Greater Visibility and Intelligence
Retailers didn’t realize how much the COVID-19 pandemic would impact how they do business when it first hit. Lockdowns crippled many brick-and-mortar retailers, which was the first sign of trouble. Online shopping grew even more popular. Small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) recognized the need to add an eCommerce site or expand their existing one immediately.
However, omnichannel commerce alone cannot guarantee success. You must understand your eCommerce retail pipeline as a retailer, which is only achievable if you have a complete view of your business, full access to your financial data, and the ability to collaborate between your departments.
By integrating eCommerce and ERP, greater visibility and intelligence is possible.
We first have to understand what information ERP software can provide before examining how it supports eCommerce.
An eCommerce platform is how businesses can easily interact with customers online. It also offers a variety of customer information, including preferences, behaviors, and interactions with the company website and its employees. In addition, it displays which carts get abandoned and which ones become sales.
Even though this data is vital for running a business, it is not enough. For eCommerce platforms to give a complete picture of how the company is doing and how it can improve, data from other departments must be integrated, including sales, accounting, finance, manufacturing, and supply chain. Integrated ERP systems or ERP software allow departments to work together.
ERP systems are single business management solutions that connect every facet of an organization. Your team can access the ERP software simultaneously, whether in person or remotely because it transfers data from one department to the central ERP software. You can use this synchronized data to make intelligent business-growing decisions. ERP systems can automate business processes across the board, streamline workflows, and integrate third-party applications.
You can automate the order fulfillment process with ERP as all orders get consolidated into one system. Your expanding eCommerce business can easily manage the orders and inventory allocations from multiple sales channels.
Additionally, ERP software can assist merchants who lose thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars to returns every month by seamlessly tracking returned items, ensuring returned items are in good condition, and reimbursing buyers.
A few other benefits are:
- Accurately maintaining inventory
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Increasing business intelligence
- Processing orders more efficiently
- Removing the need for manual data entry
Additionally, you can track sales, generate reports, and allocate resources efficiently. Customer-facing platforms and back-office solutions are better when you integrate with an ERP.
ERP systems with integrated applications that provide bi-directional connectivity and open APIs provide the best ERP for e-commerce. Retailers should be able to customize and customize them to meet their unique needs. In addition, SMBs should be affordable to compete with more established companies.
eCommerce ERP systems should also be able to be deployed on premises, in the cloud, or with a hybrid approach. On-premises solutions require upfront hardware investments. They place complete control over the software and hardware, including upgrades, patches, and security updates, into the hands of the IT department of the business. Using a cloud option eliminates the initial investment, and the vendor is responsible for maintenance and security. Cloud deployment also allows users to access the system anywhere, anytime, via any web-enabled device, ensuring 24/7 data visibility.
First, you need to choose the right eCommerce platform for your business. However, other hurdles can appear during implementation. The next step is to get leadership and organizational support which could be tricky. Implementing ERP will be time-consuming, expensive, and unlikely to succeed unless each team member is on board. Your team must understand how the ERP system will benefit them before implementation begins: for example, the ERP solution will allow them to collaborate more effectively and provide a single solution rather than multiple disconnected solutions, and they can access updated, accurate information at any time.
Once the team’s approved the integration, your next step will vary. For an on-premises deployment, you’ll have to wait for hardware and software to arrive, and some may take a few days to a few weeks. With cloud-based ERP, installation time would be minimal.
Data loading and conversion are next, followed by user training, procedures development, testing, and validation, “go-live,” and ongoing support. Your ERP vendor will assist you through each step of the integration process in an efficient way that suits your business.
Acumatica Cloud ERP is a comprehensive ERP solution that will help your business grow. ASI’s job is to guide you step-by-step through the implementation process and beyond. You can learn more in this brochure from Acumatica.
Acumatica also offers native integrations with BigCommerce and Shopify. SMBs gain multiple benefits as a result of these eCommerce ERP partnerships, such as:
- Reduced stock-outs and backorders
- Faster order processing and fulfillment
- Streamlined returns and exchanges
- Easy integration with web stores and POS systems
- A smooth omnichannel experience for customers
To learn more about supporting eCommerce with ERP, contact our experts today.