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Shopify API Limit

Question

Can you explain to me how Shopify's integration works?  I have read your documentation and I'm satisfied you can handle the integration with my POS system.  I'm actually more worried about Shopify.  I sell shoes which of course come in a variety of colors, sizes and widths.  This is a lot of variations and I'd like to know how Shopify will deal with all these updates.  Do they limit the number of calls to their API?  I plan on selling about 20,000 products online and don't know if I should sign up for their standard plan or Shopify Plus?  I've asked Shopify but they couldn't seem to tell me if I would run out of API calls.  Can you explain to me how it works?

Answer

Thank you for your interest in Modern Retail and our Shopify Integrator.  We would love to help you get Shopify integrated with POS system.

Before I answer you question let me give you a little disclaimer.  The information I'm going to provide is what we're seeing in practice.  However, you should probably talk to your Shopify sales manager to make sure what I'm telling you is accurate.  I believe it is but you never know things change all the time.

Shopify lumps their clients into two different distinct groups:

  1. Shopify Plus Customers - 4 calls / second
  2. All Other Customers - 2 calls / second

With Shopify Plus customers we can call their API 4 times per second.  This is actually a pretty significant number of calls and should meet the needs of some pretty large customers.  

Non-Plus customers get 2 API calls per second.  While this may not seem like a significant difference from Plus we have run into this limit with some integrations.  Unfortunately, you have a product with a lot of variants, shoes, which does increase the number of calls given the inventory and pricing of your shoes are changing all the time. Unfortunately, it is a hard to tell you if you're running to run into this 2 calls per second limit because I don't know how often your inventory changes or how frequently you put items on sale.  However, I can tell you what happens when you hit Shopify's API limit.

Leaky Bucket

To explain how Shopify's API works I'd like to use an analogy.  Picture a bucket with a bunch of holes in the bottom of it. As you pour water in the bucket it leaks out through the holes in the bottom.  However, if you dump a bunch of water in the bucket it will start to fill up if it can't leak out fast enough.  This is how Shopify API works!

Shopify uses this "leaky bucket approach" whether you are using Shopify Plus or one of their other plans.  This means the integration with Shopify will eventually catch up if you make a bunch of changes such as putting your entire inventory on sale.

Of course if you have a huge catalog with constantly changing inventory and pricing, then you're going to need to be on Shopify Plus.  Even though Shopify Plus only has 2 more calls per second than their standard plans, we've rarely seen a slowdown in API calls when someone is on Plus.

Difference Engine

Modern Retail has a nice feature which can significantly cut down on the number of API calls to Shopify and that's our "difference engine" technology.  Basically, our technology verifies there's actually a change before making a call to Shopify API.  If there's no change, then no calls are make to  Shopify.  To get a better understanding of how this technology works please read:

Please let me know if you have any more questions about our integration with Shopify.  Thank you.

 

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