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Integrating e-commerce platforms with accounting software

If you transact with your customers via the Internet, should you be looking at an e-commerce platform? Whether you have an e-commerce website, or will implement one soon, how do you integrate it with your back-office accounting or ERP system so that customer orders get processed quickly and thoroughly? Choosing an e-commerce solution is one part of the business challenge, getting it to work with existing systems is the other. So what do you do to ensure transactions and data are synchronized?

These questions are being raised because the omni-channel business model is driving companies to set up websites so that they can offer their products and services over the Internet, as well as via mobile phones. There are some companies that have the capital and resources to implement a new system that combines an e-commerce front-end with back office functionality. Most organizations though opt to keep their existing systems and integrate the e-commerce engine into the rest of the business. One of the most popular e-commerce solutions is WooCommerce, a free open source plugin for WordPress that is designed for small to large-sized online merchants.

Integration issues

Implementing an e-commerce is a major project, and when it comes to getting WooCommerce to work with your back office systems, you need to address these key issues.

  1. Don’t expect to update products and capture orders manually. While it may seem cost effective, it actually costs more in terms of staff time and errors that occur.
  2. What data do you need to synchronize? The main master data items will be customers, inventory, and pricing.
  3. What transaction fields need to be integrated? This will vary depending on the type of industry.
  4. How are you going to automate the data integration? For large volumes of data this is important as updating it all can take time, so you need to have the capability to just make changes to items that have changed.

Integrations for WooCommerce and Sage

Flowgear has pre-built connectors for WooCommerce and for several Sage systems. The areas of integration our customers have used those integrations for are:

  • order transactions,
  • inventory data,
  • customer accounts.

Orders in WooCommerce can be processed on a frequency basis, ranging from near-realtime to daily, and integrated into the Sage system as sales orders. The integration process also sends an email notification to a designated user showing the order activity for the period. If the order is successfully imported into Sage, the transaction in WooCommerce is completed, but if the order fails (e.g., due to insufficient stock) the designated user receives notification of the failure.

Inventory data is synchronized with a similar frequency, and each inventory item is tracked so that their last ‘sync time’ can be monitored. A standard feature of the inventory sync is that items that have not changed since the previous integration are automatically detected and excluded, so only changed items are updated.

Benefits of integration

By having their accounting and e-commerce systems integrated, what are the common benefits that our customers found?

  • It made implementing WooCommerce easier because the project could focus on the e-commerce website design
  • Flowgear’s pre-bult integrations worked out-of-the-box, which takes care of the challenges and complexities of integration
  • The administrative workload on staff was reduced
  • Staff to do more productive work, focusing on improving customer service and support.

If you are a Sage user and would like more information about Flowgear’s WooCommerce-Sage integration, you can start by having a talk with us.

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