When your online business starts to grow at a rapid scale and you have made the first move of upgrading to a Shopify Plus store too, it’s time to start thinking about your resources in a more strategic manner. While allocation-on-the-go may have worked beautifully for you so far, it’s time to evolve the strategy for long-term success. Yes, we’re talking about the one thing you’ve been putting off for too long - Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
Chances are, you’re already feeling the need for managing your supply chains better, get a better hold of the inventory and manage your customer relationships better; at the same time, not pacing down the experience you offer to buyers on your storefront.
So in this guide, we’re going to walk you through what you need to know about ERPs. From what they are, why you should use them, the best Shopify ERP partners and how you should choose one for your business.
What is Shopify ERP?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) are basically integrated eCommerce solutions that manage all core aspects of supply chain management and manufacturing, services, financial management, human resources and other processes that an eCommerce business needs to run efficiently.
The main goal of Shopify ERP is to automate and simplify individual activities across a business or organization while providing complete visibility and cross-departmental alignment.
A typical ERP software for eCommerce is engineered to help you collect, organize and interpret data from a number of business activities including customer relations, supply chain, inventory, purchasing, human resources, finance, sales, manufacturing and engineering.
What are the benefits of a Shopify ERP?
Think of the number of things you need to take care of when running an online business. From finding and coordinating with manufacturers and suppliers, to inventory operations, managing your storefront, to eventually taking care of shipping and delivery, as well as customer relations post-purchase, there is a lot that happens under covers that can make or break the success of your eCommerce business.
This is where a Shopify ERP partner comes in to:
- Automate certain employee job functions for more efficiency
- Elminite single-purpose softwares to bring all data onto one platform
- Secure company data across all operations in one place
- Create a single analytics and reporting dashboard
- Make it easier to track inventory and sales
- Speed collaboration and coordination between various departments
According to Panorama Consulting Solutions, ERP has proven to produce a high return on investment (ROI) by reducing IT costs by 40%, reducing inventory levels by 38% and reducing cycle time by 35%.
If you’re wondering just how many businesses invest in an eCommerce ERP system, Market Research Engine points out that the market is expected to exceed more than US $49.5000 billion by 2025.
Now that you know the benefits of having an ERP, before you just impto looking for a Shopify ERP partner, let’s first go through how to choose one. The reason being, there are a number of ERP service providers as of today, and since it is a long-term commitment you’re making for your online business, you need to reduce the risk of going wrong!
How to select the best Shopify ERP software for your eCommerce business
As we always say, the process of choosing a software for your business may look different from one brand to another, but here are five things you absolutely should consider.
1. Objectives and requirements
First things first, get a clear answer to why you’re interested in getting an eCommerce ERP software and what problem will it help you solve. This will prevent you from getting influenced by the information fed to you by the internet and the sales pitches offered by the vendors. Clearly list down your requirements before you even begin researching Shopify ERP partners. At the same time, also check with team members across all departments to understand their needs and requirements from an ERP.
2. Performance KPIs and measure of ROI
Most eCommerce ERP service providers mention that you may not be able to measure the ROI of their solution. But the truth is, you can. But you need to clearly define your goals to be able to measure the performance of a Shopify ERP system. A few performance metrics that you can look into when measuring the performance of an ERP system, include reduction in headcount across departments, increase in productivity levels, decrease in inventory in correlation with improvement in accounting, increase in the customer lifetime value and improvement in the accuracy of product manufacturing costs.
3. Expectations from the Shopify ERP system demo
Another thing that you should clearly define before submitting a demo request with a ERP vendor, is what you want to see in the demo. Provide them with details on the workflows you want to simplify and automate with their ERP system, and the team members that would be making use of it, as well as the assistance they may need to put their software to use (onboarding, post-conversion support). Let them come back to you with a well-structured presentation for you.
4. Source of assurance
As we said, an ERP software is like a long-term commitment. You want to be doubly sure of what you’re investing in, before actually putting the Shopify ERP system to use. So look for sources that can offer you intel on their credibility. If you don’t know someone who is using the ERP system, you may want to ask the vendor for references and reach out to them personally. Ask them for feedback on the implementation process, costs, mistakes, performance, ability to customize the solution and more.
5. Budgets for implementing ERP
By budgets, we mean getting a total calculation of the ERP cost. Right from the upfront cost of the software, to implementation and customizations, maintenance, support and recurring costs. You want to make sure there are no hidden costs in the process.
6. Shopify compatibility and seamless integration
One of the most important factors you need to look into is how easily it can be integrated with your Shopify or Shopify Plus store. This is important to ensure efficiency when implementing an eCommerce ERP system. At the same time, also make sure it seamlessly integrates with your existing tech stack - the Shopify apps you’re making use of for various business operations.
7. Scalability of the Shopify ERP system
Your ERP system should not just cater to your current needs, but also have the ability to accommodate your future needs. Look at how scalable your ERP solution is; you don’t want to be making the switch in just a few months.
8. Ease of use
The complexity of an ERP solution can become a roadblock for the teams that will be putting it to use. This means you will have to invest in training; both in terms of cost of training and the time to implement the solution, which negatively impacts the adoption process. Look for a Shopify ERP partner that offers a straight-forward user interface.
With most operations being tackled on-the-go, it is important to ensure that your ERP software can be made use of no matter where a team member is. This is where mobile-friendliness of the Shopify ERP system comes in; this will further add to the productivity levels across departments.
Now that you know what to look for, let’s make your research easier. Here are the best Shopify ERP partners you can explore for your online business.
Best Shopify ERP partners to help you scale your business
A very well-known, cloud-based eCommerce ERP system used by Shopify and Shopify Plus brands, is Netsuite. It comes with a wide range of integrations to offer, helping you overcome a number of business challenges that you may face as you scale your operations. The system gives you real-time visibility into your order statuses and fulfilment to help you manage processes effectively. But it can be costly to get a license if there are going to be a greater number of users using the ERP system.
An ERP system that is well-known and used by many global brands, SAP meets all possible requirements a business may have across various operations. It comes with an added capability of automatically placing an order with your selected courier service for a smooth delivery experience for your shoppers. But it comes with a pretty heavy price tag.
3. Microsoft Dynamics 365
Built with seamless integrations with most Shopify apps, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one of the best Shopify ERP systems. It comes with a built-in CRM, and also lets you boost the operational efficiency by automating transactions between the ERP system and your Shopify storefront. They have a one-time installation fee and a minimal license fee for a year; but you get unlimited transactions on the plan.
4. Sage 300
Sage 300 ERP is one of the most popular choices for a Shopify ERP system. It comes with the ability to optimize your inventory, helping you keep it as accurately updated as possible. Another version of it, Sage 100 comes with as many capabilities.
5. Quickbooks Enterprise
Quickbooks is more of an accounting software, but can be used as an ERP for smaller scale organizations as well. It is well-suited for smaller organizations as it comes at a lower cost and complete sales transparency.
Apprise comes with possibly all the tools integrated that you would need to run an eCommerce business smoothly. It will make it easier for you to manage various processes without having to move between non-integrated softwares, spreadsheets and other manual processes.
Sync is known to be one of the best Shopify ERP partners for businesses in the fashion and apparel industry. It comes with a mobile app and lets you manage all operations as well as customer experience on the go.
There are also other eCommerce ERP solutions available in the Shopify ecosystem. But these are the ones that are being actively used by brands across various industries, around the globe, and are known for their impeccable customer service and support for scaling online businesses.