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Optimizing product sales through database and e-commerce integration


Speed, accuracy and superior customer service are cornerstones of a successful sales experience. When employees have real-time access to client history, product information and other related data, not only is the transaction process made infinitely simpler, it encourages the kind of repeat business that drives company growth. Yet, striking such an organizational balance is often easier said than done. Disparate data, spread across multiple legacy systems, can make it difficult for sales reps to respond to customer demands.

The challenge is intensified with the recent boom in e-commerce. Agility, responsiveness and speed are no longer “nice to have” features—shoppers demand them from retailers, and to keep up, companies are increasingly looking to unify their applications on a single enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform such as Microsoft Dynamics® AX, which creates a seamless view of business activity across the enterprise.

Functional and user-friendly: The value of e-commerce and database integration

Deciding to invest in an ERP solution doesn’t necessarily require that retailers abandon their proven business applications or best practices. Rather, the flexibility of software like Dynamics AX allows employees to continue working in their familiar environments, with the added value of unifying all access points. For sales, service and marketing teams, this means that no matter where new clients, orders or support requests originate, associates have access to all the data they need to respond quickly and intelligently.

For a real-life illustration of just how Dynamics AX helps retailers improve profitability and performance, consider an implementation RSM US LLP conducted for an industry leader in automotive parts sales. With nearly 130,000 products available in their inventory, our client needed a solution that could support both their e-commerce business, as well as their constantly updated catalog. We created a custom Dynamics AX solution that integrated seamlessly with their existing Magento e-commerce platform, as well as their Aftermarket Catalog Enhanced Standard (ACES) database. The result: The company can successfully manage sales across its multiple websites by sending incoming orders to Dynamics AX in real time, as well as keep vehicle attribution data, parts classifications and qualifier statements up to date in their online catalog. As a result of the integration, call center volume is also improved, as is customer service—with automated order validation resulting in fewer returns and more satisfied clients.

Catering to the client: Improving the online sales experience

While integrating Dynamics AX into existing applications makes it easier for employees to perform their job-related functions, it also creates a simplified and direct environment that improves the sales experience—especially for e-commerce buyers. As an example, RSM recently implemented a custom Dynamics AX solution for another client, a full-service merchandise agency designed to provide brand protection and quality control to clients. We worked with several vendors to create a one-stop-shop solution that incorporated product catalogs, pricing, customization, an image management process and a custom supplier portal. We also integrated all e-commerce functionality on a new Magento platform.

Now, our client can seamlessly manage customer product catalogs and product personalizations, and suppliers can easily log in to the supplier portal (built on Dynamics AX’s enterprise portal technology) to perform self-service functions. Two-way Magento integration also means that sales orders flow directly from Magento to Dynamics AX, then tracking data is sent from Dynamics back to Magento, so associates are always in the loop on the latest updates, and clients have visibility into the exact status of their order.

Keeping it simple: Unified solutions and support

At its core, improving sales means improving the customer journey—making the path from initial contact to final transaction smoother and more streamlined. By integrating Microsoft Dynamics ERP software into existing or new e-commerce and database applications, retailers can help ensure not only that online sales are optimized, but also that back-office systems used to maintain up-to-the-minute product data— so both employees and customers are always supported.

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