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ERP 101: Everything You Need to Know About Enterprise Resource Planning for Shopify Brands

Join the team at Excellent Zephyr as they provide an introduction to ERP systems and how they interact with Shopify to drive benefits for your team and business.

Written By
Guest Blogger

In today’s ever changing business landscape, managing complex operations and ensuring seamless customer experiences are paramount for sustained success.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems have emerged as tools that empower retail companies with a variety of advantages – most significantly, increased customer lifetime value and increased profitability. They manage these valuable outcomes by streamlining operations, enhancing efficiency, and driving growth.

This article covers the significance of ERPs, their applications, and how they connect with Shopify storefronts to add value to your company.

What is an ERP?

You’ve perhaps heard the term “ERP” a lot. An Enterprise Resource Planning system, or ERP, if you were desperately searching for yet another abbreviation to add to your list, is integrated software that is designed to streamline and manage a range of core business functions such as finance, HR, procurement, inventory management, supply chain, and manufacturing, to name but a few.

The key feature of this software is that it unifies all of your business processes and data into a single platform. It enables data-driven decision-making with real-time visibility, and ultimately, fosters collaboration between departments.

What are the benefits of an ERP for retail companies?

ERP systems offer many benefits of significant importance to growing Shopify retailers, including:

Enhanced customer experience – Seamless coordination between departments and systems ensures timely order fulfilment, personalised client interactions and accurate inventory levels (avoiding overselling and customers not receiving their requests). These all help to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

360-degree visibility – By centralising data from various departments, ERP systems provide a comprehensive view of business operations. This visibility aids in accurate forecasting, informed decision-making, and agile responses to market dynamics.

Scalability – As businesses continue to explore ecommerce internationalisation, the right ERP can adapt and scale across borders to accommodate growing needs with multi-currency and multi-subsidiary operations, ensuring that processes remain streamlined and optimised.

Operational efficiency – ERP systems automate core financial processes for retailers, such as order-to-cash, procure-to-pay and record-to-report, whilst reducing errors created by manual tasks. In effect, this will translate into improved productivity and cost savings.

Compliance and risk management – ERP systems often include features that facilitate adherence to regulatory requirements and enable effective risk management strategies. Rather than following a complex paper-trail, it’s simple for auditors to find exactly what they’re looking for as all of the information is stored in one place.

Empowering Shopify Plus brands to scale with confidence

As Shopify Plus brands continue to evolve, integrating an ERP system is a strategic opportunity to elevate operations and drive ecommerce (and multi-channel) growth. As we explored above, integrating your Shopify store with an ERP will provide the necessary framework for sustained success.

For the readers out there already utilising Shopify, you’ve made a great choice in selecting an extremely powerful ecommerce platform. But don’t stop there!

Implementing an ERP and seamlessly integrating it with your Shopify storefront could be the next step in your business’ roadmap.

Picture this. Your sales are skyrocketing, but as your business grows, managing inventory, orders, and finances becomes a labyrinth of complexity. Without an ERP, you might find yourself drowning in spreadsheets, risking stock-outs or overstocking, and struggling to meet customer demands. Imagine the chaos of manually updating inventory levels across different platforms, leading to frustrated customers when an item they ordered is suddenly out of stock.

With an ERP expertly integrated with Shopify, you’re not only streamlining operations but also gaining a holistic view of your business. Real-time insights into inventory levels, order status, and financial data become your superpower, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and pivot swiftly to market demands. Your time can be better spent innovating and expanding your brand, not juggling spreadsheets and firefighting inventory nightmares.

You can read more about the growth that the right ERP can unlock when connected with Shopify in this article by Dan Partridge, CEO of Swanky.

When is the correct time to implement an ERP?

Determining the opportune moment to integrate an ERP into your retail business cannot be determined simply by surpassing a static revenue target or a specific order volume through Shopify.

Several factors come into play, signalling that the time might be right for this transformative step – and they’re all related to the complexity of your operations across multiple channels. After all, new tech is supposed to make your life easier, right?

Firstly, if your business is experiencing growth, accompanied by operational challenges, this could be an indicator to start considering an ERP implementation.

More intricate measures such as a rapidly growing global customer base or a seemingly manageable number of SKUs also act as telltale signs if they’re putting strain on you day-to-day.

Similarly, if you’re forecasting for a period of sustained growth, perhaps you’d be wise to get ahead and future proof your systems for this eventuality.

Ultimately, if manual data analysis and report generation activities consume a significant portion of your time and your employees lack the tools to automate repetitive tasks, it’s probably worth considering how an ERP system could help you to free up valuable resources for more strategic endeavours. 

About Excellent Zephyr

Excellent Zephyr is a digital agency that delivers the best solutions and services on the market to transform, innovate and grow retail brands.

From years of experience, it understands the unique challenges that retailers have to face on a daily basis. That’s why it has developed effective end-to-end solutions and services to tackle these challenges head-on.

As a trusted NetSuite Solution Provider partner, it can confidently implement, integrate and automate NetSuite to create a truly unified retail experience.

Its clients include renowned retail brands such as Lulu Guinness, Trinny London, ALDO and Gym + Coffee.

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