With a growing omnichannel presence in the retail sector, merchants are striving to provide a consistent experience across different channels. A few challenges in implementing omnichannel retail that retailers face are:
- Targeting the customer through the right channel, whether it be through mobile, apps, social media, emails, etc.
- Understand the different touch points that the customer can experience and provide a consistent experience.
- Analyze the experience across each channel and operate the most optimum channel efficiently.
To overcome all these challenges and provide a pure omnichannel experience, it’s necessary that the different departments of the retailer should coordinate to meet the customer needs. An ERP system forms the backbone of many functions of a retailer; which includes inventory management, supply chain, CRM, Finance, Reporting and many more. SAP, being a popular feature, is used by many retailers to handle their day to day operations.
In many cases, we notice that merchants who began their business with physical stores, have their online business as a separate entity. There is not enough communication between the physical stores with their online counterpart. To achieve a complete omnichannel experience where a customer can order through a website and pick in a physical store, it’s necessary all those departments work simultaneously to achieve that goal. In these conditions, a seamless data transfer between Magento and SAP becomes crucial.
Magento has its own inventory management system, but when it comes to handling multi-channel retailers, it needs to be integrated with the other systems to a achieve success. Since Magento allows hooking up with other systems using the Web Services methodology, SAP Magento integration companies have a few options to integrate it with SAP, namely;
- SOAP – Simple Object Access Protocol
- REST – Representational State Transfer
- XMLRPC – XML Remote Procedure Call
Among all these effective methods, we found that implementing SOAP procedures to be simple and less time consuming. Since SAP has discontinued the support for the RFC connector for the upcoming releases, we believe that the above three methodologies can be used in the future.
The benefits of such an integration can be enormous. It’s equivalent to transferring the robust data handling methods of SAP to creating a sleek customer experience in Magento.
Real time inventory can be implemented; customers would know exactly how many products are available in the online store and in the physical store in a nearby location. This would give a lot of options for customers to pick their preferred channel for shopping. This would also help retailers to have an optimum inventory level.
This integration also reduces the redundancy of data across different systems. Customer data could be consistent across the channels which can be an immense boost for marketing and promotional activities. Consider a customer who purchases both at online and offline stores of retailer. By analyzing the customer data and purchase pattern, a predictive analysis can forecast his next purchase. A targeted marketing campaign for similar customers can increase the sales and conversion rates to a much higher level.
SAP Magento Integration combines the features of two important and independent systems to provide critical solutions in overcoming the challenges in omnichannel retail.