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Is your eCommerce Store Ready for the Holidays?

With summer coming to a conclusion, it’s time for retailers to shift gears and begin preparing for the holiday rush. The convenience of eCommerce attracts many customers, and 2013 holiday sales are expected to increase by 15.1% (internet retailer.com). If you are manually processing orders and rekeying information, you will be losing valuable time. Implementing an eCommerce integration platform is the perfect solution to get your store ready for the holiday boom.

Choosing to implement an eCommerce integration hub connects all of your internal systems. From your ERP to you order management system (OMS) to your accounting software and shopping cart, when these systems are integrated, order information flows seamlessly between them, eliminating the need for manual data entry. When manual touches are removed from the order process, you gain back valuable time and eliminate the chance of costly human errors. This allows you to process more orders in less time.

If you are manually drop shipping, an eCommerce integration will automate your drop ship process. By integrating you directly with your trading partners, order information flows seamlessly between your partner and your internal systems. All order information, such as ship-to address, tracking number, and item price/quantity/and description, is pulled automatically from your cart and sent to your trading partner, ensuring accuracy. You can also elect to have your trading partners send you purchase order acknowledgements so you are notified when your orders have been seen by your trading partners.

You can elect to have your integration platform pull orders in real-time, or on a scheduled basis. By choosing a time frame that reflects your order volume, you can keep inventory accurate and up-to-date. By having accurate inventory, you eliminate the fear of over-ordering, or disappointing customers who tried to purchase an item that was listed ‘in stock’ when it was really sold out. Maintaining happy customers will likely increase sales, either through referrals or returning customers. With the rise of social media, it has become even more crucial to keep your customers satisfied. News travels at a much faster pace with social media outlets, and a poor review can spread, and hurt your credibility for the holiday season. A recent UPS study discovered that 68% of shoppers have recommended an online store because it offered free shipping, so this holiday season, you may want to think about implementing free shipping. You can increase the likelihood of recommendation as well as staying competitive.

For the omni-channel retailer, an eCommerce integration is especially useful. Your platform can integrate you point-of-sale system with your eCommerce shopping cart; synchronizing online and in store data in real-time. This will also ensure inventory accuracy.

Eliminating the risks of manual drop shipping, inaccurate inventory, and manual data entry would be huge benefits for your eCommerce store. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, it is important to prepare your store for the increase in orders. By implementing an eCommerce integration hub, you eliminate these risks, can process more orders in less time, and free up resources so you can focus on growing your business and/or working to make your site as user-friendly and visually appealing as possible.