The first question you may ask is, “why does a manufacturing business need an eCommerce website?”. And the reason you ask this question is the notion that business-to-business (B2B) companies primarily sell direct and don’t need a web store front. But this is a myth, given the fact that most everything these days can be and is sold online. Other misconceptions include the idea that B2B buyers don’t want to shop online, a merchant cannot have both B2B and business-to-customer (B2C) models simultaneously, and that building long-term business relationships and custom ordering are not possible with eCommerce.
In fact, whether you sell business-to-customer or business-to-business, an online store is a great addition to boost the sales efforts of your company. It can increase the number of orders from your current customers due to the ease and convenience of ordering and also drive traffic to your web store and gain new customers.
Just like end users like to compare prices, ingredients, features, appearances, etc. of products in online catalogues; B2B buyers do too. One reason being that these buyers are getting younger, are more digital-savvy, and are accustomed to researching companies and making purchases online. If your business can’t satisfy this young workforce, that has grown up with technology, you will lose out on a large audience and potentially, big opportunities.
OK, so eCommerce is important, but why integrate it to ERP?
Well, you can have just an eCommerce website which is disconnected from your ERP system but when these two applications don’t talk to each other it involves manually keying information like sales orders into ERP, updating product data to the web store, and reducing inventory on the back-end which are all error prone processes and can lead to overselling, shipping to wrong addresses, displaying incorrect inventory levels, etc., eventually leading to an unsatisfactory consumer experience and putting your business at stake.
Benefits of eCommerce and ERP Integration
- Increases productivity – It reduces manual entry and errors and since sales orders get updated in the ERP system in real-time, the back-office users can track the order and process it as soon as it is placed, thereby reducing the fulfillment cycle.
- Improves customer satisfaction – As mentioned previously, B2B companies must cater to the demands of their young customers and integrating software offers companies the means to do so. Customers enjoy a better online experience and have access to accurate inventory prices; they get notified when an order is shipped and can track their shipments. They can pick their shipping method and carrier, have access to multiple payments methods and receive automated price quotes as soon as they place an order.
- Reduces administrative costs – integrated systems help streamline operations and ensure that everybody has access to real-time data. This helps reduce delays and labor costs. ecommerce ERP integration also ensures that there is two-way transfer of data between the systems and enables automation with ordering, fulfilling, shipping and returns. Additionally, since customers place their orders online and information is stored in databases, it is easy to validate incoming data, find information, run reports, etc., and there is reduced use of paper.
- Reduces inventory costs – since web sales are reflected in your ERP system immediately, you always have real-time view of your inventory. This makes it easier to plan purchases and maintain optimum inventory levels, thus reducing costs of acquiring and storing surplus inventory.
As is evident from the discussion above, integrating ecommerce with ERP processes, gives you better control of your business and a competitive advantage.
With integration to leading ecommerce applications, such as Shopify and Magento, contact us today to learn more about how BatchMaster can support your growing direct to consumer business.