In today’s rapidly changing world of B2B digital sales, it no longer makes sense for sellers to silo their electronic data exchange and B2B e-commerce platforms.
We had to do a lot of tweaking to get the look we wanted on the website.
Derek Hagan, Director of Business Systems
One of the biggest issues for sellers who support both Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) and e-commerce sales channels is the inability to see orders from both channels in a single dashboard. edge and have both platforms automatically push order data to the company’s enterprise resource planning application.
In many cases, getting order data from the e-commerce platform to the ERP system requires manual order data entry, which is a time-consuming and inefficient process that can lead to data entry errors. The same goes for sharing data between EDI and e-commerce platforms.
Connect commerce platforms to ERP
Fifteen years after opening the launch of its EDI portal in 2006, Trenditions LLC, a supplier of fashion accessories to western, farm & ranch and outdoor gear retailers, has realized that it needed to implement a B2B e-commerce platform connected to its enterprise resource planning system and EDI platforms. The goal of connecting the two platforms was to allow e-commerce orders to flow directly to their ERP system, just as they do from its EDI platform.
The Hurst, Texas-based designer, importer and wholesaler was also looking for an e-commerce platform that offered a better customer experience and a more user-friendly interface for day-to-day tasks, such as adding and categorizing new products to its online store catalog. At the time, Trenditions had been running an online store for a few years, when it embraced EDI early on to meet the digital ordering needs of one of its first customers.
Trenditions counts major retailers such as Justin Boot Company, Red Dirt Hat Company and Catchfly among its portfolio of over 1,500 retail customers. Others include Boot Barn, Cavender’s, Coastal Farm & Ranch, Murdoch’s Ranch & Home Supply, as well as independent retailers in the United States and Canada.
Improve the customer experience
One of the reasons Trenditions sought to improve the customer experience on its online store was that managing its e-commerce catalog was difficult and often resulted in formatting issues that required extra work to create the right look. for product pages. The company has also sought to categorize products more easily.
“We had to do a lot of tweaking to get the look we wanted on the website,” says Derek Hagan, director of business systems for Trenditions.
Other reasons for implementing a new e-commerce platform include the need to reach customers through automated emails, such as purchase confirmations and updates. order status, as well as email marketing outbursts.
Having used Recommence Inc.’s EDI software since its launch, Trenditions approached the technology provider to provide an e-commerce platform that could interface with its ERP and EDI platform — a logical step, Hagan says.
An increase of more than 20% on online orders
It turned out that the TrueCommerce e-commerce platform integrated seamlessly with the TrueCommerce EDI application, which was connected to an Odoo ERP system. The new setup provided for the automated processing of B2B orders processed through Trenditions’ online store as well as orders through its EDI system. Odoo is a provider of open-source business applications including customer relationship management, e-commerce, accounting, point of sale, and inventory and project management.
Since launching the new Trenditions online store in February at store.Traditions.com, Trenditions has seen a 20% to 25% increase in online order volume. Implementing the new e-commerce platform took about eight weeks, says Hagan.
A significant factor in increasing the company’s online sales has been the messaging capabilities of the new e-commerce platform, in particular the ability to send emails to customers promoting sales and special offers. Earlier this year, for example, Trenditions had a line of products they planned to discontinue, and they wanted to get the merchandise out of the warehouse as quickly as possible. Sending an email promoting a clearance sale for the product line immediately increased orders for the product line by approximately 50% and resulted in the sale of those products within about a week , says Hagan.
“Before, when we wanted to eliminate products, we had to contact retailers individually,” says Hagan.
Customers now prefer website over phone
The ability to contact customers en masse via email helped attract shoppers to the website and made them more comfortable using it, Hagan says.
“We have customers telling us that they now prefer using the website rather than placing an order over the phone,” adds Hagan. “I’m amazed at the sales we’ve been able to drive through the website from email campaigns.”
Along with increasing sales through its website, the integration of its e-commerce and EDI platforms has dramatically improved productivity. Prior to this integration, Trenditions had an employee dedicated to managing sales generated through its EDI platform; the company used customer service representatives to process its online sales and manually enter them into its ERP system.
As a small company with around 20 employees, manually processing e-commerce orders was an inefficient use of staff. It also opened the door to data entry errors. The integration of EDI and e-commerce technology with the ERP system allows Trenditions to view EDI and e-commerce orders through a single dashboard.
Increase employee productivity
As a result, Trenditions outsourced order management for both platforms to a single employee, which freed up customer service reps from re-entering e-commerce orders to focus on customer service issues. From a time-saving perspective, Hagan says the company has improved employee productivity by about one to two hours a day.
Without the ability to view and manage e-commerce and EDI orders in a single interface, Hagan believes Trenditions would need to hire at least four additional customer service representatives to handle the high volume of orders from its largest EDI trading partners.
“A single large customer like Boot Barn or Cavender’s can send thousands of orders per month via EDI,” says Hagan. “Now one person manages both systems in the TrueCommerce platform.”
From a customer experience perspective, Trenditions’ new e-commerce platform has made it easier to add new products to its online store and categorize them so shoppers can find them faster.
An easier way to manage product content online
“We now have a template where we can upload and categorize products,” says Hagan. “Before, we had to manage products directly on the web page.”
Trenditions’ new e-commerce platform also provides tools for branding campaigns, which its previous platform lacked.
“We had worked with a number of third parties on branding through our old platform, but that was an amount we were no longer willing to pay,” says Hagan. “With TrueCommerce, branding tools are part of the package, which is one of the main reasons we chose it.”
From a training standpoint, Hagan says it hasn’t been difficult to familiarize employees with the new e-commerce platform. He notes that even he was trained well enough that he felt confident to train other employees, if necessary.
“Without our two TrueCommerce products, it would be fundamentally impossible to manage our order volume. We have customers telling us that they now prefer using the website rather than placing an order over the phone,” says Hagan. “Automation is absolutely essential to process all of these orders with minimal errors.”
(This article is part of the larger report, “Back-End Integration: Building the Table Stakes for Customer Experience,” published by Digital Commerce 360.)
Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.
Sign up for a free subscription to Digital Commerce 360 B2B News, published 4x/week, covering technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. Contact the publisher Paul Demery at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @pdemery.
follow us on LinkedIn and be the first to know when new Digital Commerce 360 B2B News content is released.