ERP for E-commerce Store: How to Use It Wisely

Hermes_Fang

The e-commerce industry has experienced massive growth after the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to a large number of orders, calling for improvements in the functionality of the e-commerce store. Disruption in the supply chain calls for a need to change the inventory amount and the stocking pattern.

Even the shopping pattern has changed. Customers now go for what they want, unlike in the past when they shied away. With the enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, data management becomes easy. The main aims of e-commerce integration with ERP are business growth and improving functionality.

We'll discuss why you must integrate ERP with your e-commerce and how to use it effectively. Let’s get to it!

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Why is ERP Critical for E-commerce Businesses

Here are three major benefits of integrating ERP in your e-commerce business:

Advanced Legacy Systems

With increasing competition among e-commerce businesses, brands are now seeing the need to add ERP systems. About 35% of business owners are moving away from their old business methods. Software from years ago might not work with the current company’s model. Real-time information will give you an edge over the competition. This information will help you optimize the supply chain and customer experience.

For example, inventory managed with the old legal system might not integrate with the other system. This can make orders difficult to confirm because you won’t know if there are enough stocked goods. ERP integrations can provide data that helps you manage your inventory and satisfy customers by never running out of stock.

Centralized Data

Research shows that about 40% of information offices find it difficult to gather and analyze shoppers' data to make decisions.

With ERP, you can centralize business data and make communication easier. In a non-ERP system, each department has its database. Information can be duplicated, and recovering the correct information might be stressful. ERP has a central hub where each department can access accurate data and make meaningful decisions.

Automated Processes

According to reports, back-office executives are researching more advanced ERP automation. ERP integrations encourage bi-directional, automated data exchange between apps and systems, eradicating mistakes. ERP automation can also be used in other business aspects to make things easier, including:

  • Order information
  • Accounting systems
  • Customer data
  • Shipping details
  • Product and price information
  • Inventory counts
  • Purchase orders

When you combine ERP with other technologies like the cloud and AI, you’ll notice a quick improvement in your business outcomes.

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How To Use ERP Integration for E-commerce Wisely

Whether you’ve been integrating ERP into your store or this is your first time, you need to know how to do it right. The proper ERP integration practice includes:

Create Your Integration Plan

You need to devise a plan before integrating ERP with your e-commerce store. Ensure you understand how your business works. Collaborate with a professional in case there is an issue. Think of the following when devising your plan:

  • Why are you doing this?
  • What data do you want to transfer?
  • What additional systems, such as those for 3PL or warehouse management, should be integrated, and how it will be carried out.
  • Where are the gaps in your inventory data?

Planning will make the integration process smooth and prevent any mistakes from occurring.

Practice Proper Data Management

The backbone of an ERP integration is solid data management. Clean and trusted data gives you a deep insight into your brand and how you can do better. You should constantly:

  • Remove duplicate data
  • Cleanse data and normalize formats
  • Examine who has access to information and why

Adequate data management will make the transition smoother and reduce delays during the integration process.

Notify Partners, Vendors, and Employees About Changes

A business using old data management systems tends to face some issues when switching to ERP. Business roles, processes, and other activities could be disrupted. So you should expect some roadblocks or pushback when integrating ERP with your store.

There is a need to communicate with your staff and partners. Communication is essential to ensure that employees and partners are prepared for what is coming. For example, there may be confusion if you don't inform warehouse staff when orders come from an e-commerce platform in an ERP system.

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Final Thoughts

ERP integration is a solid foundation for a successful e-commerce store. It automates processes, breeds teamwork, and centralizes business data. It helps your business grow by improving customer satisfaction and increasing sales.

You can try ERP apps as an extension of your e-commerce platform. Examine some of these apps and decide which one is best for your business.

(Contributed by Ayotomiwa Omotosho & Hermes Fang)

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