Guide to integrating Tmall and other Chinese eCommerce platforms to your own ERP system or Data Warehouse

Sales, refunds, inventory, and product data are business-as-usual data points from eCommerce platforms that all brands need available in their own back-end systems to manage accounting, replenishment, and product management processes.

However, getting access to this data from Tmall and other large marketplaces in China such as JD.com and having it available in your own back-end ERP system or data warehouse can be a tedious, manual and expensive.

Some background

  • Chinese eCommerce is dominated by large marketplaces such as Tmall and JD.com
  • More than 60% of eCommerce sales in China take place on Tmall
  • Most international brands outsource the operation of their Tmall Store to a third party agency called a TP, who control the access to a brand’s data and backend on the platform
  • TPs have their own point-to-point integration points to the Tmall API that they need for operational reasons, but this may not always fit your needs as the brand owner

The Tmall API

The Tmall API contains over 40 endpoints that are a combination of varying and overlapping data points.  Navigating which endpoints you require to meet your needs can be confusing and getting it wrong can have further consequences such as not having your application for API access approved.

There are also additional data points, such as advertising performance data, that may not be available from the endpoints you have access to and need to be accessed via other methods.

Some other issues that brands experience are:

  • The Tmall backend, merchant portals, and API documentation are only available in Chinese and some endpoints are not documented at all
  • Data downloads are only ‘semi-structured’ with inconsistent naming conventions and data types (string vs timestamp for example)
  • Inconsistent structures and definitions across different views lead to a significant amount of manual data transformation
  • Regular changes to the API structure, including the discontinuation of entire endpoints

Your options for integrating Tmall data

Option 1: Expensive and tedious point-to-point integrations

You could build your own point-to-point integration, either yourself or via your TP, between Tmall and your own ERP system or Data Warehouse.

This would however come at a significant upfront cost and also significantly high ongoing maintenance costs.  Every change to the Tmall API would require changes to your integration and you wouldn’t be able to make changes to your back-end systems without also making changes to the integration.

Adding any additional platforms either on the China source side or on your back-end system side compounds the cost and complexity.

This is in addition to what will inevitably be tedious and manual data transformation tasks to ensure that the data you receive from the Tmall fits your business needs and processes.

Option 2: Deploy INTEGRAT3 to manage your China data sources and integrations

Our automated source connectors to Tmall and other eCommerce and marketing platforms in China and single destination API mean we do all the hard work for you.

How INTEGRAT3 can help

INTEGRAT3 takes away all of the cost and complexity associated with gaining access to your data on Tmall and gives it to you in a business-ready, timely and usable format for any of your back-end systems.

Our Tmall connectors automatically download your data and pre-built models transform the data into a business-ready format before making it available via a single API and managed connectors to ERP software such as SAP, Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.

Our source connectors are resilient, automated and maintenance free – meaning we handle any changes that happen on the Tmall API and you can get back to focusing on higher value tasks.

You have full transformation control of your data to combine and create your own views before sending it to your destination software with managed connectors and a fully documented single API.

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