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The architecture of a flexible e-commerce platform on the example of a marketplace

Development for e-commerceE-commerce management

When a company decides to build a marketplace, one of the most critical issues to solve is building interaction between all operational processes.

You need a system where you can manage and exchange customer, partner, and order data. Often the back-office of a marketplace consists of a complex of systems. However, we have been working with marketplaces for many years and have come to the conclusion that the integration between back-office systems should be seamless. At least between 6 fundamental parts. Thus, we have created the Scallium platform, where the business manages the processes of the marketplace.

I want to show you how it looks. You may find it helpful when creating your e-commerce platform.

The marketplace back-office consists of 6 systems. Each of them is responsible for specific data and processes. And together, they create a single infrastructure, effectively interact with each other. Their seamless integration allows you to combine what is necessary for the marketplace’s operation in a single system.

MMS — Marketplace Management System — platform administration system allows you to configure and manage all processes and data from a single working window.

By managing users and roles, you can give access to certain marketplace functionality. For example, when you develop a merchant's account inside your marketplace platform, your partner gets the opportunity to upload and edit information about his products independently. Still, he does not have access to other's merchants' accounts.

Main MMS features allow you to:

  • invite merchants to join the platform by email;

  • monitor the execution of the tasks, like responses to requests from buyers and merchants;

  • manage user documentation;

  • change recipients of notifications and extensions to different notification channels;

  • see critical merchant balances;

  • use flexible merchants’ rating adjustment;

  • manage integrations with third-party systems.

MAS Merchant Administration System the system manages the processes associated with merchants, includes communication and collaboration tools for suppliers and the operational team of the marketplace.

Main MAS features allow you to:

  • register merchants;

  • store data about your counterparties in a single place;

  • automize the merchant onboarding process, including familiarization with the terms, offer, and legal documents, initial products loading;

  • block merchants who violate the terms of cooperation;

  • see merchant rating, calculated according to the rules of the marketplace (customize in MMS);

  • synchronize data on counterparties through integration with a CRM or ERP system.

PIM Product Information Management product data master system. It manages the process of filling and editing product cards, the appearance of product information on the storefront, and displaying data in different channels, taking into account their specifics. PIM is one of the main parts of e-commerce IT infrastructure, and it is tightly integrated into other systems.

Main PIM features allow you to:

  • download data from different sources, and upload it to the channels. Set upload and download rules in MMS;

  • interact with suppliers for creating product cards - thanks to seamless integration with MAS;

  • use simple tools for translating information from one language to another, automatic rules for converting currencies and units of measurement;

  • see the author of changes and return to any point in the history of information entry - thanks to seamless integration with MMS.

DAM Digital Asset Management — a system that stores photos, videos, and 3D product reviews. It is functionally a part of PIM. However, it is better when it is a separate external system so that a large number of multimedia files does not slow down the platform.

OMS — Order Management System — the system provides order workflow in a single window. You get complete control of orders from creation to closing.

Main OMS features allow you to:

  • create orders using automated interfaces - API and instantly transfer orders to merchants;

  • create orders by hand and register orders received by phone;

  • manage refunds and cancellations;

  • manage orders including splitting the order into “shipments” for different merchants so the end customer can order goods from other suppliers in one order (split orders);

  • support for different types of order payment and delivery.

It is also necessary to include a billing system in the architecture of a flexible e-commerce platform for a marketplace to ensure control over financial relationships between the platform's participants. In addition, the analytics system (Reports & Analytics) is also vital for any marketplace.

I demonstrated a generalized architecture for e-commerce businesses. When creating your own, the company must have a baseline scenario of business processes first. There are many models for building e-commerce platforms. For example, if you want to create a B2B marketplace, you may add processes associated with the interaction of two legal entities. But anyway, you will also work with the six fundamental systems above.

Tags:pimproduct information managementmerchantaccountmarketplace
Hubs: Development for e-commerce E-commerce management
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