ECommerce allows you to sell products at a cost that may be substantially less than selling from a brick and mortar location. Can eCommerce store fronts be successfully integrated with ERP systems?
Yes, they can! In fact, SmartB actually uses an ERP system and eCommerce on the same platform. The benefit is that, when you use them together, you get all your eCommerce data direct from the ERP system, without having it interact with humans. This brings you many potential benefits.
How do ERP Systems Benefit eCommerce Retailers?
Savings on Costs
When you understand your sales trends, this means it’s easier for you to determine staffing needs and project accurate inventory, so your company offers more satisfaction to customers. This will reduce the amount of capital you may have tied up in current inventory that is not selling well.
ERP systems that seamlessly integrate with your eCommerce store will help in transferring your order information directly to the ERP. This will reduce the need for manual data entry, which can’t keep up with changing quantities of orders. An ERP system integrated properly with your eCommerce store front also ensures that your catalog of products is managed in only one place. This increases efficiency and improves accuracy.
Improving Customer Service
Studies have shown that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake product selection and pricing as the key differential in brand choice. You need to be able to track your company’s interactions with customers, to respond quickly to their queries and to monitor your performance escalations. You also need visibility of each of your customer transactions across all your eCommerce channels.
Reduced Human Error and Data Redundancy
When you work with an ERP system, all pertinent information will be integrated into it.
- Shipping information
- Web orders
- Web customer details
At the same time, inventory and item specific details can be easily uploaded from your ERP solution to your eCommerce portal. This eliminates your company’s need to re-enter data manually. By reducing the human interaction in the equation, you will reduce errors and data redundancy over both platforms.
Generating Financial Reports within ERP, Based on your Web Transactions
eCommerce applications can all generate reports based on your company sales. However, when you integrate with ERP, it gives you the ability to accurately produce reports on cash flow, trial balance, profit/loss statements and balance sheets, giving transparency in your financial information across the entire company.
Creating Better Decision-Making Power
A back-office operation within an eCommerce operation would traditionally involve these specifics, to support your business:
- Payment processing
- Shipping systems
- Warehouse management
- Vendor management
- Procurement and inventory management
Your company may currently use numerous software-based solutions in addressing these areas, meaning that each area functions independently. This is far from ideal. Without tight control through integrated processes, you run the risk of making decisions that are not based on accurate data.
A modern, efficient cloud-based ERP solution will generally include modules for all of those areas, so that each area within your company is relying on one source of true information. This allows you and your staff to make faster, better decisions.
Offering Accurate, Consistent Accounting Practices
At some time, your eCommerce company will likely decide to raise funds, in order to create growth, or allow for a smoother financial audit. An effective ERP ensures that all your company documents will be compliant with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Malaysian accounting standards board (MASB). An ERP process gives your company improved reporting and visibility.