How to Scale Your eCommerce Platform With System Integration
Let's take a look at how to scale your eCommerce platform with system integration. Also look at integrating an ERP system with an eCommerce store.
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eCommerce integration is the synchronization of an eCommerce website with its backend systems such as an ERP or a POS. It helps in a seamless, two-way flow of data and information, which increases efficiency in processes as data across connected interfaces gets updated automatically.
But when should one start investing in system integration? The answer is when your team starts spending hours of time adding data manually across all systems. Relying upon humans to add business data can make it prone to mistakes, bog down overall productivity, and also cause halts in interrelated transactions.
Once done with eCommerce application development, market testing, and substantial traffic/demand of products on a website, the next step should be system integration to scale your eCommerce business. By automating the processes, e-retailers can:
- Eliminate human intervention in managing the processes through manual entry of orders and inventory updating, ultimately doing away with chances of errors.
- Synchronize and manage inventory in order to maintain a record of products’ sale and availability.
- Keep track of product delivery and automatically notify customers about the shipping status of their orders.
- Update product catalogs and supporting information like description, images, video, or pricing (as the demand or competition increases) through a single system.
- Manage exchange or returns efficiently and at the same time keep the inventory updated accordingly.
Integrating an ERP System With an eCommerce Store
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business process management software that allows organizations to use a system of integrated applications for automating and organizing various back-office processes. Depending upon the requirement, companies can either opt for all facets of ERP or choose to have a combination of modules.
Modules of an ERP addresses to a key business area, such as inventory management, human resources, marketing, customer management, payment, etc. As soon as online businesses start to scale, ERP integration is a must for:
- Automating business processes
- Improving the productivity of the sales team
- Managing inventory and procurement
- Providing data to automate other transactions
Integrating an ERP solution with eCommerce software can help to manage data flows and operations, efficiently. However, before your in-house team or a technology partner starts working on an ERP solution for your online shop, it is important to define processes beforehand (keeping futuristic growth in mind) so that the scope of solution can be defined. Here are 5 things to keep in mind before you get started with ERP development and integration with an existing eCommerce store.
1. Sketch your Business Requirements
Having an ERP for your eCommerce store could be a costly affair. Thus, it is important to have a clear vision of what needs to be achieved with ERP integration. “X competitor has it” or “everyone is going with this trend” is certainly not the right reason to have a feature or functionality an ERP. Assess and ensure how the ERP will add value to your existing eCommerce store and help serve customers better. Evaluate the purpose of opting for ERP, which may range somewhere between:
- Facilitating fast turnaround times for orders
- Opportunity to reach new customers or engage them
- Manage warehouse or update inventory, offline or online
Evaluating the reasons to have an ERP will help you select the best SAAS service or build a custom ERP solution, which will map well with your business requirements and will be cost-effective.
2. Define the Processes
How, when, and for what purpose the two systems in an ERP will communicate should be clearly defined. How a process should work, right from users placing an order to getting the product delivered. To identify automation opportunities, it is imperative to figure out and define the points where communication between the systems should be streamlined.
3. ERP Solution Type
Depending upon the eCommerce store and business requirements, ERP solutions can either be customized or a SAAS-based ERP solution can be integrated with the eCommerce store. Accordingly, you can have an in-house team or choose a technology partner for the development and integration of an ERP system with your online store.
Published at DZone with permission of Archna Oberoi. See the original article here.
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