We help clients with a lot of e-commerce initiatives, yet we rarely build a simple online store that *just* sells products online with no twists. Given the handful of good online store tools out there, most clients could, and sometimes even should, hire a freelancer or an internal person to build a small, plain-vanilla store if that’s all they will need for a while.
But often, things get tricky for a number of reasons including, among others, the need to customize how the store behaves, high sales volumes, or, my favorite and one of the most common, the need to connect the store to the rest of the business.
Here are some of the most useful components of your business that you can plug your store into:
- Customer Relationship Management: How cool would it be if your customer service reps knew which products a client bought from your Spree Commerce online store right when they pull up an account in SugarCRM? Or if your sales people got immediate credit within Salesforce.com when somebody bought something in your Prestashop-based store? While doing these things can be tricky, they’re really not that difficult.
- Accounting: Along the same lines, a sale in your online store typically requires manually re-entering into your accounting system. This does not have to be the case; sales and customer information can (and I say should) flow seamlessly between the store and your accounting system. And not just in one direction — a change in either system should be reflected in the other.
- Shipping: Fulfillment solutions such as ShipStation take a lot of the pain out of shipping products. The headache they don’t automatically relieve, however, is that of entering shipment requests into their system. But with a small bit of work, this can happen automatically.
- Email / Text Marketing: I bet the marketing team would love to automatically kick off email and/or text message campaigns when a new client makes a purchase. Luckily for them, it turns out that wiring up an online store to email or texting tools (such as Mandril or Twilio) is really no biggie.
- Multi-Channel: This is one of my favorites. What if your store’s products were automatically sold on Amazon or eBay with no extra effort on your part, giving your exposure to a gazillion more potential buyers? If you’re not syncing a store with popular marketplaces like these, you should consider it, because the technology is there to make it happen.
Of course, FlowLink offers a variety of integrations for your back-end operations, and we’re here to save you time and money. Look for future articles discussing our integrations. Meanwhile, give us a shout if you have questions, and leave thoughts and comments below!