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December 14, 2018
Sponsored by Acumatica
If you’re an omnichannel retailer or a brick-and-mortar retailer that’s just starting to offer online shopping capabilities, you can’t underestimate the value of a solid (yet flexible!) ecommerce platform. Think about it: You need to be sure your website’s customers can easily find the products they’re looking for, and you probably want to make their browsing and buying experience fun so they’ll come back for more. A powerful front-end ecommerce solution will deliver the goods.
Or will it?
If this is where your thought process stops, let’s just say there’s a lot more to providing an exceptional customer experience—like a straightforward payment process, timely order fulfillment and hassle-free returns. You need a powerful back-end ERP solution to hold up the second half of your customers’ shopping experience, and failure to “deliver” can make or break your entire ecommerce strategy.
So let’s get down to the three reasons you’ll likely opt for a built-for-ecommerce ERP solution:
Your customers demand a seamless customer experience.
We’re leading with these statistics:
87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a seamless experience. (Zendesk)
80% of online shoppers would like their orders shipped the same day. (ProShip)
Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to business that don’t. (Aspect)
The bottom line is that consumer expectations are reshaping the traditional approach to delivering seamless customer experiences, no matter what channel customers are using to shop. Businesses like yours are embracing an omnichannel strategy that addresses (and enhances) customers’ 360-degree, end-to-end experience. This experience encompasses the entire customer journey from the moment they first interact with your brand through their long-term engagement and brand ambassadorship.
This is important from a back-office system perspective because customers’ ecommerce experience can (abruptly) end if they don’t receive their purchase in a timely manner, have a confusing or otherwise off-putting encounter with a customer service rep, or run into problems post-purchase. It doesn’t matter if everything “works perfectly” while browsing and dropping product in their virtual shopping carts. Your ecommerce and back-office systems have to work together to support a reliable, seamless, shop-with-us-again experience.
Your team needs the flexibility and insights.
You might wonder why unifying your ecommerce and back office systems is so essential for surpassing your customers’ expectations? It has to do with the way your business data is collected and managed. By putting “everything together” into one integrated system, end-to-end processes that impact the customer experience move more smoothly—and employees have access to the same, super-powered data and insights.
According to Aspect/Forrester research, 42% of customer service agents are unable to efficiently resolve customer issues due to disconnected systems, archaic user interfaces and multiple applications. What’s more, Gartner predicts that 50% of agent interactions will be influenced by real-time analytics by 2018. It’s almost 2019—are your agents tapping into real-time customer related data? Are they working with information that combines data taken from the ecommerce platform as well as their back-office system?
Cloud-based retail ERP solutions deliver a centralized, real-time picture of your business, accessible from one screen. Users can view customer order status, inventory, shipments, and even profitability by product and location. And, again, data pertains to customers whether they’re buying online, over the phone or in a brick-and-mortar store. The customer insights available to service reps and decision-makers alike impact every component of your ecommerce strategy—from how online sales orders are taken and fulfilled to which products to drop and which to promote—and are becoming a competitive necessity.
Because you don’t have to go generic.
Sometimes not branding your offerings and “going generic” is the perfect way to market them. No judgment there. What we’re referring to is the wisdom of not investing in a one-size-fits-all ERP system when you can implement a retail-specific ERP system that’s designed for your industry—ready to help you tackle your unique challenges, opportunities, workflows, reporting needs, etc.
A jack-of-all-trades ERP system will offer the core functionality every company needs—and, while that’s great, it’s not going to help you optimize your processes and delight your customers in the way a cloud-based, commerce-customized ERP can. A retail-ready ERP solution will seamlessly connect with your ecommerce system and integrate its functionality with financials, sales, inventory, CRM and fulfillment systems.
Together, they’ll supercharge every aspect of your cross-channel commerce business, resulting in a better customer experience—and optimal performance—front end to back end. A single-source solution that enables you to:
Offer products/services online
Accept orders online
Process payments and shipping
Support exchanges and returns
Decrease errors from manual data entry
Perform real-time order tracking
Reduce reconciliation headaches
Optimize related processes
Inform sales and marketing decisions
These solutions are available today—so why not take advantage of them?
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
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