Why integrate your web store with your ERP system?
Integrating your B2B web store with your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system enables additional functionalities and benefits that can really improve the customer’s buying experience. A fully integrated B2B ecommerce solution leverages ERP data and uses this information to run your web store. The real benefit of having B2B ecommerce integrated with your ERP system are at an operational business level, but the integration will also improve the customer friendliness of your web store through added functionalities.
Online Sales Automation is a key example of how an integrated web store and ERP system can improve usability. since many businesses have long-term relationships with their suppliers, suppliers can predict buying behavior based on the order history (both on- and offline) of their customers in their ER system. By using predictions based on actual eRP order history, you can proactively send order templates/quotes to existing customers.
Real-time order validation that includes exact pricing and inventory data as well as complex volume discounts, saves time and makes life easier for each customers. It is a way of automating online selling that has only just started and will rapidly transform the B2B market.
Integrated vs. Integrated
As a business, you have invested a lot in automating your business processes. Implementing an ERP, which allows you to do so, is a costly and lengthy process. You’re more than willing to invest in doing this good, since your results will sustainably benefit from it.
Setting up an online business sales channel, or web store, could easily result in doing it all over again. Your customers expect that your B2B web store reflects the real-world agreements you’ve made with them. The agreements on pricing, availability, history and payment, which are all in your ERP already.
Web store integration means that your B2B sales portal uses these business rules and data – which are already in your ERP - integrally, without duplication or synchronization. Traditional and main stream ecommerce software run web stores autonomously, meaning without the help of your ERP. Next to keeping 2 systems and databases, this results in synchronization of data over interfaces.
The importance of taking your ERP as starting point of your B2B web store
Running a business, the ERP system has become the essential center point in efficiently running your processes. If it is in your warehouse, at the procurement department, at the front desk or when doing monthly invoicing – the ERP system is there to take care of it. Each of these processes are business critical, meaning that if they are not performing, your results are at risk.
You have invested a lot when implementing and maintaining your ERP system. This investment is high since the system must be optimally tuned to your company’s and customer’s specific demands; catalog structure, pricing agreements, calculating complex discounts, generating buying advises or optimizing your inventory. No business is the same, so a lot of work is needed to make a standard ERP product your ‘own’.
The sales process can be considered as an essential link in the success of a company. Therefore, optimizing this process and getting it more efficient should be key of any business. A sales portal is the enabler for sales efficiency – that is, when it takes your ERP as starting point since all sales related automation was already taken care of, was already available and should not be rebuilt in your web store. Your web store should simply leverage that investment. When adding an online sales channel to your business, it’s therefore that taking the ERP as single engine for your web store is not only a smart thing to do, it is a key success factor.