B2B customers expect a high level of professionalism and personalization from their shopping experience. From the moment they enter your eCommerce website to their final order update, they require a seamless interaction with your brand.
One of the major touchpoints along the B2B funnel is inventory. B2B customers expect inventory levels to be displayed accurately on product pages and will base their orders off the given information. It’s paramount that the levels displayed are accurate so businesses are not promising more than they currently have and consumers can continue with their purchase.
Read on to learn how integration of ERP and eCommerce software can help B2B organizations streamline their online inventory processes.
B2B companies see the need to streamline inventory through integration
Treating your ERP and eCommerce systems as separate entities disrupts the flow of inventory information that’s crucial to showing customers the most up-to-date product data. B2B organizations, in particular, need to carefully monitor and reflect accurate inventory levels on their websites to meet customer expectations.
B2B consumers typically order larger quantities of items than their B2C counterparts, so businesses must ensure they have enough inventory in their dedicated warehouse(s) to meet their needs. Displaying inaccurate inventory levels, having a customer order and then being unable to fulfill it, is sure to cost your business sales.
It’s crucial that the ERP system, where inventory and warehouse information is stored, is integrated with a business’s eCommerce platform so accurate inventory levels are displayed at the customer level. Without this interconnectivity, organizations run the risk of data inaccuracies that naturally come with manually inputting information.
In fact, Logistics Viewpoints found that inventory accuracy at distribution centers and warehouses that utilize automation and system integration ranges from 89% to 99%. In retail, where inventory systems are still reliant on manual methods, inventory accuracy drops to around 60%.
Receiving real-time updates on data inventory is not only important for delivering clients the correct information, but it also helps organizations keep their stock up-to-date. Only when ERP and eCommerce systems are integrated can the seamless, accurate movement of this data be accomplished.
How inventory works with erpCommerce™
Pixafy’s erpCommerce™ solution was created with ERP as the core value add and insight from the experts at our sister company, Net at Work. Our highly flexible platform can be made to fit your inventory needs or be utilized in its default format to help B2B enterprises begin to streamline their processes.
With erpCommerce™, seamless integration of front and back-end systems can directly synchronize the product management loop. When a consumer makes a purchase, not only are they receiving the most up-to-date view on inventory levels, but the main warehouse, distribution hub and final POS all receive accurate, real-time information on the order and inventory status.
Even though Magento supports multi-warehouse operations, erpCommerce™ by default does not leverage this feature, but it can be extended via configurations to be used in specific cases.
By default in Magento, there will be a single value for inventory (on a per product level) where erpCommerce™ consolidates all inventory levels from Sage into a single field or value. This is extremely helpful when managing inventory levels from multiple warehouses.
erpCommerce™ will then bring in in the per-location values from X3, but not update the products with it. Rather, we hold those values in a table that can be referenced when orders are sent down. This lets Sage know what levels to fulfill from and which warehouses the inventory will be shipped from.
The total of all values will then be imported from Boomi/Sage X3 on a scheduled basis. This interval syncing can be determined in Boomi. This helps us choose which products display throughout the site and if they can be ordered or not. Basically, this will determine if inventory is available and show customers if enough product is stocked to complete their order.
erpCommerce™ by default does not re-check inventory at checkout (though it can be configured to do so), to allow backorders (when there is no inventory at the warehouse) and rely on Sage X3 for allocation and fulfillment of orders.
When B2B and B2C businesses allow backorders, they aren’t missing out on a sale. This accounts for the opportunity that an item can still be shipped from other warehouses when they come back in stock on the default site via Sage X3 processes.
While these are mostly default options, erpCommerce™ is a highly extendable and flexible solution that can allow your organization to leverage multiple warehouses. Enterprises can sync inventory levels based on their needs, or choose not to track inventory at all. There are also options to automatically refresh inventory and do a final update at checkout. No matter what your needs are, you can ensure customers are receiving the most up to date inventory information to help with their purchasing decision.
Connect with us today
If you’re ready to streamline your inventory, the experts at Pixafy are here to help. Before any integration we will invest time into discussing your company’s business processes to provide you with the right solution. Our unique erpCommerce™ solution can work with additional ERP systems depending on your needs.
Contact us today with any questions you may have about inventory or to learn more about our erpCommerce™ solution.
For other installments in our Standard Touchpoint Series:
Check back soon for our next installment in our Standard Touchpoint Series to learn about product integration.