What is ERP e-commerce, and why it is such an important factor for a web store’s success?
The Key to Omnichannel
An ERP-integrated approach to e-commerce (also sometimes referred to as single-stack e-commerce) is vital, because it’s the only sure way to deliver a great omnichannel experience.
Omnichannel sales are about providing a more transparent and integrated process. This is achieved by seamlessly connecting several sales channels to provide a high-quality customer experience. With omnichannel, it doesn’t matter how clients place orders: they receive the same service. They can place an order in a web store, check up on their order status through social media, and pick their order up at a brick-and-mortar, and have the same consistent experience at every phase of their journey.
The emergence of this kind of experience threatens traditional businesses, because it’s assumed that they have to put in a lot more effort to keep clients happy. Clients today expect to be able to communicate and do business with companies through a variety of channels. They want the freedom and convenience to switch between channels without having to re-key information. Achieving customer satisfaction through meeting these demands is the primary driver for omnichannel initiatives.
Professional Buyers Want E-Commerce
It’s not just consumers who are becoming more demanding when it comes to customer experience: professional buyers’ expectations are also growing.
It’s quite logical, really, when you consider that B2B clients are simply B2C consumers at work. They crave the same experience no matter what they’re purchasing. B2B buyers are adopting e-commerce options because they prefer to do their own research online before purchasing. They also appreciate the convenience of an online shopping experience that offers access to international suppliers, personalization and 24/7 service and accessibility.
Many mid-market B2B sellers are anticipating this trend and setting up web stores. In a survey of over 300 B2B companies conducted by Sapio, 73% of respondents said that e-commerce plays a very important or vital role in their digital transformation. Furthermore, 76% of respondents who already had a web store were planning to upgrade within the next 2 years.
Why is e-commerce so vital in these businesses digital transformation projects?
- 45% — integration with tech such as ERP
- 44% — customer experience
- 8% — customer data insights
- 3% — part of wider organizational restructuring
Leveraging Your Business Data
The importance of e-commerce is clear. But to fully benefit from an online sales channel, companies need a set of technologies capable of meeting clients’ expectations. So how can companies like yours achieve this?
For starters, you need to be close to your client. You need to know everything about them to guide and personalize their purchasing process and create the best possible customer experience. This is particularly essential in the B2B market, where long-term relationships are of paramount importance. Furthermore, high-quality back-end processes should be facilitating your order and inventory management, billing, and fulfillment. If these processes aren’t in perfect order, it simply won’t be possible to deliver a great customer experience.
A lot of data is needed to personalise the purchasing process. To be more specific, you need the kind of data that’s stored in an ERP system. This includes pricing, order management, and product information, for instance. Integrating your web store with your ERP system ensures a real-time link between your customers and your back-end processes. This makes it easier for everyone to quickly and seamlessly switch channels.
This is what we mean when we talk about ERP e-commerce.
The Definition of ERP E-Commerce
ERP e-commerce truly leverages the business information and logic stored in your ERP. Besides significantly speeding up implementation, it also ensures lower operational costs. Why? Because all your business data and logic is stored in just one place: your ERP.
Businesses prefer a single system that works perfectly to of a complex web of interconnected systems. In other words: ERP e-commerce improves your customer experience, but also tackles complexities in your business.
Still Not Convinced About ERP E-Commerce?
Forrester estimates that B2B e-commerce in the U.S. will see 45% growth from 2015 to $1.13 trillion in 2020. With this in mind, who wouldn’t invest in an e-commerce platform? And who wouldn’t want that platform to be future proof?
Unsurprisingly, the single-stack e-commerce trend has already been picked up by many mid-market business sellers. 62% of B2B sellers are planning to implement single-stack e-commerce in their business activities. Reasons for this include:
- Ease of maintenance
- More agility
- Streamlined operations
- Real-time inventory visibility
- Enabling buyers to manage their accounts online
- Accurate inventory management
Moreover, businesses that adopted a unified solution are 19% more likely to say that improvements in upselling and cross-selling are caused by integrated e-commerce, and 14% are more likely to say that the unified solution improved their profitability per client. Forrester concludes that companies should consider the efficiencies of single-stack approaches to experience more benefits, as the 21% of surveyed B2B sellers already do.
The Benefits of Integration
Here at Sana, we have been aware of the benefits of an ERP-integrated approach to e-commerce for years. In fact, it’s the foundation of our e-commerce platform, originally released in 2008. We have listed all of the benefits of a real-time integration between your web store and your ERP system. Curious? Download the Integration Guide here.