Virtual Logistics' Ecommerce Data Integration Blog

[Podcast] FrankReaction Interviews Robin H. Smith of VL on Systems Integration

Posted by Jessica Thiele on Jun 30, 2015 10:26:37 AM

Click here to listen to the full podcast by FrankReactions


In episode 33 of FrankReactions' podcast series, Tema Frank interviews Robin H. Smith of Virtual Logistics Inc. on the importance of systems integration in improving the overall customer experience.

Tema hit a home run when she started the podcast with the statement;

"One of the biggest barriers companies face in improving their customer experience, especially now that everything's going omni-channel, is the challenge of integrating all their systems and data so that 'everyone's singing off the same song sheet'. It's really tough, and although there are integration companies out there to help you do it, unfortunately they often don't do themselves a lot of good because they tend to speak very technically, which can be very intimidating and off-putting to people who really need their services.

If you are seriously interested in improving customer experience in your organization or in improving your marketing in your organization, you really owe it to yourself to listen to this interview."

This timely interview is well worth the listen, as many pertinant points are made around the subject of barriers to integration as well as managing and effectively running a business in an increasingly digital and automated world. Click through to go directly to the podcast, or keep reading here for the highlights of some of the great discussion had in the interview, and then you should go listen to the podcast anyways.


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Topics: Data Integration, Integration as a Service, Marketing Automation Integration, data mapping, customer experience, data movement, interview

Transforming Data, Connecting Business: VL is Different - Or So Our Customers Think

Posted by Jessica Thiele on Jun 25, 2015 11:34:35 AM

What makes VL different?

This is a question that many ask during their evaluation stage when considering how to bring their business to the next level from an integration perspective. But what people tell us is awesome about VL is that once we partner with a business to provide customized data integration solutions, they always find out what makes VL special: we put our customers' businesses first. But don't take our word for it; check out our testimonials and our our case studies to see for yourself what our customers say about us.

Inspired by the fantastic, and sometimes not so fantastic, feedback we get from our awesome clients, here are just 5 ways that make VL different from your run-of-the-mill data integration company:

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Topics: Data Integration, Virtual Logistics, customer experience, case study, tesimonial

How Data Integration Helped Move Their Business to the Next Level

Posted by Jessica Thiele on Jun 23, 2015 9:38:56 AM

It happens in almost all companies that experience rapid growth: they hit a point where their growth catches up to them and if that company hasn't planned out their future with strategy in mind, this growth often comes with a good helping of growing pains.

Even the most forward-thinking companies often struggle with growing pains, simply due to the fact that no matter how intensively you plan and strategize, the future is still near impossible to predict., an American online bidding-format retailer headquartered in Oklahoma City in the United States, experienced several years of rapid growth before finding that they needed to re-assess their EDI environment - one of VL's many specialties. The standalone EDI translator and the custom coding they were using had been adequate up to a point, but as geared up to move an ever-expanding vendor base into active electronic trading relationships, it was clear they needed a scalable and flexible solution to move their business to the next level.

In our newest case study, VL, partnered with the Aurora EDI Alliance, breaks down the business case surrounding We examine their existing challenges, the solution VL and Aurora implemented for, and the results of the solution for to date. 

Scroll down to see the full Case Study!

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Topics: EDI integration solutions, EDI, customer experience, Aurora EDI Alliance, case study

10 Facts About Canadian Ecommerce 2015

Posted by Jessica Thiele on Jun 18, 2015 4:43:44 PM

I bet that if you could peer into your crystal ball and take a peek at the future of Canadian Ecommerce, you would do it in a heartbeat. 

But looking into that crystal ball wouldn't help the present issues you and your business are facing.

The fact of the matter is that Canadian ecommerce is falling further and further behind our fellow first world counterparts, and Canadian businesses are doing little to prevent Canada from sliding even further down the competitive scale. Some of these negatives can be spun into positives; for example, the fact that we are behind other, more competitive markets gives Canada a 'lag time' to fully understand and adopt omni-channel best practices. But some of the trends for 2015 are predicting a dismal future for Canadian ecommerce - unless we take note and start changing things now.

So we at VL have summarized 10 key statistics affecting ecommerce today and tomorrow with the hopes of better informing Canadian businesses today so that they can start implementing changes that will lead to a more prosperous tomorrow in a smart infographic. Take a look, take notes, and start strategizing for ecommerce success!

Scroll down for the full infographic!

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Topics: Canada, Predictions, ecommerce, Canadian Economy, infographic

Why Jerry Storch, CEO of Hudson's Bay, Is Wrong About Ecommerce

Posted by Jessica Thiele on Jun 16, 2015 12:38:37 PM

In early June, VL was at STORE 2015 as both an exhibitor and occasional session attendee, when we could slip away. We attended a talk by Samsung and Infusion, another one centered around retail without boundaries, and yet another one hosted by Forrester Research on ecommerce trends. There was some awesome content.

One of the talks making the most waves during STORE 2015 was the opening keynote presentation by Jerry Storch, CEO of the Hudson's Bay Company. This talk was billed as a discussion about "the past, present, and future of retailing in the All-Channel age", but his presentation had a space tone to it (aka Star Wars marries Star Trek) and turned into a time machine that took the entire main session hall at STORE 2015 back to the 1990's. You are probably asking what are we talking about?

So here was the issue as everybody saw it, Storch's talk went against all industry trends, analytics, and predictions: Storch claimed that selling online isn't profitable and sustainable, and all ecommerce businesses need bricks-and-mortar stores for a successful all-channel future. He claimed that internet retailing cost 3 X times more that bricks and mortar. Wow! Read on as VL breaks down why we disagree with Storch, and why opinions like this are not helpful to the Canadian digital economy. 

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Topics: ecommerce, omnichannel, retail

The Steve Jobs Effect: How Apps Have Changed How We Think About Products And Services

Posted by Jessica Thiele on Jun 11, 2015 3:55:25 PM

If you have been following our blog, you'll remember that recently we posted a quiz, How Much Do You Know About Integration? (Followed by the answers, which can be seen here.)

An interesting by-product came out of this quiz for all of us here at VL: what people chose as their answers to each question gave us a peek inside the heads of the quiz takers, namely their thoughts and assumptions on integration and integration as a service.

One of the poorest performing questions on the quiz was "What are the differences between plug-and-play integration solutions and custom designed integration solutions?The correct answer was D: Plug-and-play solutions work well for small businesses just starting out who have limited to no order volume and are looking for simple point to point data movement. Customized solutions work best for more established businesses with large order volumes that cannot be handled by manual data entry or the point to point plugin. Yet only 18% of people chose this as the correct answer!

So what it is going on here? We call this the "Steve Jobs Effect": how Steve Jobs and the ubiquitous nature of apps in Western culture has fundamentally changed the way we perceive products versus services in today's hyper techno-geared world.

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Topics: Data Integration, Integration as a Service, apple, steve jobs, apps

STORE 2015: A Recap

Posted by Jessica Thiele on Jun 9, 2015 12:35:02 PM

VL was at STORE 2015, the Retail Council of Canada's annual event, this past June 2-3 at the Toronto Congress Centre, exhibiting in what can only be considered the nexus of awesome: booth 534. (See proof of awesome below.) Luckily we were next to our friends from QData!

 I told you it was awesome. Check out all our pictures on Pinterest.

The exciting element of STORE for exhibitors was our ability to not only walk the floor and meet-and-greet some of our fellow awesome exhibitors like Sensindata, Viascanqdata, and Stratacahe, but to also attend some of the fantastic speaking events that dominated the multiple stages over the course of the two day event.

So without further adieu, here is VL's brief recap of STORE 2015:

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Topics: ecommerce, omnichannel, Store 2015, retail

7 Questions Data and Supply Chain Data Integration: James Rodmell

Posted by Robin Smith on Jun 5, 2015 9:33:52 AM

The 7 Questions Interview Series: Data and Supply Chain Data Integration

The 7 Questions Interview Series: Data and Supply Chain Data Integration “The 7 Question Series” is an investigative content series where we seek out key leaders in a specific industry and/or subject matter expertise area and ask them 7 key questions that “enquiring minds want to know”. There is a twist however to these questions. We provide the person being interviewed with a hypothesis for each question. This helps to frame and set context for their answer.

Data and Supply Chain Data Integration Series Objectives:

Data and Supply Chain Data Integration Series Objectives: The objective of this series is to establish direct connections with data experts across the globe and ask them the same set of 7 questions regarding data and data integration in the business. We want to derive insights from their direct experiences and expertise that will help companies, both B2B and B2C at all stages of their evolution. We are also curious to see if their answers are similar or different. These interviews will be featured on this website as a series.

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Topics: BI Integration, Data, 7 Question Series

What Can I Integrate in My Business?

Posted by Jessica Thiele on Jun 2, 2015 10:30:00 AM

As some of our long-time blog readers may already know, Virtual Logistics Inc.'s roots are in EDI. From there, we've grown into the customized integration solution provider we are today. But some people still think of us the EDI Guys! But we have many integration talents. Think of them as our superpowers: VL is a mild-mannered EDI specialist by day, but an integrator superhero by night!

So this leads us to the question - what exactly can you integrate? This is where customized integration solutions can flex their strength and superiority over your typical plug-and-play integration solution. VL can connect almost anything to anything, and then connect all those things to more things to form a complete integration solution!

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Topics: Integration as a Service, Fulfillment House Integration, Marketing Automation Integration, Logistics, Integration, EDI Integration, ecommerce, ERP

10 Reasons Not To Go To STORE 2015

Posted by Jessica Thiele on May 29, 2015 4:59:00 PM

The sun is out, the weather is finally heating up, and we all know what that means... yes, it's time for STORE 2015!

That's right! Canada's biggest retail conference put on by the Retail Council of Canada (the RCC). This year STORE is focused around the theme of Harnessing Disruption, and will be running from Tuesday June 2 until Wednesday June 3 at the Toronto Congress Centre in Toronto, ON. Check out STORE 2015's website for more info!

With STORE just around the corner, there are plenty of posts and articles that list all the awesome reasons to attend: networking with the biggest names in retail and industry experts, checking out the latest retail innovations, peeking at the best new products, great sessions, and plenty more. But I'm not sold, even though VL is going to be at STORE 2015 in booth 534. I'm already locked in to being there - but you can still save yourself!

So without further adieu, here's my top 10 list for why you should skip STORE 2015 this year, and just stay home instead.

Yup, we'll be there. It's too late for us, but save yourself while you still can!

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Topics: Store 2015

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