In the ever-changing world of B2B commerce, connecting your e-commerce site to a customer relationship management (ERP) system can bring many benefits to businesses. ERP makes it possible to centralize commercial data and synchronize it with the e-commerce site, which can improve inventory management, automate invoicing and delivery processes, and strengthen relationships with customers. However, connectivity between an e-commerce site and an ERP can be complex and require careful planning…
And yes, depending on the configuration of your management software, the technical connection possibilities for data recovery, the technical solution used to create your website, there are many technical but also operational criteria at the management level to take into account. account, this is why in most cases it is necessary to call on people competent on the subject to avoid any problems in the implementation. This article examines the benefits of connectivity, the steps to implement it and the challenges to overcome for successful connectivity between an e-commerce site and an ERP.
What is a B2B e-commerce site?
A B2B (business-to-business) e-commerce site is an online commerce site or ordering portal that targets businesses rather than end consumers. It allows businesses such as manufacturers, distributors or wholesalers to order products or services for their own use or for sale to their own customers. B2B transactions are typically more complex and involve larger quantities than business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions, and may require features such as personalized quotes, discounts for bulk purchases, deferred payments, and more Again.
What is an ERP?
An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is an integrated management system that helps businesses manage their commercial and administrative operations. For an e-commerce site, an ERP can include inventory management, orders, payments, deliveries, invoicing, accounting, etc. It aims to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date view of all aspects of the business to help make informed decisions and improve operational efficiency. The best-known ERPs in France include SAGE, EBP, Axonaut, etc.
The advantages and disadvantages of connecting an ERP to your website
The benefits of connecting an ERP to an e-commerce site include:
- Improved data synchronization: When systems are integrated, data is automatically synchronized between different software, reducing errors and duplicate data such as a difference in stock or price on the website and the tool. management.
- More efficient processes: Ordering, invoicing and delivery processes can be automated, such as placing the order on the order portal which sends the information directly to the invoicing software to automatically issue the invoice, which can reduce delays and improve efficiency.
- Better decision-making: Centralized and up-to-date data can help decision-makers make informed decisions based on up-to-date data.
- Cost Savings: Process automation can reduce costs related to human errors and manual operations.
- Time savings: The connector will avoid having to re-enter information, an essential time saving to carry out other tasks and prioritize the search for new customers, for example, instead of administrative management.
The disadvantages of connecting an ERP to an e-commerce site include:
- Demand for rigor: To proceed with the exchange of data between the site and the ERP system, it is necessary to carefully analyze the quality of the data and the method of using the software, the management software (ERP, CRM, etc.) must be used correctly to prevent errors from entering the order portal or blocking its use, they are often complex and may require extensive training to use effectively.
- Implementation time: To set up the connection, there are numerous exchanges and tests to be carried out according to the ERP. It can take time to configure and implement an ERP effectively.
- Reliance on Software Vendors: Companies often depend on software vendors to maintain and update their ERP systems. The ERP version or subscription level may be blocking points for accessing the connection functionality.
- Information needs: To make the best use of an ERP, the user needs to have product and customer information of their own. Poor quality of the database will not allow good integration on the b2b website.
- If change of ERP technology or website, user must plan the technical change in advance and testing time to avoid any problems.
How to connect an ERP to your e-commerce site?
There are several steps to connect an ERP to an e-commerce site:
- Select a compatible ERP: It is important to choose an ERP that can easily integrate your e-commerce site and that meets your business management needs.
- Plan the integration: Plan the steps for the integration, including the processes that will be automated, the data that will be shared between systems, and the expected timelines. For example, do you need to create customer accounts on your b2b e-shop, update specific prices according to customers... all these questions must be asked beforehand.
- Check the quality of your data: Check for each information that you are going to send, customer base, price, stock, if your data is good at the moment and will be reliable in the long term to avoid sending erroneous information on the website like bad stock.
- Configure the integration: Configure ERP settings to work seamlessly with your e-commerce site, using third-party software connectors or developing a custom solution.
- Test the integration: Test the integration to ensure it works as expected and resolve any issues. Tests must be done beforehand but also with a live customer to check the customer experience.
- Implement: Implement the integration by deploying it on your e-commerce site in production. To do this, do not forget to clearly communicate the operating procedure and the rules to follow with the teams for good management.
It is important to note that these steps may vary depending on the ERP used and the complexity of the integration. It may be helpful to consult a software expert to help effectively connect the ERP to your e-commerce site. At Huggii we connect ERPs thanks to our connectors developed internally which allows us to be flexible according to needs and developments.
Alternatives to avoid connecting your e-commerce site to an ERP
There are several alternatives to avoid connecting your e-commerce site to an ERP or CRM:
- Use spreadsheets to manage inventory, sales, customers, etc.
- Manually import data into your software.
Each of these alternatives has advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, complexity and functionality, so it is important to evaluate them carefully to determine the best solution for your business. It is obviously much more efficient, secure and profitable to use an ERP connector for long-term data transfer.
Future prospects for connectivity between ERP and an e-commerce site?
The future prospects for e-commerce and ERP connectivity are as follows:
- Real-time integration: Businesses expect real-time integration between their e-commerce and ERP systems, enabling real-time data synchronization and better, timely decision-making.
- Business process automation: Connectivity between e-commerce and ERP systems will enable automation of business processes, such as order management, inventory and payments.
- Advanced data analysis: Integration between e-commerce and ERP systems will enable more detailed and reliable data analysis, leading to a better understanding of market trends and more effective decision-making.
- Improved Customer Experience: E-commerce and ERP connectivity will enable a better customer experience by providing more accurate and up-to-date information on products and services.
In summary, connectivity between e-commerce and ERP systems is a key element for a modern and successful business, and its development is expected to improve business processes, decision-making and customer experience.
ERP or CRM connectors: a mandatory and accessible tool for all companies
Connecting your e-commerce site to an ERP can offer many benefits for businesses, such as better inventory management, automation of invoicing and delivery processes, synchronization of customer data and increased operational efficiency. . However, it is important to choose an ERP or CRM compatible with your e-commerce site, to set up a secure integration and to overcome the technical, financial and temporal challenges that may arise during the process. Ultimately, successful connectivity between an e-commerce site and an ERP can deliver a higher level of productivity, flexibility and performance for businesses of all sizes.