The increasing growth of online purchasing and selling in recent times has given rise to the growing demands of enterprise level e-Commerce systems. To succeed in today’s online marketplace, B2B organisations need to be nimble and develop shopping experiences that match with B2C where all the options, efficiency and ease are expected. This emergence of “consumerisation of B2B” requires flexible e-Commerce solutions. However, B2B companies that use legacy e-Commerce platforms are struggling to provide effective customer experience due to the lack of out-of-box functionality and rigid development capabilities. Furthermore, the ERP and e-Commerce systems require specialised staff and custom development that ultimately drives up the cost of conducting business.
Challenges faced by B2B companies using a legacy e-Commerce platform:
Customers and suppliers expect B2B online systems to offer the same features and functionalities as those of top web retailers. However, legacy solutions that are not integrated with business systems aren’t agile enough to allow quick responses to the ever-changing customer demands. As a result, performance issues plague these sites creating an unsatisfactory user experience and lost revenue opportunities.
Customers in the B2B market wants to place orders quickly, so creating compelling experiences that easily allow access to options like preferences, re-order templates and order history between several visits is important. This requires access to business information stored in the backend ERP systems.
Decoupled ERP and e-Commerce Systems:
ERP systems perform well on inventory and supply schedules, but underperform on modern e-commerce activities in areas such as mobile, social sites, marketing, promotions, analytics, and product information for online commerce.
ERP systems should be the key foundation of your B2B e-Commerce sales mainly for the three main reasons; pricing complexities, ordering conditions and order history. B2B companies typically have very complex pricing structures because they prefer negotiating pricing with the individual customers. Generally, all these pricing complexities and details are stored and handled by an ERP system. Choosing a modernised e-Commerce solution that easily integrates with your ERP system can help with the pricing and profitability of complex orders. Your customers will get the same price estimates online as they would get when ordering through phone, or e-mail. It also enables customer-specific ordering preferences to the customer based on the details of the order in real-time.
Some businesses place orders on a regular basis and most of the time those orders are for the same products. That makes the option of order history a vital piece of information for businesses, since this allows them to quickly look up what the customers purchased last time or simply complete a re-order based on the previous order details. The order history is always stored in the ERP software. However, with e-Commerce and ERP integration, all of the orders placed offline and online will be displayed in your online sales platform, without the need for any additional effort or synchronisation of databases.
Other benefits of integrating e-Commerce and ERP system:
By integrating e-Commerce functionality with the ERP system, changes can be made quickly and easily to the customer-facing features to enhance the user experience without requiring any extensive development resources.
User experience is always a key focus and while integrating closely with the ERP software, a greatly improved user experience can be provided for customers. All the customer information is stored between visits to reduce data re-entry, and customers are given the ability to quickly and more easily search for the products and information they need.
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