When customers order from you online, they expect a hassle-free experience. If your ordering process isn’t consistent, it could affect your sales and brand image. Automating ecommerce tasks like ordering processing and inventory status make the ordering process more efficient and more accurate. These actions often require data to be pulled from systems like ERP or CRM solutions, so that is why integration is such an important piece of the automation puzzle.
eCommerce Integration: What is it?
eCommerce integrations are used to connect eCommerce platforms with other systems to better support and streamline the online purchasing experience. Businesses often choose to integrate data related to accounting, finance, order fulfillment, shipping, and inventory. eCommerce integration helps automate repetitive tasks related to purchases and keeps data consistent across applications, resulting in less errors and greater productivity.
eCommerce Integration Benefits
There are numerous benefits to eCommerce integration that can improve your business. They include:
- Helping maintain inventory levels and prices across all systems and deliver customers the right information the first time around
- Providing customers a better experience across multiple selling channels, devices, and touchpoints in their purchase journey
- Offering helpful customer service with instantaneous order status data and information regarding product, pricing, and stock availability
- Selling through marketplaces or direct to consumers without disturbing existing channels
- Breaking down business silos, increasing employee engagement productivity, and improving overall workplace efficiency
- Scaling easier and reacting to market changes faster
- Expanding to new locations and deploying new business models more easily
Deciding Which eCommerce Processes to Automate
Identifying which parts of your business should be automated helps you plan for the most effective integration strategy. Once you identify the processes you want to automate, you must think about which tools or applications will be integrated to support that automation. Here are some common ecommerce integrations that benefit automation:
1. ERP Integration
This is one of the most common eCommerce integrations. Your ERP system will link to your ecommerce solution through a bi-directional integration to reduce manual data entry and highlight the most current order information. Below are a few ways businesses automate with ERP and eCommerce integration.
To automate order processing, you will need to integrate an ERP system. With this integration, sales placed through your online storefront are automatically tracked in the ERP. As a result, the ordering process is streamlined, order fulfillment delays are avoided, and the order status is easily found by your teams.
ERP integration automates inventory management, too. The real-time data shared between eCommerce and ERP highlights the most current inventory, pricing, and personalized promotions. This up-to-date data helps build a consistent purchasing experience and a proactive approach to maintaining inventory. Your ERP can relay inventory changes to the eCommerce system in a snap.
Order Status Updates
Managing the internal status of an order keeps your teams in the loop, but customers also expect you to communicate that information. Integrated ERP and eCommerce automates communication to your customers when the order is placed, shipped, delayed, or otherwise altered. Automating this communication offers peace of mind to customers as they anxiously await their order fulfillment.
2. CRM Integration
Integrating your CRM with an eCommerce solution automates sales processes and allows customer profiles to be consistent across all platforms. Here are a few automation use cases for CRM and eCommerce integration.
Customer segmentation allows you to stay on top of customer activities and their tendencies. Customers can be segmented based on abandoned shopping carts or site activity and receive emails to remind them to finish their purchase or encourage the purchase of a similar item.
Order History Sync
Complete order history along with line items and pricing information synced from the eCommerce solution into CRM help complete the customer profile and reveal new sales opportunities. Order syncing is good for order modification, cancellation, or additional requests.
Loyalty programs are a great way to incentivize your customers to come back for future purchases or experiences. They help strengthen your business because customers can redeem points and use coupons that were sent to them. Integrating your CRM and ecommerce will make the process more enjoyable for your customers when they want to use the rewards. They can view up-to-date information on their loyalty points through a portal you provide. Data is populated through the integration as they accrue points so they can manage their status.
3. Marketing Automation Integration
Marketing plays a key role in customer retention and upsell. Here are some uses for marketing automation and ecommerce integration.
Automating Review Requests
Feedback and reviews are very important for understanding how your business is doing and hearing from your customers directly. Automating this process will send emails to your customers after purchases to see what their experiences were like. It can also send out emails when new customers join, on their birthday, and for other special events. Automating emails takes the manual work out of collecting feedback and can be reported on to reveal any patterns of negative experiences.
Personalized Upsell Cross-Sell Messaging
Personalizing customers' likes with the messages you send them will improve their shopping experience. Offering similar products based on their buying habits can incentivize extra sales. Data shared between the marketing automation and ecommerce system enables reporting on this type of data and can automate messaging that better resonates with your audience.
Other Useful Automations
- Artificial intelligence- AI-powered chatbots allow for customers to interact 24/7 about problems they may be facing. It is a seamless process that saves both you and the customer time and money. Integrating intelligent chatbots with ecommerce gives the chatbot new resources to pull from to answer pressing customer inquiries.
- Tax compliance, payment gateways, and financial tracking- Not only does financial tracking help you keeping an eye on your customers spending, but connecting payment gateways to the ecommerce solution multiplies the ways customers can pay and shows your flexibility for purchases.
- Business Intelligence (BI)- Combine the power of BI and eCommerce to improve business strategies and use the data stored for deeper, more informed analytics.
What to Look for in eCommerce Integration Solutions
After you know the automation you would like to implement, you must choose the right integration solution. There are many options to compare. Look for these core aspects within the solution you choose:
- Prepared Connectors for Your System- Look into providers that have ready-to-go integration connectors for your systems that connect core fields like inventory, orders, customers, items, shipping, and tracking.
- Data Syncing- Syncing real-time data will reduce the risk of incorrect data. It’s an important aspect of maintaining current inventory and customer information.
- Data Validation- Data validation capabilities help you fix errors as they arise and have confidence in how the information is moving through the system.
- Solid Support- Having a support team you can rely on is crucial for avoiding downtime when an issue arises.
Providing an easy buying experience for your customers will keep them coming back. Automating eCommerce makes processes more efficient and consistent throughout all your company applications, and integration helps you maximize the positive outcomes of that automation . It is a cohesive way to offer better, more proactive customer service. For more information on how StarfishETL can help you automate your processes and improve your ecommerce experiences, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.