Seamless Data Integration: The Key To Successful B2B eCommerce
The B2B eCommerce industry is gaining a lot of momentum with transactions projected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023 – Forrester
Although projected with great numbers, B2B businesses are not new to the eCommerce game—B2B eCommerce has been around for a while. In fact, around 78% of B2B retailers have apparently been selling online for at least 2-5 years, or longer!
As a result, B2B eCommerce businesses need to invest more time and money into adopting and utilising technology in order to better manage their business and stay competitive.
Given that the competition is higher, what can you do for your business to stand out in the eCommerce play-field?
An effective way to do so is to opt for a solution that allows you to do more with less. Data integration is one key area for instance. B2B businesses are able to create profitable outcomes when planning and execution are based on data-driven business decisions.
We’ll discuss this further in a bit. But, first…
WHAT IS B2B ECOMMERCE?
B2B eCommerce (business to business electronic commerce) is the digital sales of products and services from one company to another.
This differs from B2C eCommerce (business to consumer electronic commerce) because sales are between two business entities, and not between a business and an individual customer.
B2C eCommerce sales are a bit simpler as prices are generally fixed and everything is a bit more straightforward.
B2B, in contrast, is a bit more complex as all the financial and business elements need to be more fluid, especially when dealing with larger entities that will vary in needs.
WHAT IS ERP IN SUPPLY CHAIN?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business process management software for improving the performance of a company’s internal business processes.
Thus, ERP means that all parts of the company collaborate in the process of acquiring and managing efficient resource use. Some examples of notable ERP systems are such as SAP, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.
In supply chain specifically, an ERP system is commonly used by businesses to coordinate its planning system with suppliers or retailers, vice versa.
Suppliers/ retailers can work closely with your company to ensure optimized resource availability and minimized costs if they know your goals and have a connection to your system.
However, ERP may not be a foolproof system because often times, it is inflexible in responding to constant changes. Also, integration across business functions may be limited.
Getting an upgrade or a complete overhaul, on the other hand, would burn a hole in your company’s wallet.
WHY YOU SHOULD INTEGRATE YOUR ECOMMERCE AND ERP SYSTEM?
The need for eCommerce-ERP integration is usually overlooked because of cost or business disruption caused by having to change existing systems. But, the costs become worth it when you see the impact on your operations and customer experience.
Alternatively, solutions crafted based on the B2B eCommerce framework are frequently made available in various different packages with different pricing that you can choose according to your business needs. Simply put, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
At the same time, Dropee Enterprise, for example, is one solution that encourages open collaboration with your existing ERP system through seamless data integration.
It is can be built around your ERP system and complementing it with upgraded features and more functionalities without you having to ever change your system completely and drastically.
This means that you do not have to worry about transferring your data to a new system considering that everything is seamlessly integrated.
No more concerns on having to train your staff on a new system from scratch or having to restructure your whole supply and procurement processes.
HOW CAN DATA INTEGRATION IMPROVE EFFICIENCY?
Integrating your eCommerce sales channels with your ERP system allows you to operate more efficiently as a business. Your main types of data – order, inventory, item, customer, and shipping/tracking – are centrally communicated between your once independent systems.
Through data integration, your outsourced B2B eCommerce solution will automatically pass all the data between your ERP systems. This eliminates your need to manually entering data from one system to another.
While an eCommerce platform can certainly operate without connections to any ERP system, just imagine how many tedious practices that you do now but you wish to get rid off?
Manual practices such as hand-keying sales orders into your ERP is time-consuming and error-prone. Relying on recording inventory across your systems by hand, or not being able to do it all, can cause you to oversell.
When these processes aren’t automated, it’s easy to make mistakes. Shipping addresses can be entered wrongly. Incorrect inventory levels can lead to overselling. Product information could be incomplete, incorrect, or missing.
Ultimately, your customer experience is at stake, when you don’t integrate.
EXPERIENCE SEAMLESS DATA INTEGRATION TODAY!
Hence, to be successful online and to keep up with the increased online demand, your eCommerce strategy should include integration in your existing ERP system.
eCommerce-ERP integration allows you to easily account for new orders and fulfil them, regardless of where the sale is made. Products and pricing can be managed from one place, allowing you to have more accurate and consistent product information.