The explosive growth of the ecommerce market has put pressure on companies to strengthen their online sales operations and create processes and systems that are as efficient and reliable as possible. Otherwise, their businesses will suffer – and so consequently will their customers.
One of the more important steps for companies to take toward that goal is ecommerce integration, which is the integration or coordination of a business’ ecommerce website with their back-end systems, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) or customer relationship management (CRM) system. The alternative is for these systems to operate separately, leading to unnecessarily slow processes, poor visibility and outdated data. Integration, therefore, is a critical opportunity for businesses hoping to excel in ecommerce in facets such as visibility, accuracy, decision-making and customer service, among others.
At warehouse and fulfillment provider PDC Fulfillment (a division of Distribution Technology, a third-party logistics provider based in Charlotte, North Carolina), we have the expertise and experience to work with our ecommerce clients to develop a modern ecommerce operation that takes advantage of the range of capabilities available to them.
Here are some key advantages to ecommerce integration.
Speed and efficiency
When you form a connection between an ecommerce application and an ERP or CRM, it eliminates the need to update information in each system – instead it only needs to be updated in one of them. That’s because connected systems work together and share data on an ongoing basis rather than operating in separate silos with separate collections of data. Inventory counts, for instance, are synchronized between systems, eliminating inconsistencies and duplication. In that way, integrated systems create crucial efficiencies, reducing labor and other resource needs, while also accelerating the speed of the availability of information. Integration’s importance in efficiency also limits the resources needed for companies to scale up their ecommerce efforts to meet growing demand, making that kind of growth more feasible.
Through ecommerce integration, your organization can help to reduce errors and enjoy the many benefits of having access to more accurate data. That’s because even the best manual data entry operation will experience occasional mistakes caused by human error, such as typing miscues. By limiting the amount of data entry needed – data only needs to be entered in one system, rather than in each system separately – ecommerce reduces both the large and small mistakes that are associated with it. And accurate data is crucial to creating the best possible climate for decision-making and customer service.
Visibility and adaptability
Integrated data means better visibility and that means a more in-depth understanding of your customers and their orders, among other key pieces of information. A modernized integration platform provides organizations with real-time visibility that allows them to make intelligent, highly informed decisions based on fresh data. They have a single, unified view of all available data rather than having to pore through multiple sources and develop insights based on those separate sources. Better insights allow companies to be more agile, adapting to changing circumstances and adjusting to unexpected developments that could cause major problems the longer they go unrecognized.
Perhaps the most important benefit of excellent visibility and efficiency is how they allow organizations to take a sophisticated approach to inventory management. Real-time updates and visibility give your team a keen understanding of your inventory and how it is moving in the marketplace, a particularly crucial advantage in the rapidly shifting ecommerce environment. In response, organizations can expertly manage their inventory by increasing and decreasing supply in response to demand. Visibility also improves forecasting, helping organizations anticipate what’s next and how they should prepare.
Tailored marketing and customer service
Integration strengthens your marketing, because detailed, accessible insight into your customers and their order history – all in one place – allows you to better tailor marketing efforts to individual customers. Based on the level of insight resulting from ecommerce integration, personalized communication enables you to provide recommendations and direct promotions to customers that are a particularly appropriate fit for them. Personalized marketing strengthens customer service and leads not only to more purchases but to stronger brand loyalty.
With PDC Fulfillment as your e-commerce partner, you can enjoy integrated logistics solutions as your business grows. Let us enhance your operation and accelerate your company’s growth with inventory storage capacity, processes that improve efficiency, and technology that enables innovation. For more information, contact us today.