. This is the main reason why EDI is still widely used in many industries for communication. 

It’s worth noting that despite its longer existence, EDI is still efficient because its infrastructure has come a long way. The EDI technology has adapted to evolving industry-specific requirements and laws. When optimized and integrated adequately, EDI integration can offer significant benefits for e-commerce communication. 

Together. B2B e-commerce and EDI integration help establish real-time communication between businesses, their partner base, and audiences while eliminating the dependence on paper documentation. In addition, EDI assures that all parties involved are reviewing the same information without waiting for end-of-the-day updates. EDI also allows businesses to automatically communicate compliance requirements and shipping formats to the brand’s standards and as required by packaging for different types of products. 

Because of these benefits, EDI plays a helpful role in the e-commerce space. E-commerce businesses work with a lengthy chain of trading partners, like management systems, online retailers, third-party logistics (3PL) providers, internal software systems, etc. Each partner might use different formats for information or transaction exchange. As mentioned above, EDI facilitates a standardized format of communication between these partners, allowing them to communicate seamlessly using a common format. The ‘common’ language reduces the chances of errors, misinterpretations, and misunderstandings. 

Another benefit of EDI is its ability to handle batch processing. E-commerce businesses work with large volumes of transactions, and EDI allows them to send batches of transactions simultaneously. On the other hand, APIs send transactions individually. Batch processing speeds up operations and proves to be cost-effective in the long term, especially for e-commerce giants handling high transaction volumes. 

In contrast, API shines when it comes to B2C e-commerce communication. This is because of the real-time data exchange and flexibility it offers, which make it preferable for customer experience. And EDI is the preferred and most useful model for B2B operations. It’s worth noting that many large retailers have mandated the use of EDI. For them, it's no longer a choice; it's a requirement. This extensive acceptance and mandate further marks EDI's importance and effectiveness in e-commerce integration. 

So, if you are ready to make the most out of EDI e-commerce integration, Amosoft is here to help. We offer flexible, customizable solutions that help streamline your e-commerce operations with EDI automation while reducing the time and costs involved. 

Get in touch with Amosoft today and explore our EDI integration services for your e-commerce business.