eCommerce fulfillment can make or break your online store and is one of the key reasons a business succeeds in the eCommerce space. However, fulfilment is just one part of managing a successful business and eCommerce is frequently only one sales channel of many. As more and more businesses take an omnichannel approach by selling through multiple sales channels, it requires that you streamline sales, fulfilment, and customer service across your entire business. This means you need to have the resources and strategies in place to not only efficiently sell and ship online orders but also orders from traditional sales methods like phone and email. The best way to do this is to integrate your eCommerce processes into your entire business – taking advantage of eCommerce ERP software to help you do so.
Treat eCommerce Like a Separate Business
First and foremost, it’s important that if you’re selling online, you treat your eCommerce business as separate company. This does not mean that you need to manage your eCommerce business without taking into consideration your other sales channels, but rather, it means that you need to dedicate enough resources to manage the different areas of the business. Selling through eCommerce to consumers involves a very different skillset and set of processes than selling directly to B2B customers through phone and email. Therefore, as a starting point, you want to make sure that you have the appropriate people dedicated to each part of the business. Hiring staff to focus on your eCommerce store means that your team won’t get stuck having to prioritize one sales channel over the other when order volume increases. This includes hiring a team to help with website design and management, SEO, customer service and shipping.
Consolidate eCommerce Orders into One System
While it’s important that you dedicate enough resources to managing eCommerce orders, this doesn’t mean that you should have separate systems for managing the different areas of the business. Instead, look for back-end eCommerce ERP to manage your entire business and integrate that with your front-end website. There are many benefits to using only one system to manage everything such as…
- With one system, you can manage all orders from the same screen while still easily identifying which orders are eCommerce and which are from another sales channel. This helps with inventory replenishment and allows you to track min and max levels.
- Having one system means you don’t have to worry about duplicate and manual data entry which saves time and reduces the instance of human error.
- eCommerce ERP software allows you to report on all aspects of the business either separately or together – helping to give you a true picture of revenue and costs and identify threats and opportunities.
Maintain eCommerce-Specific Inventory
When selling online, you can choose to keep your eCommerce inventory separate in your system and warehouse or combine it with total inventory across all sales channels. Keeping inventory separate makes it easier for replenishment and reporting purposes as B2C eCommerce usually means a high volume of low quantity orders, whereas B2B sales tend to include a smaller volume of orders with more line items. Even if you only have one physical warehouse to store inventory, consider setting up a virtual warehouse in your ERP to track eCommerce inventory volumes separately. It’s also important to set up your warehouse to accommodate order patterns. For example, consider dedicating an entire section of your warehouse to eCommerce inventory or have fast-moving items closest to packing stations for those smaller, B2C orders.
When shipping orders integration with common shipping carriers is important for both online and offline sales. Integration means that information such as address, contact details and company is automatically populated between your ERP or online store to the shipping carrier site, saving you time from having to manually enter information. Order tracking information and confirmations then get automatically stored in the ERP for future reference and sent directly to eCommerce customers. The idea is that your ERP software maintains a complete record of all sales transactions – with information important to the customer being sent through the eCommerce store.
While your eCommerce store will be different from your back-end system, eCommerce ERP allows for the seamless integration of the two systems to effectively manage your online and offline sales. Customers can place orders by visiting your eCommerce site or through traditional sales channels with information being managed from the ERP. This helps to streamline processes and eliminates the need for manual data entry.