eCommerce Integration with Inventory & Accounting ERP Software

January 7, 2015

ecommerce-erp-integration-optionsAs eCommerce continues to grow in popularity, online storefronts are now relevant beyond just the large retail companies, and in some industries necessary to remain competitive.  Many companies engaged in industries that historically stayed away from online sales channels, including wholesale distribution companies, are now branching out into distributing their products online, both through B2B sales tools and B2C direct to consumer.  For these wholesale distribution companies, although they have added a new sales channel, their back end processes will remain the same – they must still manage the inventory required to fulfill these orders and process sales into an accounting system.  This is where eCommerce integration between an online storefront and back-end inventory and accounting ERP system comes into play.  But what exactly does this mean, and what options are available for doing so? In order to answer these questions, you must first ask yourself a few others:

  • How many orders to you expect to receive online each day?
  • Do you have dedicated staff for managing orders and picking, packing and shipping?
  • Should anyone be able to purchase from your eCommerce store, or do you want to restrict which customers can?
  • Do you also sell through other eCommerce channels (such as Amazon or eBay)?
  • Do you have different pricing for different customers?

Answering these questions and others is important to determine exactly how sophisticated the ERP and eCommerce integration needs to be, which type of eCommerce store is best suited for your business, and how much it will all cost.  Consider the following options:

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Understanding the Challenges of Credit Card Processing

October 8, 2014

credit card processing

Guest Post by Robert Hyman of HiTech Merchants

E-commerce and the trend to replace paper checks with electronic payments is quickly driving credit card acceptance to the forefront of B2B commerce.  As such, there are a number of challenges that must be dealt with when your business starts accepting card payments.  Three of them are discussed below.

One challenge is determining the true cost of credit card processing.  Complicated pricing models make it difficult to understand the real cost of accepting card payments. For example, interchange differential pricing charges a qualified rate, a non-qualified rate and an interchange differential fee all on the same transaction.  Calculating costs with this model is understandably difficult and time-consuming.  Interchange plus pricing represents a more transparent pricing model.  Interchange plus pricing charges a simple mark-up above the base cost set by Visa and MasterCard allowing for a common price structure to compare one processor to another.

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The Importance of Inventory Management Software for Companies that Drop Ship

August 14, 2014

drop-shipping-inventory-managementTraditional distribution processes usually include product moving from a manufacturer, to a wholesaler or distributor, to a retailer, and finally to an end consumer. Sometimes, manufacturers, wholesalers or distributors will also be certified to drop ship product. In the case of a retailer, drop shipping refers to a service offered by another member of the supply chain (let’s say manufacturer in this case), whereby the retailer takes customer orders and shipment information, and transfers these to the manufacturer right away. The manufacturer in turn will then ship product directly to the end consumer, so the retailer does not actually hold much physical inventory on hand. This same process applies to wholesale or distribution companies who purchase from other distribution or manufacturing companies that drop ship as well.

This is commonly found in the eCommerce arena, and specifically with Amazon. Although Amazon holds a lot of their own inventory they also generate drop shipping of product by other distributors, wholesalers and manufacturers. As the end consumer ordering product from Amazon, you pay on their website and receive emails from them with your order information, so you would never know that the product was not being sourced from their warehouse unless they specifically mention this.

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3 Things I Learnt About eCommerce at IRCE

July 7, 2014

IRCE 2014

By Samantha Hornby

A couple of weeks ago we attended IRCE 2014 – the world’s largest eCommerce conference and exhibition in Chicago, IL.  This year’s show celebrated the 10th Anniversary of IRCE and showcased more than 600 solutions providers and had over 6000 attendees.  The great thing about IRCE is that it not only gives vendors a chance to speak with attendees and hopefully close some sales, but it also gives vendors an opportunity to network with one another, forge new partnerships and learn about new technology and trends in the industry. As a first time exhibitor, it was a great learning experience for Blue Link and we have highlighted some of what we learnt below.

1. There are A LOT of eCommerce packages available

Although a simple Google search will confirm the fact that there are dozens of eCommerce platforms available in the market, at this year’s IRCE show specifically, there were over 80 eCommerce platforms exhibiting!  With this much information and choice it can be overwhelming for first time attendees to distinguish between platforms and chose one that is best for their company.  Even those who did their research before may have encountered several platforms that they didn’t know existed. This is a common problem when searching for software and sometimes having too much choice can leave companies to not make any decision at all.

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eCommerce Integration Software – Why You’re Too Late for the Holiday Season

October 24, 2013

eCommerce ERP Holiday GiftsWith the holidays just around the corner, retail stores are ramping up to prepare for the busy gift-giving season.  But it’s no longer just the bricks-and-mortar stores that need to prepare for the holidays– according to a study released by Shop.org, online holiday sales are expected to grow 13-15% in November and December over last holiday season, to as much as $82 billion.  For many new and small eCommerce businesses, the holiday season is the perfect time to grow sales and launch new product lines, but all too often they don’t have the resources in place to handle the influx of transactions.  Not only do online retailers need a fully stocked warehouse in preparation for holiday sales volumes, they also need eCommerce integration software to connect their back-end system with their online site.

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Common eCommerce Integration Mistakes

August 20, 2013

Guest post by Samantha Hornby

eCommerce Integration MistakesMy colleague, David Silva, and I recently presented at Demac Media’s eCommerce Meetup to discuss common eCommerce integration mistakes.  Although Dave and I only presented on the most common mistakes that we see when engaged with prospects, the discussion quickly grew as others at the meetup expressed their concerns and pain points when it comes to integration. Below is a recap of some of the most common mistakes we discussed.

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The North American Apparel Industry | Apparel Inventory Software

March 22, 2013

Guest blog post by Samantha Hornby.

Apparel Inventory Software & Industry Infographic

(click the image for the full infographic)

The following is a transcription of the above infographic discussing the North American apparel industry, statistics on apparel ecommerce and what apparel inventory software is all about.

The global textiles, apparel and luxury goods market had total revenues of $3,049.5 billion in 2011.  In 2010, China’s textile industry processed 41.3 million tons of fibre, which accounted for 53% of the world’s total production. Read the rest of this entry »


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