To Integrate or Not to Integrate with your ERP

xTupleCommerce was originally conceived to help Manufacturers and Distributors give their customers direct, web-based, round-the-clock, self-service access — from anywhere in the world. For early adopters, this live, web-integration of accounting, customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) with eCommerce dramatically improved their ability to market products, operate more efficiently, and meet the needs of the millennial generation.

And why do millennials matter? In 2015, millennials — the children of baby-boomers (born between the early 1980s and 2000s) — surpassed their predecessors, Gen Xers, as the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. Millennials are "digital natives," the first generation in the workforce born with an innate familiarity of constant digital communications, media and technologies. They've grown up with the Web — and expect (or demand) online access to virtually everything in their personal and professional lives.

As we’ve spoken to lots of new prospects for integrated eCommerce and ERP over the past year, an interesting pattern has emerged.

While we’ve developed an impressive slate of features available in xTupleCommerce Basic or Premium editions (listed below, with thanks to Josh Fischer, Product Manager for xTupleCommerce), as a general rule, these features easily meet, and often exceed, the needs of most small to mid-size Manufacturers and Distributors, but …

… one assumption we’ve always had was that our prospects were already using an ERP and looking for a Web Portal. Now, we’ve been mildly surprised to find a number of serious prospects already have a successful Web presence and are looking for an ERP to help manage that success.

Some of these customers have become so accustomed to the many freedoms they enjoy using their website's content management system (CMS), i.e., to theme, modify and alter their standalone site, that switching to a system with any less autonomy is not an attractive option. They are willing to forego bottom-line efficiencies to maintain the main economic driver of their business — their website.

Yet, they still need ERP on the back-end.

In cases such as these, it may be appropriate to engage in a non-real-time, batch (time-delayed) integration with the prospect (that's a lengthy topic for a future posting).

To integrate or not to integrate — that is the question.

While not ideal, an integration has two potentially long-term benefits for xTuple partners and customers alike.

First — once the eCommerce product  has matured, it will prove agile enough for most, allowing users to easily switch from their current website provider to xTupleCommerce.

Second — any integration can be repurposed and, more importantly, pave the way for real-time, tight integration with eCommerce industry leading providers such as Magento, Volusion, Shopity, etc. Integration with these companies will add real value to our network, greatly expand our prospect base and better position us to meet the needs our customers — and their customers. 

xTupleCommerce Features

Content Management

  • User-friendly content management system (CMS)
  • Merchandising and Promotions
  • Integrated blog with product promotion tools
  • Sandbox Environment
  • Email Marketing Integration
  • Helpdesk
  • FAQs
  • Coming soon
    • SEO Management
    • Schedule Content
    • Marketing Tools

Business Management

  • Real-time ERP Integration
  • Multiple Web Portals Connected to 1 ERP
  • Advanced Administration Roles
  • B2C and B2B on One Platform
  • Unified Inventory Management
  • Accounting and reporting
  • Restrict Customers on Credit Hold
  • Public or Private eCommerce Store
  • Customer Management
  • Referral System
  • Built-In Security
  • Multiple Customer Types
  • Integration with Google Analytics

  • Coming soon
    • Flexible Couponing and Promotions
    • Integration with 3rd Party Tax System

Customer Experience

  • Full Shopping Cart Functionality
  • Customer Specific Pricing
  • Mobile Ready Theme
  • Saved Carts
  • Customer Self-Service Portal
  • Search and Browse for Products
  • Fulfillment Tracking
  • Multiple Ship To Addresses
  • Favorite Items List
  • View/Export Past Invoices and Open Sales Orders
  • Save multiple credit cards to Account
  • Flexible Payment Options (Credit Card, Pay with Terms, Pay Later)

  • Coming Soon
    • Subscriptions and Recurring Orders 
    • Multiple Shopping Lists
    • Quote Workflow
    • Customer Experience Flexibility
    • Live Chat Integration Available

Product Management

  • Product Information Management (PIM)
  • Layered Navigation
  • Related Products
  • Shipping Rules
  • Configurator — Styled Products, Bundles & Kitting, Custom configuration, Build to Order
  • Product Catalog Management
  • Inventory/Availability

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