Every eCommerce business comes with it’s own set of requirements. A Medtech brand would want a system where it can keep track of the ins and outs of medical supplies. Toy stores, on the other hand, would start by building trust with their target audiences and then focus on sales.
So, depending upon your business needs, you have three eCommerce solutions to choose from.
Types of eCommerce Solutions
1. A Stand-alone Solution
A standalone solution works on its own, without the need for any network connections. This model offers your company a low-cost entry and rapid deployment using a template-based system.
You’d be loaded with a great deal of administrative work though. Its features and bandwidths are limited. The web support is very poor too. You’ll find very little or no integration with the back-office system.
2. Limited Integration
Some standalone sites offer separate integration if you want rapid entry and a basic level of back-office integration.
But it also comes with the same drawbacks as stand-alone solutions. Data transfer limitations and a complicated support network often result in a blame game while resolving customer issues.
3. Fully Integrated eCommerce Solution
Next is the king of all business solutions – the integrated eCommerce solution.
87% market leaders believe organizations should focus on long-term integrated solutions to meet consumer demands. It’s easy to see why.
An eCommerce ERP integration syncs back-end technologies for managing operations like Catalog Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), or Point of Sale (POS) with the eCommerce platform. In short, your customers get a one-stop-shop for all their needs. You offer your customers an easy way of doing business, no matter wherever they are.
eCommerce integration is a profitable way of extending your order processing capabilities without increasing staff numbers and paperwork. Through its modern design, easy navigation features, and diverse content management system, it allows you to integrate back-office processes, modify datasheets, calculate finances, manage shipping processes and provide a valuable experience to your customers.
But if you’re still undecided about adopting an integrated eCommerce solution, here are some reasons why you shouldn’t be doubtful.
Why Choose an Integrated eCommerce Solution?
Tired of all the paperwork, long-awaited distributor approvals, supplier frauds, and irregular resource planning?
If yes, eCommerce integration is for you.
So, how does integration deal with all the above problems? Read on…
1. Automated Workflow – No Labor and Administrative Hassles
Consumers today want a brand that enables them to have a stress-free buying experience.
Even a hint of complexity can push you down on the customer’s priority list. So, you need a solid branding and marketing strategy to get your message across to customers and pull them in for the long term.
This is where eCommerce integration helps you with its automated workflow.
Having an API-integrated eCommerce solution means you won’t have to run staff members back and forth to the distributors. This means that you do not have to supervise your staff, and you get top-of-the-line service 24/7.
Since you no longer have to focus on tedious administrative tasks, you can now concentrate on marketing and branding to stay top-of-mind with the customers.
2. Reduced Cart Abandonment Rates With Easy Payment Options
Nearly 70% of customers abandon their carts due to complex checkout processes. All of that retargeting and advertising goes in vain as customers get annoyed with unwanted payment popups and never complete the purchase.
So, to stop your customers from clicking away, you need a streamlined payment gateway with full data security, multiple payment options, and no hidden charges.
An integrated eCommerce solution, with its built-in third-party APIs, generates custom reports on user behavior, revenue, and engagement, and helps you tailor the checkout process as per the customers’ needs.
The checkout process can be simple. Customers can order hassle-free, while you can track any issues in the future with real-time analysis and fix them.
3. Instantaneous Shipment Tracking and Order Management
Shipping failures are a big turn-off for any eCommerce business. You don’t want your customers venting out about the inefficiency of your order management process.
Of course, your supply chain can always improve its shipping visibility, but your customers can’t wait to see where their packages are. Approximately 97% of customers want to be able to track their orders during every phase of the shipping process.
By using cloud-based shipment tracking integration that gives real-time information your customers want, you can streamline your supply chain processes and reduce customer complaints regarding shipping failures.
Here are four significant ways you can improve customer experience through integration:
- Customers can access their packages’ locations at any time.
- The ability to track the shipping status of packages in real-time saves customers the trouble of searching the logistics websites
- Customers can get proof of delivery for their record-keeping purposes.
- Even though you can’t speed up the shipping process once a package leaves your warehouse, you can make sure your customers are satisfied till the last mile of delivery.
4. No “Out of Stock” or Stock Wastage Problems
As an eCommerce retailer selling products on multiple channels, you understand the challenges of keeping the right products in stock and how inventory mistakes can hurt your business.
But a fully integrated inventory management system allows you to address potential issues:
- Advanced import and export reports via spreadsheets, API-integrated apps, and much more.
- A built-in system of purchase order generation to send a purchase order to your distributor automatically or alert you when it is time to reorder products.
- With complete control over what happens when an item goes out of stock, you can show products as out of stock, hide them automatically from the website, allow back orders, or even let customers sign up on a waiting list to be informed when products are back in stock.
5. Keeps the Cash Flow in Check
We’ve come a long way from using barter systems to book-keeping. But we didn’t stop there. Now we’re making accounting further easier by integrating accounting solutions in eCommerce.
Here’s how accounting integration helps you transform your eCommerce business:
- It’s a fast and straightforward method to enter all your financial data and transactions. Enter your data once in a safe and error-free record keeping manner and that’s it.
- It reduces manual labor and the resources you need for your bookkeeping and lets you carry your accounting with you anywhere.
- It automates your tasks like calculating taxes and generating page lifts to save your time.
- Greater visibility of transactions between client and vendor makes it easier to analyze all the historical data and make informed decisions.
How to Choose an Integrated eCommerce Solution: Factors to Consider
Today’s market is flooded with many well-integrated eCommerce solutions. So, you’ll want to narrow down your options and find a solution that best fits your business.
We’ve put together a 5-step process that can help you assess your business needs and make the best call:
1. Understand Your Business Needs
This is one of the most important aspects to consider when setting up an eCommerce business. You need to have a bird’s eye view of what processes are under your control and what would you like to improve. So firstly,
- Document all the business operations that you want to involve, best practices, and all the current processes that need improvement.
- Secondly, lay down your pain points. What are the underlying problems in the company, and how do you want to solve them using integration software? For example, one pain point could be the need to keep track of orders and finances to avoid duplication. Here you’d have to find a solution that integrates inventory and accounting systems.
- Third, what do you want to improve? Do you want to focus more on customer support? Or do you want to optimize product catalogs for different audience segments and track inventory across multiple channels? Find out what’s your bigger picture and search for potential vendors.
2. Contact Potential Vendors
Once you’ve figured out your needs and wants, it’s time to call out the vendors. Remember the following when speaking with vendors:
- Get in touch with an expert who can suggest to you exactly what you should opt for your business.
- Be honest with your expectations. You need to be clear on purpose, budget, and software requirements.
- Give them enough time for meetings, demos, and calls to get familiar with your business. They must visualize every scenario to find the perfect fit for your business.
3. Make Sure You’re Clear With Implementation Process
Here you need to think about how friendly the system is going to be for your employees as well the customers. Make sure that you pass on all the key details regarding the basic functionalities to avoid any errors in the future.
For example, if you had to transfer data across systems, do you know the best practices and the reason why you need to transfer data in the first place? Because in case of poor execution such as pricing errors, scratchy catalogs, or over-promotional quotations, the loss may exceed the ROI.
Your business’s reputation is at stake. It’s good to be thorough with the methodologies.
4. You Must Know What You’re Paying For
It’s very important to create your budget according to the requirements, compare prices from different vendors and analyze the pros and cons of an integrated solution.
At the end of the day, you cannot go with the first vendor you meet. You need to explore a variety of options before making a decision.
Project cost differs according to requirements. On one hand, some businesses need basic, templated solutions that don’t cost much. While on the other hand, you might have to shell out thousands of dollars to build everything from scratch.
A business’s diversity raises the value of the price. So, be sure you are spending fairly.
5. Confirm – Only If the Integration Makes Your Business Scalable
To check whether the solution is scalable, you need to understand the typical eCommerce ERP integration workflow.
Typical integrations are usually bi-directional and will integrate the creation of user accounts on the eCommerce portal side, pushing sales orders, invoice payments, return and quote requests into the back-office ERP and CRM.
To improve your customer experience, the reverse integration will typically push product updates, inventory counts, order & shipping status, and all the customer-specific information on the eCommerce portal.
As you analyze the above workflow and match your needs, the best possible solution will start to materialize in front of you. No matter what architecture you use, whether in the cloud or on-premise, if it meets your goal and improves the overall business experience, that’s the ONE for you. You’re ready to hit the confirm button.
Are You Looking For The Right eCommerce Integration Solution?
Any eCommerce business startup wants to create a cohesive customer experience using the right integration solution. But the question is – are you seeking features that are common to every other eCommerce ERP integration solution, or looking for solutions that fit your needs best, features aside?