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Hi, we’re Trilix. Today we want to talk to you about Rest API integration between Akeneo PIM & Magento2.
It’s the first article in a series related to integrations in current e-commerce ecosystem.
Modern applications rarely live in isolation. Whether your PIM application should communicate with ERP, your e-commerce platform must synchronize data with your PIM application, your CRM application must connect to Help desk system, it seems that any system can be better by integrating with other applications.
In this article we want to talk about two specific systems and about our approach to connect them.
Magento 2Magento is the most popular commerce platform in the world, with more than 250,000 merchants around the globe selling more and driving innovation.
Akeneo PIMIt is a great Product Information Management (PIM) system which centralizes and harmonizes all your marketing and technical information for product listings and catalogs.
Before we will discuss integration between M2 and Akeneo PIM let’s try to answer on the next question:
Why do we need PIM at all?
To answer this question let’s talk about Data Quality Problem.
- 30% of data in catalogs used by retailers, manufactures for replenishment of stock are not valid Data quality problem: 25 minutes per SKU per year is spent on manual item data cleaning. Only 4 minutes with item data synchronization.
- At the end 20 man — months saved for 10.000 items
- 15–20% of operating budget is spent on “dirty data”
The Top Data Quality Issues B2B Marketers Face
- Duplicate data-15%
- Invalid values or ranges-10%
- Incomplete data-8%
How can we deal with such issues?
We need productivity tool that makes your teams more efficient and focused on data quality. Tool which centralizes product information and streamlines workflows. That is PIM.
Of course we can use internal PIM in Magento. In most of cases it will satisfy our needs. But what’s about next use cases:
- You need to collect product information from several sources
- Magento is only one sales channel. You need to sale the same products on Amazon, Ebay or another platform
- You need to divide responsibilities to teams based on their expertise. For example, one team should manage only media product’s data, other prices, etc.
- Data translation
All of those tasks can be really difficult to handle in scope of Magento. Can we blame Magento for that? No and No. The main purpose of Magento is to cover sales flows. And it copes with this task magnificently. And all mentioned tasks can be covered by PIM system. What other main benefits you can get using PIM?
- Reduce time to bring your product to market up to 400%
- Increase in sales up to 15–50%
- Less products returns up to 23%
- Less customers inquires up to 27%
Akeneo PIM can be a great candidate for your PIM system.
Akeneo PIM can really helps you keep your data organized. It was made to handle tons of information including SKUs, images, product descriptions, and attributes. Even if you have hundreds of thousands of SKUs or are dealing with multiple teams, Akeneo can handle it all so you can focus on your other job duties. You have better things to do than spending hours copying and pasting product information into excel!
Magento 2 & Akeneo PIM symbiosis
We have managed dozens of e-commerce implementations and have a deep knowledge of it. During last years we’ve also being involved in Akeneo implementations. We’ve found Akeneo PIM as a scalable, robust and great system to work with. Both systems are open-source with a great community. We believe that usage of Akeneo PIM and Magento2 together can bring e-commerce business on the next level. But to make this happen we need to have a tool which will be responsible for communication between systems.
During last 2 years we have several requests from clients who wanted to use Akeneo and Magento. And always one of the main questions was next:
Let’s talk about several possible approaches to integrate systems in general:
- Shared Database. All application uses the same database. In the case of Magento2 and Akeneo PIM this approach will not work, because both applications use their own database
- Messaging. Each application is connected to messaging system, and exchange data using messages.
- File transfer. Each application produce files of shared data for others to consume and vice versa
- Communication via API
Each of last three approaches can be theoretically used to integrate Magento2 and Akeneo PIM. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages (this topic is really interesting, so we think its a good idea for another article). Moreover we think that the most efficient integration can be viewed as a hybrid of all approaches. When we’ve started to work on our Pim2Magento integration, we’ve defined next main requirements for ourselves:
- Stability & Reliability. The issue of data quality exists throughout the life of any data integration system. So the integration should transfer data in efficient and sustainable way. User should have possibility to see the results of data transfer in real time. If something happened during data transferring, user should see why, when & where (Magento or Akeneo PIM) it happened.
- Scalability. The integration should handle large and probably complicated data sets.
- Independence. Dependencies between both applications should be minimized, so that each can evolve without causing problems to the other. For example, if we customize Magento (install new extensions, develop additions functionality, etc) integration should continue to work.
- Frequent data update. If you need to change your catalog data frequently in PIM, you need a reliable way to transfer them to Magento. Sometimes lack of frequent synchronization can be a disaster.
As a first step to achieve described goal we have decided to create Akeneo PIM bundle (Pim2Magento) which connects to Magento2 via REST API. The benefits of using RESTful Architecture:
- RESTful as lightweight Web Services. The RESTful architecture can be considered as a reaction to more heavy SOAP based architectural standards. The main emphasis in REST based Web Services in simple point to point communication.
- Simplicity. The uniform interface in REST architectural style is simple.
- Scalability. Because as there are no conversational states between clients and servers, the RESTful architecture can be used to scale the services very wide by additional server nodes.
- Reliability. The REST is very reliable because the whole system does not fail even if there are errors during communications between components.
With Pim2Magento you can import from Akeneo PIM to Magento2:
- Attributes and their Options
- Products (with media)
Thank you for reading and keep in touch! In next article we will talk about our roadmap and performance of Pim2Magento.