One of the top requests we've gotten from clients with an eCommerce website this year is ERP integration. Automatic inventory updates, price syncing and reducing data entry are the primary benefits to having the integration. However, due to the many different types of ERP systems and various eCommerce platforms there is almost never a "plug and play" solution. Before thinking about hiring some developers, you should ask these questions first:
1. Does My ERP Have Access to the Internet?
In other words, do you use a web-based ERP system or is it installed on a single machine in your office or warehouse? If it's web-based, this most likely means that they offer an API for a developer to hook into. If it's installed locally, you may need a dedicated server installed at your location in order to provide API access. Your ERP provider will be able to let you know if they offer this.
2. Does my eCommerce Website Offer an API?
Not only does your ERP need a line of communication through the internet, but your website needs a way to communicate with your ERP whether it's "pushing" the data or "pulling" the data from the ERP. If you're on one of the big four eCommerce platforms (Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify or BigCommerce) then you are good to go as they all have API capabilities.
3. What Are The Most Important Things For The Integration to Accomplish?
We recommend making a list of the specific features you want from the integration and deciding which ones are the highest priority. The more specific the better! For example, let's say you want the integration to automate orders coming in from the website into the ERP and to charge the credit card once the ERP marks the order as completed. The top priority in this example would be getting the orders from the website "pushed" to the ERP system. After all, inputting all the order data is a lot more work than clicking an "order complete" button. Having this all prepared will save a lot of time in meetings when everyone is on the same page and you'll be able to get a more accurate quote for development on each feature.
Let's Integrate! (there's a joke in here somewhere...)
If you've been able to confirm your ERP has a line of communication with the outside world, your website has API capabilities and made a list of features you want out of the integration you're ready to start looking for a developer or an agency to do the development for you. Here's a hint... that's us!