Amazon API Integration for eCommerce Business Automation Solution
Consumer Electronic Showroom partnered with the Software Development team at Capitol Tech Solutions to create a solution for their outdated infrastructure. They also desired to improve their Business Automation by integrating Amazon’s powerful eCommerce features for APIs.
Client: Consumer Electronic Showroom
Date: April 2018
“We are extremely pleased with our partnership with Capitol Tech Solutions. They have met and exceeded our expectations to deliver software application expertise, providing us with a flexible platform to grow our business. We look forward to continued success and a long-term relationship with their talented development team.”
~ Reza Moodi, CEO - Consumer Electronic Showroom
eCommerce Business Needs to Upgrade and Optimize Database to Cloud Based Solution
Consumer Electronic Showroom (CEShowroom), a leader in online consumer electronic sales, had outgrown their existing application infrastructure, and needed to modernize their platform to allow for future business growth. Their existing Microsoft Access Database Solution posed an issue with size constraints which was hindering their ability to expand. They wanted to migrate from the Access platform to a .NET Cloud Based Solution that would offer the room to expand their technology and incorporate their product database with the Amazon API Gateway. Making these changes would provide CEShowroom the ability to streamline their business processes by increasing the automation options available to them by integrating Amazon API documentation.
Amazon Web Service Integration Provides a Scalable Solution
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a set of cloud computing services used by companies of all shapes and sizes, from startups to big companies to government agencies. AWS is built to be scalable, allowing companies to purchase needed computing power at a lower cost than traditional infrastructure. As a company realize the need to accommodate increased web traffic, file storage, or power a database, AWS provides a fast and reliable, cost-effective solution.
Amazon Web Service Integration Provides a Scalable Solution
The full power of AWS can be unleashed by experienced programmers who can leverage developer tools to drastically increase market performance and grow your business. Through data integration of Application Programming Interfaces (API) companies can monitor not only their own markets, but their competitors as well. Business decisions can be made using real time data from the entire Amazon platform through API Requests.
The difficulty in leveraging the AWS comes from both the amount of data and Amazon’s own distributed nature. Over a hundred reports can be obtained from the AWS through the API Gateway. Identifying relevant business data is the first step in understanding how to use the information to improve process. However, due to Amazon’s size, the AWS cannot be leveraged at scale without significant business logic. Few reports can be received in real time, and much of the data is throttled.
Software Development Experts Needed to Supplement In-house Team
As CEShowroom embarked on the project they quickly realized that their in-house development team lacked the bandwidth and expertise to undertake the project alone. After weighing their options, CEShowroom partnered with Capitol Tech Solutions (CTS) to develop a solution to their needs. The partnership gave CEShowroom access to our Senior Level Software Developers who were able to bring years of knowledge and expertise to the project and provide an efficient solution.
Successful Projects Start with a Well-Defined Scope of Work
We first met with the team at CEShowroom to understand the business goals and overview of the project. The goals were defined as:
“Engineer and develop a framework for their internal applications to integrate with multiple suppliers and multiple storefronts to sell products online in the competitive eCommerce space, and do it quickly on a tight budget.”
We agreed that the project would best be managed by placing a Senior Software Developer on site with CEShowroom for nearly two months for account management. The existing system in place at CEShowroom had many components and remote sessions would have been too cumbersome initially to fully understand the complexities of their system. Once the initial framework was put in place, our team would dial back the onsite development, and meet locally on a weekly basis to work with their team.
As with any software project we undertake, having a clear set of deliverables leads to a higher likelihood for success. To accomplish this, we put our proven development process and account management into motion. The first step clearly defines the project goals by creating a Scope of Work that both us and the client agree on. To assist with establishing the goals, we completed a deep dive into the existing application, asking several questions including:
- How does this application meet your current needs?
- What does this application do well?
What limitation does this application have?
- Technical limitation
- Process Limitations
- User Interface Limitations
- What is the end goal of the application?
- Can the solution be completed in phases?
By asking and answering these questions, our Application Architect gained a high-level insight for the current causes of the issues that CEShowroom faced and define a solution. Our assessment confirmed that CEShowroom had outgrown their existing application from a technical standpoint, running into limits due to the sheer size of their database. As the company expanded, they had applied a “Band-Aid” solution to provide a delay in overhauling the system. This process became tedious for end users to manage each of the pieces. Our Application Architect assessed their current solution to understand the pitfalls and pain points to develop a plan moving forward to streamline processes. We also researched the featured APIs available for business selling on Amazon and other stores, to learn where current manual processes could be streamlined through API requests.
Our Solution to Optimize Business Processes and Upgrade Systems
With an understanding of the business case for the solution and application architecture developed with a well-defined Scope of Work our developers began to put the solution in place. The solution included multiple aspects of the application that our full stack of Software Developers specializes in. The project included:
- Create MSSQL database to store and manage product data.
- Ingest Data from SFTP and REST API’s on a regularly scheduled basis.
- Process push notifications of data to show in a UI and allow staff to make business decisions.
- Post products to the Amazon Marketplace via Amazon’s eCommerce API Integration Platform.
- Framework for integration with other 3rd party eCommerce featured APIs, including eBay.
Each of the above pieces had a detailed defined deliverable, so at each step the client had a clear understanding of our accomplishments. And for each phase, we had a detailed process to ensure success, including:
- Scope Review
- Software Development
- Staff Training
- Passing Framework to In-House Development Team
- Continued Senior Level Support for API Strategy
As pieces were developed and signed off on, we passed each piece off to the CEShowroom development team. Code was stored in GitHub for source control and versioning then made accessible to the proper team members.
AWS eCommerce APIs Utilized to Increase Sales and Profits
A major component of the project included building a robust system that constantly and intelligently queries the AWS API documentation based on CEShowroom’s business needs. The needs included:
- Provide push notifications to the data warehouse in real time for improved customer experience.
Determining which products are available on the Amazon Marketplace.
- Price information
- From which vendor
- In which market
- Shipping methods including Fulfilment by Amazon (Amazon FBA)
- Automation of the entire sales, order and inventory management system.
The few questions the system cannot answer are instantly passed on to employees, who can perform more complicated investigations of the API docs to make decisions. The solution developed by CTS allows CEShowroom to optimize their current processes for selling on Amazon, including inventory management, price information, and shipping methods to improve the customer experience. Additionally, the system also allows them to continue to scale into the future, knowing that their Amazon product data will always be optimized to their business needs.
Software Developers and AWS API Specialists Provide Continued Growth and Partnership Opportunities
While we were successful in providing a Software Solution for CEShowroom that optimized their business processes and eliminated the outdated system constraints that limited their future growth potential, it was only the first chapter of a novel. Software Development is never truly complete. Advancements in technology will always provide more features for APIs with opportunities for optimization and streamlining processes. While changes in business will continue to push the need for application enhancements.
Our team is on the forefront of API Strategy and Software Development, and this project introduced us to the power of the Amazon API Gateway. Through our continued partnership with CEShowroom, we look forward to the opportunity to engage in other 3rd party API integration platform providers, including eBay, Walmart, and WayFair. Through these additional API providers, we will help CEShowroom continue to grow from selling products on Amazon to a powerful multi-marketplace vendor selling products all over the world.
“Our goal at Capitol Tech Solutions is to be your trusted, long-term digital partner. We believe in working with you to develop a solution that will not only help you today, but into the future.”
Streamlining your business processes can save your business time and money. Our team of software engineers can partner with your existing in-house team to find the best digital solution to accomplish your business goals. From analyzing and updating your current your current applications, creating a powerful API Strategy, or implementing software solutions to streamline your current processes, Capitol Tech Solutions can help grow your business and take your company to the next level. Schedule a free consultation with our software and application experts to discuss your unique business needs and goals today.