Why eCommerce Integration With ERP Is Required for Distributors’ Online Success

As distributors race to give customers what they want, adopting – and optimizing – eCommerce solutions remain critical to long-term success. To improve the customer experience and increase productivity, eCommerce adoption rates in wholesale distribution have soared, according to a Distribution Strategy Group survey. Because B2B buyers use multiple channels throughout their buying journey, McKinsey & Company stresses omnichannel must be a cornerstone of B2B companies’ selling model and value proposition to gain customer loyalty and greater share.

Meeting B2B buyers where they are whether online or off, with the data they need to support purchasing decisions, is core to an omnichannel experience.

While offering buyers eCommerce as a channel is a great start to delivering this omnichannel experience, you’re limiting its potential if it’s it doesn’t have a full integration with your ERP system, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

Why eCommerce without ERP Integration Isn’t Enough

It can be very challenging to provide the high-quality experience your buyers expect when your eCommerce website and Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management aren’t linked. When your core business systems and sales channels aren’t communicating in real-time about pricing, product information and availability, shipping details and more, the customer experience suffers.

Plus, your company is losing time and money while struggling to scale as your team resorts to manual data updates attempting to keep everything in sync.

A typical customer might start their search online but then realize they need more information before placing an order, so they call their sales rep. During the call, the sales rep has different prices for the items than the eCommerce site. As they try to sort through the pricing inconsistencies, time ticks away.

While on the phone with their sales rep, the customer decides to check on the shipping status of an order they previously made online. Unfortunately, the sales rep can’t pull up the eCommerce purchase history and cannot give the customer the status update.

After being told to check the status online and hanging up, the customer shakes their head. Shouldn’t this be easier?

It can be when there is one version of the truth for all data. Distributors that integrate Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management with their eCommerce platforms are equipped to give the customer the experience they expect.

What Happens When You Integrate Your ERP and eCommerce?

Most distributors have an ERP system such as Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management, a cloud-based enterprise software that performs critical business and finance tasks to improve profitability and financial visibility. Connect your ERP to other vital business systems, such as your eCommerce platform, to realize the biggest benefits.

Once connected – or integrated – data siloes are eliminated, and all business data is synchronized across the platforms in real-time.

Benefits of Integrating ERP and eCommerce

While the need to integrate your ERP and eCommerce is often overlooked or dismissed due to fears it will be disruptive or expensive, the benefits of doing so are significant and include:

Automating manual tasks and reducing errors

Instead of wasting time manually uploading or copying and pasting data from one system to another, data sync is automated and consistent. Manual data updates also introduce errors to your customer, inventory, order and other business data. Automation reduces these. Without the burden of manual data work, your team is freed to focus on higher-level tasks, which boosts morale and productivity.

Improving operational efficiencies

With one version of data shared across Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management and eCommerce, it’s seamless to keep multiple sales channels updated and consistent whether there are pricing, shipping, inventory or other changes.

Ensuring accurate inventory

The real-time data sync between eCommerce and your ERP ensures inventory management is straightforward and product availability is constantly updated. Whenever a sale is made on eCommerce or through another channel, your ERP is automatically updated.

Enabling valuable insights

By removing siloes and consolidating data, advanced technology like artificial intelligence can analyze information to glean valuable customer, sales, business and process improvement insights. New sales opportunities are also revealed when customer service and sales reps have greater visibility into what and when customers buy.

Improving scalability

Whether expanding to a new location or adding a new product line, ERP and eCommerce integration makes scaling much more manageable.

Consistent customer experience across channels

In the example above, your customer would have the experience they expect. There wouldn’t be pricing inconsistencies across platforms, and the sales rep would be able to pull up the shipping status of the customer’s previous eCommerce order. Overall, integration allows distributors to give customers what they expect – efficient, consistent and a high-quality experience wherever they interact with your company.

It’s not enough to just adopt eCommerce. Distributors must optimize their solutions by integrating eCommerce and ERP to be successful.

Don’t know where to begin? Contact us today, and our experts can help you link your eCommerce platform and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management.

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