What is ERP?
Are you an established brand? Is your business into wholesale or retail?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications have been around since the 1990s and they help you to automate all your back-office operations. There are several factors based upon which one needs to evaluate ERP. They are
- Customer Experience
- Product Information
- Supply Chain Management
Back office operations can be any one or combination of the following:
- Marketing & Sales
- Inventory Management
- Finance and Accounting
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Supply Chain Management (SCM)
- Human Resource Management
- Engineering/Production Management
- Warehouse Management,
What is ERP eCommerce Integration?
eCommerce ERP Integration is all about integrating your front-end online store with the ERP application at the back-end. Your growth strategy should include a fully integrated ERP solution, in order to maximize your revenues from eCommerce.
ERP & eCommerce go “hand in glove” in the age of electronic business. There are many big players in the eCommerce space which includes platforms like Magento, Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, SAP Commerce Cloud (previously SAP Hybris) & Salesforce Commerce Cloud. On the ERP side, we have players like Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle Netsuite, Epicor P21, Eclipse, Acumatica, Distribution One, SAP Business One, and many more. Integrating these two different business end-points, opens new facets for your business by streamlining your overall workflow.
Why integrate ERP with an eCommerce store?
Whichever frontend it may be – Magento, Shopify, or WooCommerce – there is a necessity to pass information from the frontend to the ERP at the backend and vice versa. To provide a seamless user experience, both entities should work hand-in-hand in sharing information.
After receiving an online order, manually entering sales orders and customer information into ERP, is prone to errors. In such tasks, less manual interventions, better the outcome.
Integrating ERP and eCommerce sites introduce a whole lot of automated tasks and scheduled data sharing between them. Also, with increasing online sales and demand, having a sophisticated store becomes a necessity.
Integrating an ERP and an eCommerce store happens in two ways:
- Using Cron jobs – a time-based job scheduler
- Using a full-fledged third-party integration tool (also called iPaaS – Integration Platform as a Service)
You will get to know from this blog as to why the latter is the appropriate solution for you, in case you’re looking for business application synergy.
Benefits of ERP eCommerce Integration
Integrating your ERP with eCommerce brings with its own benefits, that are mentioned below:
Integrating ERP software with eCommerce stores provides dual benefit of having the real-time storefront data in ERP and back-end data in eCommerce. This implies customers are able to view and access the information pertaining to available inventory, latest order status, and also track shipments using the lot/serial or other tracking numbers. With respect to the back end synchronization, your operations, sales, finance, HR, and other teams have instant access to customer & order information that arises in eCommerce. This helps in reducing the cost of operations and improving your overall customer experience.
Inventory Cost Reduction
All information about sales in eCommerce storefront appears in your ERP system promptly. Based on these transactions, item inventory in ERP will also be updated. With up-to-date information about inventory and online sales, back end teams will be able to fulfill orders in a proper way, thus reducing inventory costs. Through integration, one can not only easily track inventory in real-time but also forecast how much inventory you need in the future.
Financial Report Generation
Financial reports on sales are generated by eCommerce applications. An ERP software provides a Balance Sheet, P/L Statement, Trial Balance, Cash Flow, and more. By integrating the eCommerce & ERP, an end-user moves one-step ahead, as an ERP, ensuring transparency about on the online payments and financial data across the company.
The integrated ERP software streamlines multiple business processes, lessens the burden on human resources in activities like manually transferring data across applications. The employees will no longer be having to manually input data from one platform to another (e.g. shipping info, inventory levels, product info). Instead, communication and data transfer takes place automatically thereby saving time and money. It also empowers employees to be productive in other ways, such as contributing to the growth of the company.
In addition, all the online sales orders get integrated into the ERP system in a timely manner. Also, an ERP user can instantly track orders and start processing promptly, and reduce the length of the order fulfilment cycle.
With integration, all data such as customer details, orders, payments & shipping information will be transferred & synchronized with ERP software. In addition, product inventory details can be uploaded from the ERP to the e-commerce platform, thus overcoming the need to re-enter the data. Thus, the integration reduces human involvement, data redundancy, and errors which can occur as a result of manual data transfer.
Read the full list of benefits here.
Critical Use Cases of ERP eCommerce Integration
What follows are significant data entities that every tester should check before the release of integration services. For better understanding, each vertical is explained with a scenario. The ultimate aim of a tester should be to make sure that every piece of information from the eCommerce site is correctly updated in the ERP.
When the customer places an order from the E-Commerce site, the order syncs up automatically with the ERP periodically. The order information then gets displayed in the ERP integrated tool.
Testers should verify the :
- Order Number
- Customer Information
- Product Information
- Shipping method
- Tax Calculation
- Coupon code (if applicable)
- Invoice information
- Payment method
- Decrease/increase in the inventory with respect to the quantity that the customer purchased/cancelled.
When a new customer registers in the E-Commerce site, the customer information is captured by the ERP tool and maintained as customer records. Also, when the customer updates his/her personal information, the data need to be captured in the ERP as well.
Testers should verify the following:
- Customer Name
- Customer Email
- Billing and Shipping Address
- Verify the other custom information like (if applicable)
- Apply for credit
- Apply for Tax Exemption
- PO# required
- This information should be synchronized with the customer information.
When the Product quantity is updated, the information needs to be captured in the Inventory Management.
Testers need to verify the following:
- Product quantity and the product information should be updated after every inventory sync up on the website from ERP.
- Out of stock products status should be changed to In Stock when the product quantity gets updated in ERP with respect to the availability of the product in the warehouse.
- When the customer cancels/returns the purchased products, then the product quantity should be updated.
- When the product status is updated to In Stock then the customers should get a notification email, should they be subscribed for notifications.
When the product information is updated, the information needs to be captured in the Product Management.
Testers need to verify the following:
- The basic information, pricing and category should be updated in real time.
- When a new category is created/deleted, it should be updated/deleted on the website as well.
Be Wary of These Aspects While Integrating ERP with eCommerce
Most companies go for a cloud iPaaS solution for integrating multiple applications, since it is all-encompassing in terms of integrating all of them. The applications transfer data and keep in synchronization through the iPaaS middleware that resides in the cloud. This questions decision makers to go for the solution, as most of them feel data security is at stake. This is not actually true, given that most iPaaS applications today encompass major compliances that insist secure transfer of data. Just make sure that the integration platform you choose inculcates good habits.
Not everything in this world is perfect, and that holds the case for integration platforms as well. Failed transactions are also a possibility, though the probability of its occurrence determines the accuracy of the integration platform. In a scenario where an order that came in eCommerce failed to synchronize with ERP, the backend teams won’t know that the order has to be fulfilled. So, the middleware should be able to auto troubleshoot the failed synchronization or there must a 24*7 support team that can ensure all is well.
Primitive Integration Solutions
Using cron jobs, writing code or the worst, manually transferring data across applications, directly/indirectly impacts how fast and how well a company interacts with its customers. Business applications like ERP, eCommerce CRM, and much more, can be complex in nature & different environments, and hence a hybrid integration solution is necessary to cater to the same. The results of improper time & investment on implementing your integration results in the enterprise falling behind in response time & risk service level violations and customer service scores.
Get to know the full list of challenges to ERP eCommerce Integration.
CLORAS – Your iPaaS for ERP eCommerce Integration
Till now you would have read all the facets with regards to integrating eCommerce and ERP. Now it’s time to get started with your integration process. If you are looking to do the same, you don’t have to go anywhere. CLORAS is an iPaaS solution that can integrate any number of business applications like ERP & eCommerce with one another and automate data transfer between them. Having all features that an enterprise level integration solution must provide, CLORAS stands out by helping businesses across the globe scale up their revenues & streamline processes through ERP eCommerce integration. Moreover, CLORAS is a product that encompasses all considerations like security, support, and much more, that you have just read.
A Simple 3-Step Integration Process Using CLORAS
It’s just a simple 3-step process to integrate applications with CLORAS. Just set the integration in no time and leave the rest to CLORAS.
- Provide required credentials for accessing APIs and set up integration pipes.
- Define the integration flow through flow builder, mapping & modifiers. You can customize your integration to any extent using CLORAS
- Set up the data synchronization schedule or set to sync real-time, as you wish
CLORAS has pre-built integration solutions for several ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle Netsuite, Epicor (Eclipse & P21), SAP Business One, DDI Inform, Infor, Sage, Distribution One, Acumatica, to name a few. Similarly, top eCommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify Plus, BigCommerce, SAP Hybris, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, can be easily integrated.
To further explore CLORAS for integration, all you have to do is schedule a free one-on-one demo at your convenience and tell us exactly what eCommerce & ERP you want to integrate. Our integration experts will take it from there, starting with requirement elicitation, a product demo to go-live, and more.
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