A quick analysis of all the feedback received and customer interactions we have had with our customers over the years revealed that most businesses perceive eCommerce and ERP integration to be an IT (Operations) or Marketing related project. This explains the interest that one of our earlier blogs “Reasons for ERP and Ecommerce Integration”, published over a year back, continues to generate. The blog highlights four reasons, from marketing and operational standpoint, for integrating ERP and eCommerce Systems – Reduced cost and errors, Consistent product Information, Returns management and 360degree view of customer.
But nothing can be further from the truth. For all clients we have worked with, eCommerce and ERP integration has had an organization wide impact on their business. While improving operational efficiency and customer experience, the integration has also widely contributed to the bottom line of the business by increasing sales. Read on to understand how integrating eCommerce and ERP systems has an impact on the entire value chain of businesses.
Sales – Adapting to Serve New Customers & Markets
- If you are looking to expand your customer base by reaching more customers, either by increasing market share in your existing market or by selling in new geographies, having a scalable business is key to the success of your endeavors.
- Achieving this scalability will not be possible if your eCommerce and ERP systems work in isolation. Hence integrating your eCommerce and ERP systems is critical to ensure that you continue to provide the same experience with increasing customer base.
- Moreover the eCommerce and ERP system integration is also critical to get your B2B customers on board. The integration allows you to extend the features and flexibility of your B2C eCommerce store to your B2B customers by leveraging the data in your ERP system.
Operations – Automate Business Processes and Improve Operational Efficiency
- With orders flowing in from eCommerce system and fulfillment happening in your ERP system, manual data entry between the two systems can limit the growth of your business. To remain competitive in today’s market, it is essential for businesses to be quick, responsive and accurate in attending customers.
- Integrating your eCommerce web store with your ERP system not only eliminates manual order entry but also enables you to automate and streamline your order fulfillment process. With the integration the orders can automatically flow from your eCommerce store to your ERP system, which can then be sent to your fulfillment centers for packaging and shipment. The shipping labels can be automatically generated and shipment tracking number shared with customers along with order status.
- All this can be achieved without manual intervention thereby improving the operational efficiency. Not only that, the integration also allows you better manage your inventory and maintains the health of your accounting systems.
Marketing – Establish your Brand with Integrated Multi-channel Marketing
- Customers today expect businesses to be omnipresent to cater to their buying needs and businesses often oblige in hope of getting their customer wallet share. But it is one thing to be present across all these diverse channels and completely different thing to provide a consistent and uniform experience across.
- Providing this consistent and uniform experience mandates businesses to use the same information across channels. With eCommerce and ERP system integration businesses can ensure that these two critical systems have a single version of the information which can then be utilized to build customer engagement, drive campaigns and foster customer loyalty.
Customer Service – Improve Customer Experience
- Everything related to eCommerce and ERP integration contributes towards improving customer experience. Inventory sync improves customer experience by preventing embarrassing situations related to over selling of your products, while customer and order sync improves customer satisfaction by converting your eCommerce store into self-service customer portals.
- Your customers now gain access to a great deal of valuable information when they need it without having to contact you to find it for them.