Across industries, e-commerce businesses are having a serious data problem. Organizations are gathering substantially more data than they’re able to sort through and use. In fact, most business owners use just 0.5% of all the data in their possession to enhance their e-commerce strategies.
What’s worse is that this isn’t a problem that you can afford to ignore. Having the right data and knowing how to use it has major potential brands aren’t tapping into, including helping with cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, product development, and enhanced pricing strategies. And while this may seem obvious, not all means to an end are created equal.
Two popular approaches to leveraging data in e-commerce are centered around a business’ ERP (the central hub for all your business logic, client and product data): integrated and interfaced e-commerce solutions. Both integrated and interfacing e-commerce solutions are simple and convenient ways to let your data drive your e-commerce experience, but come with different caveats and benefits:
Why Integrated E-Commerce?
On one hand, an integrated approach takes your B2B web store and makes it an all-access e-commerce hub for communication, service, and purchasing for your customers.
Information pulled from your ERP to enhance your web store – including client data and product data – is updated in real-time. This approach also eliminates the need to maintain an additional front-end shopping cart database in addition to maintaining your ERP data.
How Does an Interfacing E-Commerce Approach Stack Up?
Unlike integrated e-commerce, an interfacing e-commerce solution must include a connector (middleware) to sync information to the frontend web store from the ERP system, and often also require additional bolt-ons, like a CMS.
This ecosystem of moving parts means that data may be captured in one system but synchronized and processed in another. While some businesses choose to take this approach, the lack of real-time data availability for the customers using your web store is a challenge, and there is more back-end maintenance to deal with than is necessary. It’s challenges like these that often push businesses away from a solution that’s pieced together and toward one with direct integration to their ERP.
Watch our short video to illustrate even more strengths of an integrated e-commerce approach:
Interested in learning more? For a full, in-depth look at how your business can benefit from ERP-integrated e-commerce,