Integrating your eCommerce store and accounting or ERP system can provide numerous benefits for your business. With integration, order information can move seamlessly from your eCommerce storefront to your accounting/ERP system, allowing you to eliminate time-consuming and costly data entry processes. Furthermore, automating the exchange of shipment tracking, inventory, and product information in the opposite direction can do wonders for improving your customer experience. Though the process sounds fairly simple, integration can become a rather complex project when you don’t plan ahead for what it actually entails.
Be prepared – avoid these five mistakes when selecting and implementing an eCommerce integration solution:
- Not Understanding Your Business
Outlining your objectives and understanding how your internal business processes work are important aspects in the process of integration. Without defining the end goal and gaining knowledge of different practices of your business, it is difficult to plan and implement integration in a timely manner. As well, budget for the project can go over the anticipated amount without clearly defining the requirements of the integration. Furthermore, measuring the return on investment (ROI) becomes fairly difficult if you’re unaware of the results you wish to achieve.
- Lack of Resource Planning
If integrations can be completed internally, allocate resources strategically or hire more people to save time and create a smooth workflow. Determine if your business has a technical resource available that understands the ins and outs of both your storefront and your accounting system. If you don’t have an educated resource in-house, work with an integration provider that can provide you with the skills and knowledge to successfully complete the solution.
- Underestimation of Volume
Many businesses implement integration between their eCommerce and accounting systems without forecasting future growth. Your integration solution should be able to exchange large volumes of data and allow for business growth without limitations. Check that your solution has been performance, load, and stress tested to ensure that it can handle volume increases without failures or latency.
- Mismatched Item Numbers
Item or product numbers in most storefronts are not going to match what’s set up in the accounting system since the eCommerce platforms usually assign a unique product identifier. And creating separate item SKU numbers in your accounting system for the same product is a nightmare for managing inventory. Your best bet is to include your accounting SKU number in one of the extra fields in the eCommerce storefront so it can be used for matching during integration. If there isn’t a field available in your storefront, make sure your integration solution has cross-reference tables to manage this for you.
- Lack of Testing
Businesses usually overlook the need for testing their integration before going live as they see it as an unnecessary expense. However, testing can reveal any gaps in your integration solution that could cause problems in the long run and confirm if business requirements have been met. Often, one error or change in the system can cause havoc to the other components. This results in added costs that could have been avoided with systematic testing.
Implementing an eCommerce integration is no easy task. However, by avoiding some of these common mistakes you can be a few steps closer to achieving integration success.
Matt Train is a marketing manager at eBridge Connections, a leading integration solution provider for eCommerce businesses worldwide. eBridge Connections helps 3dcart merchants integrate vital storefront data with their back-office accounting and ERP systems.