Integrating Sage 300 with External eCommerce Solutions

Unlock Business Potential through Intelligent Implementations

Sage 300 integration to an eCommerce platform is a very challenging but rewarding process to complete, offering advanced capabilities that include REST endpoints and an SDK library. As a rule of thumb, the SDK library is generally considered a best practice to utilize along with the REST endpoints. The eCommerce platform offers a web API framework that is standard to use with a REST-based protocol but can also be set up to use SOAP if required. In turn, the Sage 300 integration itself offers the ability to integrate with all entities within the system in any field that would be needed, including core and custom fields that are created within those entities.

To begin with, the chosen entities might be standard categories and products, like a product catalog and all the associated data. Sage 300 has the core set of information for this product catalog, which can be pumped into the platform through an integration. The Sage 300 side of things normally includes additional entities that may be integrated, such as:

  • Product SKUs
  • Pricing information and customer-specific pricing
  • Inventory data and location-specific inventory
  • Data for warehouses, distribution centers, or storefronts
  • Information around categories, product relations, and advanced attribute data
  • Meta information and imagery
  • Custom fields with advanced product data

All of the above information is available to expose and integrate into Sage 300, using the Clarity Connect platform. One of the benefits a highly capable connector presents is how it can leverage task-based discrete tasks that are essentially focused on specific integration types within. For example, it can leverage advanced business logic when integrating product data from Sage 300 to your existing eCommerce solution, so it can determine if a product is already created and only certain fields should be updated. This intelligent functionality is commonly referred to as business logic and data transformation.

Examine Different Scenarios that Make Sense for your Business

Considerations for a Tailored and Fruitful Integration

Whenever a product gets updated in Sage 300, you probably want to make sure that the inventory, pricing, and maybe other information that's critical to the business goes into the platform. But you most likely wouldn’t want to override the overall product information, because your marketing team members may have carefully enriched or enhanced the product metadata. What you really need is an advanced queue-based persistent task engine that allows for systematic business logic and data transformation capabilities, with respect to each task or area of integration. One of the other core entities that we usually recommend integrating between systems is to have customers and accounts go two ways. This can typically include pulling core records from Sage 300 and whenever new customers or accounts are created, they go from your eCommerce system into Sage 300.

The fundamental need for certain business logic is apparent, to ensure that information isn’t needlessly duplicated and replicated. In this manner, it's also critical to handle user associations properly, so that when a new user gets created in one system but already exists inside of Sage 300, the correct user association occurs. With a customer and account integration, we're inevitably looking at core customer data, address information (billing, shipping, and primary), as well as contacts. There might be a single contact or hundreds -even thousands- of contacts that have relevant pricing information that is specific to the account.

Other information that can be integrated among systems includes tax levels and different locations. Regarding locations, the associated business logic per each distinct location may also be incorporated, namely: pricing, credit limits by location, a tax exemption status, and past order history (which could drive available replacement parts). The higher idea essentially involves a general two-way integration and syncing for customers and accounts. In practice, whenever a new user is created the information gets pumped into Sage 300, where it searches for an associated account. This process is possibly based on the domain name, address information, phone number, or other verification rules, to perform the association and link back to the Sage 300 account.

Scaling and Customization is Integral to Success

Applying the Ideal Supporting Business Logic

In many cases, the user might already know a company account number, or some other form of reference number, as it's quite possible your organization has a really specific logic in place. Taking this into consideration, we would certainly recommend using a connector and integration platform between sage 300 and an eCommerce platform that allows you to customize and meet your business needs for how this integration is going to materialize. In addition, sales orders, invoices, and quotes are, more often than not, a core integration. Therefore, when someone places an order in your eCommerce system, that order must integrate to Sage 300 as well. The following information showcases an example of a standard attainable scenario and includes things like:

  • Complete order information
  • Line items, the details of those line items, possible discounts, and the overall order itself
  • Taxes and tax classes on products
  • Data associated with document numbers (for Avalara, TaxJar, etc.)
  • Shipments, related fee calculations, and shipping discounts
  • Customs and duties
  • Payment and transaction data, including the actual transaction, profile information, split payments, and refunds

Virtually anything that's associated with a particular order can be pulled from into Sage 300. Even previous invoices inside Sage 300 can be transferred and be paid within it. The same applies to Sage 300 quotes, as they can be converted into an order that the user is able to pay for right there. All of the above capabilities are possible with a flawless integration between an eCommerce system and Sage 300. We absolutely encourage you to evaluate and look for a connector or integration platform between an existing eCommerce solution and Sage 300 that effectively allows you to grow your business.

Your solution of choice should ideally empower you to scale and modify the capabilities from a task -or discreet kind of integration- perspective, so that you can integrate products and categories separately or together as you please. By extension, you should be able to integrate accounts and addresses separately or together if you’d like, and then track the status of these as they're completing the integration process. We typically recommend an enterprise-level, scalable, and redundant system that is queue-based with persistence. In other words, whenever a task is queued up but one system is offline, the integration is going to continue to be persistent until it completes and provides some form of status update. Lastly, it’s viewed as best practice to have a dashboard and notification system as well, which is something that we offer as part of the solution with the Clarity Connect platform.

How Can Clarity Help

Sage 300 eCommerce Integration Specialists

If you have any questions about your Sage 300 integration, one of our knowledgeable and friendly team members would be happy to provide you with a complimentary review. You're always welcome to explore and click around our site to find additional helpful resources for your upcoming project. If you don't see the answer to your particular question or would like more information related to a specific topic of interest, go ahead and click on the Ask the Expert link. We'll be glad to prepare a detailed response and include everything you want to know about a successful Sage 300 eCommerce integration.

NopCommerce + Sage 300 Integration

Clarity Connect is a middleware platform that facilitates the integration of NopCommerce to Sage 300, including the automation of business processes and the sharing of data. Why would you do this? Every company, as well as every need to integrate is different. The most common is to marry the front-office web property with a back-office application, such as an online storefront connected to and ERP to pass orders automatically when the order is placed online.

There are many considerations when designing the connection between NopCommerce and Sage 300. There can be security and performance criteria, as well as the physical access available to the applications. The two common connection types of applications that are typically connected are SaaS and On Premises.

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Connecting with Clarity Connect:

  • NopCommerce

    NopCommerce

  • Sage 300

    Sage 300

Clarity Connect is a middleware platform that facilitates the integration of NopCommerce to Sage 300, including the automation of business processes and the sharing of data. Why would you do this? Every company, as well as every need to integrate is different. The most common is to marry the front-office web property with a back-office application, such as an online storefront connected to and ERP to pass orders automatically when the order is placed online.

There are many considerations when designing the connection between NopCommerce and Sage 300. There can be security and performance criteria, as well as the physical access available to the applications. The two common connection types of applications that are typically connected are SaaS and On Premises.

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Be Nimble, Be Quick

SaaS or In-the-Cloud Applications

SaaS-based integrations are very common. These are exclusively online and used to integrate applications like Salesforce, Office365, USPS, UPS, 3PL, Avalara (Clarity is a certified Sage, Microsoft and Avalara partner) and any other application that is served up in the cloud.

In any of these scenarios, the eCommerce storefront is hosted on a cloud-based server (usually at a provider like Amazon, Azure, Rack Space, Liquid Web, Managed.com, etc.), and Clarity Connect is installed on the same server, with the connector or adapter communicating to the other online application across a secured Internet connection.

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Working from Within

On-Premises Applications

Another common implementation is when a client has their ERP or CRM installed on premises, behind their corporate firewall. In this scenario, Clarity Connect is then installed on a server on premises, along with the connector at the client’s facility and configured to communicate securely within their network to the back-office application(s).

Then an IP exception, with specific port and public / private key combo is used so that Connect can securely communicate with the other application’s connector / adapter in the cloud, improving security and ensuring that the client’s ERP / CRM are not exposed outside of their network.

NopCommerce
Innovative & Robust

How Middleware Integration Works for B2B Platforms

Integrated NopCommerce & Sage 300 applications can foster greater customer loyalty with business process automation that delivers consistently outstanding customer service. Order processing speeds up, customers can access a range of information about their accounts such as order history and shipping options, so that it’s easy to place complex orders. Examples of how integrating ERP software works in practical terms include the following automated processes:

  • Customers and prospects visit an eCommerce website.
  • A record of the visit is generated and converted into a format that works in NopCommerce & Sage 300 software (Contact record -> Activity log).
  • If a sale is made, a Customer Record and Sales Order are automatically generated.
  • Visitor behavior is tracked and recorded to build user profiles for custom displays, marketing messages, recommendations and content curation.
  • Sales Orders and Quotes are sent to the appropriate staff for review, fulfillment and shipping.
  • Shipping details are converted into readable formats and forwarded to the eCommerce store.
  • Inventory figures update in real-time.
Sage 300
A Better Experience

Customer Service Takes its Place at the Top of the Queue with ERP Integration

The usefulness of both CRM and ERP software depends on how efficiently business process automation works, and that depends on how fully the software is integrated into operations. If customers must contact sales or customer service staff frequently to troubleshoot problems with orders, get answers to simple questions or manage other issues with their accounts, the hidden and labor costs can be tremendous.

Companies routinely lose orders, fail to upsell accounts and frustrate customers when self-service eCommerce applications don’t work seamlessly with back-office data, pricing and automation. The costs of staff intervention also raise human capital costs and prevent staff from pursuing revenue-generating tasks.

  • Generating customized email, marketing promotions and newsletter marketing.
  • Generating customized reports and 360-degree views of each customer’s profile and real-time actions.
  • Automating line of business applications to foster seamless connections with multiple databases and internal management systems.
  • Delivering customer-centric tools for order fulfillment, support requests and ticketing applications.
  • Triggering custom quotes, accelerated workflows and faster management decisions.
  • Triggering custom quotes, accelerated workflows and faster management decisions.
It's All About Endpoints

Business Logic & Endpoint Types

Business logic are workflows that are the real meat and potatoes of the integration. It's where all the business processing happens and is made up of events, triggers, rules, and more. It's what allows all of the real-time or batched communication and automation of the front-end website with data and logic from the back-office applications. This is what extracts and exposes all of the value of your website / marketplace project.

The workflows can be very simple, such as checking a product's in-stock inventory count, to something much more complex. The basic endpoint categories are:

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Contacts

Individual users, typically customers or individuals of partners

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Accounts

Customer accounts, partners, resellers, etc.

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Products

Products or services that your company provides or sells

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Inventory

Stock quantities of products or services

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Pricing Tables

Pricing set on your products or services

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Sales Orders

Orders placed on the web that are pushed to the back office for processing

There can be literally hundreds of endpoints an API can expose to a connector (Clarity's eCommerce API exposes over 10,000) and the list can be very different from the two sides you're integrating. This is important because you may want to push or pull information from an application that can't be easily accessed or loaded to an application that doesn't support that type of data (Accounts and Contacts may both be in your CRM and ERP, but products and inventory may only exist within the ERP).

Possible Complex Workflow Samples

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Login Authentication Workflow

When a user logs into your store, Connect can go to the integrated CRM, look up the user, see what account they belong to. Is the account status on hold? Does the user have permissions to purchase on account? What pricing table does the account get assigned? Which products should be made visible to the user, etc.?

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Viewing a Product Workflow

When a user clicks on a product category, go to ERP in real-time and check to validate their (the account's) pricing, inventory story quantity and whether the product can be back ordered.

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Displaying Multiple Stock Quantities

If you stock products in multiple warehouses, how do you let users know how many are at each location? Connect can pull that information from your ERP(s), and display that on the website, allowing users to order from the closest location that has the number they need in stock.

Workflows and Benefits Supported by NopCommerce

NopCommerce uses REST for its Connector-Adapter (API). This allows for the integration of data in the Product and Orders categories. Here's a brief list of some possible workflows:

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Login & Tiered Pricing

Automated login can validate users & account-based tiered pricing with Sage 300

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Lead Capture & Generation

Capture leads to support your marketing activities

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Automate Sales Orders

Automate push Sales Orders for processing into Sage 300

Workflows and Benefits Supported by Sage 300

Sage 300 uses EDI File Exchange for its Connector-Adapter (API). This allows for the integration of data in the Pricing and Fulfillment categories. Here's a brief list of some possible workflows:

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Products & Services

Automatically pull products and services from Sage 300 into the NopCommerce storefront

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Inventory & Stock Quantites

Display accurate stock and inventory counts on your NopCommerce store by pulling real stock quantities

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Invoicing & Payments

Pulling invoices from Sage 300 into NopCommerce allows customers to save, print and pay their invoices online

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Integration Cost & Timing

Since the endpoints expose what is accessible to each connector, those applications with robust, well-defined APIs allow you to integrate more quickly and at a much lower cost. Simple integrations (i.e. forwarding orders to the back-office, pulling stock and quantities to the front-office) can start around $15k (including the platform's one-time license fee), especially for those that we've already developed robust connectors for. The complex integrations or those with many workflows and dozens of endpoint calls, may run as much as $30k all the way up to $100k for multiple applications.

It all depends on the number of applications being integrated, the ability to easily integrate with the applications, and the numbers and complexity of the business workflows being built. Using Clarity Connect, typical integrations can take from a few weeks to a few months. Over more than a decade, Clarity has done over 3,000 integrations and although 40% of the integrations that come our way are new, we haven't met an integration that we haven't been able to develop. Give us a call today to discuss your integration project.

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