In the fast-paced world of ecommerce, scalability and flexibility are the keys to ongoing success. Brands need to have the capability to collect necessary data, analyze it, and utilize the information before the next major trend distracts their target audience again. Without an integrated ecommerce platform, companies may constantly feel as if they’re racing to keep up with the competition instead of paving the way forward in their industry.
Standard ecommerce platforms are built from a variety of puzzle pieces. An online store might rely on several different marketing and inventory management solutions, which can easily lead to data silos, poor time management and company visibility, overlooked advertising opportunities, and less streamlined customer experiences. This kind of disorganized approach will only make it more difficult for you to reach your audience and build ongoing customer loyalty.
If you’re using the wrong ecommerce platform, you could be holding your own business back from its true potential. To maximize your marketing efforts, streamline repetitive processes, and gain a better understanding of what’s happening throughout your organization, upgrading to an integrated ecommerce marketing platform should be your top priority.
What is an Integrated Ecommerce Platform?
An integrated ecommerce platform is directly connected to standard back-end applications, such as a customer relationship management (CRM) system and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. All of the necessary information business leaders need to successfully manage their company is available in a simple, all-in-one solution. Integrated platforms are built with efficiency, scalability, and accuracy in mind to help you do your job to the best of your ability.
Upgrading your platform can lead to several benefits for you, your employees, and your customers. If you’re still not sure if an integrated solution is right for you, check out the top 10 benefits you can expect to see when you switch:
1. Streamlined Inventory Management
ERP systems store crucial data about your customers, products, shipping methods, orders, and other things you need to have accurate, up-to-date information on. When your ERP system isn’t integrated directly with your ecommerce store, it can cause disruptions and inaccuracies with your inventory. An integrated ecommerce platform will sync up with your ERP system so you’ll always have easy access to the most recent inventory data.
Furthermore, an integrated system makes it easier than ever to adjust product prices and roll out new marketing campaigns from a single dashboard. You won’t have to worry about adjusting the same things on different platforms or applications; just adjust it once and the integrated platform will take care of the rest!
Customers will also benefit from the integration of your platform with an ERP. Shoppers will get more accurate insights about when their favorite products will be back in stock and how prices may fluctuate at different points throughout the season.
2. Improved Customer Personalization
Most ecommerce businesses collect a lot of customer data, but fall flat when it comes to using this information to grow their business. Integrated ecommerce platforms are capable of collecting useful data across a variety of touchpoints and accurately segmenting your audience into distinct categories. This will give you better insights about who your top customers are, how they like to interact with your brand, and which marketing campaigns they engage with the most.
An integrated platform can make personalization simple with the help of AI. Systems with built-in AI functionalities can show shoppers relevant ads, customer reviews, and related products that they’ll be most interested in. For especially loyal customers, you can go a step further to gain their feedback by asking them to be brand ambassadors or offer special discounts to people most likely to buy certain items based on their purchase history.
3. Repetitive Tasks are Minimized
Many retailers find that, as their business grows, so does their need for additional software, integrations, and customized modules. Unfortunately, the more specialized solutions they need, the less agile and flexible their sites become. Marketers can get bogged down by performing repetitive tasks on different admin dashboards and having to monitor multiple software solutions for updates.
Integrated platforms require just a single admin dashboard. You can efficiently change marketing tactics and campaigns in a flash, get an accurate birds-eye view of the organization, and easily manage ongoing sales techniques without having to update several different integrations. You and your entire marketing team will be able to stay agile no matter how much your business evolves over time!
4. Ability to Build More Effective Marketing Campaigns
When you have access to all your customer and inventory data in a single location, you’ll immediately be able to see the results of your marketing campaigns at work. In real time, you can monitor how customers engage with various tactics, such as email newsletters, text messages, social media ads, and other tools you and your team decide to use. The in-depth data can show you the best times to send the right messages to the right customers in order to maximize conversions, or determine what kind of content each customer segment prefers.
Viewing the results of various campaigns across multiple channels can be a real game changer for merchants as well. You and your team will be able to see which channels aren’t getting enough attention and focus your efforts on other options instead. What may take you months to realize without an integrated platform can become apparent in just a few weeks when you have all of the data readily available!
5. Simplified Finance and Compliance Solutions
An integrated solution means that all of your financial data will be centralized, up-to-date, and easily accessible. You’ll be able to get accounting reports and financial information about sales, profit and loss accounts, payroll, and more, without the need for tedious manual exports. If you’re using a cloud-based solution, it’s even possible to allow multiple users to access the financial information at the same time! This is a major benefit for anyone managing an international ecommerce business with accountants or bookkeepers in different time zones.
Tax compliance issues can cause hurdles for businesses trying to sell their products across national borders, but good accounting software includes sales tax modules that automatically factors in these differing costs. Storing all of this critical tax information in one centralized location minimizes human errors and ensures that your company remains compliant with regulations around the globe.
Lastly, centralized financial solutions are excellent for B2B organizations or other companies that offer personalized prices to various buyers. When you connect Magento with your ERP, for instance, you can have confidence that each individual will get the right items at the agreed-upon price without having to manually double-check the orders every time.
6. Improved Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
Synchronizing all of your logistic information and customer data helps create a seamless, easy experience for your customers. No matter how a customer comes across your website — whether it was on social media, through Google, or an email campaign — they’ll have a consistent and enjoyable shopping journey. Your upgraded ecommerce store will also have crucial features that can help you build customer trust and brand loyalty, such as detailed order tracking.
When your customers are kept informed and updated throughout every step of the fulfillment process, they’ll be more likely to do business with you in the future. And integrated platforms make it easy by linking your logistics provider’s system with your ecommerce platform, so your buyers will always have the most updated information.
7. Decrease of Common Errors
Simple human errors can cause a lot of unnecessary confusion and frustration for both your staff and your customers. Integrated platforms can reduce the amount of manual data entry required while double-checking the figures that people add to the system. An ERP integration, for example, automatically transfers information from an ecommerce store to the ERP software, allowing for automated orders, faster fulfillment, real-time inventory updates, and other benefits. You can feel confident that your customers will get the most accurate data for the products that are most relevant to their needs.
8. Increased Scalability and Flexibility
Scalability is one of the most important features for ecommerce businesses to have today. The internet makes it possible for any company to rapidly gain popularity, and it’s crucial that you have the right tools to manage a rising number of shoppers.
A cloud-based ERP system can give brands the scalability they need without having to break the bank. Instead of hiring full-time IT employees, business leaders can invest in an ERP to keep their websites safe, secure, and ready for the future.
9. Ability to Easily Manage Omnichannel Sales
A fully integrated ecommerce platform will make omnichannel selling a breeze! You’ll be able to monitor and manage your sales across several different online channels and marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and more. By expanding your sales channels, you’re exposing your company to a wider audience as well, which is a great strategy to increase revenue, enhance the customer shopping experience, and establish your brand’s expertise in your industry.
10. Boost Site Security
Last, but certainly not least, has to do with the level of security that ERP systems can provide for your business. Cloud ERP providers utilize the latest security technologies to keep your website and your customers’ information safe from hackers and other security threats. Keeping your store secure is especially important for growing brands; as the volume of traffic increases, so do security risks.
Businesses like ClearSale are dedicated to protecting ecommerce stores from fraud and security threats. They’re so confident, in fact, that if your company is charged with any fees due to fraud, ClearSale will cover 100% of the cost. If you’re ready to fully protect your company’s data, ClearSale’s API library of plugins are compatible with most major platforms, including Magento, BigCommerce, and Shopify.