CASE STUDY: A SHOPIFY AND MAGENTO INTEGRATION
THE FULL THROTTLE SALOON (FTS)
THE FULL THROTTLE SALOON (FTS) is the world’s largest biker bar located in Sturgis, South Dakota. If you haven’t heard of FTS directly you may have heard of the huge Sturgis motorcycle rally hosted in Sturgis, SD every year. Over the past decade, the Full Throttle Saloon has created and built up their brand like no other biker bar in history. They now sell their own branded merchandise and have their own distillery in which they make their own branded whiskey and moonshine (which we hear is high quality).
SS VAPE sells premium e-cigarettes, vaporizers and hundreds of e-liquid flavors through their online store as well as in their physical stores located throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania. SS Vape is also a wholesaler and maker of several e-liquid brands in their FDA approved facility.
OPEN PROFESSIONAL GROUP (OPG)
OPEN PROFESSIONAL GROUP (OPG) is a small group of technology professionals with the singular goal of creating relevant, cost-sensible software solutions for its clients that would be custom developed to meet the existing business processes of each client.
The Full Throttle Saloon and SS Vape decided to partner up to create specially branded e-liquid flavors for vapers that tastes an awful lot like the popular and delicious drinks served at The Full Throttle Saloon as well as the flavor of their moonshine. FTS wanted to sell these products directly to their customers on their own website supported by the Shopify ecommerce platform and wanted SS Vape to provide direct shipping of the e-liquid flavors to the Full Throttle Customers. However, the two firms used two entirely different e-commerce platforms and there was no simple way of integrating the two e-commerce platforms to achieve the business process they were looking for. Determined not to let the two different ecommerce platforms dictate their business partnership or the customer experience, FTS and SS Vape called in reinforcements (Open Professional Group) to help them achieve their business goals.
THE BUSINESS REQUIREMENTS
A Full Throttle Saloon customer will visit the FTS website’s online store (Shopify) and view, select, and add products to their cart regardless if these products are sold directly by FTS or specially branded products created and fulfilled by SS Vape. In either case, the FTS customer will be none the wiser of the products origin. After the customer selects the products they wish to purchase, they will be able to checkout and pay for their order. Therefore, any orders and payment processing are handled by FTS and Shopify. Any notifications regarding this order are sent by FTS/Shopify and no notifications are to be sent to the customer by SS vape at any time. If the FTS customer purchases products that are supplied by SS Vape, SS Vape will programmatically be notified and will fulfill that portion of the customer’s order by shipping those products directly to the customer’s home under the FTS brand. Any FTS products will be fulfilled by FTS as usual. Billing and payment for the items SS Vape ships to FTS customers is not integrated or automated, but is done directly between SS Vape and The Full Throttle Saloon.
THE PROGRAMMAGIC APPROACH
OPG designed an integration between the SS Vape Magento platform and the FTS Shopify platform that periodically searches for any customer orders that contains inventory items from the SS Vape Category within the FTS Shopify Platform. Once an order is found containing SS Vape products, the order information is autoMAGICALLY sent to the SS Vape Magento platform as a pending order so the distribution process can begin.
Because the platform and integration must easily identify the products that are FTS products, as well as push orders into the core Magento platform as having come from the FTS system, a new store was created in the SS Vape Magento platform. The new store exists only in the admin portal of the platform and is only accessible by SS Vape staff. The order numbers for this new store has a special prefix number so these orders can be easily identified as those from FTS. This store only contains the inventory products for FTS and no other SS Vape products. The status of a product (e.g. only active products in this store) in this store is what will be used to determine if the product SKU is one that will be gathered by the API integration.
When an order is placed by the customer in the FTS Shopify shopping platform, it is then placed in the Shopify database. OPG used the API provided by Shopify to monitor and review these orders programmatically (by automated CRON process every 15 minutes) and determines if an order should be created in the SS Vape Magento system so that it can be fulfilled. The system searches for any products that are related to SS Vape based on whether the list of SKUs setup in the new store for active products is one of the ones contained in the line item list and are not already reviewed and processed.
When an order is created in SS Vape Magento, a new Order Number is created and is linked to the original Shopify Order Number for cross referencing purposes so that if the order is cancelled or changed, this information can be passed back to Shopify as needed. Similarly, when shipments are performed, those too can be pushed back to Shopify using this order number. Orders created in the Magento platform, are monitored by a module created by OPG to ensure that it is not later cancelled in Shopify. If the order is found to be later cancelled in Shopify, the module will update the order status in Magento to cancelled.
When SS Vape fulfills a given order and posts the tracking data as a “shipment” in Magento for the FTS orders; the module will also instruct Shopify to create a “fulfillment” for the given products/order so that FTS and the Shopify platform will see the items as fulfilled and the customer can be notified to the updated by FTS/Shopify. For the FTS orders, any and all email notifications to the “customer” are disabled in the SS Vape Magento platform to prevent any emails from going to the customer from SS Vape since SS Vape will provide this fulfillment service “behind the scenes.”
For troubleshooting purposes, OPG created a Transaction Log to log any activity for an order (e.g. new order retrieved, fulfillment added, cancelled order, etc) that is related to the FTS Shopify integration.
THE END RESULT
The end result of this elegantly designed, exceptionally executed solution is a winning situation for all those involved. It’s a win-win business relationship between two awesome companies (SS Vape and FTS) and another win for the FTS customer. SS Vape wins through the addition of another wholesale customer, FTS. The Full Throttle Saloon wins by being able to expand their product line with specially made FTS branded products made by SS Vape. The customer wins by being able to buy the new FTS branded products with a “one store” feel. And of course, Open Professional Group wins by being able to make this solution a reality for SS Vape and FTS.
If you have a business need that can use a little (or a lot) of programming magic to make it happen, contact us today to set up your FREE consultation.