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For the last several years, online retail and ecommerce have changed consumer expectations. Amazon broke barriers when it launched its Prime program in 2005. In only a few short years, other online retailers had to offer fast shipping or risk being left behind. Customers now expect expedited shipping everywhere they shop.
In 2020, as online shopping and ecommerce increased exponentially, so did the customer’s expectation of a positive experience. The smallest issues with an ecommerce site could have customers jumping ship to a competitor site. Statista reports that, in March 2020 alone, as many as 88 percent of online shopping carts were abandoned before purchase completion.
The solution, of course, is to provide an outstanding customer experience to all your online shoppers. One thing that can help you do that is a solid ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) ecommerce integration. Having the ability to provide customer, order and product data in real time across internal business systems and ecommerce systems can be key to providing an outstanding customer experience.
What is ERP?
The acronym ERP stands for “Enterprise Resource Planning”, which describes the collection, storage, and organization of business data via software integration. An ERP is an integrated suite of business applications that typically include accounting, HR, inventory, distribution, and manufacturing. As a single source of business data it helps to increase efficiency and streamline processes.
Getting the Most Out of Your Ecommerce Integrations
Integrating the main business processes with ecommerce empowers the business with a single data hub, creating a streamlined process from first click to final delivery. With major ERP solutions now including ecommerce integration, your customers can have the latest catalog and stock status and stay in the loop on what exactly is happening with their order. Ecommerce integration can trigger payment confirmation, create shipping labels, share tracking details, and update order status on the website. In addition to benefiting the customers, ecommerce integration also makes the entire retail sales journey smoother for the business by allowing you to update accounting and finance with payments and adjust inventory levels for both the warehouse and the website to accurately reflect what’s in stock.
Of those businesses that have integrated their ERP and ecommerce systems, many may be missing key functionality and data transfers that are important to their supply chain and consumers. Here are some items to consider when implementing ecommerce integration:
- Manual steps or spreadsheets to transfer data are eliminated. Ecommerce integration automates all data transfers to ensure accuracy.
- Real-time data is available in both the ERP and ecommerce system, and the data are consistent. Batch transfers of data at the end of the day can lead to frustration for customers, as well as potential out-of-stock inventory situations.
- Orders from the ecommerce system are automatically shared with the ERP system.
- Order tracking and order status are automatically and immediately shared with the ecommerce system so that customers are always in-the-know.
- Product information such as inventory levels, pricing, and descriptions are all up to date in real-time.
- Customer information between the ecommerce system and other business systems are synced, including order and invoice history.
- Payment information including credit card processing and tokenization is shared between systems.
- Any data points that are critical to the business and to the customer are easily available. ERP and ecommerce integration can be customized specifically to each business’ needs.
Additional Benefits of Ecommerce Integration
In addition to increased customer satisfaction, there are multiple benefits to having ERP and ecommerce integrated to work together:
- Reduce operational costs: Automating data inputs reduces the opportunity for errors such as missed shipments and incorrect orders, all of which contribute to reducing overall costs.
- Scale for growth: Manual processes are unsustainable as companies begin to grow. But an integrated ERP and ecommerce solution makes handling increased sales a breeze, by automating services and scaling to accommodate increases and changes in business volume. Decision makers can also track sales trends to plan for seasonal shifts and other fluctuations in sales volume.
- Improve inventory management: As orders come in, integrated ERP systems will automatically update stock on the ecommerce site. Sell a lot quickly, and your integration can even trigger a reorder from suppliers.
- Increase customer loyalty: Better ordering experiences increase customer loyalty.
- Omnichannel strategy opportunity: Modern businesses succeed with omnichannel strategies, especially in uncertainty around reopening stores and getting back to a new normal. Customer orders placed online, over the phone, via social selling or a marketplace, or even at a brick-and-mortar store can all have the same real-time updates on shipping and inventory with an ERP and ecommerce integration.
How to Choose an Integration Solution
Ecommerce integration might sound complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Choosing the right integration system and partner is a key to success and your ecommerce provider and/or accounting system provider are a good place to start for recommendations. You will want to identify an integration expert who has experience in both your ERP system and your ecommerce system.
About the Author
Ruth Richter is the CFO for ROI, a Sage 100 integration company.
ROI is the market’s leading Sage 100 ecommerce solution and integration specialist, maximizing Sage 100 customer’s technology investment through integration and customization since 1997.
Learn about ROI’s integration solutions for Sage 100 at www.roi-consulting.com or by calling Ruth Richter at 402-934-2223, 1. Or download this whitepaper which provides ideas for Choosing the Right Integration Solution. You’ll learn more about why ERP integration is good for ecommerce businesses, some of the most common integration challenges (and how to maneuver them), and tips for selecting the best integration software for your needs.