In the year 2014, commercial transactions via the internet alone amounted to more than USD $ 300 billion and sales of retailers via the internet have been growing at a rate of over 15% every year for five years before 2014 and the trend continues. This points to the fact almost all businesses cannot ignore interaction and compatibility with e-commerce. ERP is a game changer for all types of businesses regardless of the size and scale but even ERP systems in the retail domain need to be integrated with e-commerce channels to stay relevant.
E-commerce integration with the ERP being used is usually overlooked because of cost or the disruption in operations caused by having to change but the costs will become worth it when you see the impact on your operability and the quality of the seamless customer experience that you will offer. To deal with this changeover problem, it is best to choose an ERP solution that automatically integrates with e-commerce channels by having the connecting solution embedded in it hereby eliminating the need for integration.
E-commerce does not just mean a web store run by an application but also e-marketplaces whereas an ERP refers to a system that manages business data in real time as well as being the backbone for back office operations for optimizing business processes.
Integrating your e-commerce sales channels with your ERP system allows you to operate more effectively as sales data – order, inventory, item, customer, shipping, and tracking information– are automatically communicated between your once disconnected systems thus saving on duplication of effort and time.
This saves on manual practices like data entry of sales orders into an ERP, updating product information in Excel and then uploading to the web store with manual inventory reconciliation being a major problem that may cause a disconnect between sales orders and actual inventory stock.
With lack of automation and repetition of manual effort, other critical errors could creep in like incorrect dispatch addresses and other sensitive information.
The customer experience is critical for repeat orders and referrals and it is severely compromised as errors and disruptions in the sales process may creep in. A model with two standalone systems has a higher cost burden in terms of effort and process times required with a greater possibility for error. A disgruntled customer will tell ten more and amplify the damage to a large extent on social media. The damage done to the brand may take a while to repair and it may happen again. Moreover it makes better business sense to integrate in terms of operational efficiency too.
It should allow for order completion across geographies, product information updates, pricing management etc with seamless integration in real time.
Some of the key benefits that you will see will be:
- Reduce manual entry time and error possibilities
- Streamline inventory synchronization and updates automatically across the ERP and e-commerce channel
- Automatically intimate customers when shipping is done and allow delivery tracking of the shipment
- Simplify price and product changes in the inventory
- Flexibility to add multiple offline and online sales channel easily without effecting operational efficiency
- Easily meet tax and compliance needs that are relevant to the nature of the order or the geographical need
- No need to add to human resources for increased order loads as the process is automatic
There are various integration options available:
- Point to point platform: It is an affordable solution for the smaller players but cannot be scaled up and has poor flexibility with regards to adding more channels. Each point of interface between the two systems has to be configured.
- Multi-channel management platform: This is the best way to achieve ERP and e-commerce integration that is affordable and easily scalable. This technology is usually cloud based and the platform works as the hub between the ERP and the e-commerce channel.
- Custom integration: To create a custom solution, you would need to work with the existing API’s available in your ERP system that would have to be based on the data flows between the ERP and the e-commerce channels. With this quantum of development effort, it is expensive and would take time to put into place and is therefore not suited for most.
We at VersAccounts have created a secure cloud based one stop comprehensive ERP solution that is e-commerce ready. It addresses key concerns on e-commerce in the most effective manner possible by having the leading multi-channel management platform nChannel being inbuilt in our ERP solution whereby eliminating any need to look for an integration solution. Our ERP solution does not need a connector and automatically integrates with shopping carts after set up. It is affordable and targeted towards SMB’s and is backed by a promise of dedicated support. It is being used by clients in diverse verticals and could help you redefine the way you operate and grow your business.
We’d love to hear from you.
To know more, please visit www.versaccounts.com or contact us directly.