According to Euromonitor International, global market research giant and business intelligence provider, E-commerce is set to become the world’s largest retail channel by 2021. In fact, e-commerce retail sales have, over the last couple of years, surpassed those of brick-and-mortar retail outlets.
Industry experts estimate that by 2021, 14% of all retail sales will come from e-commerce platforms.
For e-commerce businesses, this information means stiff competition as top and mid-tier e-commerce firms battle it out for global and local industry supremacy. To survive the competition, businesses have to rely on the best Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions available.
However, the truth is the market is saturated numerous providers of ERP solutions that promise to solve all manner of e-commerce issues for their clients. It is therefore critical that e-commerce business exercise vigilance when shopping for an ERP solution. An ERP solution should:
- Improve customer relationship management (CRM)
- Increase product visibility
- Seamlessly integrate with existing Product Information Management (PIM)
- Secure credit card processing
- Grow order volume
- Reduce data redundancy and related errors
- Reduce inventory costs
Below are five of the best ERP solutions and the benefits they extend its users.
NetSuite has emerged as one of the leading ERP solutions in the world with over 10,000 organizations using the software. For e-commerce stores, NetSuite has excellent applications for running a successful e-commerce online platform with the core ones being:
- NetSuite CRM+ – An application specially designed to help stores manage sales, marketing, and customer support.
- NetSuite Ecommerce – This application helps e-commerce stores manage content on their webpage.
For the successful running of a store’s financial consolidations, ordering, invoicing, fulfillment, and labour, it is critical that the ERP solution ensures compliance, real-time analysis, and accelerated e-commerce closings. NetSuite guarantees this as its applications – CRM, order management, etc. – integrate seamlessly with the different e-commerce business operational modules.
Additionally, the proliferation of cloud technology in e-commerce makes NetSuite one of the best ERP solutions because it enhances accessibility of information. E-commerce businesses can as such access any information they need whenever they need it, and wherever are.
Since e-commerce is in the service industry, collaboration between the stores and customers is of utmost importance. NetSuite enhances this collaboration and communication for e-commerce stores and clients by improving service delivery. Additionally, NetSuite’s customer care centre ensures your customers have access to relevant information whenever they want it.
Developed with businesses in the retail industry in mind, Microsoft Dynamics is a collection of customer relationship management applications that help e-commerce stores manage and interact with customers the best way possible. By automating customer service, Microsoft Dynamics allows e-commerce stores to focus on the meaningful business that will help a company grow.
Microsoft Dynamics further takes advantage of its familiarity with Office 365 and Excel to help business turn everyday business related data into insights. Moreover, its ability to integrate with Outlook, SharePoint and Office Online allows connection between business, employees, and processes as well as accessibility from anywhere.
Such accessibility enables any employee to enter and access information in the system with ease and in real-time. This makes it easy for the different departments of the e-commerce business to set up alerts for emerging issues and consequently deal with them effectively. Stores can, therefore, plan for possible persistent problems well in advance. The acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft has made Microsoft Dynamics one of the best go-to ERP solutions specifically for productivity and efficiency.
Since Microsoft Dynamics is both an on-premises and cloud-based solution, it is a desirable option for most small and mid-sized e-commerce business.
With more than 140,000 installations worldwide, SAP has become one of the world’s most trusted ERP solutions. Developed by German company SAP SE, SAP ERP applications have proved to be highly efficient in providing e-commerce solutions to businesses.
First, SAP takes full advantage of the role retail digitization continues to play in expanding the e-commerce industry. This gives e-commerce stores an opportunity to intelligently tag customer behaviours, identify trends, streamline operations thus enhancing growth and scalability.
Additionally, the SAP E-commerce platform integration allows visibility of store inventory since it records and stores data on levels of transactions, customer details, delivery tracking, vendor details, and inventory levels among others.
Some of the core capabilities of SAP for e-commerce stores include monitoring security, managing warehousing and shipping and placing orders. These capabilities, in turn, provide business objects that are core in the analysis of all transaction data, historical and present. The data can then be used to provide operational and strategic solutions to platforms customers use to interact with the business. These include business applications, database, and cloud solutions and mobile applications.
Another appealing feature on SAP is everything is on a single platform which makes navigation and access to data easy. Its strong visualization platform is an added advantage, especially when in need of self-explanatory reports.
SAP ERP comes with a wide array of standard features. There are however optional modules which offer e-commerce stores increased functionality especially. This allows solution to grow with the business thus eliminating the cost of purchasing another solution in the future.
This is another cloud-based ERP web application that seamlessly integrates directly with e-commerce platforms and systems. This allows it to best provide solutions to problems CRM and inventory and order management systems experience.
BrightPearl is specially designed for small-scale e-commerce retailers with multichannel sales strategies. Such strategies require synchronized information inventory, and BrightPearl makes this possible. It collects, stores and backs up information across all brick and mortar branches. This information is then used to make critical business decisions such as aligning the business’ marketing resources with purchasing behaviour. It not only helps save money, but it also ensures companies to get value for money spent through meaningful market reach.
E-commerce businesses new to ERP solutions that have a hard time picking a solution tend to go for the true-and-tested software. The fact, therefore, that BrightPearl runs on some of the world’s biggest e-commerce platforms – Shopify, Big Commerce, and Amazon.com Marketplace – speaks volumes of its credibility.
Previously known as Sage X3, Sage Enterprise Management is an ERP solution with integrated functionalities for sales, customer service, inventory, business intelligence, and financials among others.
The software is web-based, works on different browsers, and is responsive on all digital mobile gadgets. This makes it ideal for small-sized e-commerce businesses. It’s also deployable as an on-premises solution for online retail stores that are starting.
Different Sage versions vary in capabilities, and this suits any store at any level of growth. For an online store start up, Sage 100 is considered the best because it addresses the store’s critical needs with simplified reports. For big stores, Sage Business Cloud works well due to the increased need for tools that promise highly flexible business and customer management solutions.
The built-in analysis tools found in advanced Sage modules helps e-commerce stores keep abreast with current trends by analyzing real-time data. The result is an intelligence library that creates reports for the right people as and when needed.