Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software is often a very important component for managing a business’ core processes, from product and production planning to manufacturing, marketing, inventory management, shipping, and accounting. For eCommerce businesses, smoothly integrating these diverse systems with a platform like BigCommerce is key for operational efficiency.
Integration allows for the automation of key processes such as manual data entry and the multi-directional flow of data between business platforms. If you want optimal results, this process is best handled by an integration solution provider. However, there are several things you must do to prepare for an ERP integration with your BigCommerce platform.
Appoint a Primary Contact
Designate a primary contact on your integration solution provider’s team who has a solid understanding of the data that’s important to your business, such as shipping/tracking information, SKUs, inventory data, and product details. Your contact should be able to identify valuable data in a system and explain how that data will best be represented in your new integrated system. This contact needs administrator-level access to both the BigCommerce and ERP platforms. This helps streamline the process, allowing you to access your data when everything is integrated.
Make Sure Your Data is Clean
For a smooth and efficient implementation process, you need your data to be as clean as possible. You should purge any duplicate fields or customers, correct inconsistent or incomplete records, and ensure that your eCommerce and ERP platforms are updated.
Whether you operate your online store through BigCommerce or any other sales platform, data synchronization will likely be a key part of your ERP integration. As such, there are a few main points to consider, according to Practical ECommerce:
- Online orders: eCommerce to ERP
- Offline orders: ERP to eCommerce.
- Product data: ERP to eCommerce.
- Customer data: ERP to eCommerce
- Shipping and tracking information.
In terms of orders, eCommerce to ERP will be your most common integration point that will include customer data, information on the product ordered, and the preferred shipping method. For instance, a BigCommerce site could utilize Aftership, an app that automatically generates tracking information for each order and even provides real-time updates for store owners without having to access a shipper’s separate website.
ERP to eCommerce integration allows customers to see order information for goods purchased outside of your online store. While it isn’t a necessity, this type of support may help build and strengthen customer relationships.
Internally, ERP integrations can help in a number of ways. Through product data integration, BigCommerce is compatible with numerous apps and plugins that can automatically sync on-site stock levels with back-end inventories, reducing the amount of frustrating no-stock order cancellations that smaller eCommerce companies may often suffer from if they’re manually inputting data. Customer data can also be synchronized and stored for later use, especially when it comes time for seasonal promotions or for reports on top-sellers, customer behavior, and opportunities for improvement when it comes to customer relations management (CRM.)
Set a Realistic Completion Date
It is a good idea to set a realistic completion date to give your integration process some structure. ERP integrations can be fairly complex and involved and additional customizations might take a greater amount of time, so keep that in mind.
Give yourself a few days after the completion to do some testing, especially if you are going to launch a new website or if you are gearing up for Cyber Monday. You don’t want to go straight from completion to launch without having worked out any kinks.
Set a Budget That Makes Sense
In most ERP to BigCommerce integration cases, the project will pay for itself due to savings on automated data entry and the elimination of human error. However, it is still a good idea to put a budget in place to keep your project on track. Remember that every touch point and customization feature will cost you more money, so stick to what’s important and keep your project simple and straightforward. You can always add customizations later as you grow.
Use an Integration Planning Tool
An integration planning tool is a great way to map out the scope of your project and can help you visualize the steps to reach your completion date. Blueprint Builder is a fantastic tool for this.
Follow these steps to streamline your ERP and BigCommerce integration project. The comprehensive planning outlined here ensures that you’ll stay on budget, and you’ll have a well-functioning and fully integrated system after everything is done.
As a BigCommerce partner, Coalition Technologies has expertise in developing, designing, and optimizing eCommerce sites across a variety of industries. If you’d like to learn more about how you can make your store work more efficiently while maintaining your visibility online, contact us today.