The rise of eCommerce has allowed mid-sized businesses to go global and compete with the largest companies. Being able to sell to customers across the country or halfway around the world is an exciting prospect. However, it can put a large strain on your resources if you are not prepared to deal with it. If your back-end accounting system and your online store are not connected, then the task of keeping them in sync takes valuable time and labour and can lead to problematic accounting errors.
The Benefits of Integration
Making life easier for your accountant is one benefit, but it isn’t the only one. Integrating your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system into your Magento eCommerce website can help reduce the stress that your online business places on you. If you already have an SAP Business One ERP system in place, it integrates beautifully with Magento and helps to streamline your eCommerce business so that you can maximize your profits. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the ways that an SAP Business One/Magento integration will benefit you.
When your ERP and eCommerce solutions are separated, each solution has data that the other can use. Often, they each have data that the other one needs. This means that your data is being stored in two places at once. Not only does this needlessly complicate your workflow, but it also means that someone must take the time to manually keep these items in sync.
When you connect the two solutions, the problem of manually re-syncing data between them is non-existent. Suddenly the payment and shipping information, order details, and customer information from your eCommerce solution are automatically sent to your ERP. This one key aspect of linking the two together brings with it a multitude of other benefits that will improve your day to day operation.
Synced Inventory Data
Automatic syncing of customer data and shipping information is great and will save you a lot of time and money. But a feature that will really bring measurable benefits not only to you, but to your customers as well, is the ability to keep your inventory in sync between the two systems. Your biggest competitors likely already let a customer know whether the item they want to purchase is in stock before they complete the checkout. You need to be doing the same, but you can’t do that if your inventory doesn’t get updated until orders are processed.
With ERP and Magento integration, your customers will no longer be disappointed to find out that something they purchased online will be delayed in arriving because it was sold offline before the numbers could be updated.
A happier customer base isn’t the only benefit of synced inventory. Your business’s bank account will be happier too. With your new flawlessly accurate inventory management, you’ll be able to more effectively plan your purchases, thereby reducing your inventory costs.
When your SAP Business One ERP and your Magento website are behaving like two separate entities, there is a lot of data that needs to be synced between the two manually. Even the most competent of humans make mistakes occasionally, and those mistakes could end up costing you time, money, or both. However, when you integrate the two systems with one another, the human factor is completely removed from the data synchronization equation. No matter how low your error rate is with regard to data transfer, it will be completely eliminated once your systems are handling the work for you automatically.
Reduced Operational Costs
All of this automated data entry adds up to significant savings in labour costs. Because orders will go straight from your website to your warehouse, your entire operation will operate more efficiently. Beyond saving on data costs, every wheel in the cog will benefit from having the information that they need as soon as they need it. Because your eCommerce website will always know when a product is out of stock, you’ll also save on the time and hassle of dealing with back-ordered goods from customers who were allowed to purchase something they shouldn’t have been because of poorly synchronized inventory systems.
When Magento can communicate with SAP Business One, the system will be able to automatically create a quote or an invoice as soon as an order comes in from your website. From there, you can let the ERP handle emailing the invoice to the customer so that you have one unified solution communicating with your customers regardless of where they originate.
Speaking of where customers originate, a big part of the power that a tool like SAP Business One brings to the table is the ability to track and manage customers. When you integrate it with Magento, it will be able to create customers automatically if the order comes from someone who does not already exist in your system. Additionally, your existing customer groups can feed Magento information so that you can do things like create different price lists for different customer groups.
Improved Control of Ordering
It isn’t just the connections to the customer that will benefit from ERP and Magento integration. You will be able to streamline the entire ordering process. You can set up your connection so that orders are automatically assigned to the appropriate sales rep so that they can get to work as quickly as possible. You’ll also be able to let customers give special instructions or requests on your website that can be easily carried over to the ERP for quicker and more reliable processing.
There will be times when Magento and SAP Business One have competing data that you need to choose between. For example, should you use the Magento order number or the SAP Business One number? If there are conflicting addresses for the customer, which one takes priority? These are questions that have to be asked and handled regardless of whether or not Magento and your ERP are connected, but once they are the system will be able to handle the execution of that decision for you.
Increased Website Functionality
We’ve already mentioned how your website will be able to provide real-time inventory to your customers, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Integrating SAP Business One with Magento will bring other improvements to your website as well. Improvements that will help you compete favorably with your competition. Once your website has the full power of your backend database at its disposal, your customers will be able to immediately check the status of their order or access shipping information to see when it will be arriving. They will be able to do all of this without any on your staff having to lift a finger to input the data.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Your customers will certainly appreciate the new features added to your website. With proper inventory tracking, they’ll be able to order at any time, 24/7 and be secure in the knowledge that their order will go through without a hitch. When it does, they’ll love being able to check on it at any time simply by logging in to your website. But occasionally, problems do arise. When they do, and your customers need to reach out to support, your new ERP and Magento integration will make that experience great for them as well.
Since customers will be able to do more for themselves online, your support staff will be able to more promptly address the concerns of customers whose problems cannot be handled online. Because your employees will have instant access to all of the data surrounding a particular order, they’ll be able to answer your customer’s questions more quickly and accurately than if they had to deal with multiple databases.
Better Financial Reports
Financial reports are important to bringing financial transparency to your business that is required for you to make decisions that maximize your profit. They are so important that both Magento and SAP Business One already have a wide range of reports that they can generate. When their databases are combined, however, the accuracy and depth that those reports are capable of increases dramatically. Your business will be empowered with an even finer-grained look at how money flows through your operation. Armed with these reports, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions that benefit the health of your company.
Anywhere in your eCommerce chain that can benefit from a more real-time data solution, reduced labour costs for the transfer of data or trivial administrative tasks, or the error-free execution of an automated workflow will likely be able to benefit from integrating your SAP Business One and Magento eCommerce platforms.
Getting the most out of that integration requires an expert who has a deep understanding of how to integrate the two technologies. You also need someone who will work with you to understand the needs of your particular business so that the integration is set up in a way that maximizes its benefit to you. We have a staff of experts waiting to give you a free consultation to discuss how a Magento and SAP Business One integration can fit with your specific needs. We invite you to contact us to speak to one now.