Over the last decade, there has been a progressive increase in the percentage of sales made through online channels versus traditional retail and with the global pandemic of 2020, this has only accelerated this further, with it now representing over 30%.
So, there is now an expectation, whether your business sells into retail, trade or both, that the traditional customer experience is matched online.
Now whilst having an extra sales channel is fantastic and gives that 24/7 shop front, there are challenges to try an overcome in terms of linking your shop front to your back office, which is holding key pieces of customer & inventory related data.
Specific customer pricing, discounts, delivery addresses and stock availability are some of the key pieces of information that will need to be shared and linked with your shop front, to help ensure that the accuracy of the information being processed, and expectation is set.
Historically re-keying the order information into your ERP / Back office systems may have been an option, but this undoubtedly takes time and is prone to simple entry errors.
In a similar way, if a customer has specific pricing with you, the time involved in checking/cross-checking this information can be challenging, particularly when order volumes increase.
Ensuring that the availability of stock shown on your store is accurate also sets that expectation in terms of customer experience.
Now whilst these are challenges, there are efficiencies that can be created here, and this can be looked upon as a real positive to drive this part of a business forward.
Online stores now typically have options where you can integrate other systems into it to sync information, such as customer & stock information.
The extent of these integrations can vary but for example, automating the order processing of a customer placing an order on your online store front and having this synced and created into an order within your ERP / Back Office order processing system, is now possible.
Similarly, being able to schedule a sync of your available stock quantities to your store front is also possible, thereby providing that expectation when a customer is viewing your store.
If you have any questions about how integrating your online store to your ERP system, then please get in contact with your Account Manager as we have extensive experience with these types of integrations, from bespoke stores, through to main stream offerings such as Magento, Shopify & WooCommerce.