Integrating WMS with E-Commerce


As the business landscape increasingly embraces e-commerce platforms, logistics has followed suit. The upward trajectory of global e-commerce sales shows no signs of slowing down, making the demand for efficient, cost-effective, and integrated warehousing solutions more critical than ever.

Projections indicate that the global e-commerce market will exceed $5.55 trillion in 2022, with further growth expected in the coming years. These statistics underscore the significance of implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS) for companies operating in this sector. It highlights the need for companies to enhance their operational efficiencies while maintaining a competitive edge in their local markets.

Warehouse e-commerce integration, achieved through a Warehouse Management System (WMS), offers a viable strategy for achieving these objectives. This integration can eliminate the necessity for multiple warehouses and enable businesses to reduce or eliminate overhead costs associated with their facilities.

The integration of your e-commerce business with an effective WMS ensures that you are consistently well-prepared to fulfill customer orders. This article delves into the reasons behind integrating a WMS with e-commerce applications, the process of selecting a compatible WMS and e-commerce platform, various integration methods, and best practices to follow during the integration process.

Why should you combine WMS and e-commerce applications?

Integrating WMS and e-commerce helps maintain accurate inventory levels across various sales channels, preventing both overselling and stockouts. It also streamlines order fulfillment, reducing the chances of errors and delays. Additionally, it enhances customer service by providing precise tracking and delivery details, while offering insights into sales performance and inventory trends for informed decision-making.

What factors should be considered when selecting compatible WMS and e-commerce solutions?

When choosing the right WMS and e-commerce systems, you need to evaluate several aspects. These include assessing how well their features align with your business objectives, considering their scalability and flexibility to accommodate growth and changes, ensuring their security and reliability to protect your data and transactions, and examining their integration capabilities for efficient communication and information exchange.

Modern warehouse management systems (WMS) platforms simplify shipping by directly integrating with shippers and carriers. This integration enables the seamless exchange of online orders, warehousing data, and transportation logistics information within a single system, ensuring successful order fulfillment.

What is Integrated Shipping and How Does It Operate?

Integrated shipping refers to the process of consolidating online e-commerce order details with both your warehouse management system and shipping carriers to streamline fulfillment workflows and expedite order processing. This contributes to business growth and boosts customer lifetime value (CLV) without the need for additional software in your technology stack.

Here’s an overview of an ideal integrated shipping process to illustrate how this concept functions:

  1. Your online store or marketplace channel receives a customer order.
  2. Your integrated inventory management system, often a WMS, records the order and automatically locates the nearest warehouse with available stock based on the customer’s location, adhering to any specific shipping rules you have in place.
  3. Your warehouse then assembles the order, including packing items with labels, packing slips, return labels, etc., using data from your integrated shippers/carriers.
  4. Finally, the order is handed over to a transportation service provider, which may offer features like address validation for accuracy. If integrated with multiple carriers, the system selects the carrier with the best price, availability, and service according to your business rules to ensure on-time delivery.

When executed correctly, integrated shipping eliminates manual errors, accelerates processes, and enhances cost savings. However, there are still best practices you can implement to optimize this fulfillment strategy.

ecommerce wms

E-Commerce and WMS Integrations: Methods and Best Practices

Let’s examine the most common configuration for warehouse integrations and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. A fast, dependable, and repeatable integration process can be created by combining these methods.


Webhooks represent the prevalent method of integration. Many warehouses support webhooks because they are swift and require minimal resources for operation and integration.

The fundamental concept behind webhooks integration involves one application “notifying” another about any changes in its “state,” enabling other applications to take specific actions based on the webhook input.

Consider this example:

  1. An online store receives a customer order, such as a watch, from a warehouse in another location.
  2. The online store initiates a webhook integration by sending a request to the warehouse, providing information about the purchased product and the customer’s shipping details.
  3. Alongside customer information, the online store includes a callback URL and an action type (e.g., /order/:id/ship and action: shipment_started) to trigger the callback URL.
  4. The warehouse prepares and ships the watch the customer purchased, even triggering the shipment_started event. Subsequently, the warehouse notifies the online store of this event by sending a signal via the provided callback URL, completing a simple webhook integration.

As demonstrated in the example, webhooks offer a straightforward means to integrate different applications and transmit signals without delay. However, like any system, they come with their own set of pros and cons, which we’ll explore next.

Ecommerce WMS API


  1. Close to real-time execution: Webhooks enable signals to be transmitted promptly when events occur.
  2. Simple design: The described integration approach is straightforward and reliable, as long as all parties understand how to handle each event.


  1. Reliability: Webhooks integration relies on all parties being online continuously, as online store purchases can occur at any time. If one party is unavailable to accept a “signal,” it is lost and cannot be automatically retrieved.
  2. Regression issues: Changes made by one party without notifying the other (e.g., online store or warehouse) can disrupt integration, intentionally or unintentionally, leading to a breakdown in the entire process.


Another common integration method involves setting up cron jobs for specific tasks. Some warehouse integrations do not support webhooks, necessitating the execution of operations at predefined times.

Consider the same example:

  1. The online store, selling watches delivered by a warehouse in another location, records information about purchases and customer shipping details internally.
  2. At specific intervals, a cron job initiates and checks for new orders in the system that have not yet been synchronized with the warehouse.
  3. When a new unsynchronized order is found, the cron job sends a request to the warehouse with customer purchase orders and shipping information.
  4. The online store maintains a record of the order being synchronized with the warehouse for tracking order delivery initiation.
  5. Another cron job, at predefined intervals, checks all synchronized orders to determine which have been delivered and updates the internal order delivery status.
  6. When delivery commences, the online store informs the customer of the delivery status, typically including tracking information.

In this example, integration using cron jobs involves more steps and extensive order tracking compared to webhooks integration. However, it offers its own advantages, which we’ll explore next.


  1. Reliability: Cron jobs are highly reliable as they consistently follow the same predefined scenario with each execution. Even if the warehouse was offline previously and unable to accept new orders, it can resynchronize orders now.
  2. Distinctness: Each cron job is dedicated to a specific task—either sending orders to the warehouse or updating delivered order statuses. This simplicity makes the code easy to reuse and debug when necessary.


  1. Resource usage: Cron jobs for simple operations can consume substantial resources. Running a cron job frequently, such as every minute, to match the real-time speed of webhooks integration may result in most of the time being spent on looping over orders and checking statuses, loading resources for little change.
  2. Waiting time: To optimize resource usage, cron jobs may need to run less frequently, causing longer waiting times for results compared to webhooks.

Both webhooks and cron jobs offer distinct advantages and disadvantages in warehouse integration. Choosing the most suitable method depends on the specific requirements and constraints of your integration project.

Integration Best Practices

Best Practice #1: Implement Integration with Multiple Carriers and Shippers

While you might be inclined to stick with a single shipping service or carrier, especially if you have an established relationship with them, it is highly advisable to integrate with multiple providers. This approach is key to achieving cost-effective and speedy order fulfillment. By integrating with multiple shipping carriers, you not only diversify the range of services you can offer but also reduce the overall expenses associated with last-mile delivery.

Integrating with multiple shippers ensures that you have various rate options at your disposal and a reliable geographic coverage. Think of it this way: having access to multiple shipping networks and carriers enhances your fulfillment capabilities, ultimately improving the speed at which you can process orders. This, in turn, leads to enhanced customer and client satisfaction.

Best Practice #2: Customize Your Automation Rules

In the realm of high-efficiency warehouse processes, your approach to integrated shipping should be tailored to align with your specific operational requirements, driven by automation. While streamlining the exchange of shipping information between your warehouse, carriers, and e-commerce channels through shipping integrations is crucial, the success of these integrations heavily relies on how your Warehouse Management System (WMS) is configured.

In essence, ensure that your WMS is equipped with all the necessary automation rules to optimize the outcomes of your shipping integrations. Assign unique identifiers to specific orders or automatically designate a particular carrier or service type based on predefined criteria. This way, when an e-commerce order comes in, your fulfillment processes and carrier selections can proceed seamlessly, eliminating the need for manual decision-making.

Here’s an example: If a customer qualifies as a VIP member of your e-commerce store due to membership or long-term loyalty, your system should automatically recognize this and apply free shipping or a reduced rate with a more premium carrier when their order is placed.

Best Practice #3: Enhance Your WMS for Optimal Efficiency

Selecting the right Warehouse Management System (WMS) is just as critical to shipping success as your choice of carrier integrations. If your current WMS lacks the following features, it may bee time to consider upgrading your fulfillment solution in conjunction with your integrations:

  1. Automated Shipment Rules: Enable the automatic application of tags, weights, categories, billing details, addresses, or other rules to reduce administrative tasks.
  2. Order Routing: Implement functionality that locates the nearest warehouse with the required order items in stock to expedite order fulfillment.
  3. Rate Shopping: Utilize tools that identify the most cost-effective carrier for each of your orders. 
  4. Group Shipping Options: Leverage capabilities that allow you to save on shipping costs by consolidating similar shipping options and obtaining the best rate with each carrier.
  5. Shipping Box Suggestions: Implement features that reduce packing time by automatically recommending the optimal box size based on product-specific volume, client preferences, ideal dimensions, carrier requirements, and more. 


Before launching your integration, it is crucial to strategize and test it to guarantee a successful implementation.  To maintain consistency with your company’s procedures and regulations, it’s vital to establish and record your integration processes and guidelines. Moreover, regular monitoring and upkeep of your integration, along with necessary updates to adapt to any modifications, are essential. This integration can help keep the system updated on any inventory shrinkage and other such changes in the inventory levels. You must also provide training and support to your employees and customers to utilize and gain advantages from your integrated system. By adhering to the best practices outlined in this article, you can guarantee a seamless and prosperous integration.

Bhanu Vedantam

Bhanu Vedantam

To speak to the author on this topic, you can contact him at [email protected]



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