An ecommerce ERP integration can make or break your B2B ecommerce business. You need to understand the drawbacks as well as best practices of ERP for ecommerce. You’re putting your business at risk if you haven’t implemented ERP integration yet. You are spending unnecessary time and energy every time you manually enter sales orders on your ERP, regulate your inventory or upload updated product data on your website. It increases the possibility of errors which is never good for business. When you’re working manually, you can put incorrect product information, outdated product prices, inaccurate customer details, and even miss orders. All of these mistakes can negatively impact the experience of your customers and in turn the reputation and success of your business.
List of top 20 ERP software tools of 2018
Enhance your business by streamlining your processes with ERP integration. Contact PROS Ecommerce consulting to develop & design B2B ecommerce platform for your business or call us today at 619.567.9322. Integrating the ecommerce site of a B2B company with internal systems can simplify processes and the buying experiences of the customers will be simplified as well. There are significant benefits that the integrations offer but they are usually difficult to get right. One of the most common B2B data integration links the ecommerce function of a company to its ERP software. ERP or the “enterprise resource planning” software includes manufacturing, fulfillment, shipping, customer data, and accounting.
The information about the data to be included in the integration, the source of the data, where the data will be sent to, and how frequently it will be updated are some of the essential factors to know in order to make sure that your ERP integration or any other B2B ecommerce integration is a success. People usually talk about the consumers of B2B company while discussing the digital B2B buyer in the ecommerce industry. Your customers have been conditioned in their home buying experiences and that conditioning creates expectations that you have to fulfill in the online customer experience.
The common data integration points are listed below which you can choose to integrate at the outset and add others over time.
Online Orders: Ecommerce to ERP is the integration that will bring the order into your ERP system as soon as the transactions are placed using your ecommerce site. This integration point is common and will let you to complete orders more proficiently. The customer data from the order, the specific items that have been ordered, and the shipping method are usually included in this integration.
Offline orders: ERP to ecommerce is the integration that lets customers see orders that they placed outside of the ecommerce site. This usually falls in the nice-to-have against must-have category and is typically left out of initial integration projects. However, it is an excellent technique to form a relationship with your B2B customer.
The products that are in stock and the time in which they can ship are displayed on an ecommerce site and it is possible due to product data integrations. It shows the public price for products, the weight of the product, including other attribute data, such as color and dimensions. Contract pricing which allows buyers to purchase at their exact price is included in integrating customer data. Customers may have items that are unavailable to the general public and they have an option to place orders through purchase order, if not on a credit hold. The shipping date, the carrier, method, and tracking number can be integrated to inform customers when they can expect their orders. Other B2B integration complexities can consist of backorders, editing an order after it was placed and multiple warehouses.
In few cases, companies will utilize functionality from the ERP for ecommerce including calculating shipping costs and sales tax. It is risky and process intensive to recover ERP information in real time. Buyers cannot complete their purchase if the ERP server goes down, or there is any disruption in communication with the ERP software.
The advantages of integrating your ecommerce site and ERP system can be categorized into two different types:
- The first one is customer satisfaction, and it is believed that the satisfied customers come to shop frequently.
- The second one is increased control and reduced operational costs for your business which results in better effectiveness and more success.
The customers will get frustrated if they come to know that the product is out of stock or they get one price from your representative and a different one from the website. Conversely, if customers know that the information on your site is always correct, it will build trust and they will be ready to do more business with you. Your customers will have access to real-time data always, be it weekends or even at midnight. They can check the status of their order anytime they want as well as live inventory levels. There’s no need to call a the customer care representative if the customer will have all the information they require.
Human errors including duplication, finger slippage and double data entry are lessened as the pricing, inventory levels and product data are automatically maintained if not eliminated, and it will save you time and money. Sales orders move from your ecommerce store directly to your ERP system resulting in quicker and more productive order fulfillment. Again, the errors are minimized and the time as well as the effort is saved due to this automation.
Inventory levels are updated in the ERP with online sales which helps you to plan better. You just need to order products that sell and lessen back orders and avoid out of stock situations as you’ll know exactly how much to order. Your sales representatives can confidently sell with greater insight when the data flow between your two systems is reliable and correct. This generally improves your insight into your business and lets you handle it much more meticulously.
However no matter how well you plan, it is possible that the data does not reach its destination properly. The risk of failure is addressed by a well-designed integration. If the ERP system goes down for an extended period, the ecommerce site will not function. There is great difficulty in most B2B businesses. Customers, ordering processes, products and backend systems, all have their own complexity. So, while companies wish to form a “consumer like experience in B2B”, they have to do that keeping in view its inherent complexity. The intricacy of the ERP system is among the main differences between B2B and B2C ecommerce. The truth is that the B2B companies need to focus on a great amount of resources on integrating the ERP as ERP is the lifeblood of many B2B organizations.
The secret of B2B ecommerce lies in helping B2B buyers by making their job easier which entails giving them more and more access to complete self service and hence more transparency into the ERP. If your integration requirements, the customer registration workflow, data migration plan, and the way to troubleshoot and handle system downtime are clear then you have the primary essentials for successful data integration for your B2B ecommerce site. There are various advantages of ERP integration with your ecommerce store. You can get the most from it by choosing a partner who can direct you through the business process implications.