3 Ways to Expedite E-Commerce Fulfillment with Microsoft Dynamics ERP Integration

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E-commerce fulfillment challenges continue to plague businesses of all sizes, despite many organizations’ best efforts to optimize their supply chain and expedite their current way of working. From inventory management to order entry to shipping, businesses (especially in B2B) continue to fall short of buyers’ expectations and —quite simply— aren’t getting products to their customers quickly enough.

Many businesses are laser-focused on last-mile logistics, while others just don’t know where to start when it comes to addressing fulfillment issues. Fortunately, thanks to ERP integration, struggling with your e-commerce fulfillment woes can be a thing of the past.

What are the challenges with e-commerce fulfillment today?

To put it in the simplest terms, the e-commerce fulfillment problem is about speed (or lack thereof) and about error-prone processes that are not easily scalable. Manual errors during fulfillment can occur as early as during order entry, as late as during the delivery process, or even in a warehouse during packaging and shipping.

Because the margin for error is so vast, e-commerce fulfillment challenges need to be addressed in a way that can be scaled and that is not overwhelmingly resource intensive.

But that’s not all.

Customer expectations are also having a massive impact on businesses’ e-commerce fulfillment goals. Brands are looking to their buyers to understand how high the bar is set when it comes to the quality and speed of e-commerce fulfillment they need to offer to keep up with demand. Currently:

  • 76% of shoppers say having multiple fulfillment options influences their purchasing decision, up from 64% just two years ago.
  • 51% of consumers want real-time visibility into the status of their orders.
  • 40% of shoppers say that an organization taking more than two days for delivery would prevent them from making a purchase.

And buyers are only getting more demanding, which means improving e-commerce fulfillment isn’t just a tough challenge; it’s a moving target.

How does ERP integration help achieve more efficient and effective fulfillment processes?

Putting your ERP at the center of your e-commerce strategy means more efficiency, more sales, and less manual workload for your internal teams. When it comes specifically to fulfillment, an ERP-integrated e-commerce solution can expedite the process and take some complexity out of the equation.

Here are the top 3 ways ERP integration can drive expedited e-commerce fulfillment.

1. Minimize manual order entry errors.

According to our latest research, even with their top 10 suppliers, 44% of B2B buyer experience online order errors. And while some of these are caused by simple human error on the customer side, many of them are caused by incorrect information being displayed online:

With ERP-integrated e-commerce, your web store displays only the real-time, accurate data that’s housed in your ERP. This means less room for error, and a smaller chance that your web store data will be wrong due to a lag in syncing the correct information between your web store and your ERP (as might be the case with a solution that’s not integrated with your ERP).

2. Ensure better and easier inventory management.

ERP-integrated e-commerce makes inventory management foolproof. With guaranteed visibility into all your data from a single source of truth (your ERP), your business can rest assured that any inventory data in your web store is true to what’s also in your ERP — always in real time. This means your customers will never place an order for an item that turns out to be out of stock, and you will avoid the headache (and cost) that comes with a dissatisfied customer.

Your ERP-integrated e-commerce strategy can also mean better visibility across your entire supply chain, which takes the benefits of this approach beyond just online purchase errors and optimizes processes on a larger and more significant scale.

3. Offer a better online customer experience.

B2B customers in 2019 insist on transparency. They want confirmation when they’ve placed an order, and updates on the status of their order from placement through to delivery. They demand shipping updates (as close to the minute as possible), and what’s worse, is that they are not flexible with these expectations — even if they’re also demanding two-day, one-day or even same-day shipping. They want their products faster, but they also expect to be fully informed throughout the process, regardless of how long it is.

Your ERP (when integrated with your web store) allows you to give your customers just that: real-time updates, access to shipping information, and even post-delivery customer (self-)service capabilities online. This allows your end-to-end fulfillment process to go out without a hitch (in your customers’ eyes, even if the complexity on your business’ end is slightly more involved than that) and deliver customers’ needs in the way they demand it.

Deeper Insights: B2B Buyer Demands (for E-Commerce Fulfillment and More)

Want an even broader look at what B2B buyers want, or, alternatively, do you want to dive even deeper into their specific fulfillment challenges? We have those insights available to help you reach your e-commerce fulfillment goals in our 2019 B2B Buying Process Report.

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