We have been hearing a lot from our customers. There are thousands of options available today and I’m pretty sure sellers feel overwhelmed with the features and support offered by several vendors.
Previous Blog – Series – Choosing the Best eCommerce Integration for your Marketplace
What will be the first thing you would do when you are all set to start an online marketplace? We’re referring to the webstore with a perfect suite to handle product listings, product image integration, multi-tier and customer centric item pricing, real time web order and invoice integration complemented with mobile ready and powerful analytics features.
The good news is x2x eCommerce assists sellers with a wide range of eCommerce tools to enhance your webstore. Do you require the store inventory to sync with your webstore sales? For a start. that’s something you should be thinking about.
If you have an eCommerce Website
For sure, having a standard eCommerce website alone won’t help you sort out your invoices/stock issues. You need to consider integrating your eCommerce solution with your ERP suite. You don’t need to hire someone to work on your eCommerce website/portal. There are ready to deploy solutions like x2x eCommerce to save your time and money! This is a great solution for marketplaces who want to kick start quickly and flexibly adapt to quick changes and manage their webstore in the backend with x2x eCommerce integration tool.
How much you need to spend?
Should you pay the money upfront or pay as you go? Well, you got both the options! Now that’s really flexible for businesses that are small or larger enterprises. Let’s say you need to offer online payment gateway, but not focused on investing more time or resources on logistics or advertising to boost your business – that’s where the inexpensive pay as you go subscription works well for you. Down the line, if you reconsider your plan by implementing an expensive and a full-fledged solution that can boost your webstore such as SEO, email marketing integrations, product stock management, logistics etc., choosing a solution like x2x eCommerce will surely add value without any hassle! So, keep in mind, upgrade or downgrade, possibilities are endless!
Do you need a store inventory suite to sync with your webstore?
Yes! Yes! That’s a very important requirement! Imagine managing all your inventories using an integration tool right from your top-notch ERP solution within minutes? You really can’t afford to employ someone to take care of thousands of your inventory daily right (If you can afford, well, yes)? It’s also going to save lot of time and hassles.
x2x eCommerce – Innovative eCommerce-ERP Integration
x2x eCommerce is a revolutionary solution that combines the power of Retail Management Hero and Microsoft Dynamics GP and Enterprise eCommerce for a feature rich, fully optimized, responsive and multi-device friendly web store that can be managed all within Dynamics ERP. Once deployed, start selling more with lower TCO!
Ready to start setting up your webstore with x2x eCommerce Integration Suite? Get in touch with our experts to learn more!
We had a great time at the Retail Realm Partner & User Conference that took place at Ceasars Palace, Las Vegas, NV on August 20 to 22, 2018. The 8th Edition of the event showcased trending and new Microsoft products, innovations, software developments and platforms for SMEs to the large enterprises for the retail sector. This was indeed a great platform for us solution providers to deep dive into the future of Retail technology.
There were several keynote sessions that enlightened the retail technology ecosystem that focused on payment processing, business intelligence, mobility, eCommerce, integration possibilities with top-notch solutions like Retail Management Hero (RMH), Microsoft Dynamics 365 etc.
Our Presence at the Event
Theresa Keenan, Business Development Director, x2x-eCommerce represented our team and nurtured exciting networking opportunities by meeting with resellers, retailers and partners. The best part of this event is that it caters to both VAR/ISV partners as well as the resellers. It also channels different markets and verticals for the small to large enterprises.
Executives from Microsoft. Retail Management Hero (RMH), Retail Orphan Initiative, IHL Group were present at the 3-day conference. The Principal Group Program Manager for Microsoft, Mr Balaji Balasubramanian shared his thoughts:
“I am excited to speak at the Retail Realm Conference every year, as it completely focuses on digital transformation happening in the retail industry including omni-channel excellence, and brings together customers, partners, ISVs and a broader ecosystem to discuss, learn, share and grow their businesses. This year, I am thrilled to be participating to outline details around the Dynamics 365 for Retail and Commerce solution including Microsoft’s vision, strategy and progress we’ve made as well as roadmap. I will also share opportunities for Dynamics partners and ISVs to better engage and collaborate with Microsoft to best support our growing customer base worldwide,”
We, x2x-eCommerce is excited to see that the event had product-focused session tracks on Retail Management Hero (RMH), Dynamics RMS next-generation POS product and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail. x2x eCommerce is one of the top providers of integration suites for top-notch retail solutions available today. We see a great future for product enhancements for business integrations, verticalized extensions and payment processing features.
Another exciting news is that RMH Central demos will be made available for the retailers. This will include the important product updates/plans on RMH POS and store manager. x2x eCommerce is a perfect integration platform for RMH to other top eCommerce solutions such as Magento, Shopify and WooCommerce.
This event is definitely a great arena for exchanging ideas with the top performers in the retail IT channel. Our dedicated integration suite, x2x-eCommerce will surely be a valuable addition for the retailers across the North American region. We have also learned various best practices from the exhibitors and looking forward to a fruitful association with them too.
We are privileged to explore the Microsoft Executive Summit, RMH State of the Union forum, and other social networking opportunities.
The Retail Realm Partner & User Conference is an annual global retail technology event that spotlights the latest solutions, software developments and innovations, trends and insights, and supportive platforms for small businesses to large-scale enterprises in the retail sector.
Well, it’s a pain to choose the best eCommerce integration platform for your business. First of all, you can find hundreds of solutions across the globe. However it’s difficult on how to begin with. The first step is to see if you require a hosted/licensed application. Hosted solutions, likewise, offer lower costs with minimal IT needs, less maintenance and you can easily upscale or downscale based on your business needs. In the case of licensed solutions, you will be able to build a custom product dedicated for your marketplace. Also, maintenance costs are higher compared to the counterparts and you might consider keeping a capital investment in advance to take it forward.
As a result, here we are with a Blog Series on how to choose the Best eCommerce Integration for your Marketplace!
Once you have planned on the type of deployment for your marketplace, deep dive into the features. Top notch eCommerce solutions can offer your custom site templates, SEO, integrated shopping carts, product catalogs, email marketing solution, inventory management solution and basic analytical tools. In this century, we are in need for mobile commerce platforms and rewards management, so you can withstand the competition from others. Product suggestions, wishlist, product as a gift services will keep your customers happy for the reason that wanting them to visit your marketplace again and again.
The “top-notch” eCommerce Platforms
There’s plenty of top-notch eCommerce platforms available in the market today. Consequently, Magento has been the leader since 2011 with its great growth and reports. However, with more players in the market, the market share has gone down to 4.48% (Courtesy: www.datanyze.com)
Magento is still a favorite for large organizations due to its flexibility. It also has a Magento has a dedicated team to keep pace with the market releasing latest updates and top ongoing support services.
As mentioned earlier, Magento comes with lot of flexible implementation features. You can go with licensed, hosted or even an open source platform. The features that’s available on Magento are:
- Great search features with flexible navigation elements
- Custom UI designs (landing pages, product catalog and multi-store support)
- Dedicated App Store for marketplace enhancements
- Dedicated SEO engine
- Loaded with Marketing tools like gift cards, rewards programs, promo banners etc.)
- Customer Engagement Features like wish lists, product suggestions, customer assisted shopping experience.
To be exact, over 780,000 merchants use WooCommerce. WooCommerce is an open source e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It is designed for small to large-sized online merchants using WordPress. Launched on September 27, 2011, the plugin quickly became popular for its simplicity to install and customize and free base product. Since Automattic’s acquisition, WooCommerce has kept gaining market share and has now become one of the leading E-commerce platforms on the Internet. The Market Share for WooCommerce recorded is 24.4%.
Shopify is an “all in one” ecommerce platform that allows user to build an online store with a great user experience.
In order to build an online store, users get a 14-day free trial. Since Shopify is based on the subscription business model, the monthly price after the trial period starts from $29 up to $299 for standard shops. Similarly, for enterprise business, users can go with Shopify Plus package. It has over 270,000 merchants as of August 2018.
Data as of August 2018 (Courtesy: Datanyze.com)
Integrating your Marketplace with RMH and Dynamics GP
With top-notch eCommerce Marketplaces as mentioned above, due to the reason that you need to be able to integrate it with your leading ERP suites like Retail Management Hero (RMH) or Microsoft Dynamics GP, the experience is going to be even better! You get a combine value of two products without any hassle!
Why you need to integrate your Marketplace with your ERP? Reason is very obvious! You need to get rid of manual interventions that kills time and error-prone too. In online businesses, order errors are expensive and chances of losing money is higher. Incorrect pricing, inventory levels, shipping address errors, good heavens, can’t even think about such situations as it’s going to be a disaster!
Therefore, how can you integrate some of the ERP-eCommerce processes to make your lives easier?
- Centralized area for syncing item catalog information
- Real-time inventory to all your sales channels
- Standard order to cash procedure across all your sales channels
- Moving your order information under one location for boosting customer satisfaction.
Above all, if you are able to achieve the above levels of integration, you are going to save lots of time and boost customer satisfaction in no time!
The whole reason of having a conversational eCommerce is due to convenience. It’s not that the users just use these messaging application, it’s because they prefer them. This helps users to drive a business on their desired platform whenever they need.
If you would ask how many users are following the social media channels what people mostly use, it would be 30%. Especially, the Facebook Message has got over 900 Million users along with 50 Million organizations. If you were to compare the number of messages processed in this platform, it would be over 60 billion a day! Wow! Now that’s 3 times larger than the global volume of text messages.
The trend these days shows that users would be interested in following text messages for communications rather than phone, emails and social media platforms. Seriously, who is bothered about giving a ring to a company. Also, instead of users installing new applications for every service/business they interact with, it’s better to bring all the companies to top-notch applications available today. As the most important part is the usability, users need to message a company/service in the same way as they are messaging their colleagues/friends.
Conversational Commerce – An Overview
To explain what conversational commerce is easy – Users interacting with chat-in requests of a company to avoid user interface friction. Messaging apps an do way more better than the existing Facebook queries. It harvests its potential to assisting consumers throughout the buying cycle. Conversational commerce has to work in parallel with the existing digital/physical touch points throughout the consumers’ journey.
Let’s follow a scenario: A users is looking for a sports watch, black in color, leather straps. The chatbots or a representative shows the recommendations that is further filtered based on the user conversations. When the user is all set, he/she selects the purchase button and gets the order confirmation and shipping information.
Facebook has already launched the bot service. In Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Teams has a similar feature too. The same is available for Skype too! Slack, Kik and Telegram will join the league soon, so they can answer consumer queries, curate reviews based on what users are looking into.
Gartner reveals that by the year 2019, apps will have more customer support requests than social media and call centers.
Pros of Conversational Commerce
According to the report by Conversational Commerce 2017, For eCommerce/retail businesses, Conversational commerce is very important because there will be a drastic increase as consumers communicate with the brand using chat-in features. It allows companies to access larger user based and enhance retention strategies via better customer service. The chatbots will be able to automate the service messages and send across delivery and shipping information to the users. This can save lot of service team’s time as bots can interact with consumers real-time.
Technology at its peak
Well, according to Business Insider in the Conversational Commerce Report, the missing area is the payments feature. If the chat application forces the users to redirect to another application just for the payments, the chances of conversion rates are lower. Today, organizations are coming up with custom features in order to integrate eCommerce solutions which can extend to conversational platforms.
Taking an example of our own Subway and MasterCard. They have already launched a feature where the customers can pre-order and pay for the orders via Facebook Messenger. The chat-bot helps the consumers choose nearest Subway outlets and customize their order. The bot also provides health information related the food the users order and comes along with response buttons for assisting users choose the sandwich ingredients. The customers can select Facebook’s payment gateway or MasterPass (Payment service by MasterCard) without leaving from Facebook Messenger.
Another great example is T-Mobile App, where consumers can chat with the agents using Facebook Messenger or standard SMS texts. Checkout the image below to learn more:
Does your eCommerce solution handle conversational commerce and financials?
You cannot stay away from the rapid technology advancements. We live in tough competitive market and inorder to grow your brand, it’s going to be a tedious and a challenging task. Your brand needs to beat the competition quickly with these advancements. Your eCommerce solution needs to be flexible by integrating with third-party applications. Apart from chat-bot integration, handling of financials would be of a great priority. Get in touch with our experts to learn more about x2x-eCommerce and experience the top-class integration suite for your eCommerce and ERP solutions!
Well, eCommerce ERP integration has become a necessity today. It is simply because of the hassles or cost caused to having number of systems. The costs are worthy when we can witness the productivity levels in customer service and operations. Your eCommerce platform could be Magento or Shopify or even market places such as eBay, Amazon.com etc. Your ERP solution is a financial suite that needs to manage your business data and backoffice operations. Integrating these two will be a great relief for eCommerce Businesses. ERP Solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics GP, RMS etc.
Integrating your eCommerce portal with your ERP suite will allow you to manage:
- Tax ID and rates
- Shipping Methods
- Payment methods
- Attributes and attribute sets
- B2C customer and address
- Sales Orders with:
- item and quantity ordered;
- shipping and payment methods;
- calculated taxes; and
- shipping charges
It will also handle:
- Inventory Items
- Categories and sub categories
- Items assignment to categories
- Multi-tier price levels
- Product images
- SEO information
- Item quantities at assigned site
- B2B Customer Information
- Shipment information
Can you think about manually entering data from one system to another? That’s why solutions like x2x-eCommerce integrates between these two systems to eliminate manual interventions. A webstore can surely work without an ERP system. This could be possible for the first year, but how far would you go without handling the financial transactions?
It is a pain to update item information in your spreadsheets and updating it on your eCommerce platform. With the powerful integration systems in place, you can just upload the excel file directly to the system. Within few minutes, all your inventory is updated! All your new orders can be fulfilled regardless of the sale location. The price management of the inventory can be done easily so you can have your marketplace display the accurate pricing and product information.
It’s easy to make mistakes if the processes are not automated. Your shipping addresses could go wrong, inventory level mismatch, pricing issues will start occurring in the system. This will affect your customer experience, so why take a chance?
Having a successful eCommerce business with online demand is always a challenge. So, its recommended to integrate your ERP systems with your existing eCommerce platform for fruitful results.
So, what are the benefits of an eCommerce ERP integration suite? Let’s check it out:
- Ability to notify your customers when the orders are placed or shipped and tracking of the product delivery.
- Eliminating manual interventions to save time and increase accuracy when entering inventory, orders, customers, items and shipping information.
- Streamlining the inventory updates, showing the accurate inventory levels to the visitors without having extra resources to handle these jobs.
- Comply with tax requirements and automated tax compliance.
- Ability to manage product information and pricing to the items
- Flexibility to add several online and offline sales channels without compromising operational efforts.
- Handling increased demand for online orders without any extra resources.
People trust Reviews
You can visit online stores, browse the items and read reviews from both satisfied and unhappy customers. People trust reviews from people like them more than the talk of the store salesperson.
Lower cost to Retailer, lower price to Consumer
With the online store bringing substantial saving to the retailers, they are happy to pass on some of those saving to the consumer.
Imagine the cost of maintaining multiple locations all over the country to reach out the population, you now need one central virtual store which can be accessed by anyone not only from country but from all over the world.
There is no cost of rent, big team of workers, cost of moving goods to various locations and the carrying cost of the inventory. In terms of dollars the saving is phenomenal.
Are you ready to meet the challenge?
Online eCommerce and Mobile eCommerce is expected to stay and grow. There is no status quo in the business. Business is like riding a bike, either you keep on moving or fall.
With x2x eCommerce selling Online is as easy as 1-2-3
- Update Web Store Related Information from Dynamics GP.
- Start Selling on your webstores
- Download orders in Dynamics GP, ship and invoice
Go Live in weeks not months
Visit www.x2x-ecommerce.com, or call 877 927 2927 to get started.
Malls were the place to hang out
Not long back malls were the place where everyone will spend their time shopping. People will spend their weekend in the malls browsing the stores, shopping and eating in the food courts.
Malls are closing
Now, over several years, the malls have starting closing. It is projected that a third of shopping malls will either close. There is so much retail space available and there is no one to take.
Impact of Anchor Stores leaving malls
The major factor for the small stores in the mall going belly up is attributed to the anchor stores like Macy’s, JC Penney, and Sears, often known as anchor stores. Anchor stores brings traffic. Without anchor stores, malls are bound to lose traffic which forces other smaller stores to go out of business.
People buying habits have changed
The biggest factor to blame is the growth in online shopping. With only 8% to 10% of the total sales, online sales have already started taking its toll on the retail stores and malls.
Even while buying at the store, people still visit online stores to check prices and read reviews.
Everyone seems to know that they can expand their business and increase their sales significantly by selling their products online. This applies to both selling to consumers (B2B) and those selling to other businesses (B2B).
Successful eCommerce store is a lot more than picking a catchy domain name and selecting whatever eCommerce software one finds and go live and start offering the company’s product. Many tend to forget who is going to come to their site if no one can find them on web where thousands of companies like them are all trying to get customers attention.
Starting a webstore is a big and continuous commitment. It cost money to get started and lot of efforts for maintaining it. Products needs to be added and removed, prices need to be updated when changed, items must be marked in or out of stock, download the orders on timely basis and ship them promptly.
Companies who are not very clear of their objectives and offerings right at the outset, it can take a long time of trial and error before things start to get rolling. Here are some tips:
It is all about Market Share
The thing that one need to keep in mind is that it is all about the market share. The purpose of going online is to expand into new markets and reach out to the markets which were not hitherto accessible by the business.
The program used to develop your online webstore should be well equipped and compatible with all the current tools and techniques used by marketers to extend their reach and to increase the visibility of their offerings.
Many times, people tend to forget that making a web store is not an end game, increasing the sales, reach out to new markets, add new customer and increase the sales to existing customers or in other words, a higher market share is the end goal.
How to make the best use of eCommerce site to increase your market share
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is vital for every kind of website as well as for eCommerce portals.
Though the degree of impact that SEO have on a site varies with the type of site and the customer, the major source of acquiring new customers is to have the site visible to potential customers. Since, unlike the websites, the web stores have limited capabilities to use many keywords, the eCommerce program that you use usually have inbuilt capabilities to promote the keywords of your choice.
It is also usually a lot of work to define the meta tag, meta keywords and meta description for all the existing items and for the items that will added in the future. Some programs provide functionality to use the power of Excel to add the SEO information to the web store.
- Ease of Navigation
Getting customers to find the eCommerce webstore is a significant challenge, but the bigger challenge is to offer them the goods and services they are looking for. This is handled by a well thought over Product Catalog.
The bigger the company’s product range is and the more complex the product offerings are the more important it becomes to help customers by simplifying the search process. Per one study, three fourth of the customers will prefer buying from sites which make it easy and convenient for them to make a purchase.
Many times, one product is shown under multiple categories on the product catalog. For example, an IPhone can be shown under Mobile, Smart Phone, Electronics, Gift Items and on Sale categories. The eCommerce program being used should not only be smart enough to allow multiple cataloging of same products but also can bring the web traffic to those items.
- Go Social
Today a significant portion of the referral traffic to websites come from social media. It is important to realize that without taking the advantage of social media to boost website traffic, one cannot achieve the main objective of having an eCommerce webstore, to make more sales and to increase the market share.
Social media is the best platform to announce product launches, special promotions, big deals, product features which are essential to enlighten the customer as the first step in their buying process.
Social media is also being also one of the powerful tool for product reviews. Reviews provide testimonials from other customers and are very effective way to convince the potential customers. Reviews on social media are trusted more by the customers than the references on the company’s site.
One must be cautious when choosing the software for eCommerce and its ability to incorporate the new things that are coming in the social media world. Social media is a fast-paced world in which new developments are coming all the times. eCommerce solutions provided by companies with small customer base are often unable to keep pace with the competition.
- Go Mobile
The major source of traffic today is not the desktop, nor it is laptops or notebooks. Most the customer now use the mobile devices, smart phones and tablets, to browse and place orders.
A website which is not enabled to handle the traffic coming from these devices will lose their customers in an instant. If you do not see the content of the site in an easy, well organized, readable manner, would you stay on the website or move on? There are two ways to handle the traffic coming from mobile.
The bare minimum requirement to welcome the traffic coming from mobile is to have a responsive web design. A responsive web theme is a combination of multiple themes each meant to suit certain type of devices. The theme is intelligent enough to identify the device being used by the visitor and present the layout compatible for that device.
Mobile Apps are Android and IPhone apps developed to allow customers to browse products, check prices, compare items and place orders using the custom apps. Imagine the power of customer being able to browse products and place orders that goes directly in Dynamics GP using a mobile application which can be used on Smart Phones and Tablets.
eCommerce has become an extremely convenient outlet for consumers for the products and services, they want to buy. Per some estimates, there are about two million eCommerce sites. With eCommerce being such a competitive arena, it is essential to consider some well tested strategies that will knock out your competition.
As much as an eCommerce site launch requites adequate planning, the ongoing management of the webstore also require careful planning and management. A well-planned use of tools like Search Engine Optimization(SEO), Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Paid Advertising can help beat the competition.
2. Customer friendly
With no sales persons to guide the customers, customers buying decision is based on their perception about the Company and the people behind the store. A bug free, customer friendly; and well-designed site capable of guiding the customer though their buying process and address their concerns leads to higher and value added sales.
3. Mobile friendly
With the increased use of mobile devices especially smart phones, the customers prefer to shop on the site while they are having a coffee or waiting for a bus. Businesses which can capture the attention of these potentials customers are yay more successful than their competition.
4. Social Media friendly
Social Media is a very valuable tool communicate with the customer and to get their feedback and suggestions. This two communication help companies to understand the customer needs to improve the offerings. Managing social media requires constant monitoring and posting of new content.
5. Social Elements
Customers love to read reviews. Their opinion about any site is affected by the social buzz. Giving customers the opportunity to share their opinion about the site, products, services and offerings give them an impression that you care for their business and for their opinion.
6. Well Optimized
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is absolutely important for the success of any site. SEO ensures that the customer find the site in the jungle of millions of other websites trying to attract the same customer. SEO help bring in the relevant traffic by targeting the right audience.
7. Well managed and Integrated
Managing an eCommerce site without proper tools is a daunting task. A significant amount of time is required on a regular basis to download orders and update shipment status. Add the time required for updating contents like prices, quantities, new products, images, product catalog, managing a webstore becomes a full-time job.
Using tools like x2x eCommerce which integrate eCommerce with Dynamics GP ERP eliminate the need to manually maintain the contents, update item information, download orders and update shipment status.
X2x eCommerce integrated eCommerce site with the Dynamics GP ERP system, It is like putting the web business on an auto pilot. X2x eCommerce cut significant amount of time required to administer and update the eCommerce site. This leave more time to concentrate on marketing and improving customer’s buying experience.
Since the world-wide web was introduced the way people have navigated their day has changed significantly. The business world was not left untouched by the information superhighway. The convenience of making purchases online was recognized as a new avenue that have been quite profitable for those who have taken the time to understand how to use the business tool referred to as the internet.
Understanding the Consumer
In this new age of technology, it has become increasing important to for businesses to keep their finger on the pulse of their consumers wants, needs, and expectations. So, what are consumers looking for? They answer is simple; ease of access.
Before the advent of the internet, a physical store site location was key factor. Usually, the preferred store site is it in a high traffic area where perspective consumers could easily see it and walk in or in other words, ease of access.
Applying this same rule to your eCommerce site is also necessary. Ease of access is the first key in operating a successful eCommerce business. The internet has overloaded the consumer with so much information, it can become quite overwhelming.
The consumer wants to be able to connect to your site with minimal effort on their part. As a society, we have become spoiled with the speed of information at our fingertips, patience is not necessarily a virtue when it comes to the internet. Creating a web presence that consumers can easily find and connect to has become essential to the viability of storefronts, it’s the only way to increase the traffic to your site.
The Future of eCommerce is Mobile
It’s challenging to walk down any street and find someone who is not paying avid attention to their mobile device. Mobile devices have enabled us to have access to the internet anytime we want, while riding on the bus, during work breaks or lunch, while waiting to cross the street, virtually anytime we want we can surf the net to find whatever it is we are looking for.
The world is mobile, to manage a successful eCommerce site it must also be mobile friendly. Responsive sites show your customers that you understand their needs, and are more than capable of meeting them. For those businesses paying attention to the increased use of mobile devices by the masses, it became increasingly clear that creating a responsive website was necessary to stay ahead of their competition.
Mobile eCommerce through X2X eCommerce for Dynamics GP
X2X eCommerce facilitates the organizations to take the benefit of mobile eCommerce in two ways:
- All the themes and layout used by x2x eCommerce for Dynamics GP are responsive themes
x2x eCommerce also provide mobile apps for Android and IOS that allows customers to place the orders using their phone which goes straight in Dynamics GP.