How many sales channels does your company offer? While you may have a sales team that calls directly on customers, your business may still send out print catalogs, staff a call center for phone orders, and sell via an ecommerce website. If you add distributors into the mix, you’ve got an even more complicated situation, with data flowing from multiple centers adding multiple complexities. This can make it challenging to track orders, inventory, and fulfillment.
If your company struggles with collecting and analyzing data from multiple channels, you might find the solution you need within ERP integration.
3 Reasons to Make ERP Integration Your Multichannel Solution
When your sales data is out of step with inventory information, problems occur. While your website may show a product is out of stock, a new shipment could have just been scanned into the warehouse. A salesperson calling the warehouse for shipping information may not be able to get a clear answer.
All these problems stem from the same source: different systems that do not communicate. The solution? ERP integration brings together multiple data streams to provide coherent, cogent information.
There are many ways in which ERP integration helps with multichannel sales.
Standardizing product information
Nothing is more frustrating for your staff than finding out a product description differs in one system from another. Size, color, materials, weight, SKU, and availability should be consistent in every system. But if you are running separate systems, that information might not be uniform. Someone may have keyed the information into the computer incorrectly or failed to update product specs when the supplier revised them. There are many reasons why data isn’t standard, but the outcome is the same.
An ERP system shares information with all areas of the company’s technology. A change made in the inventory system is reflected in the front-end sales interface, the website, the call center, and any other technology connected to the ERP system. It enables secure, fast, and thorough standardization of all product information throughout the company.
Synchronizing inventory details
Another common frustration in multichannel environments that lack integration is the shortage of information about inventory status. If your company’s website says a product is in stock and customers purchase the product, they’ll expect to receive their items, not an unexpected out-of-stock notice. They’ll take their business elsewhere—to companies with better communications and up-to-date software that can display real-time inventory status.
ERP integration enables data from your warehouse and distribution center to flow without interruption, ensuring constant updates to the warehouse of orders that need to go out and updates throughout all channels about warehouse stock. This is an ideal setup for companies with a multichannel sales model because of its ability to keep all channels updated simultaneously.
Updating customer information
Few experiences are as frustrating to a customer as calling a company and feeling like their information has to be repeated to every person they speak with to solve a problem. “Doesn’t your company know who I am? Why doesn’t anyone have an update on my order?”
Although you may feel it’s typical for your industry to have to go to multiple places for updates on orders and shipping status, customers have been conditioned by companies like Amazon to expect fast and accurate information on their orders and shipment status. They’ve grown accustomed to clicking a link in a confirmation email to see where their package is or looking on a company website for an instant update.
ERP integration offers the ease of such updates by synchronizing and linking customer information across all channels. This approach ensures that everyone from sales to service can access and use customer information to answer questions or solve problems. Customers no longer have to struggle for an answer about their order. Data is shared across all points in the ERP system, ensuring constant, continuous updates.
Make the Move to ERP Integration With ASI
ERPs are designed to automate business processes and make organizations more efficient. But reaping the full benefits of this system involves integrating your ERP with the rest of your systems and applications. Contact a software expert at ASI today to learn more about how we can help you integrate your ERP for an improved multichannel customer experience.