Codisto Connect eBay integration for Magento

CodistoWe recently wrote about Codisto, an Australian Software company that specializes in eBay integration software. They manage eBay listings for some of Australia’s largest retailers and have recently launched an eBay integration extension for Magento that works on all 23 eBay marketplaces around the world.

Codisto’s mission: Make using eBay faster and easier. Their aim is to set a new standard for simplicity and performance in the eBay integration market.

Codisto Connect offers full synchronization between Magento and eBay – Magento catalogue changes automatically changed on eBay (for managed listings), inventory decremented on both platforms from sales on either and eBay order automatically sent to Magento. Shipping tracking information and feedback is automatically left on eBay. The solution also offers, multi-store/multi-account/ multi-marketplace connectivity. All this functionality is required as standard to be regarded as a true integration solution. However, to be truly next generation there is more required.

This article explains some of the main features of Codisto Connect eBay integration for Magento and why they are claiming it to be the only next generation extension available.

1) Architecture

The Codisto plugin is very lightweight – only 57 files that you can see in Github.

Synchronization processing is performed outside Magento meaning they sync in real-time without putting load on the Magento server which causes performance problems and a slow browsing experience for customers. Codisto doesn’t need to use a scheduler (Magento cron) to keep everything in sync. This means inventory is always in sync, not just once the scheduler has run, which means overselling doesn’t occur.

Technically speaking, signals are sent asynchronously every time the Magento catalogue changes. Codisto servers reach and pull the changes incrementally from Magento. They do this by being very respectful to server communications, using techniques such as exponential back-off on timeouts and delaying server requests. This results in vastly improved Magento performance even when frequently synchronizing large catalogues.

2) Setup & configuration

Setup is now incredibly simple – it literally takes minutes. Codisto have removed the need for lengthy configuration to get merchants products listed fast with minimal effort. Their approach can be broken down into three parts:
i) Codisto has a unique auto-categorization feature that uses a series of inputs based on your catalogue and the listings on eBay to automatically determine a good eBay category assignment without input from the merchant. Categories can be manually overridden but not having to configure listing by listing to assign categories is an immense time saver which removes cost and expertise required to list on eBay.

Technically, whilst Codisto use the eBay “get suggested category” API, they do not just rely on it for their auto-categorization – it’s not accurate enough to get any consistently quality for category matching. Codisto go much further and have developed their own machine learning algorithms that iteratively search for similar products on eBay based on key inputs from the products being categorized.

ii) Codisto automatically apply a professional, mobile optimised template to all listings out of the box which can be easily previewed in our user interface before products are listed. The template is fully editable in HTML/CSS if that is desired (see 3 below) but automatically applying their template means merchants aren’t left with basic Times New Roman font templates or forced to pay and wait for template designers to get their product catalogue listed and looking good on eBay.

iii) Codisto apply eBay best practice values to listing variables to avoid the need for merchants to spend time choosing values individually. All values (including category values) can be quickly and easily changed in an Excel-style, intuitive user interface – a user can bulk update anything. For example, the shipping option can be easily changed from the eBay best practice default of ‘free’ to a flat rate or calculated rate by quickly filtering to the set of products (by category, price, code etc.) and applying the change.

This approach means users are given individual product and variable control in a simple UI but they are not forced to configure everything to start making sales on eBay quickly and easily.

3) Codisto eBay sales template

The Codisto listing template works by adding files to the Magento design folder. This makes working on eBay listing templates familiar to Magento developers and makes the eBay listing design a considered part of the Magento theme.

The templating system has full logic control, conditionals and iteration. Magento product attributes are available from the template in scalar and automatic tabular form.

The listing template can include ‘Static Blocks’ from the Magento CMS admin menu and the static block content can also use the full templating capability and has access to all the fields.

It includes a sophisticated preview system that allows a designer to edit the template and preview the aesthetic and design on different devices profiles across different products simultaneously.

All external assets are served via a content delivery network to ensure fastest listing template load times, this hosting resource is separate to the Magento server creating no further undue load.

Images in the listing description can be dynamically resized on the fly from the template system.

The approach Codisto have taken to template editing makes it very efficient for HTML developers to powerful changes to the template quickly. Because the template is available as a column in the user interface, multiple different templates can easily be applied to different products in the catalogue very quickly if that is the approach desired by merchants.

Jonathan Pollard, Codisto CEO, told us “Codisto has strived hard to provide a quality and simple user experience without comprising on synchronization quality. There are many exciting projects in the pipeline but we will be vigilant not to continually add functionality and settings at the expense of ease and simplicity because this is what our core values are that make Codisto different“.