For B2B organizations, customer service is paramount. With a longer sales cycle and more individuals involved in the decision-making process, there is more room for opportunity to lose the sale. On the other hand, B2B businesses have the chance to build customer loyalty during the sales process by improving their service model.
Delivering exceptional customer service begins by ensuring B2B visitors to your online store have the most seamless experience possible. From viewing products and pricing to checking out and receiving order updates, your ERP and eCommerce systems must communicate to keep the sales cycle flowing smoothly.
Keep reading to learn how integrating customer records between front and back-end systems can help B2B organizations streamline processes and improve the experience of their customers.
Integration enhances the B2B customer experience
B2B customers desire an online shopping experience that is personalized and streamlined. In fact, Convenience and Convert reported that 74% of business buyers agree receiving personalized offers and experiences have a major or moderate impact on their loyalty.
Unlike a typical B2C business, these buyers are accustomed to unique pricing structures, special discounts and product offerings – all of which means that having one website for all consumers is difficult. When customer information lives in the businesses enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, it must seamlessly communicate with the customer facing eCommerce platform to ensure buyers are presented with the pricing and products relevant to them.
Businesses can tier their customers into groups assigning a unique pricing, product and payment to each. When they enter their account, they are then shown all the relevant information to make a purchase with minimal need to contact the business directly over the phone or through email which would slow the process. With their email and contact information, they can easily receive updates on their orders for a seamless experience from start to finish.
When front- and back-end systems can easily share customer information, buyers are having the best experience and are presented with the most accurate pricing and product information in accordance with their predetermined tier. Integration makes it possible to create a personalized experience for every business buyer, no matter their specific needs.
Automation reduces human error
When ERP and eCommerce systems are integrated, they can automatically share customer information without the need for manual entry. This in turn reduces the chance for human error and is one of the most important benefits of integrating these two integral systems, according to Futurism.
For instance, when a business customer needs to update their information in the ERP system, the data will be automatically reflected in the eCommerce website. This helps eliminate the process of manually re-entering the data in both systems and reduces instances of data redundancy and error.
When automation reduces human error and streamlines back-end processes, customers have the best experience possible – and may not even know what’s happening behind the scenes. For businesses large and small, this can be the differentiator between themselves and a competitor and is important for standing out in the highly competitive business landscape.
The importance of ERP and eCommerce customer integration
As you can see, ERP and eCommerce integration of customer information is crucial for automated data entry and enhancing the business-buyer experience, but the benefits of this unification don’t end there.
ERP integration empowers businesses to align their processes and relieve the operational burden of providing personalized purchasing processes for individual customers. A connected system means customers are easily categorized or tiered when they access their account, they’re presented with information relevant to them. This can include defining roles and capabilities that only allow the accounting team member to access financial information from the website, while buyers can only make purchases.
With ERP as the single source of truth that effortlessly communicated with the eCommerce system, businesses have the freedom to sort customers to enhance their experience and manage their sales. Instead of manually updating each system, teams can shift their focus to continue growing leads and communicating with buyers improving their efficiency overall.
How customer integration works with erpCommerce™
With insight from subject matter experts at our sister company Net at Work, Pixafy’s erpCommerce™ solution was created with ERP as the single source of truth to simplify the integration process. Our integration process begins when a customer (the company) is created in Sage X3. By default, all contacts already associated with the business will have customer records created in Magento with their important contact information and company level details.
Before starting the integration process, you may want to clean up your contact lists to ensure you’re only syncing accurate records. During this stage, you can also filter customer accounts and only sync contacts assigned with a specific role. These roles can have different capabilities, for instance, you can assign customers the role of a buyer so they can make purchases and only sync users with that role as part of their profile.
Once these accounts are created in Magento, an email either in the standard template or customized to your preference alerting them to the creation of this account will be sent out. New customers will be directed to access their new account and update their password with an enclosed link.
If a company does not exist in Magento, an entirely new record will need to be created for them using their company level details. This includes information ranging from company name, status, email, sales representative, VAT/TAX ID, Reseller ID, address, company administrator, credit, group, payment methods, shared catalog and shipping site, among other details.
It’s crucial to fill out these company level details accurately to create an account. Company credit will determine which contacts can order on account. The customer group identifies the customer group all contacts from the company are assigned to along with their tax class, pricing they see by default and ensures inventory is allocated properly when orders are sent to Sage.
Integration of these systems helps determine the customer group as well as the customer’s credit balance. “Authorized Credit” in Sage X3, on the customer level, will be synced to the “Credit Limit” field on the company record in Magento. If there is a value here, we allow the customer to order on account. If there is no value, they must pay with a credit card.
We also determine if a customer can or cannot order on credit based on the following “Credit Control” settings. In this instance, the “Credit Level Total” in Sage X3 – again on the customer level – will be synced to the “Credit Balance” field on the company record in Magento. The available credit in Magento will then be calculated by subtracting the “Credit Balance” from the “Credit Limit,” determining the amount a customer can order solely on account.
This is a completely flexible system, and we can “Allow to Exceed Credit Limit” on a per-company level in Magento. There are four scenarios that can occur: Customers can purchase without restrictions on account, only purchase up to their credit limit, must use a credit card for purchases or are blocked from purchasing.
All other values beyond those previously mentioned on the customer level in Sage will get synced to the contact records for that company in Magento. Integration means that when users are on the site, they are seeing the most up-to-date credit available, because any updates to a customer or company in Sage will automatically sync over to the corresponding Magento records.
It’s important to note that new customer records created in Magento (by customer registration) will not sync over to Sage. These customers will only have B2C capabilities if the site allows for those kinds of transactions. If the site has no B2C, these customers will have no access to the catalog or orders until they are set up in Sage and their details are synced.
erpCommerce™ ensures that customers cannot have duplicate accounts created with the same email. If a CONTACT in Sage X3 already has a B2C account for their email in Magento, we will receive an error when trying to create a Magento Customer for this user. These will need to be manually reviewed, and the admin will either need to change the customer email in Magento directly or change the email associated with the contact record in Sage X3. This ensures that the B2B and B2C user accounts are unique.
New customers are assigned to default settings with a PENDING status. The client will review the customer request and determine their credit limit and terms before manually setting them up as a Customer/Contact in Sage.
Once the administrator completes this step, we will sync over all contact and company information to the Magento user and set them to the appropriate B2B “Customer Group” based on their ID or email match. If neither exist, a new company record must be created.
With the account synced, the customer will receive an email about their account in Sage and will already know their password from being set up in Magento. Customer updates will not sync to Sage. By default, customers will not be able to edit any company information or billing/shipping addressed in Magento as a B2B user.
This integration is also available for B2C organizations. In this case, a B2C customer created in Magento will not automatically have an account created in Sage. Rather, their orders in Magento will be associated with the “Web” specified by the user company in Sage. All customer data will be retained in Sage on the order level.
It is possible for users to have multiple web customers to route B2C toward, but it does require additional development – which is possible with Pixafy – in Magento and discovery needed to identify all the possible order and customer scenarios possible for this additional configuration.
Once these steps are complete, orders from B2C customers will sync over and update via Order/Fulfillment flows.
Connect with us today to customize your integration
At Pixafy, we understand that every business has their own unique integration needs. We take the time to discuss your company’s business processes to provide you with the right solution and customized workflows based on how your organization operates. While standardized solutions with default functionality are ready for quick deployment, our solution is scalable to grow with your needs with sophisticated permissions and limitless amounts of user types available.
If you’re ready to integrate your customer accounts to improve your client’s purchasing experience, the experts at Pixafy are here to help. While we outlined our capabilities with Sage X3 and Magento, our unique erpCommerce™ solution can work with additional ERP systems depending on your needs.
Contact us today with any questions you may have about pricing or to learn more about our erpCommerce™ solution.
For previous installments in our Standard Touchpoint Series:
Why ERP And ECommerce Pricing Integration Is Crucial For B2B Companies
The Benefits Of Streamlining Inventory With ErpCommerce™ For B2B Companies
The Importance of Product Integration for B2B eCommerce
Check back soon for our next installment in our Standard Touchpoint Series.