Integrated ecommerce explained
What does the phrase "integrated ecommerce" actually mean in practice?...
With so many software companies in the UK to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to turn. Determining what’s essential and what’s not can be the most tricky part for businesses looking to improve their operations.
Whatever industry you’re in, there are five key things to look out for when making that big software investment:
1. Extended ecommerce and self-service options
Because of Covid-19, consumers have become accustomed to shopping online, steering away from in-store shopping more prevalently than we could have imagined. To future proof your business, you need to consider your ecommerce offering when choosing new software.
For example, if you’re looking for ERP software companies in the UK, ensure that you investigate solutions that will allow integration with your ecommerce platforms (see the next tip!) and provide a multi-channel shopping experience for your customers. If you don’t yet have an ecommerce offering, invest in software that will build a website for you. It should contain key functions such as click-and-collect order handling, personalised promotions, flexible delivery options and loyalty point management to keep you ahead of the curve.
In B2B operations, self-service capabilities for customers’ accounts will make your operations run more smoothly, especially during these current times. Sales staff have been unable to visit sites and clients, so a self-service option is a good way to share your products without putting your team at risk on the ground.
2. Integration with much-loved platforms
Depending on your industry, your business may require integration with external platforms and services to fulfil day-to-day demands efficiently. Rest assured, good software companies in the UK provide integration options with external platforms, allowing businesses to continue using their external services.
We mentioned ecommerce integrations earlier, which includes marketplace channels like Amazon and eBay. These integrations often automate product listings and sales orders, as well as allow easy viewing of activity taking place across all channels. You can also integrate with leading EDI platforms such as Wayfair and Amazon Vendor, couriers for easy despatch management, and even specialist systems for Third-Party Logistics (3PL) providers. Just be sure to do your research if your business relies on external platforms as part of your operation.
3. Room to grow
Having room to expand your business is one of the most important aspects of choosing the right software. According to statistics, 64% of businesses turn to ERP so they can enhance their current business performance. Subsequently, 57% use it to put their business in a better position for growth.
However, many businesses in the UK forget to consider this when making their next big purchase from software companies. Businesses are short-changing themselves with software that won’t grow with them when they surpass their next milestone. This creates a need for them to onboard new software all over again when they grow faster than they expected. Ensure you pick a company that delivers software you can grow with rather than out of, and look for providers that proactively develop and upgrade their software.
In addition, you need to determine if your solution will effectively manage the increase in demand in other areas of the business as you grow. For example, if you increase your online presence and generate more sales, can your warehouse cope with these additional demands? You need to consider the bigger picture for each area of your operation to make sure everything works in harmony.
4. Honest support and training packages
Having the option to implement a support package is important for anyone looking to make such a large software investment. While your IT manager might be a dab hand at managing the technical stuff, you don’t want to be caught short when he goes on holiday for two weeks. Luckily, most software companies in the UK provide dedicated support packages that allow you to call for help whenever you need it.
It’s also worth getting an idea of what level of training the company will provide your team with when you invest in new software. Of course, your team will be operating this software on a daily basis, so making sure they know how it works is a good place to start.
5. On-premise and cloud-hosted options
The decision about whether you opt for cloud-based or on-premise software is truly down to personal preference. How do you wish to store your data and how much control do you want to have over it?
As many businesses have likely seen during Covid-19, cloud-based software is fantastic when working remotely or having to scale up quickly. OrderWise Cloud has enabled many of our customers to continue business during this difficult time, and that’s because you can access the software from pretty much anywhere. You have more flexibility to deploy your software across multiple sites or remotely, and it will be fully maintained, managed and monitored by us, so there’s no need for internal IT staff to look after it.
There are also on-premise systems to consider which are hosted on the business’ own servers. These are the best option if you want more control, especially if you have existing IT staff internally. OrderWise provides on-premise software that we install at your site with a full training and support package. It’s often favoured by businesses with a single site operation and large volumes of data to contend with.
There is no right or wrong answer, so it’s important to do your research on the pros and cons between cloud-based and on-premise software providers. This way, you can make the right decision for your business.
If you’re looking for software to manage your day-to-day operations, why not take a look at our range of software options at OrderWise? From ERP to WMS, we provide award-winning software that’s built to your specific requirements. Contact us for more information, and visit our Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages for our latest news!
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