We often get asked at VL OMNI “Can we do EDI with the eCommerce platform, Shopify?” The answer is both yes and no. To many, this sounds like an oxymoron, but like most technical things, the answer is nuanced.
Let VL OMNI take you through the nuances of EDI compliance and non-compliance solutions and help you understand the possibilities of EDI on your Shopify store.
First, let’s look at some important terms and definitions.
Compliance EDI (Electronic data interchange) is based on a trading relationship between two partners. Imagine that you sell to Walmart or Target. You must comply with their specifications. These specifications are what we call in the industry, the EDI standard. In North America we use the ANSI X12 standard.
There are implementation guides for each EDI trading partner, that guides the details of the transactions one needs to exchange and how those orders will be transacted. Furthermore, the communications of Compliance is either done through a VAN (Value Added Network) or via AS2. AS2 is point-to-point using HTTPS and a digitally encrypted payload.
The typical transactions a Merchant would do in a Compliance EDI scenario would be:
- Inbound order (850)
- Outbound invoice (810)
- Outbound advanced shipment notice (856),
- Inbound order change (860),
- Outbound order confirmation (855).
Some retailers also have remittance advice (820), credit notes (812), and the list goes on. The key is that each partner has different transaction definitions and different transactions a vendor must comply with. Compliance comes with the added gift of major chargebacks and compliance charges if incorrectly submitted.
Non-compliance EDI is very different from Compliance. The first difference is that it is not EDI that is transacted between two trading partners. It is typically EDI that is transmitted between applications internally within an organization.
The transactions and the definitions are usually less, in terms of numbers and communication is often through internal data movement using S/FTP. Although sometimes merchants want the transactions through their VAN mailbox.
So now that we understand the differences between compliance and non-compliance, what can we actually do with Shopify in regards to EDI?
This is a vital question for DTC Merchants who are approached by major retailers who show interest in their products but they must conform to EDI requirements to sell their products on those retailers’ online or offline stores.
Shopify and Compliance EDI
Shopify is not built for any sort of Compliance EDI. It’s really that simple. Shopify, out-of-the-box cannot handle a pick and pack advanced shipment notice. It can not handle the printing of a UCC 128 barcode label. Nor can it handle a sales order change or even an invoice.
Compliance EDI is not only just about the transaction it’s also about having the data to build that transaction. At this stage, Shopify cannot communicate through AS2 or a VAN and there are currently no apps in the Shopify App store that appear to do Compliance EDI.
Shopify and Non-Compliance EDI
When it comes to non-compliance with EDI, the story is fortunately different.
Shopify coupled with a service like VL OMNI can be integrated to a legacy ERP or an EDI system very easily. The VL OMNI EDI transaction definitions are detailed in industry-standard implementation guides and are defined especially for eCommerce. We have not taken B2B transactions and modified them. These are transaction definitions that are built for eCommerce.
VL OMNI has developed EDI guides for the following transactions:
- Sales order (850)
- Fulfillment (856)
- Inventory (846)
- Exchange order (850)
- RMA 180 (Return Merchandise Authorization),
- The product catalogue (832) can also be implemented to update prices in Shopify.
- We have also developed transaction definitions for the returns process using Partners Returnly and Loop
Merchants who run IBM iSeries, AS/400 ERPs, and other systems where it is a low cost integration method, be sure to know VL OMNI can help.
For the growing business faced with multiple retailers and trading partner requirements, VL OMNI’s managed service offers fully-integrated EDI solutions.
Let us be your expert to ensure trading partner compliance and avoid chargebacks for the long term. Our iPaaS managed service enables ERP integration for front-end data validation and fully supports 3PL facilities for logistics compliance.
With over 26 years of experience in integration, we have covered numerous systems with point-to-multipoint workflows. Merchants that are seeking that next level of Electronic Data Interchange integration solutions can work with us to grow.