Our Five Key Points:
- ERP means Enterprise Resource Planning.
- Enhancing sales via e-commerce with ERP solutions is possible thanks to a range of features from accounting to inventory management.
- Research is important to check your ERP tool has all the features you need for your online business.
- ERP solutions are highly effective when combined with fully integrated business data from a variety of sources.
- Achieve this with Integrate.io, the integration platform designed for e-commerce.
E-commerce is bigger than ever, with the pandemic propelling changed shopping habits and easier ways for sellers to get their goods online. As e-commerce becomes more of a driving force in the retail sector, it’s inevitable that online businesses will need the same types of support functions as brick-and-mortar businesses — including a fully functional ERP platform. ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning, and these types of software solutions are designed to help business owners manage various aspects of their company, from accounting to compliance. In this article, we explore how e-commerce with ERP and other digital solutions could be a winning business formula for increasing online sales.
Table of Contents
- Understand Customer Pain Points
- Enhance E-commerce With ERP Finance Solutions
- Manage Logistics for E-Commerce With ERP Inventory Management
- Check what your ERP Out-of-the-Box Functionality is
- Hone Marketing Strategies for E-commerce With ERP Capabilities
- Combine E-commerce With ERP and Data Integration for Success
1. Understand Customer Pain Points
Our first tip for combining e-commerce with ERP solutions is a big one: Make sure your ERP can draw data from your e-commerce apps and SaaS to find out what customers don’t want from you. If there’s a point in your customer journey that’s tricky to navigate, your potential customer may click away and spend their money with a competitor. For example, according to e-commerce experts at BigCommerce, the top cause of shopping cart abandonment is high shipping costs. Consumers will absolutely balk at paying too much to have something delivered. Using your ERP to track your cart abandonment rate can help you understand the obstacles between the checkout page and a completed purchase.
Another aspect concerning e-commerce with ERP tools is whether your ERP provider offers a customer relationship management (CRM) capability. Companies often have a separate CRM, like Salesforce, that helps manage customer contact information and other details. ERPs can often manage this aspect of your online business as well, creating the backend of customer login pages where they can manage and edit their details themselves. Combining this with semi-regular emails or alerts for customers to check their details are up to date can ensure email marketing campaigns hit the right inboxes and that any aftersales care is directed to the right person. This is particularly important for B2B sales to address buyer pain points as they occur and increase the chance of repeat purchases. Data integration platforms like Integrate.io can collate information from your existing CRM and other sources of customer engagement to help achieve customer satisfaction optimization.
2. Enhance E-Commerce With ERP Finance Solutions
A surprising 37% of small businesses currently outsource their accounting and finance requirements. This makes sense when you think about the need to focus on the aspects of the business they’re more passionate about — the goods or services they sell. However, perhaps one of the drivers of this figure is that it’s tricky to manage accounts when the data on sales, refunds, returns, cancellations, and taxes is spread between several disparate systems. ERP platforms often come equipped with financial management tools, and many may have these as a core part of the overall package. These are particularly useful for e-commerce retailers who have a small team and outsource many other aspects of their business. For example, if you rely entirely on third-party logistics (3PL) for storage and transportation of goods and only employ a skeleton staff for dealing with customer queries, it’s likely you don’t have the budget for an in-house accountant. Enhance e-commerce with ERP accounting solutions that empower businesses of all sizes to collate their financial data, assess profits and losses, and remain compliant with tax law.
3. Manage Logistics for E-Commerce With ERP Inventory Management
Many ERP solutions provide connections to your logistics partners in order to manage shipping, delivery timescales, and other order management services. An accurate inventory management system is essential because the information you have about what’s actually in stock (or available through your partners) is what your customers will see on your online shop. If this information is difficult to access or does not update automatically, customers may click away because they believe an item is out of stock — or, worse, click “buy now” on an item that isn’t actually available.
If product information about a particular item changes — for example, an ingredient in a food product — this can automatically get updated without major site changes. Your ERP e-commerce solution may also connect to your logistics partners, allowing you to stay abreast of supply chain issues as well as inventory levels. Being able to fulfill customer orders accurately is the backbone of a successful e-commerce venture. Maintain customer satisfaction and success in e-commerce with ERP systems that provide real-time updates, helping you deliver what your customer needs in a timely fashion.
4. Check What Your ERP Out-of-the-Box Functionality Is
A top tip for anyone looking to combine e-commerce with ERP solutions is to check what functionality it has straight out of the box. We’ve already looked at some of the key features you’ll probably need for your online business, including accounting, inventory management, and customer data collation. However, not every ERP will have these capabilities. As with any product, always do your research before investing in an ERP. Look at consumer reviews. Check out pricing versus functionality, and if an ERP provider offers a bespoke product for your needs, set up a conversation with them so you have the most information possible.
You will normally find that an ERP tool by itself is not sufficient to bring every aspect of your business data together. The top combination will be a data integration platform like Integrate.io to find and extract all your data, a data warehouse such as Amazon Redshift or Snowflake, and then an effective ERP to really make the most of that data and give you some actionable insights that boost your business’s success.
5. Hone Marketing Strategies for E-Commerce With ERP Capabilities
According to Statista, revenue from online spending in the U.S. will reach and even pass $1.3 trillion per year by 2023. That’s a very powerful incentive to make sure your marketing campaigns are inclusive, targeting a diverse range of demographics, and appropriate for your core audience. Increasing your e-commerce sales is always going to be one of your business goals, and effective ERP software can help you increase the conversion rates from leads to sales. Just like in the first point we discussed — addressing customer pain points — an ERP can collate what is working, including:
- Which blog posts get the most clicks
- Which marketing campaigns generated the most sales
- The demographics buying particular products or services
- For B2B companies, which other companies re-subscribe to your services
- The business needs of companies that buy most often with you
- What social media and other digital marketing content has the most impact
- What types of customers head to your online store after reading your latest article
Answering these questions with accurate business data from your blog, website, and SaaS helps you create better content and more organic marketing campaigns.
Combine E-Commerce With ERP and Data Integration for Success
Whatever your business model, the main goal of ERP integration is to dismantle data silos — data that is trapped within a particular system or database and not operationally useful — and streamline the resulting flow of business data into practical insights that help run your e-commerce site. ERP platforms work better with fully integrated data, so it’s in your company’s interest to invest in an intelligent data integration platform like Integrate.io.
Integrate.io offers a new ETL solution designed for e-commerce, with a large number of pre-built connections to many of the services you already use, such as Shopify, Magento, and Contentful. It also connects effortlessly to ERP providers like Oracle and business intelligence (BI) tools like QlikView. Reverse ETL allows you to update customer details in systems like Salesforce with ease, and the super-fast change data capture (CDC) platform empowers you to set up automation for tasks that only pull data when it’s been changed. This increases the efficiency of your systems and stops your data warehouse from becoming unresponsive or sluggish.
If you want to find out more about increasing the possibilities of e-commerce with ERP and data integration, schedule a demo today to find out more.