From our client, Horizon Associate. They are thought leaders in building customized ERP systems and NetSuite Experts. I’m sharing their blog post here because all fast growing businesses need to be thinking about how to scale quickly and profitably. If you are in retail, managing different sales channels is a particular problem that an integrated ERP system can solve. Enjoy.
3 Keys to Integrating ERP Systems with E-commerce Platforms
Simplify, Integrate and scale.
When you run a retail operation, whether B2B or B2C, managing the integration of retail storefronts and on-line channels becomes more than just a management challenge, it becomes a management challenge that requires a team of programmers, developers, buyers, managers, marketing and sales teams, and logistical professionals.
Let’s look at three things you can do to help reduce the complexity and cost of managing a range of retail operations
- Integrate your ecommerce platform and ERP system in one place (think cloud).
One of the big issues for many retail CEOs is how to maintain the full ecommerce catalog through the ERP system. The main benefits of doing this is that it provides real time inventory management, allows for real time customer service support, handles selling in store, on line, drop shipments and returns seamlessly.
Putting all this horsepower in the cloud means a reduced investment in equipment, people and resource with the ability to scale up seamlessly.
- Integrate B2B and B2C distribution channels into one system
Most retailers have a predominate channel they’ve built their business around; either B2B or B2C. Given this, when another channel is added, say you add a B2B channel to your regular B2C operation, the investment required to support the “smaller” channel is way more than you want to pay. With an integrated solution, such as ours, the marginal investment to support the new channel is limited to set-up expenses. The marginal on-going costs and all the work to consolidate results between the two channels is negligible.
This gives retailers a big leg up when expanding into a new distribution channel. The cash savings from not having to run two separate systems can be re-invested in sales and marketing to support the new channel and not be sucked up with “overhead” expenses.
- Offer increased customer self-service solutions with smart – real time live support
Today, all buyers demand a self-service option AND the ability to call a live support person who can help them immediately. What this looks like for a retailer is on-line resources that allow your customers to search products, inventory, colors, designs, user reviews, high quality pictures. Basically, everything they need to make buying decisions without having to speak to a representative. Then as soon as they have a question, want to change an order, or process a return, when they call customer service they expect that the agent will have the full record available immediately. If your system updates every 15 minutes, or even worse, at the end of the day, your customer service agents will not be able to help the customer when they call. That will kill your growth and customer relationships.
How do you do this?
NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced solutions allow retailers grow and scale quickly and affordably. We love NetSuite and have built many ecommerce platforms for clients using NetSuite solutions. So, we’re biased and believe NetSuite is the best platform available today for most small to mid-sized businesses who are looking to grow fast and scale profitably.
To learn more about how to create an integrated and unified storefront with ERP and ecommerce in one place, visit our resource center or just call Joe Giegerich. As is said throughout the consulting world, you’ll learn more in 10 minutes speaking with Joe than by spending months trying to figure out the options on your own. So, save yourself time and money. Call Joe at 646.961.4334 right now.