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eCommerce and ERP – 5 Signs it is Time to Integrate

You have invested in building a top-class eCommerce store for your business. Maybe it is a business to business website or a business to consumer website or a little bit of both. Your online store is easy to use, your brand is front and center, Mobile – you’ve got that covered, you have the best B2B website around. Things are going great, you start a Google Ad Word campaign and the orders start flowing in – now what?

As order volume (and your revenue) increases, you become overloaded with order fulfillment – mistakes may happen, delays may occur, customer satisfaction decreases. Keeping inventory levels and items up to date on the site while at the same time manually transferring order details between your eCommerce website and your backend ERP (inventory/order fulfillment/accounting systems) just starts to become unmanageable.   Business is great but scaling your business becomes a bottleneck.

Lucky for you there is a solution – integrate your eCommerce solution and your ERP system. Here are 5 signs it is time to invest in an integrated solution:

1. Order volume is unmanageable

The numbers of orders your business can manage each day is directly dependent on the number of employees and how many orders they can each process in a day.  When the order volume is low, pulling orders from your website and manually updating in your ERP may not be a problem. However, as your orders increase this manual process tends to be very error prone and can cripple your business growth.

2. Labor and overhead costs are on the rise

Your labor costs are rising as fast (or almost as fast) as your online sales are increasing. To keep up with all the manual data entry — orders, products, inventory, customers, etc. – you need to add more employees = increase in labor and overhead costs.

3. Evolving and ever-changing Product Catalog

You are adding or removing new Product SKUs on a regular basis. Your product pricing fluctuates quite frequently. Inventory is flying off your virtual shelves.
Each update to a product must be made in multiple places – your eCommerce store and your ERP system.  This quickly becomes both labor intensive and error-prone. A single error in pricing can result in: 1) You losing money; 2) Customer dissatisfaction or complaint = more time YOU have to spend putting out a fire instead of building your business.

4. Customer complaints are trending in the wrong direction

Customers can be your biggest advocates or your harshest critics. Unfortunately bad experiences are shared more frequently than a good experience.   If your Customer complaints are trending upward, that is not a good sign for your business.
What are your Customers most frequent complaints – orders taking too long, wrong order details, inventory/backorder problems, shipping to the wrong address, disjointed communication, others?  Complaints revolving around order fulfillment and communication can be a key indicator there are just too many errors are occurring between your eCommerce and ERP systems.

5. Changes to Regulatory, Compliance and/or Sales Tax Nexus

Are you in an industry with strict regulatory and compliance rules (e.g. HIPAA)? Have regulations changed and the changes need to be reflected in both your eCommerce solution and your ERP?  Is Sales Tax Nexus a concern?  Being out of compliance can directly affect your bottom-line, as you grow and as regulations and rules shift keeping multiple systems up to date becomes cumbersome and error-prone.

The best time to integrate your eCommerce store and your ERP system is before problems start happening but often growth happens fast – it’s not too late to get started and put your business on a path to further success and scalability — your site will be Smooth like Butter.

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