Chapter 18: E-Commerce and Website
Most of Spindl’s business happens on a B2B (business-to-business) level—from online marketplaces like Amazon, to distributors, and third-party brick and mortar shops. While this has been a relatively decent business model so far, Saf and Mel wish to directly sell to customers. Not only will this help them reduce costs (no commissions to pay!), it’ll also bring more traffic and attention to the brand itself.
The easiest and most cost-effective way of doing this, chimes in Lyn, is to set up an e-commerce store on their website. As it is, every modern company needs an online presence, especially in this digital age. Spindl is no different.
Why use ERP for website and e-commerce management?
Websites are a crucial component of any business. After all, it’s what the customer sees. No matter how excellent your services and products may be, if your website doesn’t leave a good impression on consumers, they may not feel inclined to stick around. But having a good website can come with its own set of challenges—big monetary investment, difficulty in updating and maintaining the website, having a non-interactive user experience. If you’re not a web designer or don’t wish to hire a team of one, it can be really difficult to meet these factors.
That’s where the website module on your ERP can help. It lets you do a plethora of things easily. Updating your product catalog directly from your system, creating web pages, writing blogs, and allowing you to set up e-commerce functionalities (so customers can buy things instantly from your website!) all become accessible.
The elements of a website
Let’s take a look at some key terms that fall under the E-Commerce and Website module.
The home page is the default landing web page of your website. It’s the first thing a visitor sees.
Static content on your website like the home page, about us, contact us, terms & conditions are called web pages. To create good web pages, it’s necessary to be mindful of their elements—the title, content, images, etc. and the emotion they evoke for the visitor.
Any articles that are posted on your website are called blog posts. Blog posts are an incredible way of sharing your (and your employees’) thoughts about your business, and the industry you’re in. Not only does it keep your customers and readers updated, but it also creates a stronger relationship with your audience.
Webforms allow people outside of your organization to interact with your website and send information to your ERP system. You can enable access to certain transactions and documents for different categories. For example, customers can reach out to you using the Contact Us form, or potential job applicants can apply to your business using a Job Application form, suppliers can create quotations, etc.
Most websites have their own unique identity. This is enabled by specific elements such as the theme (more on that below), brand logos, favicons, banners, navigation menus, etc. Along with this, Google indexing, analytics, redirects, chats, etc. also must be configured. All of this can be set up under website settings.
To further achieve your unique brand identity, it’s important to create a cohesive theme using colors, fonts, images, etc. and customize the look and feel of your website. This can be configured in the website theme settings. You can generally create and store multiple themes and save them.
Meta tags are invisible tags that provide data about your web pages to search engines and website visitors. When done well, this can increase your ranking on popular search engines and SEO, which will boost visibility.
A dedicated web page for a particular sales item on your website. Usually, the prerequisite here is to have an item (refer to the Sales module for more information!). This includes item specifications, images, price, and other relevant information about your product offering.
A product listing page displays a list of the available sales items on your website. This helps visitors to discover your offerings.
The shopping cart lets you sell products on your website to customers. This means that customers can visit the product listing or product page, and add sales items to cart so they can purchase them.
Social Login Keys
If you want to let people create accounts on your website, an easy way to enable this is to let them use popular social login keys (e.g., Google, Facebook) to easily log into your website. You can allow this directly from your ERP’s website module.
Building a website
Based on Saf and Mel’s goals for Spindl’s future, the brand aesthetic, and their requirements, the team is successful in building a website in the following manner:
- The brand font, colors, images, favicons, and other assets are consolidated.
- A website theme based on the consolidated assets is created.
- The various web pages (home page, contact us, about us, careers, product listing, product pages) are all set up.
- A shopping cart is set up to enable e-commerce functionalities.
- Meta tags are entered to utilize SEO and bump search engine rankings.
- Webforms for all their requirements (job applications, support, etc.) are set up.
- Social login keys are enabled for people to create and access their accounts. Customers can use this to view order history, shipping, and tracking. Suppliers can use it to make quotations.
- A blog section is created where Saf and Mel both write insightful pieces to connect with their audiences.
Using a page builder like the one in ERPNext made it even easier. In fact, all of the pages you see in this guide were created with it using 0 code!
Something ends, something begins
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don't quit.”
-Conrad Hilton (American Hotelier)
The story of Spindl has not come to an end yet; they have miles to go, but they are more equipped now to deal with the challenges they’ll face than they ever were before. Implementing ERP software was only the first step towards a better future. There still will be ups and downs, but Saf, Mel, and the rest of the team at Spindl know they can deal with these curveballs with a renewed sense of courage and confidence.
With this guide and Spindl’s journey, we aimed to empower you with the foundational knowledge you need to get started with any Enterprise Resource Planning software. It can be an incredibly powerful tool in your arsenal while running your business. If we’ve done our job right, then you now have an understanding of:
- What sustainability of your business means and why it is essential.
- What Enterprise Resource Planning really is.
- What the role of ERP is in meeting your business goals.
- How you can evaluate and choose the right ERP software for your business.
- How to assess your chosen ERP to make sure it meets your requirements.
- The most efficient way of ERP implementation.
- The Agile implementation method.
- Setting business goals and KPIs.
- The importance of conducting a thorough gap analysis.
- What to keep in mind when configuring your ERP software.
- Understanding what ERP modules are and how each one of them can assist your business.
We could either call this an ending or a new beginning. But, frankly, it’s a bit of both. We hope you found this educational and useful for your own purposes. If yes, know that you can treat this as a companion that you can come back to whenever you need its help.
But for now, we bid you good luck to starting your own journey with an ERP.