Organizations of every size have realized the importance of eCommerce for their business growth. The global spread of internet access through smartphones and desktops has significantly driven the eCommerce sector.
Today a large number of manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers are selling online. ECommerce has become an important channel for both B2B and B2C to sell and distribute almost any product we can imagine.
In this blog post, we will learn:
- How eCommerce is helping businesses grow in this competitive world
- The benefits of integration of ERP and eCommerce
- How ERP can improve eCommerce success
The current scenario triggers the eCommerce market
COVID-19 has hit every part of the world, and now when nations have announced they will ease lockdown restrictions, customers are scaling back their in-store shopping and are moving even more to online shopping.
Forbes says “there’s been a 129% year-over-year growth in U.S. and Canadian e-commerce orders as of April 21, 2021, and an impressive 146% growth in all online retail orders”. As COVID-19 spreads across the world, brick and mortar shops have also transformed their businesses and have increasingly adopted eCommerce to survive.
“Global e-commerce sales have been growing consistently at a rate of 10-20% in recent years. However, over recent months, e-commerce sales are doubling from the previous period last year.”
eCommerce acts as a catalyst between manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and customers. Selling goods online doesn’t require much time and investment these days. In the times of COVID-19, American consumers have reduced visits to physical stores and restaurants by 65%.
ERP supports an Omnichannel Customer Experience and eCommerce Growth
The growth of eCommerce is well established. But how do businesses prepare for the growth in the volume of sales across channels, including eCommerce and brick and mortar sales?
ERP software is the foundation and underpinning business solution that supports omnichannel customer experience and promotes omnichannel supply chain. Omnichannel supply chain or retailing means offering a quality shopping experience to customers no matter their channel – website, mobile, and offline shops.
ERP supports an omnichannel customer experience so customers can connect with you over any channel they choose. It allows businesses to manage every function, process, and transaction – order fulfillment, inventory, purchasing, warehouse management, shipping, and logistics – at scale efficiency while reducing manual overhead.
Let’s talk about eCommerce and ERP integration and its benefits –
Successful ERP and eCommerce integration makes the experience between the customer and business seamless. It also makes the data exchange between buyer and supplier bidirectional and instantaneous.
Businesses should understand the benefits of integrating an ERP solution with eCommerce platforms. An ERP system will help manage multiple orders, deliveries, shipments, dispatching, and quality without manual entries. Of course, if you have a great website, good pricing and payment options, and a beautiful product catalog, you’ll attract customers. But to keep them, offering an ERP best-in-class experience is critical.
Here are some ways an ERP system can help.
- Effective completion of sales (pick, pack, ship) timely and accurately
- Seamless financial transactions (collection, billing/charge, accounting)
- Follow-through (response to inquiries, return processing, and credit)
- Ease of ordering online (web platform, mobile app, etc.)
These tasks cannot be completed with just an eCommerce platform. You need ERP and eCommerce integrated to provide superior customer experience.
What happens when you have integrated ERP and eCommerce systems?
- Customer transactions go directly into the ERP inventory and order management
- Information on the website such as specials, shipping instructions, allocations, and availability of stock comes directly from the ERP database
- Order status is available to customers until they receive their orders which are tracked through the ERP system. Status updates can be sent via email, SMS, or they can be viewed through the website. Customers can find out if their order has been accepted, is in process, or has been shipped.
- When a customer pays online, the transaction is handled with the ERP financial application. ERP can provide a credit check, show account status, process a credit card charge, process an invoice, and more.
- The purchase and accounting history of a customer is extracted from ERP and made available to customers through the online portal
ERP increases eCommerce success in three main ways:
1. It manages more order volume with one business management system:
Amid COVID-19, consumers find it easier to order a product from home instead of entering brick and mortar shops. An eCommerce business deals in order management, checkout and shopping cart processes, inventory management, shipping and logistics, and customer service. Handling multiple software solutions for every operation is not an effective solution.
ERP eCommerce integration brings everything under one centralized system and makes it easy to manage multiple order deliveries and shipments. When operations are automated, you can focus on planning and strategizing business decisions instead of spending time accumulating data.
2. Improve customer and brand experience
Modern customers expect rapid delivery of goods. With an integrated ERP system, you can easily check recent online orders as they are instantly available to see and then ship out the products as soon as possible. ERP allows customers to track their shipment information and see their order fulfillment status on a self-serve basis. With ERP, you can avoid having any products out of stock.
Providing customers with easy online ordering and quick deliveries boosts a company’s goodwill and improves the brand experience, leading to greater success and profitability.
3. Better visibility
An ERP System can manage orders from all sales channels – B2C eCommerce sites, B2B eCommerce sites, in-store sales, phone orders, EDI with retail partners, etc. All orders from all sales channels are managed in an integrated ERP solution. A transparent system where customers and sellers have 24/7 access to data, helps strengthen business relationships.
With ERP you don’t need to work with lengthy spreadsheets. Every piece of data, history of transactions, etc. can be seen in real-time on an ERP platform. It gives you an end-to-end view, from orders to inventory to fulfillment and shipping. This visibility provides you with the ability to sell greater volume more easily and in a better managed and automated way.
Integrating eCommerce with ERP software promotes a single stream of online sales, catalog sales, telemarketing, and counter sales to serve a wide range of customers. With the out-of-the-box capabilities of modern ERP solutions, businesses can manage multiple operations with a few clicks. You can retain your customers, offer them a more customized experience, and build new sale channels with an ERP eCommerce integrated platform.
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