If you run an eCommerce business, you need to know what integration means. In basic terms, eCommerce integration is about the coordination between your front-end eCommerce site and the back-end accounting and inventory system, which is more commonly known by the abbreviation ERP. With proper integration, information automatically flows in both directions between the two systems, which means the data only needs to be entered into the system once.
What parts of the business should be integrated?
Many areas of your business should be integrated. For instance, you can use dropshipping software to automatically integrate things like product descriptions, images, inventory levels, and prices. Such information is managed in the ERP software and automatically adjusted on your online eCommerce platform. With automation for professional eCommerce merchants, you can also automatically route orders to the best possible supplier. That means finding the supplier that has the product in stock and for the lowest cost.
What are the benefits of integration?
When you integrate parts of your business like those mentioned above, you generate various efficiencies and benefits. For instance, when inventory levels are automatically updated across all of your systems and sales channels as soon as one item from that inventory is sold, you and your supplier can ensure that product levels are always accurate. You can also ensure products are always in stock. With continual up-to-date information for things like inventory levels, product prices, and item descriptions, you can make sure you do not miss out on any sales, build customer loyalty, and grow your business to become even more successful. You will also see greater efficiency for order entry, online catalog management, and invoice management.
Other benefits of integration include:
- Cross-selling opportunities.
- Personalized marketing.
- Custom pricing data.
- Automated processing for fewer manual mistakes.
- Reduction of costs.
- Improved security.
- Significant improvement in the functionality of your eCommerce store.
- Greater customer care.
- Better control of your business.
Other Helpful Things You Can Do with Integration
When you use an ERP solution, your eCommerce platform can integrate a range of software programs and apps that seamlessly run together. There are lots of different ERP solutions available, and each has different features and capabilities, so you should compare different ones to find the best for your eCommerce integration needs. Features to look out for include lead tracking, the automation of field service tasks, resource planning, customer management, analytic assistance, and accounting integration.
You can also find ERP software that can help you to organize and maintain human resources functions and onboarding tasks and easily manage customer databases, communications, and relationships. Your exact requirements will depend on the size of your eCommerce business and its precise operations, but you should definitely use integration for inventory management, shipping management, accounting, and reporting.
Other Types of eCommerce Software
Interfaced eCommerce software features a tool to manage the customer-facing front-end of your web store. However, unlike integration software, interfaced eCommerce software does not provide true real-time synchronization. In some cases, certain data already in existence in the ERP has to be replicated in the application due to connector limitations. So, it is better to use an integrated ERP solution.
You can also purchase separate shopping cart software. That is used to stand up the front-end eCommerce store and it has its own table structure. That means all of the data used on the web-store has to be created in the system. Shopping cart software, which is heavily focused on B2C and which is much less complex than B2B, lacks the functionality for complex ordering. So, again, it is a much wiser choice to go with an eCommerce integration software option.