COVID-19 has been systematically poking holes in the existing infrastructure for companies across North America – particularly for Retailers.
Because retailers have to adapt to the changing landscape of the market – how people buy, what level of service customers expect, the availability of products and the speed in which customers need their orders fulfilled – they are noticing huge gaps in their current people, systems, and processes. Not only is it impacting the way in which you run your business, but it is also impacting how customers view your business.
Most commonly, retailers are experiencing the “5 Symptoms of Siloed Ecommerce & Back Office Systems”, but the question becomes – is it my ECOMMERCE, my BACK OFFICE SYSTEMS or both that need to change?
For retailers that are currently running Shopify, Magento, or BigCommerce, your ecommerce is not the problem. In fact, those particular solutions are able to easily scale with your business. Most of the time, retailers that are experiencing siloed systems and all the manual processes that come with it are due to using outdated business management solutions or simply outgrowing their blend of spreadsheets, basic accounting software (like Quickbooks, Sage 50, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.), inventory management solutions, and warehouse management solutions.
Want to know if you’re in the same boat?
I’ve put together a list of a few things to look for when you’re trying to determine if your back end systems are outpacing your ecommerce investment:
Getting more orders is more of curse than a blessing.
The point of your ecommerce investment was so that you could reach your target audience when they are in their research phase and provide the accessibility for them to place orders at any time of the day or night. And that’s working! You’re seeing a higher volume of orders, but the manual processes you have in place as your staff transfers order information from your ecommerce solution to your business management system(s) is severely impacting the ROI you’re getting out of your ecommerce investment.
Recently we moved a client from Shopify and SAP to NetSuite with an integration to Shopify. They went live on 11/4, their first Black Friday experience on NetSuite was seamless. They saved so many hours in all areas of the business and ended up with MANY happy clients and positive reviews.
You’re constantly issuing refunds.
Your inventory count from your back end systems are not updating in real-time in your ecommerce, making it seem like you have an item in stock when you really don’t. During COVID-19, most retailers are doing 100% of their business online, which means that manual inventory counts are bound to cause a higher volume of issues than before. In fact, even large retailers and department stores are consistently getting customer complaints as they have had to issue refunds without replacements or warnings to several customers during the pandemic. Having a business management solution that integrates with your ecommerce solution will provide real-time inventory counts so that your customers will have a clear understanding of what is available and get exactly what they expect from your organization.
You are not able to restock fast enough.
These days people are forced to order online and this behavior is here to stay, many retailers are running out of some items more quickly than before. When you don’t have real-time inventory information, you cannot order more inventory soon enough. You can’t get a clear picture of what to order more of and when. It is severely limiting your adaptability during the crisis and only increasing the frustration in your customers as they wait for their desired items to come back in stock.
Fewer repeat customers.
This one might take a little longer to realize. But, as customers continue to get refunds issued without warning or even communication or they continue checking back only to find the items they are interested in still are out of stock, they become increasingly frustrated with your brand and will likely move elsewhere.
Your team wants to focus on what they were hired for, not on moving data from one system to the next only to find that somewhere along the line, there was an error. Then they spend more time tracing their steps to find out where the error first came about, whether it’s in your ecommerce or your back-office systems, and what it’s impacted. That’s not fun for anyone! Upgrading to a back-office system that allows for a seamless integration with your ecommerce will eliminate those kinds of problems and allow you to focus your resources elsewhere – resulting in happier and more productive employees.
Orders are lost or late.
Even when you can move order information from one system to the next without a hitch, you could still have problems in your warehouse. Because not all of your systems are connected, you might be experiencing some issues with missing inventory or unable to fulfill the orders your customers have already placed in the time that they expect to receive it.
Reporting is a nightmare.
You’re constantly moving data from one area to the next, which means creating an accurate report is near impossible. Answering simple business questions about how profitable you are, what inventory you have on hand, how your current sales compare to years prior takes weeks to compile – and by the time you’ve put it all together, your data is already out of date. You do not have a 360-degree view of your business real time, which makes it harder to adapt and make educated decisions about how to pivot your business during a crisis.
Launching or even operating different brands, sites, or microsites becomes a full-time job.
With the lack of automation, your staff is spending most of their time trying to ensure that the day-to-day operations are running smoothly – or at least running in general. All the issues you’re experiencing with your one ecommerce site will be compounded if you’re thinking about launching a different brand.
I get it. Your business management systems have worked in the past, but the “don’t fix what ain’t broke” philosophy rarely works in business. To be a top performing retailer, you actually do have to invest time and money to adapt to change and scale your business. Without real-time insights into your business (which is near impossible without connected systems) you are never going to be able to grow larger than you are now.
If you’d like to discuss some of the symptoms you’re experiencing, let’s have a conversation! I’d love to talk you through how we can help you get the most out of your current ecommerce investment AND take your business to the next level with a flexible, cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that is proven to help Retailers like you scale and pivot as the markets and customer buying behaviors continue to change – even during these strange times.