Best ERP E-Commerce Tools & Features That Address Brand Challenges

What Is ERP E-Commerce Integration?

ERP E-commerce integration is the process of connecting an Enterprise Resource Planning system with an E-commerce platform. This integration exists via connectors, ERP add-ons/modules, or middleware platforms and is targeted at both e-commerce brands with or without an existing ERP system.

The combination of two highly sought-after markets (ERP valued at $1 billion and e-commerce forecasted at $8.1 trillion) enables online brands to take control of their back-end and customer-facing data in one synchronised system. This creates opportunities to achieve e-commerce-led goals, such as:

  • Building customer trust by providing good experience and service
  • Growing sales by meeting customer demand and expectations
  • Increasing brand awareness to improve traffic and customer retention

The rising demand for ERP e-commerce systems is justified, with brands seeing an increase in conversion rates, returning customers, and sales. 45% of B2B e-commerce owners planned to integrate their operations with cloud-based ERP systems in 2023, while 35% have an integration plan for this year.

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How an E-Commerce Process Flow Looks Like With ERP Integration

A typical product-based e-commerce process flow consists of several stages such as an order being placed, processed, and shipped. With an integrated ERP system, the process becomes more agile and time efficient, like so:

E-Commerce Process Flow Looks Like With ERP Integration

  1. Order Captured: Once a customer places an order on-site, the e-commerce platform captures customer details such as delivery information, quantity, pricing, and payment method.
  2. Data Sent to ERP: The customer’s order details are then synced with the connecting ERP system, updating relevant records such as inventory levels and transactional details.
  3. Inventory Management: The ERP system automatically checks the availability of stock for the ordered items and either reserves the items for picking if they’re in stock, or generates an out-of-stock message for the customer.
  4. Order Fulfilled & Ready For Shipping: The ERP system generates a picking list for warehouse staff with details such as item location, quantity, and packing instructions. Shipping labels are generated and the order status is updated, informing the customer that their item is ready to be dispatched.
  5. Shipping & Logistics Integration: The item is scheduled to be picked up by third-party logistics or couriers and loaded into the correct shipping container or bag.
  6. Payment Processed & Order Complete: Once communication with the payment gateway has been authorised, the system automatically generates an email informing the customer that their order has been successfully received and shipped.

4 E-Commerce Challenges That Prompt the Need for ERP Integration

The goals of an e-commerce brand are to build trust with existing customers, increase brand awareness to attract new customers, and increase revenue. However, there are several challenges e-business owners face that can hinder objectives:

1. Inaccurate Inventory & Stock Levels

For product-led e-businesses, inventory levels must be kept up-to-date and accurate, particularly those that balance their online stock with brick-and-mortar stores.

Essentially, inaccurate inventory management gives the impression of poor customer service by offering a product that isn’t available. This provides a poor customer experience resulting in low customer retention rates and poor brand imaging.

The introduction of an ERP system can automate the entire inventory management process. It identifies the quantity of a product, updates the stock level, informs the Inventory Manager of low stock levels, and places an automated order with supplies.

A success story is retailer, LockNLube. They used an ERP to improve the time spent on inventory management by 70%.

2. Keeping Up With Competition

E-commerce is a fiercely competitive market, with 95% of purchases expected to be made online by 2040. This requires e-businesses to keep up with the latest technology and trends to compete. But factors such as budget, time, and capacity all play a part in a company’s ability to do so.

One solution is to deploy software tools, ranging from affordable SaaS solutions to top-of-the-line bespoke packages. The affordability of software has levelled the playing field for e-businesses, allowing start-ups to compete with enterprise brands.

Now, almost 70% of top economic performers use some form of software to keep up with competing businesses.

3. Meeting Customer Expectations

Customer expectations are always growing, with the majority expecting scenarios such as a good mobile shopping experience (after all, 91% make online purchases using smartphones), helpful 24/7 customer support, a live chat feature, an easy ordering process, and more.

To achieve brand objectives, meeting customer expectations is critical. ERP e-commerce systems provide the features to meet most of today’s customer demands, including greater control over omnichannel support and enhancing the customer service experience.

4. Ensuring Data Is Secure

E-commerce businesses collect highly confidential data, including customer details, historical transactions, and user behaviour tracking. As well as noting GDPR laws for storing this data, e-businesses need to ensure that their systems can not be hacked by external parties and their data leaked.

For online retailers without a secure system, most data will be collected on spreadsheets and stored locally. Although some e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, provide extra layered data security measures with a subscription.

ERP systems provide a secure and trusted place to store copious amounts of data, they also have the reporting and analytics tools that enable brands to get the most out of their data by analysing buying trends and optimising the customer experience.


Without ERP

With ERP

Inventory Management

Increased risk of errors, manual stock tracking, bad customer experienceAutomated inventory tracking, accurate stock levels, automated ordering processes


Falling behind competitors, not meeting customer expectationsLevelling the playing field, access to the latest technology and features

Customer Expectations

Poor customer service experience, manual support only provided when onlineQuicker customer support, seamless omnichannel support, 24/7 Chatbots with AI ERP

Data Security

Open to hacks and data leaks, unable to analyse key dataSecure and encrypted data files, disaster-proof capabilities, ability to analyse and act on data trends

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What Are Your Key ERP Requirements?

What ERP Software Features Should E-Commerce Brands Prioritise?

Inventory Management

Integrating inventory and stock management data enables real-time updates that sync across physical and online stores. The data stored for each piece of stock is vast and saves time when locating inventory in warehouses or stockrooms.

Order Processing & Fulfilment

The entire order processing cycle is automated, this saves time when picking and packing orders and helps to minimise shipping times.

Customer Management/CRM Integration

An integrated CRM feature enables brands to enhance the overall customer experience. All customer data is stored in one centralised database, making it easy to provide a personalised experience and manage customer support interactions.

Financial Reporting

An invoicing and accounting ERP feature ensures all financial data is recorded accurately in real time. This helps e-businesses keep on top of accounts payable and accounts receivable, and to analyse customer sales and trends.

Product Information Management (PIM)

A PIM system should be considered alongside an ERP system when a retailer has multiple products and variations. Essentially, PIM will act as a central storage system for all products. For example, by installing a Product Information Management ERP, the retailer BooHoo supercharged its inventory processes by reducing order fulfilment time from 10 minutes to 30 seconds and scanning 60,000 SKUs daily.


What Is an ERP E-Commerce Connector?

An ERP e-commerce connector is a specific plug-in, module, or feature provided by an e-commerce platform that helps to seamlessly connect a platform to an ERP system.

What Are the Recommended E-Commerce Platforms?

In the UK, several e-commerce platforms support ERP integration, including:

  • Shopify
  • WIX
  • BigCommerce
  • SquareSpace
  • Weebly
  • WooCommerce