If you run a Magento online store and think of expanding your business you must have already done some homework and researched possible online selling channels. The amount of multiple sales environments is crazy today; however, the most popular and trustworthy are eBay and Amazon. According to statista.com analysis, in August 2015, Amazon got 188 million users per month. Second-ranked eBay had 98 million unique visitors during the same period.
Amazon and eBay are the places where customers tend to start their online shopping and where you can showcase your products to a greater market even if your brand is not yet widely recognized. However, if you plan to run your online store and eBay/Amazon shop separately you most likely will get one big headache: inventory difference, product duplications, order issues and unhappy customers.
The right thing to do is to integrate your Magento website with either eBay or Amazon and have a smooth hassle-free management of your business.
Before we go into details of implementation there is one thing to understand about Magento and eBay/Amazon integration that might help you pick the right development approach: one of the systems should always be primary whereas the other one will be secondary. It means that you should never be confused where to look for the up-to-date data. If it’s important for you to keep track of everything on eBay/Amazon side then plan your integration accordingly.
WHERE TO START
Just like with almost anything related to Magento, you can create a custom solution tailored to your specific business requirements or try to find some ready-made extensions while adjusting your business needs a bit.
CUSTOM INTEGRATION OF MAGENTO WITH AMAZON AND EBAY
Both eBay and Amazon offer extensive APIs that allow to communicate with their databases. If you have specific business requirements you can hire Magento developer who will help you create a bespoke solution. However, both marketplaces have so many tricky conditions and bottlenecks that it can take ages to learn all of them before even starting to create a solution.
In this situation you will need a Magento developer who is well-versed with the platform as well as has knowledge of all the nuances that eBay/Amazon have. Once we had a case where we tried to reinvent the wheel and integrate a Magento shop with eBay from scratch. The number of super-tiny conditions and limitations was so big that it didn’t make any sense finance-wise to continue working on this custom solution so we replaced it with a ready-made extension.
A developer who knows all ins and outs of both Magento and eBay/Amazon will cost a lot. Or you can hire just a Magento expert, but it will take time for him to learn about all the special aspects of eBay/Amazon. Again, it will cost a lot, simply because the learning-curve is long.
Long story short — if you are not willing to spend a fortune better look out for ready-made solutions that will save you time and money.
COMMUNITY EXTENSIONS TO INTEGRATE MAGENTO WITH EBAY/AMAZON
There are several famous Magento extensions to use for integration: Codisto Connect eBay integration plugin, M2Epro eBay/Amazon integration solution, Holbi eBay and Amazon connector and others. Each of them solves appropriate tasks and can be used, but the most popular one is M2Epro extension, and we’d like to tell you more about it (no, they didn’t pay us).
Integrating Magento with eBay/Amazon using M2Epro
Good news everyone! M2Epro works with both eBay and Amazon so you don’t have to install multiple plugins on your Magento site — just one is enough.
This extension used to be completely free, but since October 2nd, 2015 they started to charge for their services, unless you are a really small merchant ($1,000 monthly revenue, 10,000 listings max). Reading through comments on different websites we understand that M2Epro customers are quite loyal and happy with the service so they are fine to pay for it, especially after having an almost 2 years free trial 🙂
We have worked with M2Epro on our projects too and are quite satisfied with its performance. Some advantages are below:
- The extension allows simple creation and management of product listings. It eliminates the necessity of re-entering product and pricing information several times for several sites. You just need to create products and enter all the information including images only once from Magento admin panel to use it for all marketplaces. Also integration helps you control product stock level, since if there is a change in stock in one of the platform it’s automatically updated on another one as well.
- It allows import and management of eBay/Amazon orders. All orders can be maintained through Magento admin no matter where they came from, which significantly decreases the time required for management.
- Customised templates of M2Epro extension allow you to create custom eBay and Amazon stores to sell your products
- The extension works with 23 major eBay and 7 Amazon marketplaces and gives ability to handle them through the same Magento backend
- It supports multiple eBay/Amazon accounts and multiple Magento stores and provides a unified interface for carrying out e-commerce transactions. This way you do not have to log into each system or account to handle multiple stores and can make all actions from the same admin panel.
With all the points above M2Epro looks quite good from management perspective. You can learn more about its functionality at their official site.
Of course it does take some time to get familiar with the interface and understand how things are set up — just like with any other backend system. But it’s worth it.
No matter what solution for Magento integration with eBay or Amazon you choose, make sure to implement it as soon as possible, because most probably your competitors are already doing it!