Why You Should Visit Blue Link at IRCE 2014

Mark Canes

By Samantha Hornby

This year’s upcoming IRCE tradeshow marks the 10th anniversary of the world's largest eCommerce conference and exhibition and is a great place for eCommerce businesses to learn about new trends and technologies in the industry.  The show is expected to bring in 3,000+ attendees and will showcase more than 600 solutions providers in the exhibit hall as well as offer multiple workshops and expert speakers. If your business is involved in selling online or considering this for the future, IRCE provides the perfect opportunity to learn from successful businesses about how to do eCommerce right, and what available technologies and solutions are necessary to succeed – besides, who doesn’t like an excuse to get out of the office?

This year will be Blue Link’s first year exhibiting at the show, and we are very excited about the opportunity.  Aside from getting the chance to explore beautiful Chicago, we are excited to speak with attendees about an often overlooked and certainly less glamorous aspect of eCommerce – back-end inventory and accounting ERP software.  For many eCommerce businesses, and especially those who are also wholesale distribution companies, proper inventory and accounting management can be the difference between your company succeeding and failing.  In such a saturated market, consumers will not easily forgive those eCommerce sites who sell inventory they don’t have, lose orders during shipment and are slow to respond to customer service issues. In order to avoid these problems, it is important for eCommerce companies to invest in proper back-end ERP software in conjunction with getting their online store set up.

When it comes to ERP and eCommerce integration there are several different options depending on how sophisticated your business processes are.

(1)    No Integration

The first and simplest is a site with no integration. An example is a website that allows customers to view product and place orders, but all inventory levels must be manually updated within the site’s interface and all orders are manually downloaded from the site and re-entered into an accounting system.  This is best for very small companies who want to give customers access to product information online, but only manage a small number of orders each day and so manual process are appropriate.

(2)    Simple Integration – Batch Updates

The second is a site set up with only one-way integration and batch updates.  This means the user has to batch update the site and back-end system on a regular basis – this can be set up automatically or done manually.  For example, once a day, users pull any orders placed online into the back-end system which creates a sales order and allocates the inventory.  In addition, new product that comes into the warehouse gets entered into the back-end system and then batch pushed up to the online store.  Although this method allows you to batch pull and push information, the information is not updated in real-time which can lead to inventory discrepancies and is therefore best suited for companies with a low daily order volume.

(3)    Sophisticated Real-Time Integration

The third and most complex level is also the most expensive and designed for large, online retailers.  This level of integration automates several steps and updates website and back-end inventory and sales information at regular pre-determined intervals throughout the day (for example every 3 minutes). This means every couple of minutes, software automatically crawls a website for any new orders which get pulled into the back-end system, creating a sales order and updating inventory information. When new product comes into the warehouse and gets put into the system the same process applies and information is pushed up to the website. This eliminates any manual processes associated with re-entering data and means website and back-end inventory and product information is always up-to-date.

Whatever size your eCommerce business is, back-end inventory and accounting ERP management is an important aspect in order to keep customers happy and grow the company.  Make sure to check out our booth (#336) at this year’s IRCE show for more information.

eCommerce Integration Guide