This article originally appeared in GP Optimizer Magazine, Summer 2016.
With online business-to-business sales alone projected to break 1.1 trillion in the US by 2020 (to say nothing of business-to-consumer sales), it’s clear that the Web is the marketplace of the future.
And it’s not hard to see why: eCommerce is quick and convenient for buyers and sellers alike. Customers can hop on their tablets from the comfort of their own living rooms, find the products they’re looking for, read reviews, compare, and place their orders. The merchant receives payment within seconds, and can send the shipment on its way from anywhere in the world.
The same is true of business-to-business clients, who prefer the ease and efficiency of online trade to the endless catalog-flipping, phone calls, and faxed-in orders of the traditional method.
But as with any other venture, eCommerce presents its own set of challenges, which would-be online businesses must meet if they are to succeed.
And for most companies, the biggest issue comes down to integration.
On the one hand, you’re running your office from your ERP, which has all the information on your product catalog, your customers, sales records, and more. On the other hand, you’ve got your business running from your web store… which has all the information on your product catalog, your customers, sales records and more.
See the problem?
For companies like this, it becomes a juggling act to copy or re-enter information from the web store to the ERP and back again every time they add a new item, change a shipping method, or make a sale. Transactions that might otherwise be swift and simple become complicated, repetitive, and tedious.
The worst of it is, this jumble of information can actually back up the flow of your business, forming a bottleneck that slows everything down and keeps your company from reaching its true potential for success.
So what’s the answer? Easy: get your business an eCommerce solution that integrates with your ERP.
By connecting your web store to your ERP, any data you add or change in your ERP is automatically sent to your store in real time, from products and prices to shipping and customer info. Orders placed in your store, meanwhile, go directly to your ERP for fulfillment.
No more dual data-entry. No more inventory errors and canceled orders. Just simple, streamlined control of your business: one system, one store, one synchronized database.
This is exactly the solution k-eCommerce built for Whitaker Brothers.
Going strong since 1945, Whitaker Brothers was no stranger to smart business—having risen to become a global leader of the data destruction equipment industry from a company that got started selling paper shredders.
But when it came to online commerce, there was room for improvement.
Whitaker Brothers’ web store ran on Magento open source… a platform that doesn’t integrate with their Microsoft Dynamics™ Great Plains ERP system. So that meant any time a client placed an order on the web store, Whitaker Brothers had to print out copies of the order and send them to every department involved in fulfilling it, from invoicing to shipping.
As if that weren’t bad enough, they also had to re-enter every order from the web store back into Microsoft Dynamics™ GP just to complete processing. This would be a time-consuming chore even for a moderately successful business… but Whitaker Brothers’ web orders just kept on piling up.
Everything changed when they switched to an eCommerce platform developed specifically for Microsoft Dynamics™ GP. Their new k-eCommerce solution integrates seamlessly with GP, effectively automating the order process. Now, whenever a client places an order, it goes directly to their ERP where all the departments involved can simply invoice, pack, and ship the order.
Integration improved every aspect of Whitaker Brothers’ business.
Customer service reps, for example, now have instant access to complete customer account information pulled right from the company’s ERP.
Thanks to the power of k-eCommerce, Whitaker Brothers has been able to leverage their web presence to extend the reach of their business farther than ever—all without having to increase their staff or make cuts to their current departments.
But just as integration can help your business simplify, it can also help you diversify.
Wireless Giant is a company with highly developed business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales channels alike. Founded in 1996, they originally sold pagers, and branched out over the years into mobile phones and accessories.
Today, offering more than 90 wireless phone concepts for retail and acting as national distributors of their own product lines, Wireless Giant needed a solution capable of meeting their needs on both the B2B and B2C levels.
And once again, k-eCommerce rose to the challenge through full integration with Microsoft Dynamics™ GP.
As with Whitaker Brothers, integrating to their ERP fully automated the order process for Wireless Giant, all while maintaining a synchronized, accurate inventory to prevent orders of items not in stock. k-eCommerce’s design team even worked with Wireless Giant to develop a customized look and feel for their retail portal. B2C clients now enjoy fast, efficient shopping on a sleek, fully responsive, mobile-friendly site.
B2B clients, meanwhile, take advantage of personalized catalogs and unique pricing tailored to the numerous dealer accounts with whom the company does business. Clients log into the B2B portal and can make quick, hassle-free orders from the range of products and prices specially configured to their individual accounts.
Online commerce allows any company from small local businesses to multi-national corporations to expand their reach, reduce their overhead, and diversify their sales channels… but providing clients and staff alike with a smart, smooth, efficient experience is critical. By integrating your k-eCommerce web store with Microsoft Dynamics™ GP, you arm your business with all the power you need to succeed.
Visit k-ecommerce.com for more information.