eCommerce ERP Integrations: Top 12 Burning Questions Answered 

Marrying your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and B2B ecommerce software is an amazing idea. Integrating ERP with your ecommerce platform results in better data visibility and improved customer experience (CX) and certainly optimizes the sales environment within the digital commerce ecosystem.

ERP software comes in two versions: on-premises and cloud-based. The former is software you buy outright and install on your company's computers, while the latter (also known as software as a service or SaaS) is subscription-based and accessed through the internet. Some well-known ERP providers are SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, Infor, and Sage.

According to Statista research, the global ERP software market has a stable value of about $100 billion per year as mid-size and enterprise-level companies widely have ERP systems and update them regularly. Because digitalization and ecommerce launch are priorities for many organizations, they need to figure out how to smoothly integrate their ERP with their ecommerce platform.

If you’ve just started digging this topic deeper, you probably already have lots of questions. And we got you covered. We have outlined the top 12 most common questions we get as B2B ecommerce experts.

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1. What is the role of an ERP system in ecommerce?

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software helps organizations manage, integrate, and optimize critical business activities related to resources like people, finances, capital, materials, orders, and other areas.

An ERP system can play a number of roles in ecommerce, depending on a business's specific needs. Here are some ways an ERP system can be used in ecommerce:

  • Automating order management: An ERP system can automate the process of taking orders from customers and sending them to the appropriate departments for fulfillment.
  • Managing inventory: An ERP system can help businesses keep track of their inventory levels and ensure that they have enough products to meet customer demand.
  • Processing payments: An ERP system can be used to process payments from customers and send them to the appropriate financial institutions.
  • Generating reports: An ERP system can generate reports that provide insights into the performance of the ecommerce operation.
Roles of an Erp System in Ecommerce

2. Why integrate ERP with your ecommerce platform?

Better efficiency, increased data visibility, improved CX and employee experience, increased sales and customer loyalty are among the reasons you should integrate your ERP and ecommerce software. Data visibility helps businesses make better decisions and improve their overall performance.

Integrating an ERP system with ecommerce also automates many manual tasks related to order entry, fulfillment, invoicing, and accounting, thus increasing overall business efficiency.

On this note, it is important to highlight that the Virto Commerce platform is designed to support seamless integration with any ERP system available on the market, including legacy systems.

If you’re interested in how we do that,
feel free to contact our experts


3. Why is ERP and ecommerce integration vital to modern businesses?

ERP systems can automate various aspects of ecommerce, from order management to inventory control. By integrating ERP with ecommerce, businesses can gain greater efficiencies and optimize their operations. ERP integration is vital to modern businesses because it can help save time and money while improving customer satisfaction.

On the contrary, not integrating an ERP and an ecommerce system creates many problems. Most of the legacy ERP systems were not created with ecommerce in mind, so they are often not equipped to handle the complexities of online sales.

This can lead to errors in orders, inventory management, and shipping. In addition, businesses that do not integrate their ERP and ecommerce systems will have to manually enter data into both systems, which is time-consuming and prone to error.

Integrating ERP with ecommerce is the best way to ensure that businesses can take advantage of all the benefits each system offers. When ERP and ecommerce are integrated, businesses can streamline their operations, save time and money, and improve customer satisfaction.

4. What are the main issues with the lack of integration of ERP and B2B ecommerce?

Challenges associated with a lack of integration of ERP and B2B ecommerce include:

  • Poor data visibility: One of the biggest problems with not integrating ecommerce and ERP is the lack of ecommerce data visibility in ERP analytics. This can make it difficult to make decisions and track progress.
  • Manual tasks: The second challenge is the number of manual tasks required to synchronize ecommerce and ERP systems. Manual synchronization always lags behind the actual state of orders and inventory. This can lead to errors and delays in order processing, order fulfillment, and billing.
  • Negative customer experience: Another problem is customer frustration, which can result from order delivery failure due to running out of stock, of which the commerce system is unaware. The lack of integration between ecommerce and ERP can affect customer loyalty and reduce orders.
Main Issues with the Lack of Integration of Erp and B2B Ecommerce

5. What ecommerce platforms can be integrated with an ERP?

Here the right answer has to be about the types of ERPs capable of integration with ecommerce, not about specific brands and even less about ERP software versions.

For an ecommerce platform to be integrated with an ERP, it must be able to communicate with the ERP software. This communication typically happens through an application programming interface (API). The API acts as a bridge between the two systems, allowing them to share data about the buyer's order.

Two types of ERPs can be integrated with ecommerce platforms: real-time and non-real-time. Real-time systems are connected constantly to the database, while non-real time connects periodically.

  • The first type of ERP that is modern enough is capable of exchanging data with the ecommerce system in real-time. In practice, this means that the response delay does not exceed 0.2–0.3 seconds. But for its part, the ecommerce software should also include an integration module that works in real-time.
  • Second, there are outdated types of ERP software that have probably existed in companies for decades and are rarely updated. Those ERPs can't handle requests from an ecommerce portal fast enough. In this case, the buyer may notice a hang in the ecommerce system while waiting for a response from ERP. To prevent this from happening, a B2B ecommerce solution + damping middleware are used.

In most cases, companies do not know in advance whether their ERP can be integrated with ecommerce in real-time or not. This requires running an audit by integration consultants and possibly developing a prototype of the integration solution to evaluate the speed of operation and error-free data transfer between systems.

This is exactly what happens when Virto’s experts estimate the scope of the integration work and its cost and give you a deadline for this project.

Feel free to schedule a meeting with our team

6. How do you integrate ERP with ecommerce?

The first step is to identify the specific needs of your business and what you hope to achieve with ecommerce ERP integration. Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can begin evaluating ecommerce and ERP platforms to find the best fit for your organization.

When choosing an ecommerce platform, it is important to consider its ability to integrate with your existing ERP system. That’s a fundamental question that any B2B ecommerce vendor should answer during the RFQ process in order to be shortlisted.

We always get this question during the qualification stages from our potential customers. Our Virto B2B eсommerce platform can support ERP integration in real-time and asynchronously, depending on the ERP I/O (input/output) capabilities. And it doesn’t matter if it is a legacy or the most advanced modern ERP system. The integration is possible thanks to our innovative Virto Atomic Architecture™.

How to Integrate a Customer's ERP into the Virto Commerce Platform

7. What are the benefits of ecommerce ERP integration for B2B companies?

Successful integration of ecommerce with an ERP system has numerous advantages that impact the whole organization.

Some of the benefits of ecommerce and ERP integration include:

  • Improved efficiencies: Integration between ecommerce and ERP systems can automate many manual tasks related to order entry, fulfillment, invoicing, and accounting. This can lead to reduced costs and improved efficiencies for businesses.
  • Increased data visibility: Data integration for ecommerce and ERP systems gives businesses a more comprehensive view of customers, orders, inventory, and finances, helping businesses make better decisions and improve their overall performance.
  • Improved customer experience: By integrating ecommerce and ERP systems, businesses can provide their customers with a frictionless ecommerce experience, leading to increased revenue and customer loyalty.

8. What are the drawbacks of an ecommerce and ERP integration?

The main drawbacks of integrating your ERP system with the ecommerce are as follows:

  • Increased complexity: Integrating ecommerce and ERP systems can add complexity to the IT ecosystem, leading to increased costs in the case of a long-time project for implementation.
  • Excessive mutual influence: Once ecommerce and ERP systems are integrated, it can be difficult to change or customize one of them.
  • Dependency on IT: Integration between ecommerce and ERP systems requires an IT team to support the solution. This can lead to increased dependency on dev resources and make it difficult to make changes without their help.

9. What are the limitations of an ERP in ecommerce?

While ERP systems can provide many benefits when integrated with ecommerce, there are three limitations you need to consider.

  1. ERP systems can be legacy software that is complex and difficult to integrate with modern ecommerce.
  2. ERP systems may not be able to support all of the B2B features and functionality required by online businesses.
  3. ERP systems are costly to upgrade from a legacy version to a modern one with a wide range of features for ecommerce. This makes such integration unattractive for some companies.

10. How are ERP and ecommerce related?

ERP is a type of software that helps businesses manage their core operations, including finance, accounting, HR, and supply chain management.

eCommerce platforms and ERP systems are both integral parts of many businesses today. While they are different types of systems, they are often used together to provide a complete holistic solution for businesses.

11. What does ERP integration stand for?

ERP integration is the process of connecting an ecommerce platform with an ERP system. This can be done using various methods, including APIs, web services, middleware, and file-based integration. eCommerce integration allows businesses to automate many tasks related to order management, inventory management, and CRM (customer relationship management).
Methods of Connecting Ecommerce Platforms with Erp System

12. What are the best tips for ecommerce ERP integrations?

We have some general tips for you if you have taken the initiative to integrate your ERP with your B2B ecommerce solution.

  • Order an audit. Check which ecommerce platforms and ERPs are compatible. Otherwise, data compatibility issues could require additional coding to create a middleware layer to resolve such issues.
  • Define the ERP integration requirements. Before starting the integration process, it is important to define the specific business requirements. This will ensure that the right B2B solution is selected.
  • Test the ERP integration. Once the ecommerce and ERP systems are integrated, it is important to test the system to ensure it is working properly before letting your customers use the service. This can help avoid potential CX problems and customer frustration down the road.

Conclusion

Integrating your ERP system with an ecommerce platform can be a complex and costly endeavor. However, the benefits of such an integration can be significant because ERP integration provides a complete view of customers, orders, inventory, and financials.

In addition, ERP integration can help to improve efficiency and accuracy by automating tasks and eliminating manual data entry. Integration can also help businesses gain a competitive edge by providing customers and partners with more accurate and up-to-date information.

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to integrate ERP with ecommerce, including

  • cost of upgrading ERP software (if required),
  • complexity of the integration process and associated costs,
  • potential benefits of the integration.

If you are considering ecommerce and ERP integration for your business, Virto Commerce can help. Our platform is designed to support seamless integration between ecommerce and ERP systems. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your goals.

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Sergey Berezin
Sergey Berezin
linkedin icon Marketing writer