In 1994, the year of the first e-commerce transaction, you had to code your entire website, go through the headache of the credit card transaction and maintain your inventory manually, item by item, through your code.
Today, with platforms like Shopify and Magento, starting your own e-commerce business is easier than ever. Many templates (free or for a fee) are available, so you don’t need to start from scratch. Credit card processors are integrated, and you can manage your e-commerce business in the back of your car or at home as a side business. It looks like easy money, but is it?
What happens when your business grows, and you need to have a complete view of your business?
E-commerce is no longer just selling a product to a client, It’s providing a customer experience online and offline through a seamless, consistent and personalized journey. To achieve that, a company needs to have the right foundation in place to provide a single source of truth when it comes to the customer, order, and inventory data: an Enterprise Resource Planning platform (ERP).
Here are the reasons why e-commerce is only one part of your business:
1. Real-time visibility on inventory
When customers want to order an item, they want to have it available right away from anywhere to be shipped everywhere. As a business owner, you want to deliver as fast as possible. In order to meet customer expectations, retailers need inventory visibility across all internal and external sources of supply. As a requirement, the data needs to be available in real-time so you can reduce excess inventory, capture lost sales, and promote profitable products to your customers.
2. Omnichannel experience
360o customer view is a must-have when it comes to your omnichannel experience. Through different channels, your solution should be able to track all interactions you had with your customers to predict when they will most likely buy on your platform again. Customer engagement is optimized with a central communication hub. With this approach, you will build loyalty, deepen relationships and grow lifetime value.
3. One single source of data
As a business grows, you come to realize that having various systems for each task (many of which do not integrate) you come to realize that consolidating fragmented sources for your financials, orders, customers, and inventory data into a single repository will not only help save you time (no more duplicate entries) but it will also help you make informed timely business decisions. The foundation of a single, natively unified back-end system will streamline operations and provide the agility and flexibility needed to accelerate your business.
So when it comes to e-commerce, having a platform to sell items is only one piece of the very large customer-centric puzzle. It is of utmost importance in today’s business world to stay ahead of your competitors and meet the demands of your consumers quickly and efficiently while ensuring that the brand experience is fluid and satisfying to your customer base, which is why it is so important to have a fully integrated ERP that provides a complete 360o real-time view of your business.
For more information on what ERP is right for your business needs, feel free to contact us!