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Before we define e-Commerce Integration, we think you should take a step back and first explore the term e-Commerce.
e-Commerce, is an abbreviation of electronic commerce. It is used to define an industry in which buying and selling products and services is conducted over electronic systems – most commonly via the internet. It also refers to the interchange of information essential to complete these online transactions, such as inventory and pricing data. e-Commerce also contains transactions made online with mobile and tablet devices.
Even though e-Commerce dates back to the 1980s, it continues to evolve as features such as mobile commerce, group buying, private sales and social commerce are developed. It is features like these that have made e-Commerce a genuine option for businesses of all sizes, and the accessibility of purchasing products over the internet in a secure way, 24/7 is very attractive. According to Invesp*, more than 80% of the online population has used the internet to purchase something, and Forrester Research forecasted that between 2011 and 2016 15% more US consumers shopped online.
Basically, e-Commerce Integration is the synchronisation between a company’s e-Commerce site and back-end accounting and inventory (ERP) system. Correct integration allows the flow of information bi-directionally between the two systems, meaning data only needs to be entered into one system once. This results in numerous efficiencies, such as inventory levels automatically updating at the back-end as product is sold on the e-Commerce site and at the front-end, as the product gets received into a warehouse and added to inventory.
(Please note: While many e-Commerce businesses presently have one-way integration or batch updates, true e-Commerce Integration is achieved by two-way, real-time or near real-time flow of data.)
Many businesses choose to fully integrate both systems, as this means inventory and pricing information is accessible to customers and staff in real-time, and as demand escalates the need for further staff to handle transactions is minimised.
*Invesp is a leading provider of e-Commerce conversion rate optimization services and software for online retailers.