Real time inventory updates is critical for any business and especially those that use an ERP. Any delays in updates of inventory figures could lead to failed transactions and a severely compromised customer experience. This is true for both manufacturing and service organizations and is not just relevant for the bigger players but applies to SMB’s too.

This is true because while the bigger players have the resources and brand power to absorb losses, the SMB’s can be suffer irreparable loss to a growing but fragile brand image.

While the case may be evident in the service sector for example in hotels where real time availability of facilities is important, the case is the strongest for adoption by the e-commerce industry.

Some SMB’s rely on outdated e-commerce tools that do not support real time transactions, billing, accounting and business records as a result of which processing of orders and decision making is plagued by critical delays.

The solution is to use a state of the art ERP system that can track orders, stock, supplier information, sales, deliveries, and other relevant inventory records. 

The cloud is already the preferred choice for ERP solutions due to its affordability, easy & anytime/anywhere access, lower financial & investment entry barriers as well as minimal set up times.

Only integration of the ERP with the e-commerce solution either by being inbuilt into the ERP or creating appropriate connection interfaces is the only way for real time updates of inventory. With this integration, manual reconciliation is a thing of the past. The reconciliation is only between the ERP and e-commerce figures and is done automatically with alerts for reorder points and no stocks. Conflicts on inventory stocks between warehousing and sales no longer occur.

Customers too when they are searching on e-commerce sites ask for real time availability figures and are not willing to wait for information, and their failing to get information in a few seconds or getting incorrect information will lead to abandoned carts, dropped transactions, high bounce rate, reduced brand equity and ultimately to dropping web traffic figures.

Sites like Amazon and e-bay require a commitment from sellers on their site to provide updated inventory figures to be allowed to sell there.

Moreover, shipping issues can get really complicated when some items are ready to be shipped and others will be sent later in one order. The cloud ERP can manage the different sub orders that need to be shipped and track order fulfillment with inventory stock when the items are ready to be shipped.

There are times when a customer returns a product, it is automatically updated and the CRM module in the ERP interacts with the customer to get feedback on the product and the experience. Product returns, exchanges or refunds are done automatically without the sweat and tears of manual reconciliation.

The key issues that companies face without real time integration are:

  • Inaccurate inventory: as we have discussed earlier in this article
  • Operational issues arise when order volumes increase and manual reconciliation takes a lot of time and errors will always tend to creep in causing loss of customer satisfaction as well as a net impact on sales
  • There is the creation of information silos that need to be reconciled and thus the analytics features cannot reflect real time data and hence are not really relevant
  • The issue is not just with inventory reconciliation but that a lot other important data is not transferred to the ERP resulting in ineffective decision making.

With automated integration solutions, most businesses can hope to improve turnaround times, reduce duplication of effort, and expenses related to order fulfillment which then leads to fewer missed shipments, returns, and cancellations leading to greater business success.

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.

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. Automatic real time inventory updates is one of the many features in our integrated 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.

Reference:

http://www.erpsoftwareblog.com/2014/02/managing-your-e-commerce-inventory-how-do-cloud-erp-systems-support-real-time-inventory-information/

http://findaccountingsoftware.com/expert-advice/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-erp-and-ecommerce-integration/