The management of an e-commerce company involves juggling numerous moving elements. You must ensure that everything works together even if each aspect may exist in a different system and necessitate particular procedures. The coordination of important resources, such as staff and supplies, can be consolidated into a single system with the aid of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. Planning methods are further streamlined by integrating them with your ERP, increasing productivity and lowering hassles. You will learn the fundamentals of ecommerce ERP integration from this post.
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What is ecommerce ERP integration?
ERP is an abbreviation for enterprise resource planning. It refers to software that aids in the execution of many critical business functions. Effective ERP and Ecommerce integration entails ensuring that your online retail business utilizes all aspects of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions.
Your ecommerce ERP integration system collects a wide range of digital information about your company, from finances to inventory management. This information could help enhance sales or fuel marketing strategies. This synchronizes data about products, orders, customers, and other items across the two systems. Automatic data synchronization increases efficiency and revenue.
Why do B2B companies need ecommerce ERP integration?
For starters, it results in numerous important efficiencies. The most important of them is that inventory levels will automatically update in two places: on the backend as the product is sold on your site (making life easier for your in-house employees), and on the frontend as the product is added to your inventory (making life easier for your consumers!)
While many eCommerce organizations use one-way connection or batch updates, true eCommerce integration with ERP requires two-way, real-time data flow. Many firms want to fully integrate both systems since it provides consumers and employees with real-time inventory and price information.
Secondly, and most critically, when demand grows, the requirement for additional people to process transactions decreases. Integrating your eCommerce sales channels with your ERP system allows you to run your business more efficiently in various ways. Order, inventory, item, customer, and shipping/tracking data are transferred between your previously independent systems.
Furthermore, when having ecommerce ERP integration, you will get numerous benefits such as those listed below:
- When entering order, inventory, item, customer, and shipping data, reduce manual entry to save time and increase output while reducing errors.
- Streamline inventory synchronization, track updates, and give customers exact inventory levels without recruiting additional employees to perform these operations.
- Customers receive automatic notifications when orders are sent and may track the delivery of merchandise.
- Simplify how you manage inventory price and product changes.
- The ability to incorporate various online (web-stores and marketplaces) and offline (brick-and-mortar) sales channels while maintaining operational efficiency.
- Handle rising demand for online orders without the need for more resources!
The drawbacks of Manual Processes
When your ecommerce ERP integration and other digital ordering procedures are not automated, errors are common:
- Shipping addresses can be typed incorrectly.
- Incorrect inventory levels can result in overselling.
- Product information may be sparse, erroneous, or even missing.
- Finally, when two-way integration is not in place, your complete end-to-end client experience is jeopardized.
The challenges to Ecommerce ERP integration
Companies frequently neglect the requirement to link their ERP systems with eCommerce due to the cost or business interruption caused by having to update existing systems.
When connecting ERP and eCommerce systems, you will confront numerous challenges. Some are on the human side, some on the integration software side, and still others are dependent on the program you’re presently using. Here are a few examples of the most prevalent:
Before beginning an integration, be sure your existing eCommerce system and ERP solution can handle the data flow requirements of the integration. Most current solutions should work without a hitch, but you want to avoid discovering bottlenecks or slowing down corporate activities in the middle of the process.
An integration project can easily go over budget, but the solution is usually in the planning. To avoid surprises, create a detailed plan ahead of time so that your integration goes well.
3. Custom integrations
Many ecommerce ERP integration systems and online stores contain custom features that are tailored to the needs of the business. These can make integration more difficult because the usability isn’t the same as the software out-of-the-box. It also means that upgrades and adjustments are more difficult because there are custom features to support.
4. Older software
It can be difficult to integrate out-of-date apps or legacy on-premise solutions. If you’re thinking about moving to a cloud platform, this can make a major difference in how easily and fast you can get started with your integration.
5. A variety of data types
The more data types you need to combine, the more complex the system. Simplify whenever feasible. Making decisions today to optimize your data flows will make it easier to establish a smart integration later.
Some tips to improve your Ecommerce ERP Integration
If you want to see an instant impact from your ERP ecommerce integration, we’ll go over some of the measures which can help you”
1. Improving the Design of Your Website
A site redesign is one of the quickest methods to observe an improvement in your ecommerce results. A visitor to your online store who is unable to locate the needed goods will eventually leave and visit the stores of your competitors. When your site is well-organized, users can quickly discover what they need, resulting in a pleasant purchasing experience that helps you build repeat consumers. You can utilize the ERP data you’re integrating to help organize this site.
2. Increasing the Customer Experience
Aside from improving the design of your website to improve the client experience before the purchase, ERP ecommerce integration can provide your customers with a better overall experience after the transaction.
When clients have questions regarding the status of an order or the history of an order, they don’t want to have to call your company to find out. They want to be able to search for and locate this information on their own via the website.
When you combine your ERP with your ecommerce platform, the two systems can share tracking data. This should make it easier for your consumers to find the information they are looking for.
You may even be able to set up automated email notifications when goods arrive or when an out-of-stock product becomes available again.
Customers should also be able to tailor their experience with your online store, ensuring that they see only the information they want to view. When you implement an ecommerce ERP integration, this data will be always available and up to date.
3. Keeping Track of Your Inventory
Few things can irritate your clients faster than locating the product they want on your website only to discover it is out of stock. If your online business has a few out-of-stock pages, chances are your potential clients will move on to one of your competitors and never return to you.
You’ll get real-time information about product availability using the inventory tracking tools you get when you integrate your ecommerce and ERP programs. Simply having this information on hand should help you limit the amount of times you are caught off guard due to a lack of inventory.
You won’t get warnings regarding low inventory if your e-commerce website doesn’t integrate with your ERP. Without the integration, it might be difficult for you to get accurate and current information regarding inventory levels.
4. Real-Time Pricing Adjustment
You can rapidly modify the pricing on your online store once you have data from the ecommerce ERP integration that reveals exactly how much you are spending to buy each of your products.
You don’t want your supplier to surprise you with an unexpected price increase. If you don’t adjust the prices on your e-commerce website to account for the higher cost of purchasing the goods, you risk having a very small profit margin or even losing money on some purchases.
In a similar vein, you might feel pressured to act swiftly if you see that a rival recently lowered its pricing on one of your most well-liked products. However, you might discover that such a price reduction will result in a loss for you on that product once you analyze the data in your integration.
Then, you can decide logically whether to risk losing a few clients to your rival (who is almost probably operating at a loss) or whether to cut your pricing as well and take the hit in an effort to keep your clientele.
When determining prices, having precise data available through your ERP’s e-commerce connectivity can give you a benefit that will pay off right away.
3 Long-Term Strategies for Ecommerce ERP Integration
Although putting in place an ecommerce ERP integration has immediate advantages, it also benefits your company in the long run. We’ll outline various tactics you might employ to get long-term rewards from this integration.
Using and Gathering Customer Data
You will be able to share client data between your ERP platform and your e-commerce platform once they are integrated. This process significantly improves the value of the data you’ve acquired by offering insights that would otherwise be impossible.
Utilizing this information, your sales and marketing teams may develop customer-centric, focused marketing strategies. The information provides you with reliable information before determining whether to change the procedure and aids in measuring the effectiveness of each marketing campaign.
However, it will take some time to fully utilize the data that the e-commerce and ERP integration gathers. It can take several weeks to several months to gather enough information from clients and site visitors to produce valuable data points. It will take longer to gather a lot of data if you only have a few consumers each day. In a few weeks, you will have a ton of data if you have hundreds of consumers per day.
The good news is that you will be able to make more accurate decisions as you gather more data points over time. Setting up the integration and data exchange will benefit your company for years to come, progressively delivering more accuracy. Everybody in your organization will have access to the integrated data at any time if it is stored in a central location.
Keeping Inventory Under Control
When employing an ERP ecommerce integration, you immediately benefit from tracking inventory and lowering the likelihood of out-of-stock problems, as we already explained.
Long-term benefits for inventory tracking will come from the data you gather through the integration. You may determine which products are selling quickly and which ones are behind by examining your actual sales statistics over several weeks or months.
Ideally, you don’t want to keep too many items on hand that aren’t selling well. Overbuying sluggish-moving goods increases the amount of money you have invested in them, which hinders your ability to respond rapidly to changes in the market environment.
You can use the data to plan for these sales trends if your data reveals that you have some products that sell very well in the early summer but fall down by early autumn. You can even build up your inventory to match the anticipated increase in sales that the data suggests will occur by anticipating the future increase in sales of the specific product and buying extra pieces when they are on sale.
Planning a Strategy for Consistent Growth
Every company wants to expand. Unchecked expansion, however, poses a serious risk because it might cause you to over promise to your clients and underdeliver.
You must plan your growth in order to expand your company in a healthy way. These strategies should ideally be made utilizing precise information that highlights the company’s advantages and disadvantages.
Without a strategy in place to handle the projected increase in orders, you shouldn’t plan a large marketing campaign to attempt and attract a significant number of new consumers. Your campaign will lose the majority of your new clients if you run it while your inventory is low or when you don’t have enough personnel on hand to promptly complete orders.
To decide how to grow and when to aim for growth, you must analyze the data you have from your ecommerce ERP integration. The data can indicate that you have a few product groups that are wildly successful. You may create some marketing campaigns to promote those products and boost sales by encouraging both repeat purchases from current customers and first purchases from potential new consumers.
Maybe the data indicates that your sales aren’t as strong during a select month of the year. Perhaps now is the ideal moment to launch a vigorous sales drive because you can benefit from having idle labor to fill orders.
You can even be able to try to spur on new growth by seeking customer input on the kinds of brand-new things you ought to offer. You should be able to interpret the findings of a customer survey with the aid of your ecommerce ERP integration in order to create a strategy for applying them to boost sales.
You may tell if clients are looking for things you don’t currently have by looking at the search terms they enter into your online store, for instance. Then, you might want to include such things.
The ERP ecommerce integration provides you with reliable data that you can utilize to increase your chances of success when you enter new sales channels in an effort to fuel your business, as opposed to introducing new sales channels based on a hunch.
As such, an ecommerce ERP integration can transform your business, but only if you have the best platform for your needs. Selecting tools with features that apply to your situation is vital to keep your business moving forward.