Last week kids and adults of all ages celebrated the long tradition of dressing up in costumes and going house to house collecting candies of all shapes and sizes. Celebrating Halloween has become a major business since its inception over 100 years ago. In fact, according to an infographic from Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, in 2012, Canadians who celebrated Halloween spent:
- A total of 1.5 billion dollars on candy, costumes and decoration
- They spent $322 million on candy alone
- Canadians typically spent $60 each on a costume for themselves and $45 each for a costume for their pets.
But with all the candy comes the inevitable sugar crash on November 1 and that got me to thinking, what do Halloween, the aftermath of Halloween and integration have in common. I came up with 4 key things.
1) Lack of integration or bad integration is a lot like a sugar crash
To me it seems all these candies and treats are a lot like orders or documents that businesses send to their trading partners or 3PLs. And what happens when you eat too much candy and treats? A few hours later you crash. What happens when you have to send documents manually or your integration is as simple as a point to point plug in and can’t account for scalability? You crash, this time in the form of wasted time, money and maunal errors.
2) The end of Halloween celebrations marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season – a time where integration comes in handy
For e-commerce businesses, shipping companies and even 3PL and fulfillment houses the end of Halloween means that people are getting ready to start their holiday shopping. The holidays are a time of year when you cannot afford costly manual errors like sending the wrong package to the wrong customer so it is important to make sure your web store and ERP and 3PL are all integrated properly. Try and avoid that Integration Nightmare Before Christmas at all costs.
3) Costume planning for Halloween 2014 will begin November 1 and your integration should be just as well planned.
Everyone wants their Halloween costume to be memorable so Halloween enthusiasts (like myself) start planning early by looking for inspiration around every corner for almost 365 days. Integration is no different. You know you need integration, just like you need a costume, but what will that integration look like? The key when planning integration is planning for growth. You want a system that will grow with your company. You need to understand the real needs of your business and not just those of your trading partners. Choose the system that works for YOU and makes the data easy for YOU to understand. You wouldn’t chose a Halloween costume because someone told you to, why would you choose an integration system based on another persons’ needs.
4) Celebrating Halloween is an investment, and so is integration
As I said at the beginning of this blog article, Halloween is BIG BUSINESS and Canadians are willing to invest. Businesses must also invest in integration. By investing in integration and middleware technology you are saving yourself time, money and headaches that come with having no integration at all or building an integration stack yourself. By investing in a middleware package you allow yourself more flexibility and control over your data.
The idea of integration still giving you the spooks? Learn more from VL’s free infographics:
Ghosts, Goblins, Thrills and Bills: Halloween Spending will send shivers down your spine