Continuing our earlier threads… There are fundamental differences between integrated websites, and non-integrated (see previous two posts). We looked in our last post at the differences – and the impact – of how you add a customer in both types of systems. Now, let’s look at order status, products and ordering…
Displaying Order Status & Account History – Integrated Version
- As shipping takes place in accounting record, order records reflect new shipping information. The updated order data is updated automatically to the web site as it changes, and customers can view the current status in real-time.
- Customers can look at past invoices, and they can reorder products they have purchased in the past both from the web site and through conventional sales over the phone.
Displaying Order Status & Account History – NOT Integrated Version
- Customers can call you to check on their shipments and request that you fax them statements or past invoices.
Display Product Information – Integrated Version
- You can display product part numbers, descriptions, availability and pricing based on the data and rules that are established in the accounting system.
Display Product Information – NOT Integrated Version
- You have to maintain the data and business rules in two databases. This often leads to customers getting the wrong price.
Activate Existing Customers So They Can Order On-Line – Integrated Version
- Existing customers can activate their web account at the web store by entering two or three key pieces of information, such as customer number, invoice number, and telephone number.
- The web store uses this information to find the customer’s existing account. The user does not have to enter their address information.
Activate Existing Customers So They Can Order On-Line – NON-Integrated Version
- Existing customers register all new information. In most cases a duplicate customer record is created. A manual reconciliation can be done to delete the old or new customer record to eliminate the duplicate.
So, by now, you have the idea. (Giving credit again where due, these comparisons come from our good friend Dave Harris, at EC Internet.)
Integrated websites require a deep understanding of all the underlying technologies of both your business management system and your web store needs.
We have seen over the past few years a gradual shift, moving faster now I might add, from the old static websites to the integrated ecommerce engines described in these last three posts.
It’s no longer a novelty, it’s a business capital investment – one that can yield enormous revenue benefits (we’ve seen clients rocket up to millions in online sales in surprisingly short time). As such, it warrants a good plan, and a commitment to execution over time. Like all the best business ideas, it’s not an event, it’s a process. A process of continuous improvement over time and dedication to the principles of sound, steady growth based on today’s technologies.
But here’s the key: it works.