Small and mid-sized businesses should be able to hold their own against their larger competitors when it comes to eCommerce, but sometimes simply building the website is cost-prohibitive, never mind integrating it with your existing ERP. Working with a major eCommerce software provider such as Magento, Shopify, or Big Commerce requires custom-built integration and synchronization with your ERP system, which means you might pay a lot more than you bargained for. (And that doesn’t even consider the cost of site design and SEO.)
How Can I Get a Cost-effective eCommerce Site?
Before you begin the search for integration solutions, consider what you need for a functional site that will fulfill your requirements from the outset.
Consider these questions.
How Much Automation Do I Need?
What do you expect for the new site? Initially, your answer might be, “I want my ERP platform and eCommerce site to talk to each other.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple – you must be much more specific. What does the systems “talking” to each other look like? Do you want a fully automated integration that runs seamlessly with little intervention from you, or do you want a system that’s semi-manual, requiring your team to be more hands-on?
Which Processes Do I Want to Integrate?
Work with your departments (marketing, accounting, purchasing, sales, etc.) to map out the records you must have integrated. Do you want the integration to be as simple as transferring orders placed on your eCommerce site into your accounting system without manual re-keying?
Or maybe you want the whole thing, including:
- Your shipping department providing tracking details for your customers
- Your warehouse showing real-time inventory levels
- Customer service offering customer account and past order data
- Marketing offering simplified item descriptions and images across your sales channels
The number of items you have and the level of detail you want will determine the best solution for your business.
There’s No Such Thing as Cookie-cutter Integration
No two businesses are alike, so no two eCommerce and ERP integrations will be alike. There are two integration solutions you might run into as you search for the perfect fit, however:
Custom-coded – This integration is built from the ground up to suit your company’s needs. Pricing runs from cost-prohibitive to impossibly cheap; while you don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, remember that sometimes you get what you pay for.
Standard integration – This pre-built integration is usually between two industry-standard eCommerce and ERP applications such as Shopify and Oracle. This solution isn’t expensive, but its capabilities are limited because it’s a “generic” integration rather than one built with your business rules and processes in mind. Such a standard tool might be ok initially, but as your business grows, it won’t be flexible enough to provide a sustainable, scalable solution.
If it’s time to build your online business and you want to make sure your ERP system integrates with your eCommerce site, ask the right questions to ensure you don’t waste money on features you don’t need. Your integration solution should fit your business perfectly, resulting in a measurable benefit to your bottom line.
To learn more about our solution, Nomad, and to see a demo, contact us today.