Do you need an ERP for your e-commerce?

Suppose you have an online business. One that you started, bought or helped to manage. It’s probably running on one of the many available platforms like Shopify, Woocommerce, and so on.

Let's say you have an online only or omnichannel business. One that you started, bought or helped to manage. Chances are that it’s going rather well. There are lots of orders coming in, you have a lot to manage in terms of product data, customer support, inventory management, logistics and accounting.

But… When those orders started piling up, manual tasks increased with them, efficiency declined and suddenly you became a victim of your own success. You’re chasing yourself, trying to keep up.
The old way of working, when you only had a few orders each day, doesn’t cut it anymore. And what’s even worse: it’s holding you back.
Why? Because your current setup wasn’t built for this! It’s simply not efficient enough. And if you don’t change that, the quality of your services will decline, you won’t be able to think ahead and you certainly won’t be able to grow your business in a sustainable manner.
This is when an ERP for your e-commerce business can help you out tremendously. Instead of being in survival mode, trying to keep track of all those orders manually, you can focus again on your business, and go for a sustainable growth path.

What is an ERP exactly?

An ERP (or Enterprise Resource Planning system) is the core of your business. Traditionally, it handles things like sales, purchasing, inventory management, logistics, manufacturing, accounting, invoicing and so on. And there’s even software packages that go way beyond that! A good example is Odoo, which can handle HR, Marketing and much more. Check out our latest podcast with Fabien Pinckaers, the founder and CEO of Odoo, for more insights into Odoo. Listen to it on Spotify, YouTube or on our website!
Having an ERP means you don’t have to do the heavy lifting anymore - the system does it for you!
By integrating your online webshop and other sales channels with an ERP, you’re able to create efficiency gains that will result in numerous benefits. I’ll discuss those in detail below.

Why should you integrate an ERP with your e-commerce business?

So, an ERP sounds great right? But let's get a little bit more specific.
By integrating an ERP with your online webshop and other sales channels you’ll be able to enjoy these benefits:

‍1. A singular point of overview for your whole business. Integrating your sales channels to an ERP allows you to run your business from one system. Everything is shared in one backend.

2. Automation of tasks previously done manually. As I explained before, the system does the heavy lifting for you. Certain tasks that were done manually before, are now automated. Tasks like creating invoices, delivery notes for the courier, calculating inventory needs, sending orders to logistical partners, accounting and many more , are now fully or partially automated. The goal is to strip away the boring, repetitive tasks and free up time for work that creates real value.

3. Reduction of human errors. Automating processes that were previously done manually inherently comes with the benefit of having less human errors to resolve.

4. Better inventory management. Now that data is shared between sales channels through the ERP, it saves you a lot of headaches regarding stock availability. It also allows you to track your inventory between several warehouses and external fulfilment centres.

5. More efficient supply chain. An ERP will let you know when something is almost out of stock. It will suggest which product, how much and when you need to purchase inventory based on your vendor lead times and inventory needs. It will even create the purchase order for you- all you have to do is simply click ‘send’.

6‍. Reduction of business costs. Having a better overview of your inventory, less manual tasks, human errors and a general increase in efficiency, will ultimately lead to less costs for your business. When processes that used to take two days a month can be reduced to 5 minutes each month or even become non-existing at all, the potential reduction in costs can be substantial.

7. Increase in quality of data and reporting. Having all your valuable data in one place, allows you to create reports and dashboards more efficiently and with real-time data. This will in turn enable you to make smart strategic decisions for your business.

There are many more benefits that result directly or indirectly from integrating an ERP with your e-commerce business.
If you’d like to find out more or you think you might benefit from an ERP or you want to know how we implemented Odoo in an e-commerce context, click the button.