Tradebox can connect to a wide range of marketplaces and web platforms. It does this in a couple of different ways, depending on the marketplace.
API (Application Programming Interface) connections use tools that are made available by the marketplace. Amazon's API, for example, allows other software developers to connect to the 'back end' of their infrastructure to retrieve details about products they sell and orders that have been placed on Amazon.
API connections are two-way; Tradebox can request order information from the marketplace and send stock quantities to the marketplace. They involve you providing some information to Tradebox when you set up the channel; this varies a little depending on the marketplace but it's basically some way to identify which store or account on that marketplace is yours, and some security details like a password to prevent uninvited access.
Tradebox uses API connections for:
- Amazon FBA
- Magento (v1 and 2)
Where Tradebox doesn't have an API connection, it reads the orders from a CSV (Comma-Separated Value) file. CSV files are a common way of sending information from one system to another. If you go to open one as a user it'll likely open in Microsoft Excel and this will look and behave similarly to any other spreadsheet, although the way the file is coded is slightly different.
CSV imports require that the marketplace has a mechanism of generating a CSV file containing recent orders. This might be something you as the user initiate from within your webstore or third-party software's controls (it's sometimes called a data export or similar), or it might be set to run automatically and generate a new file daily or hourly.
CSV imports are one-way; Tradebox can only read orders from these marketplaces and doesn't feed anything directly back up to them. Most users who want a two-way connection are interested in uploading stock quantities back to the marketplace and this is still possible with a CSV channel; Tradebox produces the stock upload file as CSV and the majority of marketplaces can read this. In essence, it's two one-way connections, though it can still run through a single sales channel in Tradebox. See our guide to stock upload for details.
Tradebox uses CSV imports for:
Tradebox also has an option for Custom CSV channels. If your marketplace isn't listed you'll still be able to use Tradebox so long as your marketplace can generate a CSV file that meets our specifications. See our CSV specifications for details.
- Are there any differences in functionality between an API vs. a CSV connection?
- API channels are limited by date. Tradebox can check back between 7 and 60 days for historic orders (eBay impose a shorter limit of 30 days.)
- CSV channels have no date limitations, Tradebox can read any orders from the file, regardless of date.
- CSV channels don't allow a direct upload of stock quantities, though Tradebox can generate its own CSV of stock quantities which some marketplaces can read.
- CSV channels don't allow an import of product lists direct from the marketplace. Most marketplaces can generate a CSV file of product details that Tradebox can import though.
- Some CSV marketplaces come with a CSV export built in. Others require that function to be added and there may be a cost associated with this. Check with your marketplace.
- My marketplace is a CSV connection at the moment. Are you going to add a full API connection at some point?
- We have no immediate plans to convert other marketplaces from CSV to API. Building API connections takes a significant amount of our development resource and doesn't offer much benefit to users vs. a CSV connection.
- Can a CSV import be fully automated?
- Yes, if your marketplace can automate export of the CSV order file to an FTP location then Tradebox can read it from there automatically.
- The FTP location is not provided by ourselves, check with your web hosting company or web developer for FTP hosting options.
- Can I use a CSV import to bring in older orders from a marketplace with an API connection?
- Yes, so long as your marketplace can output the orders in a CSV format that meets our specifications.
- You will need to set this up as a distinct Custom CSV channel. It will take a channel slot on your licence, which may require you to upgrade. We don't offer any concessions or discounts for upgrading to add a CSV channel for a marketplace you also have an API connection to.
- Bear in mind Tradebox's duplicate check is based on order number per sales channel; an order that was previously imported via the API channel will be imported again if it appears in your CSV file and you should take steps to account for potential duplicates.
- Can I connect to Tradebox's API?
- No, we don't offer an API to our own software.