Businesses in the eCommerce industry need robust software applications at the back for their front-end website to be able to do the selling. There is no point if the website shows ‘Out of Stock’ for items that the customers demand or the ‘status of a particular customer order’ not updated on the website. There is a clear need for the front-end website to be updated for it to share the information requested by the customer. Majority of these updates come from the ERP system the eCommerce business uses – Stock levels, Price information, Shipment status, Shipment charges (if any), Sales returns being the prominent ones.
The ERP for eCommerce businesses requires integration with multiple third party softwares for it to contain the needed level of information from all channels – be it the Sales side, Logistics side or the Purchase side.
Primary integrations on the Sales side include:
- Front-end website for exchange of information related to Item/Products being sold, Inventory/Stock levels, Lead/Customer, Sales orders/sales order status.
- Market places (Amazon, eBay etc.) – Lead, Customer, Sales order, Inventory/Stock levels
- Sales forecasting – Could be done in the ERP itself or a third party tool like Demand caster can be adopted.
Logistics being a crucial aspect of the eCommerce businesses requires specific attention, automation and tracking. Most commonly, the ERP is integrated with the softwares adopted by the third party logistics companies – prominent ones in US are FedEx, UPS, USPS. The integration points include:
- Rate Shopping – To know the shipping charges based on Item dimensions (length, width, height, weight) or Freight Class
- Packaging Label Printing – Label Printing to paste it on Delivery Package
Maintaining the right stock levels is critical to control the inventory carrying costs. The thrust here is on Inventory planning and forecasting whereby even purchase decisions are timed and controlled. Depending on the ERP being used, there may be a need to integrate with an Inventory forecasting tool/software.