B2B customers are becoming increasingly familiar with the eCommerce landscape, and with that, their expectations of a seamless experience are growing. In fact, Forbes reported that B2B eCommerce is projected to be two times bigger than its B2C counterpart in 2020.
With this growing market for B2B eCommerce services, precise coordination between various lines of business is critical. Putting yourself in a buyer’s shoes is the best way to begin understanding where and how they interact with your business. Some touchpoints in the sales cycle include:
- Browsing products within your online catalog.
- Selecting items and considering various configurations of the products.
- Adding them to their cart.
- Checking out, expecting the order to proceed and be fulfilled.
As you can see, along the customer journey, there are multiple interactions with wholesale products that are paramount to completing a purchase. Without an organized, well-managed catalog showcasing the most up-to-date product information, buyers making purchases in bulk can easily become frustrated with the experience.
Integrating systems streamlines product management
Both ERP and eCommerce systems can house important product data, but treating them as separate entities can impede how fast this information becomes customer-facing. When an eCommerce system is deployed as a standalone solution, information will need to be entered manually or imported from back-end systems, typically ERP.
A business’s ERP system can contain a plethora of product information, including names, SKUs, descriptions and images, among other things. Transporting this data from one system to the other can be tedious and doesn’t provide an accurate view of product data at any given time.
Only when these two integral systems are synchronized can the seamless flow of product information ensure that online catalogs are showing the most relevant data to the buyer. Then, product attributes, category information, availability and related products defined in ERP can be shown on the customer-facing product page as well.
Using the ERP system as the single source of truth for product information not only confirms your eCommerce platform is accurate, but it can help customers find the product they are searching for faster even in a large catalog. A flexible integration solution allows your company to operate at peak efficiency and customize fields to meet specific product needs.
How new products and updates work with erpCommerce™
Pixafy’s erpCommerce™ integration solution was created with experts at our sister company, Net at Work. With ERP as the source of truth, we discovered that incorporating products as a standard touchpoint could help our customers better manage their online catalogs and further enhance the buyer experience.
Integrating front and back-end systems is the perfect opportunity to clean up data to make certain your website is as user-friendly as possible. We recommend that before integration, businesses take the time to scrub down especially large product catalogs so they are suitable for the web.
During the initial setup of erpCommerce™, all products – regardless of their status – will be imported into Magento. If for some reason specific products don’t transfer, an error will display in the Pixafy Magento module (Statistics) and the product will most likely need to be created manually.
After the initial setup and import, all subsequent product syncs will pick up only new products created after the last run or updated products since the last run. The product import will sync
- Unit of Measure
- Default price
- Sage ID
The sync or import can also put products into categories, as long as those categories are created in Magento and their IDs mapped to TSICOD values in Boomi. The integrator can be configured through Magento system configuration to use the Sage X3 UPC field as SKU, or use X3 product ID field as SKU (in case the UPC is not managed in X3).
This should be determined before the first import, otherwise products will be duplicated with different SKUs in Magento. Additional attributes can be included to a product sync as customization. For instance, you can choose to display an expected delivery date as a product attribute to be more transparent with buyers.
Having as much data as possible in your ERP system is important when it comes time to “publish” the products live on your online store. Depending on the information available in X3, products may be brought over to eCommerce as “unpublished/disabled.” A user must go in and add the remaining marketing content that does not live in ERP and manually publish the item(s).
In this scenario, we can also bring in products as “published/enabled” if all the critical information necessary to present the product live is flowing over. We always work with customers to optimize this workflow and base our actions and recommendations on your specific requirements and existing data structures.
With erpCommerce™, you can choose to sync as much or as little product information desired. There is also the option to sync over partial data. For example, if you only want items with a specific code to be synced from your ERP to eCommerce platform, we can make that happen.
Integration can help you avoid creating extraneous product records and provide you with the opportunity to refactor your catalog to improve product classifications – all in the interest of enhancing the customer experience. Once products are set up, everything can be automatically updated so your website showcases the most recent product information.
Connect with us today
The Pixafy erpCommerce™ solution allows your system to be the single point of truth that runs your online business and workflows, including your product updates. Before any integration, we will invest time into discussing your company’s business processes to provide you with the right solution. Our unique erpCommerce™ program can work with additional ERP systems depending on your needs.
Contact us today with any questions you may have about product integration or to learn more about erpCommerce™.
For previous installments in our Standard Touchpoint Series:
Check back soon for our next installment in our Standard Touchpoint Series to learn about customer integration.