11 June 2014
Another year, another jump for e-commerce. According to a report tracking online sales, e-shoppers in the U.S. spent $69.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013. That number represents an increase of 16.1% from the $59.6 billion in e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2012.
Taking into account the entire year of 2013 compared to 2012, this past year saw an increase of 16.9% in sales. This vastly outpaces the growth of offline retail, which grew at a rate of 4.2%.
With growth like this, we’re just waiting for the government to rename it the U.S. Department of e-Commerce. If you haven’t yet joined the e-commerce party, these numbers show that now is the time to open up a brand new channel for some brand new customers. Now is the time to increase sales.
In addition to new customers, you also reinforce customer loyalty by allowing your customers to buy from you the way they want, when they want. What is so enticing to customers about e-commerce is the availability of your products all day, all night, all week, and all year. The convenience of web self-service transcends ordinary brick-and-mortar stores. But in order to give your online customers this level of access, it takes more than a pretty design. It takes integration.
Integration means getting your e-commerce solution talking to your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Both systems are important. While your e-commerce store does the selling, your back-end ERP runs under the hood, handling all the inventory and product data.
Integrating e-commerce with your ERP allows you to display your products, services, prices, discounts, and more all on your website, instantly updated in real-time for your customers. And the process is all automated to ensure speed and accuracy. No need to worry about customers ordering products listed with the wrong prices or, worse, ordering products that are out of stock. This integration also prevents the need for manual re-entry since all your data is controlled from a single place.
One concern for businesses is that implementing e-commerce requires them to scrap their existing ERP system and move all their data. That would be a costly and time-consuming endeavor. By the time you transferred all your data to a new ERP, the U.S. Department of Commerce would already be onto their next annual report! Plus, you probably already have a strong ERP system that you’re comfortable with.
If you’re reading and rereading the new U.S. Department of Commerce report and wondering how to get a piece of that growing e-commerce pie, this blog post is here to deliver the good news: You don’t need to scrap your existing ERP system!
Dynamicweb eCommerce has standard integration with Microsoft Dynamics, AX, NAV, and more, so you get all the benefits of e-commerce and online marketing without having to change from the ERP you know and love. In this case, familiarity breeds efficiency.
The US Department of Commerce’s report is based on survey results from over 10,000 merchants. It’s safe to say that customers love the sheer convenience of e-commerce. Integration leverages your inventory and product data to increase sales and make that convenience a reality. Carefully consider how your e-commerce solution integrates with your existing ERP because, like a powerful engine, your ERP makes your online business run.