Everyone learns about API limits the hard way.

Every Operator has that first time that they learn about what an API is and why it is to blame for the oversells in your ecommerce platform and the cancelled orders you're going to spend the next few days smoothing over with customers.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events have been pushing the limits of APIs for the last 10 years and pretty much every brand has managed to break one on a system they have chosen.

It's not just APIs that struggle, in one brand we implemented Peoplevox in 2015 they found their previous WMS could only batch orders in batches of 200 at a time. Each batch took minutes to compile. End result was a severe handbrake on their output.

The reality for many tech vendors is we learn about these things the hard way. Nothing teaches you like scars. Fortunately for brands in ecommerce, there are lots of tech vendors who have got the scars already and if you manage their systems right you can benefit from that.

There is no easy pass when it comes to high-volume sales. What works like a dream when you've got one warehouse and one Shopify store could turn to shit when you add that US store.

Having systems and fulfilment processes, if you DIY, that can handle the volumes is one thing. The other is the actual integration. If you're new to ecommerce you're going to be pretty confused when you first realise that not all tech is going to work like those apps you added to your Shopify store.

The worst way this can manifest is opting for an all-in-one ERP system that is neither a lean, order and inventory transaction powering machine built for high-volumes nor a full grown, hand over £250K ERP. These all-in-one types start with a signup online model and acquire customers and then gradually move upmarket increasing their price point and target customer size as they grow.

This kind of system is dangerous because they're trying to do it all. The features are spread thin. The support team is even more so. If you aren't one of the chosen few you don't have the number of the CEO to call. I remember it was often a bit like this building Peoplevox and we just did the WMS for Ecommerce. The high-growth brands were our focus so we tried to go the extra mile.

For an all-in-one ERP, your high-growth brand might be the focus...or it may be the right pain. You may be down as an API abuser, meanwhile wondering what is going on when you get throttled. Every well-managed API has some degree of throttling, but the key is to know how it works and then design around it. You put catches in place to fix requests that get dropped or time out.

Oliver Rhodes

Oliver Rhodes