13 May Business Process Management And Automation in Ecommerce
eCommerce companies in the UK, working with Shopify or Magento platforms, very quickly understand the need not only for a trustworthy platform but also a flexible, end to end tool for business process management. The primary task of eCommerce companies, inevitably influencing the success of their business, is to manage the supply chain, fine tune stock holding and predict demand trends with increasing reliability. These businesses seek to manage customer relationships in a smarter way whilst offering high quality service, easier and quicker shopping and order processing.
Companies, working with a ‘drop ship’ model, want to retain control over the entire process of product ordering and shipping from supplier to client.
Moreover, many business owners understand the need for full automation of routine business process management in eCommerce – from manual data entering to interdepartmental workflow, reporting, sales and demand planning, as well as efficient order fulfilment and tracking.
With the absence of integration with modern enterprise resource planning systems, business growth is not only constrained but can veer chaotically as a result of mistakes in processing from employee work overload and avoidable operational pressure, and stress. The industry has learned that the speed of delivery and good communication outweighs the value normally placed on the quality of the product. Improving the experience here is the key to encouraging returning customers.
Shopify and Magento integration with an ERP system helps to automate business processes and directly contributes to business profitability. However, we should now turn to how to choose the right ERP for your company.
- Decide what business processes you need to automate: customer relations, supply chain, inventory management, purchasing, finance, sales, manufacturing, dropshipping.
- Decide what your main goals are – these can be full automation of all eCommerce business processes, integration work in all departments such as;- production, sales, finance, and customer support, increase ROI and decrease time spent in order processing, etc.
- Define secondary goals – automate specific employee functions, eliminate problems with different ‘versions of the truth’ – when different departments within the company have conflicting data surrounding company performance, create single analytics and reporting tools, for easy tracking and maintain accurate inventory and customer/sales data, to speed up the communications and collaboration between different functions, eradicate issues emanating from legacy or stand alone systems – for example, CRM or from financial data.
Key signs that you need ERP Integration
- Continued growth in sales orders
If you are marketing and selling well, your eCommerce business will grow and transaction volumes increase. Naturally, every order requires close attention to safeguard the customer experience imperative. If efficiency in the processing model via ERP is not in place then escalating order volumes will inevitably become overwhelming and the business will fall short of the high bar that consumers apply to their buying habits.
- Proliferation of return requests
It is not a secret that in eCommerce purchase returns are common. Figures place returns at almost 20% of all sales. In order to process a return efficiently, it’s vital to consider the help of ERP integration. Good systems will balance all key records for sales, inventory and finance alike.
- Multiple products with frequent price changes
If your pricing depends on external factors such as currency exchange rates or delivery add ons, or you source products from wholesalers and have no direct influence on price elements, then you will need automation to help you arrive at an accurate and business-sustaining price and this, in turn, can be supported via ERP.
- Multichannel sales
If you have several online platforms then the rationalisation of data into a common model, and single ERP, will drive efficiency and help avoid inconsistent and unsustainable workflow mechanisms.
- Multiple Warehouses or Suppliers
If you have several warehouses or source products from multiple suppliers, with growth in orders, there is a real risk of losing control of inventory and developing unbalanced stock holding. Having a product in the ‘wrong geography’ is a constant ‘thorn’ and help is at hand via modern ERP that offers business-wide planning tools.
- Drop Ship
If you use a ‘drop ship’ model there is clearly a degree of exposure through the reliance on supply partners. With the growth in volume, it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on, this makes it important to have a clear sight of;- order progress, returns and how much of what products you have sold and the resulting value of all this. Again, ERP and its integration with suppliers is crucial. Indeed, modern systems make collaboration in this supply chain far easier as either delivery dates can be automatically fed to the end customer from supplier data and/or the supplier can take an active role in interpreting demand patterns from your sales information and regulate its own stock holding and reorder efforts accordingly.
- Use of different applications
If different applications are present for;- inventory management, customer relationship management, supply chain, financial data reporting and business analytics, any increased levels of sales orders will leave ‘disparate systems’ unsynchronised, or at best sitting behind the ‘decision curve’. The more applications you need the more time consuming and costly it is to assimilate data in a meaningful way.
Why automate business processes in eCommerce?
- Manual processing inevitably invites risk. Risk in sending the wrong item is not only materially burdensome but adversely impacts the customer retention metric. Double entry, occurring without automation, is not only costly but presents real problems in cross-function decision making.
- Reporting and data accuracy – the more accurate your business insight – the better you can plan and predict everything such as demand, supplies, sales, and revenue. Automation dramatically decreases order cycles.
Cloud-based ERP guarantees real-time data for an on line concern and offers access from anywhere in the world. This is extremely valuable if you need to make rapid performance-based decisions and want to avoid a dependency on others for reporting. Modern Business Intelligence tools are incredibly powerful and operate best when harnessing the inherent nature of unified systems. By deploying fully integrated, automated systems you will ensure that your business process management is in the best position it can be and vitally helps you measure performance, plan growth and decide on the bigger decisions of any new market investment and diversification.