So you’ve decided to outsource your ecommerce or switch ecommerce providers. After an extensive vendor selection process, you are ready for a smooth transition.
Well, there are a couple of big ways you can really screw up your ecommerce integration. From not incorporating your CRM and ERP systems to ignoring impacts on your company’s tax nexus, there is a list of mistakes you can avoid by being prepared.
We’re here to help remind you of some of the top concerns to address before you move to a new ecommerce provider. Bring this check list to the next meeting with potential vendors and walk through these points with them to ensure a seamless transition.
Address all possible connection points between your internal systems and your new ecommerce platform to make sure everything aligns. Otherwise, minor issues like foreign currencies, orders delays or entitlement allocation could turn into major problems.
- Guarantee complete integration of your CRM/ERP systems
This is a big one! Your new ecommerce platform should work effortlessly to notify your master customer database of each transaction, or else your database is worthless. Be sure to map ERP-listed SKUs to SKUs in your ecommerce platform to avoid selling products that do not appear in your accounting system.
- Confirm entitlement allocation and validation
Make sure entitlement is granted to customers when they buy your product. Discuss options for customer validation in situations where only certain customers are qualified to buy specific products like upgrades.
- Have a single sign-on
Customers should never know they are logged into any system except yours. Should customers need to log into an account on your site to check for information hosted by your ecommerce provider, they should be able to access any information pertaining to their orders without leaving your site.
- Determine who will host data files
Determine which Content Delivery Network (CDN) to use, and explore any impact on your company’s tax nexus. Any reputable ecommerce company will offer an extensive list of APIs to address these typical, but sometimes complex issues. So make sure these items are on the table for discussion.
After you’ve tackled the integration pitfalls, walk through these trouble spots with your new provider to work out any issues ahead of time:
- Create a flawless user experience
Your web page branding should be consistent across your hosted pages and your ecommerce providers. Don’t forget to confirm your custom domains, and make sure customer specific data is passed to pre-filled carts.
- Prepare your systems for any new data
Orders that come from countries such as Japan and China include double-byte characters, which require more data storage than Western character sets like ASCII. If your internal systems are not prepared, your database may not capture this information properly, or at all, causing discrepancies later.
- Plan for order delays
Discuss your strategy to handle orders that are not received, which could be due to a variety of reasons, including:
- Temporary Internet outages
- An unfamiliar format
- Planned maintenance
- Don’t forget about resellers and affiliates
Whether you heavily rely on resellers and affiliates or you are looking to do so in the future, it’s important that you have a system in place for these partners to use. A great ecommerce provider will be able to support and improve communication with your partners. Do not forget to ask your new provider to explain how this process works in their system.
- Integrate the full-range of analytics
To gather a 360-degree view of your ecommerce you need to track customers’ complete purchase cycle. Make sure your provider tracks customers when they leave your hosted pages and are transferred to the ecommerce platform pages.
- Adjust accounting for new currencies
You want customers from across the globe to buy your products in their native currency. If your new ecommerce provider offers new currencies, make sure you adjust your accounting system to reflect the additions. Stay on top of this topic as your provider updates their platform to include more and more currencies.
- Ensure great customer service
Make your ecommerce provider aware of your particular customer service policies and procedures, such as handling refunds and chargebacks. World-class customer service is so important! To provide the best, have a mutual agreement on how you communicate with your customers.
This list should help you ask the right questions before implementation, so hopefully you spend less time on unexpected issues and more time optimizing your ecommerce – which is why you got a new provider to begin with, right? Good luck going live!
Integration with a new ecommerce provider goes more smoothly if you address your concerns in advance.