eCommerce has already entered our consciousness for good. Online stores are increasingly becoming the only way to shop, particularly in light of the situation with Covid-19. Without a competitive online store, it’s hard to break through and stay on the market. We’d like to present an attractive combination of a store platform with a product management system that meets almost any expectation of what a new market solution should bring to a business.
When you’re preparing for the selection of platforms for your store, you should consider many factors, including: implementation time, functionalities that come out of the box, ease of development for those functions that are necessary for our processes and to make our brand stand out, and the availability of integration with external systems. We’ve chosen the combination of Akeneo and Shopware here because we’ve observed their significant growth in the market, the potential they have individually, and the fact that they work very well together. Let’s see how they can open up a wide range of possibilities for your business.
1. Overcome the limitations and costs of processes
Related to creating content, product design and management, and supply chain management. Ensure constant information flow, check you are up-to-date, and monitor actions in real time.
2. A single source of product data
Minimize incorrect data, avoid duplication of work, reduce errors, and gain consistent information across all channels.
3. Control over the product enrichment process
Vendors can reduce time-to-market, find bottlenecks in their process, and check which data really matters for the customer.
4. Control over publishing channels
Automatic publishing procedures, consistent product data across all channels, and the ability to show users where products are currently available.
1. More flexibility. Less complexity. One technology
Shopware 6 is a lean and extremely flexible eCommerce platform that can be easily adapted to meet your requirements.
2. API architecture
The frontend and backend of the application are independent, making upgrades quicker to implement and allowing for the application to be deployed as a headless eCommerce.
3. Progressive Web Apps
Extremely fast frontend with optimized mobile experience. A great solution for merchants looking to capitalize on the explosion of commerce on mobile devices. -> read more
4. Sales channels
Enabling merchants to use the platform as a hub for all retail operations, including regional websites, headless applications, point of sales, and even Amazon and eBay.
Still on Magento 1? Check how to migrate to Shopware and Akeneo - read more Want to migrate from another platform? Make a proper plan - read more
Shopware 6 and Akeneo PIM
A simplified architecture model
Employees, managers, suppliers, and end clients perform independent procedures at each level of the selected process. To understand the above model correctly, let me explain the essential elements of the entire ecosystem.
- ERP – Initiates the product data inventory and prices.
- Akeneo – Collects product information from many sources. It enriches and unifies them and then transfers them to Shopware or other third-party channels (e.g. Print Catalog).
- Shopware – Allows management of marketing, analysis, SEO, catalogs, products and orders through the extensive store administration interface.
- Connectors – Facilitate and accelerate work in individual areas. Process automation will reduce errors and accelerate the so-called time to market.
- The last links of the chain are broadly understood distribution channels. It can be an online store, mobile application, social media or other points of sale. Their role is visual, presenting the product to the end-user, caring for the brand image, and advertising.
Of course, this is just an example. Some elements may be unnecessary in your process, while others will require additional development work. Remember that the entire process must be thoroughly analyzed before starting development. The more time you devote to preparation, the less unforeseen situations will arise during the work.
Best benefits from Akeneo PIM and Shopware 6 integration
It is hard to explain all the possibilities and advantages of the architecture presented but, from the business perspective, I have tried to choose the most valuable ones.
1. Speed up your daily business by managing your products from one place
Do you sell on a number of markets? Product management in many markets with different languages, currencies, and product specifics is not very useful in the eCommerce system itself. The PIM system allows you to effectively assign specific products to specific countries, supplement the content in the appropriate language, or manage how a particular product will look in a given country.
2. Merchants can use the Shopware platform as the hub for all retail operations
Do you want to diversify your market presence? Try as many options as possible: regional websites, headless applications, POS, or Amazon and eBay stores.
3. Eliminate inconsistent and incomplete product content on different channels
Centralize your data and choose which information to push to each channel through Shopware or directly from Akeneo for high product complexity. If you sell products that contain large specifications (e.g. electronics) or wide configurations (e.g. furniture), then no eCommerce system is able to manage this effectively, but the PIM system already does. Thanks to this, all the complexity and specificity are dropped on the PIM system and then only the decision is finally made which data should be made available for which channel.
4. Enjoy an easy-to-use interface. Intuitive and graphically refined admin panel
It’s easier to work with something intuitive and transparent. It is more comfortable and pleasant to work on a system where all processes are thought out, and the appearance is pleasing to the eye. Both Shopware and Akeneo break away from typical archaic interfaces.
5. Increase product data quality with no fear that you will lose flexibility in your ecosystem
Do you want to increase the efficiency of product content enrichment? If you have a dedicated team responsible for the quality of product content, in Akeneo PIM, you can easily manage them through:
- percentage verifications of the quality of product refilling
You can create teams responsible for specific content at a given time and automate product enrichment processes. No eCommerce system will have such a wide range of possibilities as the PIM system. Also, centralizing product management in one place allows you to share product data with other systems (e.g., printed catalogs, mobile applications).
6. Streamline localization workflows to easily translate your data
Whether you’re working with a third party or internal translators, Akeneo drastically speeds up localization efforts. If you plan to grow quickly and efficiently, adding another country and assigning specific products to it takes only a few clicks in Akeneo. As a result, the rollout to other countries is extremely efficient.
7. Distinction thanks to unique shopping experiences
Shopware 6 is known for its Progressive Web Apps module. The PWA module of Shopware 6 was born out of the knowledge and experience that we gained while developing Vue Storefront, a leading PWA solution for eCommerce.
8. Advantages of distributed architecture
You want to move away from the monolith architecture where management of all processes in the eCommerce system causes the store to grow more and more as an inter-dependent block, and the development of such an application is costly. The separation of product management competencies in PIM (Akeneo) and purchasing processes in eCommerce (Shopware) clearly distinguishes the competencies of these two systems from one another. So, the scaling of a specific process focuses on only one of them. It is worth noting that Shopware itself has an independent frontend and backend, making upgrades quicker to deploy. If you wanted to replace any element, you do not need to replace the entire body; you can, for example, only replace the PIM system.
9. Ensuring a smooth international rollout
Adding another country and assigning specific products to it takes just a few clicks in Akeneo. As a result, all configuration will be reflected automatically in Shopware (categories, products, translations, and so on), so the rollout to other countries is extremely efficient.
10. The high complexity of products
If you sell products containing a great number of specifications (e.g., electronics) or a wide range of configurations (e.g., furniture) in a precise niche, only a PIM system can effectively manage this product data. As a result, all the complexity and specificity is dropped on the PIM system. The only decision then made is which data should be made available for which channel.
Akeneo Shopware Connector as a key element of the ecosystem
A third-party connector is a tool that significantly speeds up the work of the entire team responsible for preparing products in the PIM system and delivering them to the Shopware platform. It shortens the time to publish the product on our distribution channels. The connector gives the ability to create export/import profiles, tailor them to our requirements, and map necessary attributes; in short, it’s all we need to achieve fast and secure data transfer. Initially, the configuration of the connector is crucial. It is not particularly complicated but it is worth following the manual provided by the supplier. Most importantly, with the connector, you won’t have to create export files anymore; convert them into mapping corresponding to the import rules in Shopware to load the data there.
- Export data
|Akeneo → Shopware||Shopware → Akeneo|
|Product (with image)||Manufacture|
|Product model||Scale Unit|
- You can export products with quick export
- Filter data to be Exported based on Category, Family, Completeness, Identifier (SKU), Language, and Currency
- Multi Credentials Configuration using UI
- Customizable Attribute Mapping accessible also for custom values
- Optimize and customize product export to your needs and transfer data with one touch
- Automate your processes by setting your own rules and keep up-to-date product information and other necessary data
- Sync multiple stores based on saved credentials
- Export multiple images with one product
- Map even custom product attributes between Shopware 6 and Akeneo.
Proper research is a fundamental of the right choice. You’ll never regret time or money spent on a thorough and depth analysis.
Check the official Akeneo demo (user and password: admin) Check the official Shopware demo Akeneo Compare Edition - https://www.akeneo.com/compare-editions/ Shopware Compare Edition - https://www.shopware.com/en/pricing/
Thoughtful decisions will result in faster implementations and will avoid mishaps during development. It is worth focusing first on the MVP version. Correctly creating a minimum viable product will allow us to start the project earlier and have a base for implementing subsequent functionalities. If we are focused on conquering the market with technical innovations and solutions that are currently “hot”, it is worth investing in an agency that can already boast such implementations. I would be remiss not to mention the implementations of PWA or Sales Meeting Hub. I encourage you, in your free time, to do a more in-depth analysis of these topics.
Would you like to talk about growing eCommerce for your company? Feel free to contact our Akeneo Tech Leaders.
Published July 16, 2020