When you are running an online store, data is everything. In most cases, you don’t have a physical location, so the only opportunity you have for communicating with your clients and understanding them is with the data and messages you receive from them online.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software is essential for making the most of this information. Learn more about some of the benefits of ERP in eCommerce, the challenges that you’ll face and best practices for implementing ERP in your company.
Benefits of ERP in eCommerce
There are plenty of benefits to integrating ERP software with your eCommerce platform and sales strategy. Some of the main advantages that companies can experience include:
Greater Customer Loyalty
Transitioning towards using ERP software is a perfect opportunity to maximise the way you reach out to your customers. Some ERP platforms include features such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which automate the messages that you send out to specific customers at a certain point in the sales funnel and track the interactions that you have had with them in the past.
Combining this access to automation and information gives you the perfect platform to maximise every single client, building your revenue and making sure that they are happy with the products and services they get from you.
Inventory tracking and management tasks can be some of the more menial ones in the eCommerce space, taking up hours of labour availability at a time to count all of the products a company has. With effective ERP in place, a company can keep track of the products that it has in a warehouse automatically, requiring only an occasional audit to ensure that the numbers are accurate.
Restocking is another quick and efficient step for automation, with companies ordering replacement products when the current inventory hits a specific threshold to ensure continuity. You can learn more about how to better manage inventory in our article Tips to Reduce Inventory Forecasting Errors.
When companies work across several platforms for various services, there is a risk of data becoming inconsistent. This not only includes the numbers themselves differing from database to database, but the format that the data is held in changing from one platform to the next.
Integration means that all of the apps are pulled together into one place, synchronising with every change and having regular refreshes to update all of the information necessary. The process is vastly simpler this way and means that there is no chance of confusion around someone’s address or what to do with their products.
Challenges of eCommerce ERP Integration
Whilst there are plenty of benefits of ERP integration, there are also a few challenges that you encounter when going through the process. Some of the most significant challenges in ERP integration for eCommerce companies include:
Some ERP programs struggle when rapidly scaling up due to company growth, making thorough research into an ERP’s capabilities essential.
Every business has its own unique structure, so find an ERP that is highly customisable and can integrate with as many bespoke systems and applications as you need.
ERP costs can be high, depending on the option that you choose. Growing businesses benefit most from cloud-based modular ERPs that scale in size, capability and cost depending on an organisation’s evolving needs.
Certain industries have the unique challenge of running legacy software such as Windows XP due to the limitations of their devices. This can make integrating devices into an ERP much more complex.
Members of staff need to transition to the new processes, which can take a lot of time and effort in training and eliminating human error from working with an ERP.
Best Practices in ERP Integration
There are a few best practices that your company benefits from following when integrating ERP software with existing workplace policies. Some of the main steps to take when implementing an ERP in your company include:
Create a Coherent Strategy
Companies need to have a clear and coherent strategy for their transition to using Enterprise Resource Planning platforms. This includes setting out dates for making the switch to certain parts of an ERP, having a clear training programme for members of staff and creating a series of fail-safes in case the integration does not work as the company expects.
As the adage goes “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail”, and this applies especially to big changes in a business. This includes having backup systems and services in place if you need an alternative to the ERP partway through the integration.
Set Clear Goals
Having very clear goals for your implementation gives your team something to actively work towards. Some of the main parts of a business goal that you should include in any objective include:
- Scope: The size and scale of the goals that you are setting, such as delivering a specific number of products or servicing a set number of clients.
- Budget: Have a clear budget for your goals, as this stops you from excessively hunting the goal without any consideration for outside factors.
- Timing: Set a clear deadline for the goals and points at which you measure the progress to ensure you have a better understanding of how a project is going.
- Quality: Set standards for the level of work you expect and how staff members are expected to perform in the project.
These goals keep an organisation on track and reduce the risk of companies either spending too much on a project or losing the initial vision of the goal.
Assess and Examine
Constantly assess and examine the way that the implementation of ERP software into your eCommerce is working. This involves tracking key performance indicators such as sales figures, costs and the level of revenue that the organisation is earning before and after the change.
By having one eye on the analytics behind the transition you see where there are inefficiencies and how you are thriving as a result of the integration. Act on the analysis that you do to work more efficiently, saving money where you can and maximising revenue for the best possible business outcomes.
It’s clear that integration of eCommerce with ERP is of huge benefit to online businesses, with a host of benefits on offer. It is however important to choose the right ERP system that will suit your business needs now and in the future.
If you would like to learn more about best practices when implementing and integrating ERP software, please read our informative article ERP Implementation – A Step by Step Guide.
Why choose Eventura for your ERP project?
Eventura has been providing robust business solutions to countless organisations for over two decades. We are ERP experts and can identify all of your business needs, and deliver a comprehensive ERP solution that works for you.
As Sage 200 Partners and NetSuite Solution Providers, we can help you identify which solution will fit your business needs the best. Our expert team of business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff can guide you through your entire project, from initial scoping through to implementation and on-going support.
We’re also managed IT service providers meaning we can help you identify your entire IT infrastructure requirements from day one. If you would like to speak to one of our ERP experts, you can request a free call back here.