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Magento Orders, Inventory Mangement and Quickbooks Sync

Syncing orders, products and customers between Magento and Quickbooks is essential in maintaining productivity and efficiency.  At Alliance we’re constantly helping customers with exporting and importing their customers, orders, discounts, tax and other data from Magento to Quickbooks. We thought we would share our best practices, insights and 3rd party partners we’ve used to achieve a solid integration and automation between Magento and Quickbooks.

For most customers the main goal is to automate financial data reporting in Quickbooks.  Magento is an order management and shopping cart platform and not an accounting package.  So most companies need to get the sales from Magento into Quickbooks and prefer to have this part automated.  If it’s not automated then someone in the company would need to manually recreate these steps in Quickbooks for every order received in Magento: Sales Order, Invoice, Receive Payment against Invoice and Deposit Funds.  This is the natural process to increase sales and decrease inventory in Quickbooks.  Some companies may opt to just use Quickbooks just for accounting by keying in the necessary total Sales amounts as a general journal entry but even that is still a manual process done daily, weekly or monthly.

Having an automated sync and import and export setup between Magento and Quickbooks allows real time accounting data and reporting in Quickbooks and also helps to ensure accuracy of the data.

In a nutshell Alliance works with 2 main Quickbooks and Magento Data sync partners: nChannel and Cartspan. The platforms differ really depending on the level of detail and process your business requires.  Below we will highlight 2 implementations that Alliance was chartered with to serve as case studies in what and how we accomplished the Magento to Quickbooks sync successfully.

Case Study 1: Small Startup – SimpleTux

Specs: Magento Community, Quickbooks Enterprise 14.0, Online Tuxedo Rentals

Requirement: Automate Quickbooks invoice and payment receipt from Magento to allow business scalability as order volume increases

Case: Simpletux.com rents tuxedos online.  Each time a customer places an order online a Magento order, invoice, payment receipt and shipment is eventually processed.  Once a week a simpletux.com partner/owner would manually create invoices from magento in quickbooks and receive the payment for that invoice so the sales and payment could be booked in Quickbooks.  One of the pain points was obviously the time involved to copy the Customers, Order Items, Invoices and Payment receipt information one by one but also they found that mistakes were made from time to time on descriptions and amounts.  Simpletux wanted a way to cut the time to get the financial data from Magento to Quickbooks and maintain accuracy of the data.

Solution: The solution for Simpletux.com that Alliance Technologies implemented was to use CartSpan.  Using CartSpan, Alliance was able to:

  • Export Magento orders and import them to Quickbooks as invoices allowing the sales transactions to be automated
    • Magento customer data was mapped to 1 “SimpleTux Retail Customer” in Quickbooks so that the quickbooks customer list was not overrun with retail customer accounts that was already kept track of in Magento.  Individual customer shipping/billing data was mapped to the “SimpleTux Retail Customer” account as additional shipping/billing addresses.
    • Magento products were kept in sync between Quickbooks with Magento being the master product database.  Since the simpletux.com staff put more data in Magento (descriptions and pricing), it made sense that Quickbooks follow Magneto’s product data.  Anytime a product price or description changed, it would automatically update it in Quickbooks.
    • Tax and discounts were also exported from Magento to Quickbooks in the form of additional line items on the invoice.  Tax and Discounts were non-inventory items in Quickbooks and Cartspan just created these charges on the invoice so they were mapped through an non-inventory item to the appropriate sales GL accounts.
  • Inventory quantity and levels were kept in sync between Magento and Quickbooks.  As PO’s were issued to acquire tuxedo SKU’s, inventory increased in Quickbooks.  This increase in inventory was exported to Magento to make sure Magento was always up to date with the amount of inventory available to sell.  Simpletux would issue PO’s, receive the inventory in Quickbooks and Cartspan would sync the inventory up to Quickbooks at a custom defined interval.  When items were purchased online in Magento, the invoice export would naturally decrease the inventory in Quickbooks.
  • In Phase 1, Simpletux opted to manually update tracking numbers in Magento but in a later phase tracking numbers would be automatically imported into Magento after a Tuxedo had shipped and trigger a customer shipment email as well.

This solution provided SimpleTux with customer, order and inventory sync between Magento and Quickbooks that addressed efficiency and accuracy issues in order and inventory management while giving them room to continue building the automation as their order volume grew.  It allowed their team to free up costly data entry time and focus on more valuable equity building initiatives.

Case Study 2: Enterprise Retail Brand

Specs: Magento Enterprise, Amazon Marketplace, Quickbooks Enterprise 14.0, 3rd Party Logistics, Haircare Brand

Requirement: Automate Quickbooks invoice and payment receipt from Magento and Amazon Marketplace using a 3rd Party Logistics company that would fulfill the orders and provide shipping information.

Case: The solution for this customer that Alliance Technologies implemented was to use nChannel’s data sync platform to lay a strong foundation for a scalable omni-channel integration.  Using nChannel, Alliance was able to:

  • Export orders from Magento and import them into Quickbooks as invoices allowing the sales transactions to be automated
    • Magento customer data is mapped to 1 “Retail Customer” account in Quickbooks so that the quickbooks customer list was not overrun with retail customer account details that was already kept track of in Magento.  Individual customer shipping/billing data was mapped to the “Retail Customer” account as additional shipping/billing addresses.
    • Magento products were kept in sync between Quickbooks with Magento being the master product database.  This customer preferred to use Magento’s product descriptions and pricing because their marketing staff had easier access to the website as opposed to Quickbooks.   Anytime a product price or description changed, it would automatically update it in Quickbooks.
    • Magento Orders are exported to Quickbooks in the form of invoices.  Bringing over invoice line items to increase sales and reduce inventory
    • Amazon Marketplace orders are imported from Amazon into Magento then from Magento to Quickbooks as invoices.  This centralized all online orders from not just Magento but also from Amazon into Magento allowing a streamlined fulfillment process to the 3PL and data to Quickbooks.
    • Tax and discounts were also exported from Magento to Quickbooks in the form of additional line items on the invoice.  Tax and Discounts were non-inventory items in Quickbooks that Magento Tax and Discounts were mapped to.
  • Inventory levels were kept in sync between Quickbooks inventory, Magento inventory and the inventory at the 3rd Party Logistics company that did the actual shipping of their products.  The process that was implemented was:
    • Purchase Orders are issued to the customer’s vendors through Quickbooks and the vendors ship the inventory ordered to the 3rd Party Logistics company
    • When the 3rd Party Logistics company received the products ordered they receive the inventory and increase their inventory levels in their systems and a notification by email was sent to our customer that the inventory was received and updated.
    • Our customer would receive inventory in Quickbooks into a “warehouse” called “3rd Party Logistics” which increases inventory levels in Quickbooks.
    • nChannel syncs the Quickbooks inventory level by SKU to Magento on a regular interval making sure Magento’s inventory levels reflect that of the 3PL.  In a phase 2, we could implement a check to make sure that nChannel verified the inventory of Magento matches the 3PL as well.
  • Shipment tracking imported back to Magento from the 3PL and the customer receives shipment tracking email
    • The 3rd Party Logistics accessed Magento orders (Amazon and Magento orders) in the processing state and imported the tracking number which triggered the magento shipment function and also sent the customer shipment email with tracking information; completing the order.

This solution provided this customer with a basic foundation to automate sales, financial and inventory sync between Magento, Quickbooks and the 3rd Party Logistics and laid a great foundation to continue building the automation as their sales volume grows.

Sample nChannel Workflow:

Magento to Quickbooks sync export workflow

Magento to Quickbooks sync export workflow

Amazon Webstore Ecommerce Platform

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  • Fully customizable design and branding
  • Scalable to fit all business sizes
  • High uptime and reliability backed by Amazon
  • World-class fraud protection and security
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing
  • 24/7 Amazon Webstore support access

Case Study: Jurlique Flash Sale

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We will assist you with designing, launching and maintaining your Amazon Webstore as well as creating and refining your eCommerce strategy and workflow. With over 10 years of experience in Digital ecommerce and IT strategy, we are more than ready to help your online business grow.

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Practical ways to implement Magento Multisite (Website, Store and Storeview)

Over the past few years we’ve had the opportunity to leverage Magento’s Multisite features which include Magento Multi-Website, Multi-Store and/or Multi-Storeview. We’ve had some great successes with the multisite features especially when you apply some creativity. The purpose of this post is to wet your pallete and show you some basic and creative ways that Multiple Website, Store and Store views can be used conceptually. We will be releasing articles specifically on configuring them in the future.

At the core of Magento’s multisite functionality is the concept of allowing you, the store owner, to launch many forms of ecommerce subsites within one single Magento installation. So in other words, you install Magento one time and within that installation you can create more than one ecommerce store within there. The purpose is to allow you to manage all the stores in one place, save time by taking advantage of existing store settings and customizations across all your subsites and create standardizations and efficiencies both at a code and also business process level.

To further grasp the concept of Magento’s Multiple Website functionality start by reading Magento’s official Multiple website documentation: http://www.magentocommerce.com/knowledge-base/entry/overview-how-multiple-websites-stores-work/. It does a good job of introducing core concepts and differences between Multiple Website, Multiple Store and Multiple Store views.

We have used the Multiple Website feature for the following scenarios:

1) International Sites

We have used the multiple site functionality to build out a clients international sub-sites. For most of our customers 2 important requirements are that each international sub-site have the choice of uniquely defining their payment methods (aka payment gateways) and shipping methods. So for most of our clients we’ve always implemented the international subsites as their own websites in Magento. One additional consideration is if the International sites are going to be using the same products as the main website or a mutation of that original set of products. This could additionally alter the magento configuration as well. This is a standard structure illustrated below assuming each International site will use the same products but with different pricing, descriptions and the like localized to each International site:

  • www.site.com (Website 1, Store 1, Desktop Store View 1 and Tablet/Mobile Store View 1)
  • www.site.com.au (Website 2, Store 2, Desktop Store View 2 and Tablet/Mobile Store View 2)
  • www.site.com.uk (Website 3, Store 3, Desktop Store View 3 and Tablet/Mobile Store View 3)

Each site is configured in Magento to use it’s own Website, Store and Store Views. The reason is that only at the Website level (having multiple websites) does Magento allow you to have unique payment and shipping methods for each site. Notice that we although we typically use responsive designs for Desktop, Tablet and Mobile, we still setup multiple store views so clients can customize various things in Magento and get specific reporting between desktop and tablet/mobile customers.

2) B2C and B2B Customer Segments

We have used the multiple website functionality to accommodate B2B (business to business) ecommerce sites which should function in tandem with the  B2C (business to consumer) websites.  This allows businesses using Magento to have a unique experience across site content, pricing, checkout, payment and shipping methods for businesses that they sell to, online.

Having a B2B ecommerce site has saved our clients a lot of time.  Instead of receiving Purchase Orders from clients in the form of Emails, EDI or faxed orders, those same clients can come online and purchase directly from your ecommerce store at the price level discounts they are entitled to based on their login.  We’ve implemented B2B sites where a login is required before even being able to shop on the site as well.

The B2B ecommerce site can take advantage of the basic look, functionality and content of the B2C website but also be tailored so that it’s more relevant to your B2B customers.  Additional customizations can be added as needed to the B2B site which will not appear on the B2C site.

The direction of the configuration for the B2B site can vary greatly.  This all again depends on if the B2B site requires its own unique payment method and shipping method that’s different from your B2C site.  If they are all using the same payment gateways and shipping methods than the configuration could be simpler.  The additional variable is whether B2C and B2B would share the same set of products. If they use the same basket of products, 1 Store would work (even if one site had a few unique products, you can still use 1 store). If the sites required completely different products, it would be recommended to use a 2 Store configuration. Below we illustrate the simpler form assuming that B2C and B2B magento websites will share the same payment and shipping methods.  Otherwise the configuration in magento will be similar to our example with International sites where you need to create a website, store and store view stack for B2C and B2B separately.  Otherwise a simple structure like this would suffice:

  • www.site.com (Website 1, Store 1, Desktop Store View 1 and Tablet/Mobile Store View 1)
  • b2b.site.com (Website 1, Store 1, B2B Desktop Store View 1 and B2B Tablet/Mobile Store View 1)

If the B2C and B2B stores are required to have completely separate products than we would just use Store 1 for B2C and a Store 2 (new store) for B2B.

3) Retail locations

We’ve been able to leverage the magento multisite to help clients who have hundreds of retail stores or in other cases, salons. We’ve used the Multi-Store and Storeviews to help clients organize microsites that serve retail store and salon customers and internal employees (information and training). The possibilities with Magento’s Multisite is pretty much endless; providing whoever is developing the project uses Magento’s best practices and framework guidelines!

A Message from our CEO

I t is truly amazing how drastically different business is conducted today than in previous decades.  Everything moves faster and the variables we are faced with are infinite. At Alliance, we believe there is one constant that defines and unites us amidst all of the volatility: Uncompromising Execution. Uncompromising execution means that there are no limits to the extent we will go to meet our client’s needs. This fundamental principle is at the heart of every member on our team and is imperative to our success in meeting our commitments, exceeding expectations, and delivering results. With an increasingly competitive and complex business landscape, we need to make the right decisions to leverage technologies effectively that produce exponential results. Here are some of our key metrics:

184

 uncompromising executions since 2013 

11

Million of Online Revenue Managed 

20288

project file attachments

38341

commerce experience in hours per year 

I hear a lot of people say that the Internet is the future.  At Alliance, we believe that the Internet is the now and for many companies it is the most important equity building sales and marketing tool they will ever have.  There are so many factors to consider when selecting a partner who will help you create a Digital Strategy that represents the face of your company.  From Branding and Design to Information layout and Programming, having a cohesive plan allows for smooth, thorough and deliberate execution.  I have been in the technology business for over 18 years and the greatest lesson that I have learned is to be honest, organized, and responsive. Being honest through educating and properly informing customers of their options empowers them to make the right decisions for their business.  Being organized and prepared reduces volatility and risk, providing more opportunity to be flexible as variables change. Being responsive creates a level of heightened urgency and trust and gives our customers true peace of mind.

Our years of success in Digital Strategy and Technology management is a direct result of our years of experience, passion for technology, dedicated staff, and most importantly our customers who share our vision of defining the future.  All of this is reinforced by Uncompromising Execution and our commitment to meet and exceed expectations. Here is where we spend 100% of our time:

Creative, Branding and Design
20%
Business Strategy and Omni-Channel (ERP, Logistics) Implementation
30%
Project Management and Production
10%
Integration and Custom Development
30%
Cloud Hosting, Web Security and Infrastructure Management
10%

The current business environment requires instant results, streamlined costs and increased productivity; all of which need to scale at a moment’s notice. Our job then, is to do so without compromising quality. I believe strongly that our 10 years of continued success and growth in helping companies with their Digital and IT strategies is testimony to our ability to balance cost, quality, and speed.  I hope that I have an opportunity to help your company achieve this balance and ultimately evolve.