One of the biggest problems I see most B2B companies encounter is that all of their operations are run through their ERP but they want to start transacting on a new system via eCommerce like Magento, BigCommerce, or Shopify. Marrying these two systems and allowing your eCommerce system to sync data with your ERP in a way that allows you to scale eCommerce operations is often not easy.
I think the first step to success is understanding what you want the two systems to really do and which system is the master system for what. I think many companies fall down here because they don’t really know what systems are good at what.
It’s very hard to scale B2B eCommerce without your ERP data syncing in some way with eCommerce and vice versa. Therefore in order to build a proper B2B eCommerce integration, I recommend you do the following:
Audit eCommerce platform capabilities – What does the platform do well and what should it be the “master” system for. Should it be the master product data record for all rich data etc or other key data?
Audit ERP capabilities – What is the ERP capable of or will be capable in future versions. What is it best at and should be the “master” of? Typically we see this being customer records, orders, inventory, and pricing. It typically fails at being good at storing content and rich product data beyond basic inventory and pricing info.
Identify Gaps in both systems – What gaps need to be filled by other systems. Sometimes you may need additional apps like Channel Advisor to sync to marketplaces, a PIM for product data, or other key systems to fill in gaps. This could cause more integration headaches so its important to make sure these fill a critical need.
Identify Key Data Workflows Between eCommerce and ERP – An integration could be as simple as the orders from your eCommerce system getting sent to your ERP for processing. Typically for B2B companies, this is not nearly enough. You might want to have two-way sync of orders, customers, and other key data. Some common additional nuances for B2B are bringing in the credit data from the ERP to eCommerce so that customers can see their credit and how much they have on credit to purchase via a PO and pay down later.
Find An Integration Product or Custom Solution – Custom integrating can get very expensive. I recommend finding specific solutions that do exactly what you need like the Trellis Infor Magento 2 Integration or Alluvia who does great work for SAP Business One. You can also look for iPaaS Solutions like Celigo that might be a great fit to handle much more than just your ERP integration needs. Solution providers like us can help you implement Celigo or other products.