by Jason Madison
Online sales and eCommerce are fast becoming the most important source of revenue growth for businesses everywhere. Many companies have an online presence but fail to compete in eCommerce, which is growing at an astounding rate. These businesses are learning that they must improve their business procedures in order to maximize earnings. Integrating eCommerce with your existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is a practical way to initiate those improvements.
An eCommerce/ERP integration plugs your eCommerce website directly into your ERP system, allowing you to easily access need-to-know information like inventory, financials, HR, manufacturing, and much more. It also tracks information like pricing, payment and shipping details for each of your customers.
Our team at Kissinger works every day to help companies across all industries bridge the gap between their ERP and eCommerce systems, and our customers tell us what changes have had the biggest impacts on the bottom line. Here are the top four advantages we’ve found:
Achieve Cost Savings with Automation
Perhaps the biggest advantage of having your website integrated with your ERP system is the cost savings associated with automation. You can automate almost all customer and employee interactions related to placing orders, checking inventory, tracking shipments, requesting return labels, researching products, and paying invoices, which saves your team time and reduces the need for headcount. Most importantly, integration ensures that the customer can access their information from any device with an internet connection, which significantly reduces demands on your customer service.
Integrating eCommerce with your ERP ensures that sales orders move seamlessly from your website to your warehouse in seconds, eliminating the time and administrative burden of manual data transfer. Employees can transition from spending hours on redundant customer interfacing and manual data entry to focusing on acquiring new customers and growing the business.
Reduce Data Redundancy and Error
Study after study shows that when employees are manually re-keying web orders into an ERP system, they naturally make errors. It’s easy to accidentally transpose numbers, enter the wrong quantity, enter the wrong shipping address, or even lose orders completely. As data breaks down, so does the entire operation, causing missed sales opportunities, frustrated customers, and a compromised bottom line.
By integrating eCommerce and your ERP, you can eliminate manual data entry and dramatically reduce the number of data entry-related errors. Regardless of how many orders you process, an integrated system provides a fast, consistent, and error-free process every single time.
Improve Customer Service and Satisfaction
Employees who have access to updated and accurate product and inventory information will be able to provide a superior experience to your customers. ERP-integrated systems allow for automatic updating, which is a necessity in a world where customers expect information in real time. Numerous studies have suggested that as the number of shipping information updates increase (i.e., giving the customer an update on order status or location), so does customer satisfaction. Providing timely and accurate order and shipping notifications is essential to secure a customer’s trust and brand loyalty.
A fully integrated eCommerce system will be equipped to give customers individualized accounts with up-to-the-minute information on pricing, discounts, tax schedules, shipment tracking, and payment information. Customers will also be able to manage different aspects of their accounts without needing an employee to access and enter their information.
Open New Markets
The eCommerce market is huge, totaling over $1.95 trillion worldwide in 2016. Adding a streamlined web sales channel to your existing sales arsenal immediately expands your potential customer pool beyond the customers, retailers, and dealers you already reach. eCommerce has the potential to open new opportunities for you around the world and increase sales as your company moves into 2017.
As the online market grows and changes, getting the most out of your eCommerce solution is becoming increasingly important to the bottom line. Integrating eCommerce with your ERP will have an immediate impact to help you do more with less.
About the Author
Jason Madison is the Web- Stor® Solutions Manager at Kissinger, where he helps businesses grow their sales and increase efficiency with leading eCommerce solutions for Sage 100 and 100c. Kissinger has been providing cutting-edge eCommerce solutions for 30+ years. Learn more at Blytheco.com/Web-Stor.
Article reprinted from the Spring 2017 issue of Bellwether.
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