Case Study - Office eBay store
In April 2009, Office asked us to investigate the potential of their selling on the eBay platform. As with any retail business, Office had a large amount of fragmented stock sitting in warehouses. It was important that any eBay business was integrated directly with Office's existing ecommerce platform and order processing system with as many processes being automated as possible. At this point, the Office web platform was already integrated with a number of web channels and it was important that any eBay integration was as seamless as with these other channels.
After significant investigation as well as discussions directly with eBay, it was eventually decided that Office's best option was to integrate Office's ecommerce platform directly with eBay using eBay's Large Merchant Services (LMS) API and the PayPal API. This would allow a great deal of automation and control such as full listing management, inventory updates and full order management, with little or no manual intervention necessarily required during each stage. Listings needed to be generated and altered automatically as soon as stock was allocated to the dedicated eBay warehouse within Office's stock control system and orders would be pulled directly into Office's order processing system once payment had been received.
Prior to development starting, we worked with Office to define a functional specification, the system and database architecture, a project plan, a comprehensive test plan, as well as helping them map their product catalogue into a new eBay shop category structure.
As Office's existing platform was primarily built using the Open Source language Perl, it was decided that the new Office / eBay API would be built using the same technology. However, it was built in such a way to be relatively stand-alone from Office's ecommerce platform with the core API communication modules being entirely separate in order that they could be relatively easily be re-used by us for other integrations with the eBay LMS.
The integration would maintain Office's PCI compliance as the credit card details were only ever touched by Paypal. No credit card information would ever be sent to Office. However, due to the fact that some personal information was contained within the orders from eBay, all communication between internal and external systems was secure and order files were encrypted during the transport to Office's internal order processing systems.
The project had a timescale of 3 months from beginning to end.
Office's eBay store was launched at the end of August 2009. Since the launch of the eBay store, the level of orders has increased week on week. The orders generated through this new channel are now making a significant contribution to Office's online business as well as exposing the Office brand to a larger world-wide audience
Office has worked very had to maintain a good feedback rating on eBay (currently standing at 99% positive). Maintaing a high level of positive feedback on eBay is vitally important and Office has acheived this through fast delivery and a high level of customer service.