Choosing the right B2B eCommerce platform is hard. You’re considering feature set, expendability, total cost of ownership, and how it will impact the future of your business. Adding to that complexity is how the platform will integrate with your existing technology stack.
These integrations are important for building an optimized technology solution set, Each eCommerce investment has a role, core responsibilities, and a set of expectations to fulfill. And like your in-person teams, each player brings complementary and unique skills to the table.
In particular, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software makes up a large part of an enterprise's technology investment. It’s a central part of your infrastructure, responsible for running key business functions, often including accounting, finance, inventory, and other operations services. Its importance can’t be overstated; most businesses leverage their ERP systems in numerous ways to solve unique business problems.
So, when an eCommerce and ERP integration is well thought out and running seamlessly, what benefits can you expect to see?
When thinking about platform integrations, we tend to think about passing data back and forth between the two systems. We prioritize achieving successful sync that lets us, for example, send an order from eCommerce to the ERP, or update the inventory from the ERP to the eCommerce system.
These synchronizations are made easier through seamless integration between the two systems. With tight integration between eCommerce and the ERP, each system can extend the other to support data collection.
When the eCommerce platform can extend to capture more data points, it enhances the value of each sync. It becomes possible to build better customer profiles or increase their connections to the business, all through a system that’s accurate and fast.
Live and accurate inventory across the entire catalog ensures a better on-site experience for customers. Your business has the information it needs to delight customers with new product suggestions, promotions, or discounts tailored to their preferences.
It’s also easier to manage other aspects of the customer experience, such as handling out-of-stocks or backorders that may disappoint buyers. Staying one step ahead of these problems helps reduce negative customer interactions and supports a positive brand experience, no matter what.
It’s important to consider how much pressure you’re placing on your ERP with day-to-day functions. When you ask a software product to do more than it’s expected to, problems start to appear. These issues could cause system slowdowns, poor performance, and other issues that detract from the customer experience.
Of course, businesses often identify these issues and attempt to work around them by making adaptations that they never expected to make. This, in turn, results in further resource strain and feature-stretch that contributes to system inefficiency.
By connecting your ERP service to an eCommerce platform, you remove the commerce burdens from your ERP. Any eCommerce-related strains or feature-stretches are eliminated.
In other words, tight system integration makes your ERP more efficient with fewer demanding functions expected from it. As a result, the IT and ERP teams can continue to make the most sound decisions relative to each system. This generally means fewer plugins, integrations, and maintenance required to keep the system running.
Additionally, with an outside software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based eCommerce solution, security and payment card industry (PCI) compliance are easier to manage. With lower costs and fewer development hours required to keep the system running, teams are free to focus on these critical areas instead of day-to-day maintenance.
Better integrations between ERP and eCommerce functions provide direct benefits to the customer experience.
For example, consider a critical aspect of your B2B storefront, the customer portal. This tool delivers important functions for the customer and reduces the need for service teams to interact directly with buyers:
These are the most exciting of feature sets, but they’re necessary for maintaining your long-term customer relationships. This type of self-service portal reduces the need for manual data entry and paperwork, while also freeing up your service teams to spend time on other tasks -- such as lead generation and relationship nurturing.
Of course, all of this is dependent on having regular, accurate syncing between your eCommerce platform and ERP. When integration is done correctly, all business processes that rely on these platforms will have the most recent and up-to-date data available.
Integrations between eCommerce and ERP systems give your marketing and sales teams more freedom to sell. They’ll have the tools they need to create unique brand offers and customer experiences, all within an optimized digital storefront.
In this system, it’s easy to review options, perform testing, and optimize overtime to ensure the best possible conversion rates. They may even have the potential to sell non-traditional products and services that were traditionally thought of as B2C.
Broadly, this benefit speaks to the need for business flexibility. Companies must have the agility to make business changes quickly when new strategies or opportunities arise. But it's not enough to be agile; companies need to maintain this agility while ensuring that their key integrations operate efficiently, no matter what demands are placed on them.
Slatwall Commerce is a perfect fit for your ERP integration. Integrate the modern and flexible Slatwall eCommerce service into your existing ERP platform to unlock efficiency, create better storefronts, launch faster and drive your business.
Contact us to learn more about Slatwall Commerce and the benefits of a tightly-integrated commerce & ERP system.