New Trends in E-Commerce Drive Better Technology

Data entry is costly. How would you feel if your customers insisted on doing it for you?

It isn’t quite as preposterous as it sounds.

Today, more and more suppliers are finding that their clients are demanding they offer on-line stores. If you can meet this demand with a Web store that integrates with your accounting system, then you’ve just effectively enlisted your customers to pay you to do their own order entry and invoicing. Take these examples into consideration:

• A large oil company in Texas tells their supplier, “If we can’t place orders online, we will go elsewhere.” The supplier adds e-commerce capabilities to their system, and not only keeps its largest customer, but relieves their accounting staff of time-consuming order entry processing.

• A medical supply company in the North West Territories provides its clients with an online store and cuts data entry costs by $100,000 per year.

• A Vancouver supplier’s sales are up, but his inbound phone calls are down by 40 to 50 percent, reducing staff by one employee because his clients can now find, reprint, and check orders and invoices on-line.

E-commerce has been around for some time — so what’s driving this new trend? According to Ipsos Insight’s, over 72% of all households in North America are now online and want more and better ways to utilize the internet. Public acceptance of on-line shopping has shown 22% growth in 2005.

E-commerce is making an even bigger impact on the business-to-business world. IDC, a major supplier of market intelligence to the IT industry, has forecast that global business-to-business transactions will exceed one trillion dollars in 2008. For this reason, smart businesses are looking to
the Web to manage accounts receivable, increase customer service, and reduce the cost of data entry.

So how has e-commerce technology changed to meet this new demand? In the early days of the Internet, many companies implemented standalone Web stores that were separate from their accounting system. This meant managing inventory in both locations and hand-keying orders received from their Web store. These Web stores gave customers the ability to place orders online at their convenience, but often the orders were error-ridden because the Web site was out of date or the order was incorrectly re-keyed. The online stores often caused more problems than they solved—and certainly did not show much of an ROI.

In response, a new generation of Web stores has hit the market. These solutions are feature-rich, completely customizable, and are fully integrated to the accounting system. These solutions support both business-to-business and business-toconsumer sales. All pricing is managed from the inventory module using the appropriate price list for each client or client type. To change pricing on any item, you simply change it in the inventory module and the new price automatically flows to the Web store. The Web store also writes orders directly into the accounting system so there is no re-keying. And you reap the benefits because your customers do your data entry.

In addition, these new Web stores offer many customer self-service options. Accounts receivable and order history is displayed on the Web. Customers can re-order past or existing orders with a single click of their mouse. They can use their credit cards to pay online, too—either right during order entry or periodically by viewing all their open invoices.

If you’d like to leverage e-commerce technology to improve customer service, increase customer loyalty, and reduce your data entry, consider a
solution that integrates with your Sage Accpac system: eCommerce for Sage Accpac ERP, powered by Iciniti. This leading-edge, customizable Web
store solution has the sophisticated features your customers demand while being fully integrated with Sage Accpac.

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