Integrated e-commerce in the age of omnichannel

Omnichannel is a real Holy Grail of retail trade. It is a goal of all retail networks and online sellers. But what it really is? Is this only fleeting trend or maybe a forecast of unavoidable changes in the functioning of digital era companies?

The speed of technology development and the changes in user attitudes cause, that commerce networks need to focus their offer information from one hand and from the other, they need to diffuse the offer by many communication channels. Ten years ago the main thrust of sales based on traditional form. Communication was less diversified, more passive and one-way. A consumer made his sales decision faster and more gladly. Today it passed. Taking into consideration fact, that sellers implement and use newer and newer communication and sales tools (beginning from online stores, like Allegro, price comparison website, Facebook, Instagram, ending on traditional, stationary shops) dialog with the client is strongly confined and information about the consumer is exiguous.

Technology and processes

What decides about success in realization of the omnichannel offer is an intelligent and agile connection of many systems used by a company. Today, in many cases the one and only system used by polish retail networks are ERP and e-commerce systems. Without them, there is no way to realize Multi-, Cross-,  or Omnichannel.  Besides ERP and e-commerce systems, essential is product information management system- necessary to keep coherent and high-quality product information in case of managing thousands of orders.

It enters into the power of content marketing, where the most important is focusing on content, as a multifunctional tool to build a loyalty of clients and optimization of conversion. It imposes implementation of productive CMS systems. Those, who want to observe their clients, communicate only with a target group and making a segmentation based on the worth of shopping bag need to have a CRM systems dedicated to e-commerce solutions.

System solutions

In recent years significant is a flexibility and ability to an agile transformation of the company to changeable market. That’s why it is more important to integrate dedicated tools (systems), which can cooperate with each other, than implement all-in-one type of solutions. One,  big system will be more vulnerable to failure. In terms of safety and stability of whole business, it is not advisable to have only one tool, responsible for the whole company. It is worth to highlight the necessity of diversification of systems and appropriate integration of them.

E-commerce system

In terms of implementation company, e-commerce system is the most important element in integrated e-commerce solution (omnichannel). Because of the fact, that added worth and benefits from specific e-commerce solution is determined by mapping of company processes, essential is highly elastic and modular e-commerce software.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

PIM is one of the most evaluative systems in case of every e-business, which is about to omnichannel sales.

Omnichannel assume a plain shop experience, which is guaranteed by the coherent presentation of the product information in every point of contact with the brand. It requires implementation of product information management system (PIM), especially in the case of many channels.

PIM class system is a part of the infrastructure of current e-commerce. They are used to complete product information management (like name, description, a content of attributes, photos, category etc.) in situations when managing such information directly on e-commerce platform doesn’t work, for example, because of simultaneously coming circumstances such as:

  • managing the content, which is used in many separate sales channels
  • numerous assortment with a separate group of content service
  • an assortment of multilanguage content
  • much supported currency and price diversity on the individual supported markets

In the context of sales in the omnichannel model, PIM is used to not only product information management, but also to complex sales managing in the independent e-commerce channels.

Many of companies still functioning without such a solution, what results in lack of coherence and most frequently-  numbers of organizational problems. Masses of things they need to do manually, multiplying Excel sheet. Very good examples here is work with many languages and currency version and necessity of implementation of changes, which will include whole language and currency. Without a tool for information management, it may occur some delays or abortion of introducing a change in the language. It results in lack of coherence in range of language version and duty of recreating them.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

In opposite to traditional CRM system, the essence of CRM for e-commerce system is customer experience. It’s about diagnosing , harmonizing and managing of user experience at the biggest numbers of contact points with the brand.

That is why the systems to client relationship management (CRM) is not used to generating the leads, but to generating fully information about clients and purchases. Owing to the fact, an entrepreneur receives fully, in 360, views of client and is able to propose him case-by-case approach and communication.

How is the order processed?

In the moment, when a client commits to a purchase and makes an order in the online store, he triggers a very complicated process, which leads to receiving the thing. Clicking on “buy” button he causes interaction of store, ERP, CRM systems and many other things, which made a fulfillment process.

ERP system checks availability of product and the information about availability is sending back to the store. There is an option when store syncs up with wit ERP system in a regular period. In addition, ERP “outsource” whole order fulfillment process: order preparation, disposal, delivery and making a receipt. A further reaction occurs between sales platform and CRM.

CRM system updates the history of clients orders and possible changes in addresses, and client’s information, needless to address a purchase and make acknowledgment of receipt (it needs to be reported to logistic division). According to the type of industry or business model, the client receives generated payment information and he is informed about next steps, such as order preparation, transport, shipment, delivery. Besides emails with information about the order, this information is shown on the store page, on client’s account. Besides purchase process and delivery, there are also payments and invoice. This area requires an exchange of information between sales platform and ERP, as a system to invoicing, relatively CRM system and payments systems. Product prices are stored in ERP system as an element of constant data. However, individual prices may differ. Promotion, individual terms of sales and discounts have an effect on this. The rules corresponding to them can be directed in both, CRM (personal contact with sales dept.)  and an e-commerce system, but payments are realized in ERP system.

As you can see, even an uncomplicated order leads to the integration of many systems, on many different levels and diverse data. Only integration with the e-commerce platform, well conducted and tailored to the customer’s business, guarantees a trouble-free purchase.