This blog was contributed by Vanessa Matos, Marketing Coordinator for VL OMNI, an integration platform partner for real-time, agile, and scalable iPaaS data integration. VL OMNI empowers businesses to accelerate growth by integrating their systems, channels, partners, and applications together in ways that matter most to them.
All ecommerce businesses, big or small, need to understand the importance and the challenges of fulfillment and ERP automation and shipping. This can become a real pain point for businesses scaling to the enterprise level. This blog is going to walk you through what it takes to focus on strategic growth with a Shopify Plus enterprise business. Plus, learn the benefits of ERP integration with order fulfillment, and how agile and scalable automation can help brands create an exceptional customer experience.
Why Merchants Need To Focus On Improving Their Enterprise Fulfillment Strategies
Ideally, Merchants that are and strive to be at the top of their ecommerce game should focus on improving their enterprise fulfillment strategies. Having applications in place that help brands scale at every turn is the first step.
Merchants also need to make sure those applications are seamlessly integrated together so their systems are agile and flexible to change and complexity as their business grows. Here is where having an integration strategy becomes a key competitive advantage for any business.
In short, brands with a growth mindset and looking to streamline their fulfillment strategies usually have the following key business applications:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Product Inventory Management (PIM)
- Ecommerce Platform (Shopify Plus)
- Customer Resource Management (CRM)
- EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)
The role of ERPs and Shipping Applications In Your Scaling Business
Top Shopify Plus Merchants primarily focus on fulfillment through their ERP and Shipping applications. An ERP system by definition is used to centralize back-end processes like accounting, human resources, customer relationship management (CRM), Inventory, and other sales channels.
Any merchant with high-volume sales or complex processes can benefit from an ERP system. Since ERPs work as a process integration engine, they unify various activities from different areas of your business.
In addition, shipping applications are solutions or software designed to expedite the shipping process of online retailers. Merchants connect all their sales channels with their shipping application to ease the process of order management, label printing, order routing, etc.
The Benefits of ERP Integration and Shipping Automation
The real issue begins when scaling these top Merchants begin adding more people to the team and more internal processes are required. Sharing information across departments through manual processes becomes a challenge, as it is susceptible to human errors that can significantly impact fulfillment.
Here is where agile and scalable integration, provided by enterprise integration platforms like VL OMNI, can help extend the reach and flexibility of your ERP system and core shipping applications.
An ERP integration solution can help brands integrate sales channels and automate unique scenarios and processes that are important to the Merchant in order to fulfill orders and maintain a smooth customer experience.
How To Build A Successful Enterprise Integration Strategy
Put simply, system integration is the “how” to solving scalability problems, looking to reduce manual processes and achieving a unified commerce stack.
Besides evaluating your needs and technology applications, enterprise businesses need to reflect on the effectiveness of their operations.
If you are growing your business, ask yourself these questions:
- How do I move data between applications or channels?
- Is my technology stack truly integrated?
- If you are a scaling business: Does my current integration strategy really work?
- How much time do I spend on workarounds and fixing errors?
- If you are a multichannel business: How do I automate data between applications? Do I have to change my business processes?
- Does the solution fit my business long-term?
Key Considerations When Choosing An Ecommerce Application
Remember, it’s about agility and flexibility. Application solutions shouldn’t dictate how you run your business. Merchants must take their time and be strategic about long-term goals and make the customer experience priority through all technological decisions.
Taking the time to understand how your data flows through your business can help you make essential decisions about the way your business should operate and how your applications and sales channels should interact with each other. Take a look at just some of these important considerations when creating a strategic order fulfillment integration plan.
- Finding the right partners: Merchants need to take their time and find the right strategic partner. A true partner invests in your business success. Are you hosted on Shopify Plus? Find an expert Shopify Plus service partner here.
- API’s First: Businesses looking for an ERP or fulfillment solution must first think strategically about their business goals. Look at what kind of robust APIs are needed in order to achieve those goals.
- Solutions can be more complex than using an app: Often apps will not be supported in relation to your unique technology stack mix, thus causing endless headaches. Complex businesses will require more robust and complex solutions that will not be found using apps.
- Play Hard Ball: You must ask the hard questions about your solution to your Partners. But before you can do that, you, the Merchant, have to become an informed consumer. Dig into the technical requirements your business needs to grow.
Tying It All Together With Enterprise Integration
Shopify Plus enterprise businesses need to focus on strategic growth. This involves understanding how their ERP will integrate into other systems through an ERP integration solution and having an integrated order fulfillment process that helps brands create an excellent customer experience.
In fact, it’s key Merchants understand the fundamental need for integration between their systems to reduce errors, create efficiencies and control their data flow in ways that are meaningful to their business.
When implementing a new application, it’s essential to separate its functionality from its interaction with other systems. The next step is to understand the technical limitations of the application and take into consideration their future goals. And finally, successful Shopify Plus Merchants are their own advocates by coming to future partners with their needs and goals in mind and sticking to them.
Want to Speak with An Integration Expert?
Whether you want to consult on how to create a better enterprise integration strategy or how to re-evaluate application solutions in your technology stack, VL OMNI is here to help.