Our Five Key Points:
- ERP stands for enterprise resource planning. It describes software that helps run various key business tasks.
- ERP software is always more effective with complete, accurate data from a variety of sources.
- Ecommerce businesses benefit from ERPs for accounting, customer experience management, and inventory management. ERP and Ecommerce integration helps bring those services together.
- Businesses get the most out of ERP and Ecommerce integration by including as many data sources as possible.
- Integrate.io is a cloud-based data integration solution designed for Ecommerce, ideal for maximizing your ERP software.
Effective ERP and Ecommerce integration means ensuring your online retail business is taking advantage of every aspect of your enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools. Your ERP gathers a range of digital information about your business, from finances to inventory management. This data could provide insights that boost sales or drive marketing campaigns.
Integrate.io explores how to implement ERP and Ecommerce integration, and why a powerful ETL tool like Integrate.io could be the key to unlocking your ERP system’s potential.
Table of Contents
- ERP Explained in Brief
- ERP and Ecommerce Integration: Why It’s Vital
- Integrating Your ERP – How it’s Done
- Conclusion: Integrate.io Empowers ERP and Ecommerce Integration
ERP and Ecommerce Integration Explained in Brief
An ERP system is a piece of enterprise software that performs key business tasks, usually by achieving the synchronization or integration of various sources of business data.
Some organizations may use ERP software to manage accounting and other financial information. They may collate sales data, wages, and costs. The resulting information may include reports, forecasts, or budgets.
Others may need their ERP tools for linking to logistics partners. This is very useful for Ecommerce businesses who need to monitor inventory levels closely or get real-time updates from warehouse management solutions. ERP and Ecommerce integration means bringing as much business data as possible into your ERP to make it more effective.
ERP platforms are becoming more common in a range of industries, with current research indicating that the ERP market will reach a value of at least $49.5 billion by 2027. Drivers for this include:
- A desire for more streamlined enterprise processes
- Improvements in operational efficiency to combat rising costs elsewhere
- Further digital transformation and adoption of emerging technologies
- The increase in business engagement via mobile devices and apps
- An increase in the volume and types of businesses utilizing PaaS and SaaS
It’s no longer just major corporations that rely on digital platforms to manage their business data. With the rise in cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) available for many budgets, even small and medium businesses can take advantage of ERP software.
Integrate.io, for example, is a SaaS that empowers businesses to integrate and manage their data more effectively, without having to install additional software on their in-house machines or servers. This allows businesses to manage their resources more effectively and budget more carefully. ERP integrations and workflows are created based on business needs, industry type, and the requirement for more fully integrated and complete data.
ERP and Ecommerce Integration: Why It’s Vital
ERP software is often at the core of a business’s data. Your ERP solution might handle finances, as we saw above. But if your ERP can’t access everything that pertains to money coming in and out of your business, your reports could be inaccurate or even misleading. This is even more true when your Ecommerce venture spans several websites or stores or works across multiple marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay as well as your own core e-store.
Failing to connect to your third-party logistics provider (3PL), for example, could mean that your financial reports are missing details of refunds that are bringing your overall profits down further than you realized. Not only does this make your reports inaccurate, but it takes away those all-important opportunities to address what’s driving those returns and refunds.
Full ERP and Ecommerce integration with all your Ecommerce data empowers you to fine-tune your business processes, improve the functionality of your webstore or online catalogs, and ensure aspects such as pricing are up-to-date and in line with market fluctuations and demand.
Benefits of ERP and Ecommerce Integration
As well as the possibility of improving customer experience and honing internal processes, there are a number of key benefits of ERP and Ecommerce integration. One of the primary benefits is the chance to get rid of data silos. Data silos mean data that is inaccessible, locked away inside systems, databases, or apps that the ERP cannot access. This may be because the ERP software simply doesn’t have the technical capability to build connections to that particular data source.
That’s where an effective data integration platform like Integrate.io shines. Integrate.io uses a variety of methods for connecting to a diverse range of data sources, breaking data silos easily, and restoring unity to your business data.
Reduces the Need for Manual Data Entry
Another reason for investing in ERP and Ecommerce integration is that it vastly reduces the need for manual entry of information. Automating the input of data such as customer names and address details is more than just a time saver. It cuts down the risk of human error, such as misspelled names, incorrect addresses, or wrong email addresses.
Customers who experience their name spelled incorrectly on invoices may do more than feel disgruntled – they may go to the competition instead. Of course, errors in addresses can lead to failed orders, which causes poor customer satisfaction and additional costs for your company as you have to rectify the issues and replace orders that go missing.
Consistent Data for Every Member of the Team
For businesses that have their ERP as the core of their business data management, full integration with Ecommerce apps means that the information everyone accesses is consistent and error-free. This becomes very important when your business spans several sites or offices or has remote workers who need to access business-critical information.
ERPs that can provide consistent information to all employees are far more effective than the alternative: team members having to constantly log into dozens of disparate systems to get the information they need. ERP and Ecommerce information saves time and increases the efficiency of everyone who works within your company.
Cooperate and Collaborate
This, in turn, leads to improved conversations among team members, departments, and partners.
Marketing executives are able to quickly see the results of recent campaigns, and talk to their content creators about relevant updates to the blog or various social media platforms.
Logistics managers can talk to warehousing specialists about shortages, buying in additional stock when demand peaks, or investigating a spike in returns quickly before things worsen. Better collaboration between teams means finding solutions faster and building on your Ecommerce business’s growth in real-time.
Get to Grips with Customer Pain Points
ERP and Ecommerce integration gives you a massive opportunity to face customer pain points head-on. By drawing data from all your Ecommerce apps, SaaS, and various communication systems, you can find out one of the most important aspects of business: What is it that your customers don’t want.
This might include skipping steps in the customer journey that are irrelevant or cumbersome. As a business, you might feel that the time taken from lead to conversion is a bit too long, but it might be that your customers feel the same. Are you sending too many template-based emails but not making direct contact enough? Are you calling potential leads at the wrong time of day? Having all your data in a single destination can help iron out those wrinkles and create a smoother customer journey that ultimately boosts your own bottom line, as well.
According to Ecommerce giants BigCommerce, one primary cause of shopping cart abandonment is the shock of high shipping costs. Using your ERP and Ecommerce integration of all your data can help you stay abreast of what customers are prepared to pay, what’s cost-effective for your business, and increases and decreases in your cart abandonment figures.
It’s important to deal with unhappy customers as well as nurture your happy ones. This is particularly pertinent for B2B companies, who know all too well that businesses won’t stick around if the service is not good. Use your business data to drive clear lines of communication between your sales reps, marketing teams, partners, and customers or clients. 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.
Data integration also empowers businesses to achieve real-time analysis, particularly when leveraging automation for a steady stream of relevant business data. Why is an effective and timely analysis of your business data so important? Because the faster you can access and analyze your data, the faster you can gain those deep insights that drive your business strategy.
Integrating Your ERP – How it’s Done
ERP and Ecommerce integration: How is it done? How exactly do you ensure that your ERP can connect to all your Ecommerce business data, and maximize the effectiveness of your enterprise software? There are a number of different data integration methods, some of which take more effort than others, but all tend to have their specific uses depending upon the situations you need to use them in.
Understand Your Ecommerce Data Sources
From your Ecommerce sites to your social media accounts, understanding what and where your data sources are is the first step in ERP and Ecommerce integration. It’s clear that you have to go beyond the data from your Ecommerce website – although, of course, this data is vital. It’s worth liaising with your team members, marketing specialists, and social media managers to ensure you’re completely aware of what apps and services your Ecommerce business is connected to.
It’s entirely possible for a company to miss out on the data from a single social media network because they didn’t realize that their social media manager had added that in within the last few months. Open communication can assist in understanding the diversity of your data sources.
Make sure you keep a list of all possible sources of Ecommerce business data, and update it as soon as you connect with any new partners, B2B buyers, SaaS providers, PaaS providers, and particularly cloud-based services. Understanding where your data needs to come from is the first step to achieving complete ERP and Ecommerce integration.
Find a Data Integration Solution
Some ERP tools or platforms may have built-in connectors to the most popular Ecommerce tools. These may include your online store builder or Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify or BigCommerce, and may primarily focus on financial aspects that support business accounting solutions. But as you’ve seen in your first step, you will have many more data sources to connect to, so ensure you work with an ETL solution like Integrate.io that can handle a large number of connections for complete ERP and Ecommerce integration.
Choose How to Connect to Your Data
One of the most popular modern data integration techniques is ETL, which stands for Extract, Transform, and Load. This process involves creating distinct data pipelines to each individual data source. Those pipelines can often be automated to pull data through at set intervals or when changes are made. The data is transformed into a single format type and channeled either into a data lake or a data warehouse, such as Amazon Redshift, ready to be analyzed by your business intelligence (BI) tools.
If you’re lucky enough to have your own in-house data engineers, you could have every pipeline hand-coded to your specific requirements. It goes without saying that manual processes are time-consuming and take your data engineers away from other, perhaps more high-priority tasks. Using a dedicated data integration platform like Integrate.io allows multiple users to create, manage, and monitor data pipelines without having to worry too much about what’s happening in the back-end of the system.
An alternative to ETL is ELT, which brings data directly into your data lake prior to any transformations taking place. This is great for large clumps of unstructured data, which is good news as research suggests that the volume of unstructured data will reach 175 billion terabytes by 2025.
Related Reading: ETL VS ELT from the Integrate.io blog
APIs are also essential tools for ERP and Ecommerce integration to ensure every possible data source is included. APIs can connect to individual tables within databases, or bespoke systems and apps that fall outside the connection options within the ERP system.
Integrate.io supports API creation and management, effectively allowing you unlimited access to a growing number of Ecommerce apps and data sources.
Conclusion: Integrate.io Empowers ERP and Ecommerce Integration
Whatever your online business specializes in, the main goal of ERP and Ecommerce integration is to dismantle data silos and access all the information that can lead to incredibly useful insights. Using an effective data integration tool can streamline the resulting flow of business data into your data warehousing solution, providing practical information that you can feed back into your customer relationship management (CRM) platform or BI tools.
Integrate.io offers a new ETL data integration platform designed purposefully to empower Ecommerce businesses to achieve better results with their data. Integrate.io comes with an impressive number of pre-built connections to many of the most popular Ecommerce SaaS, apps, and platforms, including Magento and Contentful. It’s also simple and intuitive to create connections to ERP providers like Oracle or SAP, and even business intelligence (BI) tools such as QlikView.
Take advantage of reverse ETL in order to take data from your destination source for updating customer details in systems like Salesforce for a better customer experience.
There are also plenty of automation options, such as the super-quick change data capture (CDC) platform which improves system efficiencies by not having to do a full capture of historical data every time it updates. This helps prevent your data warehouse and connected systems from becoming sluggish and unresponsive.
Schedule an intro call today to find out more about making the most of your ERP and Ecommerce integration, whichever Ecommerce systems you’re currently using.