In today’s fast-paced world, time is such a precious commodity that few consumers take for granted the convenience and ease of online shopping. Online buying and selling has become common practice in the B2B marketplace as well. Whether your organization sells products or services to consumers or businesses, the right e-commerce platform and the right amount of business process reengineering can help you maintain competitive advantage while achieving high customer satisfaction.
Many organizations that rely on e-commerce solutions based on or as part of ERP platforms experience issues such as inflexibility, slow webpage load times and difficult integration with new media tools. The problem with most ERP systems is that they are not agile enough to keep pace with rapidly changing customer demands. ERP customers who need e-commerce functionality often benefit from contracting with third-party ERP consultants to document requirements and customize the solution to fit.
If your organization’s e-commerce platform is decoupled from your main ERP system, however, changes can often be made more quickly and painlessly. Your organization can engage in continuous process improvement without worrying about limited software functionality. The risk is, of course, that running multiple systems decreases the benefits of enterprise integration.
Following are five tips for selecting a modern e-commerce platform that can support process changes driven by the evolving needs and preferences of your customers:
- Continue using your organization’s main ERP system for its core strengths and determine which business processes should be standardized versus customized. Functions that offer your organization competitive advantage, such as e-commerce, should not be standardized.
- Consider a best-of-breed approach and look beyond your organization’s main ERP vendor for an e-commerce platform that can be seamlessly integrated with your core ERP system. Make sure all transactional data from your new e-commerce platform feeds into your main system.
- Select an agile e-commerce solution that can respond to changing regulatory requirements around the world related to taxation, labeling and documentation.
- Look for an e-commerce platform that supports essential marketing functions including analytics, product reviews and recommendations.
- Ensure that your e-commerce platform can facilitate complex sales processes such as re-ordering and order history tracking.
While it seems that plenty of ERP vendors offer e-commerce functionality, using this functionality out-of-the-box could serve to damage your organization’s competitive advantage. Although ERP customization is an option, it’s also expensive and time-consuming. The best option is to look for a flexible e-commerce platform that is separate from yet integrated with your organization’s core ERP system.
To learn more, register for our upcoming webinar, Tips for Selecting the Right ERP Software for Your Organization.