Solution Abbreviations You Need to Know When Shopping for an Integrated eCommerce Platform

Trying to launch an online business can be tricky when you don’t have the proper tools or know what those tools are. When you’re shopping for an integrated eCommerce platform, you’ll hear about ERP’s, CRM’s or PIM and CMS along with other tools used to run your web store. What exactly are these tools and how can they help? Each solution has unique functions and when they all work together, your web store can collect customer data, increase order turnaround time and help you design your site.

CMS: Content Management System

Companies use a content management system (CMS) to style their website, since a CMS provides the tools to design and manage content dynamically. Content management systems let users design web page layouts without having to know a web language like HTML. By using a CMS, users create and maintain the look and feel of their overall website easily.

ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning

Many companies use ERP platforms such as Microsoft Dynamics or SAP Business One to manage their day-to-day operations and data like customer records, product pricing and inventory. While an unintegrated eCommerce website can accept web orders by itself, manual entry into the backend ERP is needed to actually track and fulfill the orders and ship them to customers. Contrarily, an eCommerce website with seamless integration to your ERP creates an automated system for web orders, which saves you time and money while reducing humor error.

PIM: Product Information Management

Product information management (PIM) is the tool used to build your online product catalog. It is used to create your supporting product data, including digital assets, like images and other media, product descriptions or different tabs full of information that help your customers make an informed buying decision. Storing this data in a central area allows it to be easily accessed, updated and maintained. When an organization sells online using an eCommerce platform that integrates with their ERP, PIM provides a middleware solution that takes product data that resides in the back office system, combines it with the rich supporting product content and marketing copy created for the online catalog and places it on the web store for customers to see.

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

A customer relationship management (CRM) solution, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, is used to handle interactions with customers. Using a CRM system, businesses are able to manage contact information, track sales and provide customer support. CRM tools can help keep track of all your customer data and maintain the necessary communication you need to provide excellent customer service.

VAR: Value-Added Reseller

A value-added reseller (VAR) is a company that resells software, hardware or networking products and provides value beyond order fulfillment. In the Microsoft channel, there are many VARs that resell the Microsoft Dynamics suite of products. The same is true of SAP Business One in the SAP channel. A VAR may provide consulting, design, implementation and training services around the platforms it resells. Usually VARs form channel partnerships with one or more vendors in order to offer further enhancements to these ERP and CRM systems to best meet the needs of their customers, which brings us to independent software vendors.

ISV: Independent Software Vendor

An independent software vendor (ISV) makes and sells software products that run on one or more computer hardware or operating system platforms, like Microsoft Dynamics or SAP Business One. Big companies like Microsoft encourage and lend support to ISV’s with special “business partner” programs since they don’t have the resources or the special knowledge required to make all the applications customers want. While some ISV’s focus on either Microsoft Dynamics or SAP Business One, others specialize in a particular application area, like eCommerce, and develop software solely for that space.

When looking at which solution is best for your business, think about what features you need to make everything run as smooth as possible. While they function on their own, these solutions can work together to really benefit your business. With full integration to your ERP and a built-in CMS, a k-eCommerce integrated eCommerce web store brings your online business to the next level. Contact us today for more information.

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