eCommerce stores may be entirely digital, but they still need the same backend, back office functionality as a brick-and-mortar storefront. Software implementation is one of the most popular methods for streamlining your digital services into a single, accessible platform. There are a lot of ways to improve your eCommerce business with ERP software.
eCommerce software provides tools for digital businesses to sell and advertise their products or services online while enterprise resource planning (ERP) software automates back office functions, such as financials, sales, and operations, through an integrated suite of business applications. A combined eCommerce ERP software offers the best of both systems into a single, easy to use platform.
ERP solutions designed for eCommerce sync online orders with your inventory and supply chain management tools. The eCommerce side of the software provides the capability to create a web store complete with a shopping cart, shipping options, and payment processing. Through the ERP system, the combined solution manages inventory, calculates taxes and performs everything else necessary to fulfill orders. Together, your online business can thrive with a single software solution automating operations behind the scenes.
A specific ERP software for an eCommerce company can provide you with many useful benefits:
While there are standalone eCommerce software solutions out there, many need to be integrated with an accounting software in order to provide detailed financials. Yet implementing multiple software add-ons can lead to miscommunication between the separate systems. ERP integration covers most of the basic accounting functions your online store needs, from balancing a general ledger to calculating employee payroll.
ERP software also includes modules for forecasting your budget in order to ensure you have the funds necessary for operations. Calculating more detailed estimates can free up more money to purchase new merchandise, expand your marketing outreach, and keep your accounts payable up-to-date.
eCommerce platforms have a major advantage of traditional stores: the ability to sell products and services at any time. Yet this can lead to problems when someone has to physically maintain your product lists and inventory levels outside of traditional business hours. Software fully automates the process, so the shop can keep running even when store personnel are not on the clock.
ERP software has tools for both supply chain and inventory management, greatly streamlining the movement of your products from the manufacturer to the final destination. As an eCommerce operation, you’ll need to have automated methods for keeping track of available inventory at all times. And you’ll want a way to keep customers informed about when their sales will be completed by showing details about the delivery.
Another major benefit of ERP software is the ability to gain real-time updates on your business performance. Inventory management modules track and trace your products as they move through the supply chain. Regular updates can even alert the site to mark products out of stock if necessary, avoiding overselling merchandise and disappointing customers. Through eCommerce ERP software you can continue making sales and enjoying profits without worrying about falling behind on inventory.
Updating your inventory in real-time also provides valuable information about how different products or services are performing. You can see how each item fares depending on factors like time of day, sales specials, discounts, variations, and more. All of this business intelligence data can then inform your upcoming decision-making regarding new products or sales efforts.
Many eCommerce retailers also have physical storefronts. If not permanent locations, there are many opportunities to set up temporary shops at trade shows, farmer’s markets, conventions, and local festivals. ERP software built specifically for an eCommerce platform can coordinate between real and digital storefronts to streamline operations.
Additionally, eCommerce software serves both single vendor or multi-vendor marketplace. A single vendor setup sells only your own products while multi-vendors invite additional vendors to sell their products through your platform. Unfortunately, multi-vendor stores have to compete with larger, aggregate eCommerce sites like Amazon. For a small startup, going against these established corporations is nearly impossible. Fortunately, software helps balance the playing field. With an ERP, you can keep tabs on these different vendors, track their production schedule, and stay ahead of the third-party logistics (3PL) with re-stock demands.
Another important aspect of ERP software with eCommerce capabilities is the ability to integrate with additional solutions. Some standalone software you might want to consider include:
Many of these independent software systems are available as modules with ERP software. However, there are times when a separate solution is preferable, depending on the exact nature of your business. For example, if you move your merchandise through a third-party warehouse, a combined ERP may be the best option. If you own and control your own warehouses across the country or globe, an independent software may be more up to the task of keeping everything running smoothly.