Blog 9 minutes

ERP e‑commerce integration: How it works, benefits, and more

Arno Ham
January 18, 2023

ERP e-commerce integration has become an increasingly popular choice for B2B organizations looking to create an efficient online sales channel. For most B2B companies, a functional ERP ensures different business management applications work together. It allows back-office functions, such as product or catalog management, Information Technology (IT) services, inventory software, warehouse/stock management to be completed harmoniously.

With ERP e-commerce integration, you benefit from a single, unified hub that eliminates system silos and provides your online buyers with accurate and reliable data, 24/7.

The impact ERP e-commerce integration can have on an organization is profound. According to our research, organizations that implement ERP-integrated e-commerce experience on average:

  • 21% increase in conversion rates
  • 11% increase in returning customers
  • 16% drop in order errors
  • 67% increase in revenue

Here’s a closer look at how you can achieve better results online — and maintain your longstanding business relationships — with an e-commerce solution that integrates with your ERP.

How ERP and e-commerce can benefit your business

    How does an ERP integrated portal work?

    With an online store that is integrated with your ERP, your back office system and front end work together in real time.

    This type of ecommerce platform:

    • Reduces manual data entry
    • Streamlines traditional manual processes
    • Provides real-time inventory levels
    • Updates stock information in real time
    • Improves customer experience and trust in your online information and brand
    • Frees up time internally, so your teams can focus on customers and long-term sales strategies

    Here’s an example of how your ERP and ecommerce can work as one:

    ERP integration-genericPictured above: How ecommerce integration with your ERP works with Sana Commerce Cloud.

    In a new era of buying, more value is placed on transparency than ever before. With ERP e-commerce integration, your customer is kept in the loop on the sales process. Your business benefits from the software because your inventory data remains accurate and organized throughout the sale, and each step of the process is automated.

    ERP e-commerce integration: Which ERP systems integrate?

    With an ERP solution, your e-commerce business can integrate a variety of software programs and applications that run together seamlessly. There are many types of ERP solutions available, but the most common that B2B organizations use are:

    • Microsoft Dynamics: A line of ERP systems that combine components of customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), along with productivity applications and artificial intelligence tools.
    • SAP: A modular cloud ERP software powered by AI and analytics, SAP allows businesses to run mission-critical operations in real time from anywhere, with intelligent process automation and personalized insights.
    • E2 Shop System: This ERP system is built for machine and job shops and offers to estimate and accounting integration, as well as resource planning and customer management, and analytics assistance.
    • Workday: As a cloud-based ERP system, Workday helps global businesses organize and maintain HR functions, financials, new hire and onboarding tasks, and accounting processes.
    • Odoo: Large businesses can easily manage customer databases, communications, and relationships, as well as HR tasks and accounting functions with the Odoo ERP system.
    • ERPAG Software: Small and mid-size businesses in many industries can benefit from integrating this ERP system into their e-commerce operations. It assists with inventory management, analytics, accounting, shipping management and reporting.

    Many businesses are hesitant to integrate such software into their daily processes and procedures due to the potential for business interruption. However, most ERP software systems integrate with a business’s current software, making the transition simple to complete with minimal downtime.

    Looking for more information on an e-commerce solution that integrates with your SAP or Microsoft Dynamics ERP?

    We’ve got you covered:

    What to look for in ERP-integrated e-commerce

    If you’re using an ERP that can indeed integrate with an e-commerce solution, choosing that solution is the logical next step. With so many options out there, the task can get tricky quick. Here are a couple of key factors to take into consideration as you’re doing your research:

    • Cut out the middleware if you want real-time, accurate data sent to your web store: Your system should allow you to update products directly to the ERP and push them out to your web store automatically and instantly. Eliminating the middleware ensures maintenance takes place in a single system and uses fewer IT resources and budget. All this can reduce your total cost of ownership (TCO) dramatically.
    • The ability to scale with ease and expand revenue opportunities: Your ERP e-commerce solution should be ready to meet any challenge or opportunity quickly. Whether it’s adding new brands to your product portfolio, or scaling into a new market – business agility is necessary for future-proof strategy, so ensure your tooling can help facilitate that.
    • Omnichannel functionality that delivers meaningful customer experiences: When customers know they can make purchases 24/7, easily access important account data, and ensure everything is accurate and up to date, they are far more likely to adopt your online sales channel and stay. Mainstream e-commerce that complicates the customer journey defeats the purpose.

    White paper: Maximize your ERP investment with integrated e-commerce

    See how you can take your ERP and e-commerce to the next level. 

    How ERP-integrated e-commerce delivers a better customer experience

    A global pandemic and wider global e-commerce adoption have both resulted in higher customer expectations when it comes to e-commerce. Customer experience (CX) is now a significant component of building your web store, even for B2B organizations.

    With ecommerce ERP integration, many businesses find they can save time and improve not only the customer journey, but the relationships they have with their customers as well. The specific functions ERP software can assist with depends on the type of business you own, and the software you integrate with. However, most ERP software can optimize:

    • Order placement: ERP software can assist in the order placement process by automatically setting into motion the next steps, such as calculating the shipping costs or creating a shipping label.
    • Customer updates: With ERP software integrated into your e-commerce platform, automatic communications are sent to your customer. That includes when an order is received, an item has been shipped, or an item has been delayed in the shipping.
    • Simplify changes: An online sale can be labor-intensive for many businesses, but ERP software can assist in changing prices within product categories.
    • Inventory details: When an item is purchased or altered, an ERP system can automatically change the inventory count or product information. This keeps customers in the loop, and prevents orders placed on items that are out of stock.

    By automating these systems through ERP integration, your online business runs more smoothly. This prevents the chance that a customer will order the wrong product and decreases the amount of time your team(s) need to spend fixing these errors or answering simple questions — ultimately freeing up time to drive growth in your organization.

    Case study: How Century Martial Arts got better results with ERP-integrated e-commerce

    Century Martial Arts is a world leader in martial arts supplies and services. Founded in 1973, they have consistently invested in top-notch customer service and technology to support great experiences. As a result, they’ve grown into a customer-centric, technology-driven organization selling a huge line of 11,000+ SKUs to both wholesale and retail customers.

    The need for an ERP-integrated e-commerce solution came from the need to overcome a variety of challenges and security issues with their initial e-commerce experience, which was built on a legacy system and lacked B2B functionality. With Sana Commerce, they found:

    • A unified solution that would support both a B2B and B2C retail solution.
    • Mobile-responsive design that could replace their former standalone mobile site
    • B2B-specific functionality that enabled volume and customer pricing and ordering

    The benefit of using an ERP-integrated e-commerce platform like Sana’s meant Century Martial Arts could achieve a high level of accuracy, even amidst a complex pricing structure and product assortment. Their Microsoft Dynamics ERP was directly integrated with their web store, and the result was a load speed that was 10 times faster, a 25-30% YOY growth in B2C retail, and 40% of B2B wholesale business driven online.

    Why B2B companies prefer ERP-integrated e-commerce

    ERP solutions can be costly. Often, they also require detailed communication across channels and entities, from accounts, data management, product development and customer service departments. It is no wonder that in the past, enterprise operations more commonly chose such solutions – automated processes between these functions are vital with high sales velocity.

    The last two years have seen a shift in where companies are choosing to invest their resources. B2B organizations that contend with large swathes of inventory and rely on their customer loyalty require a new approach to sustain growth. Investing in ERP integrated e-commerce often means ensuring your customers can place orders at their convenience and apply innovative methods of retaining and improving your sales.

    For B2B companies that are struggling to deal with unique pricing arrangements, thousands of product SKUs, and workforce management, ERP integrated e-commerce can be the ideal solution.

    Benefits of making ERP and e-commerce work as one

    There are many benefits of integrated e-commerce. When it comes to B2B companies, some of the most frequently cited positive changes include:

    • Save company time: The automation ERP provides eliminates time-wastage in certain key activities: customer service requests, hand-keying stock and looking up unique price arrangements, to name a few. With ERP integrated e-commerce, customers can access all this information in one place, leaving your staff able to focus on higher-level problem solving.
    • Simplifying order tracking: At a time when many buyers and supplies are still weary of the supply chain crisis, customers want to know where their orders are, and when they can be expected. An ERP solution updates order tracking and automatically alerts customers on the whereabouts of their orders as needed.
    • Automating accounting tasks: Automated accounting work leaves less space for human error and more room for data consolation. An ERP solution that assists with accounting can ensure your business turns-in accurate numbers to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) each year, reducing the likelihood of tax errors.
    • Handling increases in demand: If your business has a sufficient ERP solution, you won’t have to worry about increased sales or e-commerce traffic. ERP software an continue to automate services for you, without the need for additional staff. Being visible online also enables you to capture more prospects, creating a more substantial pipeline for your sales staff to work on.

    ERP integrated e-commerce: Future-proof growth

    If you think you’re ready to implement an ERP solution for your e-commerce practices – or if you’re considering replatforming – your online business can flourish. With automated inventory updates, order tracking, and accounting, an integrated ERP solution can help you take online sales to the next level without increasing your employee workload.

    For future-proof growth, you need future-proof solutions – that’s where ERP-integrated e-commerce comes in. Ensuring your online experience is as seamless as possible means your existing customers and potential prospects know they can trust the purchase process, encouraging them to build or strengthen their relationship with your business.

    Frequently asked questions

    What is ERP in e-commerce?

    Many B2B companies opt for ERP integrated e-commerce when setting up their webstore. This simply means the front-end of your website is informed by the way data is organized in your ERP, eliminating data silos and ensuring advanced automation and customer experience in the process.

    What are some examples of ERP systems?

    ERP systems such as Microsoft Dynamics and SAP combine your most vital business functions for better data organization, smoother process automation, and are some of the most popular choices amongst B2B businesses today.

    Can ERP-integrated ecommerce be headless?

    Absolutely! Cloud based e-commerce solutions allow you to work seamlessly off one platform, ensuring you only need to maintain a single database for your data to sync in real-time. This is ideal for B2B companies looking for futureproof solutions, since it ensures scalability and customization as and when required.

    Maximize your ERP investment with integrated e-commerce

    See how you can take your ERP and e-commerce to the next level.