Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the nerve center of your ecommerce business. It is designed specifically to integrate and centralize key functional areas of your business, such as inventory, products, orders, payments, customer relationships, and taxes. From automating manual processes to improving customer relationships, ERP can boost your ecommerce business on so many levels.
Let’s discuss its major benefits and implementation strategies.
The Benefits of Using ERP Systems
ERP systems can benefit your ecommerce business in multiple ways. Below are just some of them.
Improving efficacy and reducing costs
Instead of spending money on multiple systems, infrastructures, and staff, you can centralize most of your activities within an ERP tool. Using a single ERP system minimizes training requirements for your employees and helps them perform tasks easier. ERP is just like a strong glue that binds different elements of your ecommerce business, from HR management to CRM, together. While it centralizes many areas of your business, it still lets you customize the system according to your specific needs.
Improving employee collaborations
Second, ERP data eliminates the data silos that impact your business performance. With your key data, from ordering to inventory management, available on a single platform, no one is left in the dark. Your employees will be able to use the same data sources in real-time, irrespective of their location.
Automating business processes
Third, an ERP system eliminates manual touchpoints and minimizes human error. It automates many manual tasks, such as entering data or transferring the data from one platform to another. This lets your teams spend their time more creatively, on complex aspects of their jobs. Using ERP also leaves more room for better communication throughout the organization, task completion, and better planning.
Improving customer relationships
Apart from improving your bottom line, automating your business processes using ERP solutions will also help your customer service representatives eliminate more repetitive, error-prone tasks and focus more on building stronger relationships with customers. Staying on top of customers’ data, such as their payments or previous orders, they can personalize interactions and help them solve problems faster.
5 Steps toward Integrating Ecommerce with ERP
Now that you know how using ERP can benefit your ecommerce business, it is time to learn how to integrate it with your website. Here are a few crucial steps to take.
Choose what data to include in the ERP integration
For starters, you need to know what data you want to integrate. You will need to know what the sources of your data are, where your data will be stored, and how frequently it will be updated. Some of the most common data that would automatically be updated and sent from your ecommerce site to your ERP dashboard are orders, payments, shipment information, and inventory stock changes. On the other hand, the data that will be sent from your ERP software to your site are new products, discontinued products, offline orders, customer data, new products added to inventory, and so forth.
Invest in the right cloud solution
When investing in ERP, it is important to deploy it to the right type of cloud. Traditional cloud computing architectures are often too complicated, making it difficult to migrate your critical applications there. There are many security issues you would need to think about. This is why many businesses choose to migrate to the hyperconverged enterprise cloud that provides complete IT infrastructures and operations & management services. Hyperconverged infrastructures can carry your ERP systems, as well as all complementary tools, such as production software or financial tools.
Test everything you do
Testing is a fundamental aspect of ecommerce ERP integration. Skipping this phase means you would not be able to identify problems with your ERP tool faster and act on them. This may delay the integration and harm your bottom line. During the testing phase, your teams are testing the tool and deciding whether it is properly integrated with your ecommerce platform and what aspects of synchronization should be improved.
When integrating ecommerce with ERP, it is important to train employees that will use the software regularly. Your employees are the ones that will synchronize your centralized database with your online store and other channels, as well as identify potential issues and report them in a timely manner.
Build a solid integration plan
For some ecommerce businesses, especially those that are just starting out, integrating ERP may be enough to improve their performance. However, over time, as your business grows, you will need to add more tools to your integration scheme. These could be, for example, software solutions like product information management tools or inventory management tools. These tools ensure that the right product information is used on your ecommerce website and ERP software. This is why you need to have a solid integration framework that will help you use those complementary software pieces and stay on top of your data.
Over to You
Integrating ecommerce with ERP can benefit your business in multiple ways. It will improve the overall workplace efficacy, automate many time-consuming tasks, and improve employee collaborations. Above all, they will allow customer representatives to spend more time on building relationships with customers and delivering value to them. You just need to plan ERP integration strategically and this is where the above mentioned five tips may help you.
Do you use ERP in ecommerce? Is there anything you would like to add? We are listening!
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