Improving wine Flow: Online retailer boosts efficiency through integration

Advintage optimises e-commerce upgrade by integrating web platform with back office business systems…

When leading New Zealand online wine retailer Advintage upgraded its ecommerce solution, it looked to Flow Software to integrate the Magento online solution with the company’s MYOB EXO back office software. By connecting the two systems, Advintage is able to maintain a close eye on stock levels and company performance without any manual data entry.

With a reputation for offering superior service and the best wine deals available anywhere, Hawke’s Bay-based Advintage is a trusted wine retailer which delivers thousands of cases of wine per month to customers around the country.

Advintage Operations manager Gilly Greville explains that the company executed a full redesign of its online presence, shifting to the Magento eCommerce platform, in 2014. “That meant bringing the site up to speed for mobile devices as well as some serious upgrades in features and functionality,” she relates. “However, that also meant we needed to integrate the new web sales platform with the existing back office business system – MYOB EXO – so we could have a consistent view of stock levels and company performance.”

Going into more detail, Greville says stock, accounting, and shipping is managed in MYOB Exo, so when sales are made online, it is necessary to update the back end system to accurately record stock levels. Similarly, should sales be made out of its retail premise, or via the telephone, information needs to be fed through to the website to avoid ‘out of stock’ disappointments.

As Advintage had previously worked with Flow on other projects, it had full confidence in the ability of the integration specialist to deliver the required solution to enable data flows between Magento eCommerce and MYOB Exonet.

“Implementing a full eCommerce redesign was a pretty lengthy process, taking the better part of six months; we worked with Flow for around two to three months on the integration,” says Greville.

Flow Software’s middleware provided the necessary integration layer, while the vendor also provided the necessary implementation and support expertise.

With its digital support partner located in Sydney, Australia, and technical development teams in Korea, further complications of working across time zones were presented. “That wasn’t a problem for Flow; there are always teething problems and odd technical issues which crop up with projects of this nature but the Flow technical support team was always available and always had the answers,” she notes.

The integration means that Advintage has end-to-end business process automation internally, and with its customers, regardless of whether sales are made online, in its retail store or over the phone.

When customers purchase via Magento, the integration automatically creates a sales order for the purchase in EXO meaning no re-keying of the order is necessary. The sales order also prompts a stock adjustment to be made in EXO with the ‘Stock On Hand’ updated in Magento so that both systems have up to date product stock availability and details.

Once payment has been received, the integration updates EXO accordingly and the order shipment and tracking details are sent back to Magento so that customers can access them and see where their goods are. The Flow integration manages the data exchange between the two business systems; Magento data is accessed via API, while EXO data is accessed directly from the database.

Greville adds that as part of its commitment to delivering positive customer experiences, Advintage wanted to equip customers to manage their own details via the Magento website. The integration supports this via a one-way process, so that EXO is updated with data changed by the customer at the Magento end. A built in exception handling capability instantly notifies Advintage staff, who can rapidly solve any issues which require manual intervention.

“Thanks to Flow, we can enter information in Magento directly or via the website and it goes straight though into EXO, or the other way around. It’s completely seamless and synchronises every two minutes, which is close enough to real time. Nothing needs to be updated manually, so the system eliminates what would otherwise be a lot of tedious work,” says Greville.

Not only does the Flow integration deliver exactly what is required, she adds, but the project was also delivered very close to the estimated price. “Flow is a trusted partner which has, over the course of a relationship which goes back almost ten years, always met our expectations,” she concludes

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