Which ERP systems do e-commerce companies use
ERP in e-commerce projects - which systems are there? * Update 03.03.2021 *
We never tire of saying it: e-commerce is more than a webshop!
To be profitable, entrepreneurs should not only look at sales, but also at litigation costs. An ERP system that has been extended for e-commerce or one that has been specially developed for e-commerce will help you to make your back-end processes much more efficient. What is better for you can only be said after you have precisely defined your requirements along the lines of your individual business processes.
It just depends on the details. Such as the number and size of shipments that you have to send each day, your supplier structure or the number and type of sales channels. It doesn't necessarily have to be a cloud solution, even if it is of course suitable for fast and dynamically scaling use, as required in e-commerce.
Which ERP can be used in e-commerce projects?
But before you can choose the right ERP or all-in-one system, you must first get an overview of the offers. We would like to help you with this. The following overview does not claim to be complete - but it will continue to grow. We started with the systems that we encounter most frequently in projects or are used by customers as alternatives. We are happy to receive suggestions for other ERP systems in the comments.
Actindo's cloud ERP software is aimed at high-growth retailers and offers them pretty much everything they need, including general accounts, point-of-sales support, warehouse & shipping management, PIM, and of course multichannel order & inventory management. In addition, there are lots of extensions for additional functions or the connection of third-party systems and sales channels via an app store. For example the classic marketplaces or e-commerce platforms based on Magento, Oxid, Shopify, Shopware, Gambio. In order to counter the frequent problem that on-demand offers cannot be adequately adapted to the respective customer needs, Actindo also offers the Actindo Core1 platform. This provides software components and APIs so that you can independently develop the right applications. If necessary, also with a partner. Actindo also offers the advantage of being manufacturer-independent. Actindo is now quite a long way from being a traditional ERP system provider. The name Unified Commerce Suite, which Actindo has chosen, fits better. If you would like to find out a little more about the provider, you can also watch our interview in the Actindo Commerce Innovation Talks series here.
On the one hand, JTL offers an ERP solution specialized in trading processes and e-commerce. With JTL-WaWi, according to the provider, all sales channels with regard to product range maintenance, inventory adjustment and order processing can be managed easily and efficiently. This solution can also be expanded with numerous modules for the respective needs. This includes modules for financial accounting, POS or packing table + to control warehouse processes such as incoming goods, returns and the dispatch of orders. In addition, the ERP provides interfaces and the corresponding functions to manage your own offerings on Ebay and Amazon directly from the solution. As an ERP for e-commerce projects, JTL is also interesting because of its own shop system. JTL-Shop is a full-fledged shop system that can cope with complex product structures and individual prices. The maintenance of the product data and categories must, however, take place in JTL-WaWi. It just doesn't work without the ERP system. WaWi and shop can be installed locally or hosted by a JTL partner.
Like Actindo, proAlpha is a somewhat more extensive software solution that also addresses medium-sized companies. The software company has been on the market for 25 years, employs 250 software developers and looks after around 4500 customers worldwide. The customers are not only to be found in retail, but also in the manufacturing industry. The functional scope of the complete proAlpha system ranges from purchasing, materials management, production and cost accounting to finance, sales, CRM and business intelligence to CAD integration, DMS and e-commerce components. ProAlpha is available as on-premise software - if necessary with proAlpha hosting - or in the SaaS model. We encounter proAlpha quite often as an ERP in e-commerce projects, but the system is a little difficult with regard to the integration of shop solutions and service providers. Here you can tell that proAlpha was originally designed for production processes and not for retail or even e-commerce.
Plentymarkets is an e-commerce ERP system that combines merchandise management with a shop system and multichannel sales. The ERP functionalities are clearly tailored to the e-commerce value chain. In addition to the in-house developed webshop Ceres, plentymarkets offers a wealth of extensions for productive expansion of your own e-business via its marketplace. This of course includes plugins for connecting a large number of marketplaces, payment or fulfillment service providers, but also tools for address checking, PIM functionalities or themes for the Ceres frontend. With plenty Developers there is also a developer platform for plugins. With best practices on Github and extensive documentation. Plentymarkets clearly addresses small and medium-sized online retailers from the B2C segment with a rather “simple” product range - this is also evident from the pricing model. For medium-sized companies in B2B e-commerce with their complex processes, the ERP is not a choice in e-commerce projects.
Another eCommerce-specific all-in-one solution is afterbuy. The service portfolio includes a merchandise management system, PIM, order management, warehouse management, CRM, online shop and a multichannel connection to common marketplaces. The price model with afterbuy is a little more complex than with other providers. It combines fixed monthly basic tariffs with optional components and volume-based pricing - for transactions or customer contacts, for example. The afterbuy shop front end costs extra (different tariffs) but offers not only various themes but also interesting promotions and usability add-ons. In terms of functionality and support, this solution is also not aimed at larger companies or the B2B segment. However, it contains everything that can be expected from an all-in-one eCommerce management solution. Still exciting is the fact that afterbuy said goodbye to Ebay with a huge innovation backlog ... and in which a little more than three years without the company it is open to competition with high dynamism.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365)
Microsoft plays in a slightly different league with its ERP / CRM application Dynamics 365. The market leader has now released Dynamics 365 Commerce, a native e-commerce extension for its Dynamics 365 Retail application. The expansion is available from 4,216.55 euros per month, which is around 120 times what plentymarkets can offer. However, the idea is the same as with the other providers. It's about the all-in-one solution for omnichannel sales and all associated back office and inventory management processes. However, you should see the offer as part of a comprehensive commerce suite, for which your own online shop is just another channel in a complex retail architecture with numerous branches, stores, middlemen, marketplaces, affiliate offers. Although there is also the option of running Dynamics 365 Commerce on-premise, not all functions are then made available.
The integrated ERP solution Odoo is now based on an open source development framework for management apps with a large number of modules and a very large community that is continuously working on the further development of the framework and the modules. In addition to inventory management, there are also a number of modules relating to CRM, accounting, warehouse management, cash register systems, project management or even e-commerce. There are a total of 30 core applications and more than 16,000 apps from the community. However, the quality must be checked here. Originally started as TinyERP or OpenERP 2009, the range of services of the software has expanded significantly from version 9.0 from 2014. This also reflects the simultaneous renaming to "Odoo". This change was accompanied by the introduction of an enterprise license model on a subscription basis. Customers pay depending on the number of modules and users and receive integration, consulting and support services from Odoo. The enterprise version can be installed locally or obtained as a cloud service (SaaS, PaaS).
Xentral * Update 06/09/2020 *
With Xentral there is an exciting "start-up" in the ERP systems market that primarily addresses companies with e-commerce and multichannel strategies. Founders Benedikt and Claudia Sauter's solution was originally developed for the company's own needs. According to their own information, there was no system that met their requirements for functionality and flexibility in order to efficiently manage the inventory management processes in the backend of their own online shop - and which could easily grow with the company. For most of them, the most obvious solution, for better or for worse, adapting existing software accordingly, was not an option for the founders. The in-house developed open source software is based on standard technologies such as PHP and MySQL, can be flexibly adapted and, according to the company, now has more than 1,000 functions - also for CRM, offer management, team collaboration or the handling of desired delivery dates. Thanks to the range of functions and the high level of user-friendliness, the cloud-based ERP software was also named ERP system of the year in 2018. Xentral offers connections to all common B2C marketplaces and shop systems as well as for a number of third-party providers such as Datev or DHL - but no ready-made connectivity solutions in the B2B context. The ERP system is available from 65 euros a month.
Lexbizz * Update June 9th, 2020 *
The cloud ERP solution from Haufe-Lexware, lexbizz, also offers an e-commerce extension for the automatic synchronization of product, inventory, order, customer and invoice data between the online shop or marketplaces and the Lexbizz system. And that has it all. In addition to classic ERP scenarios around the maintenance of article master data and orders, lexbizz also serves resource planning in a large number of other areas through a number of its own extensions and the connection of third-party systems. In addition to classics such as CRM and financial accounting, this also includes modules for project controlling, production planning or field service control with deployment planning and route management and the management of maintenance tasks and service contracts. In the overall package, lexbizz is particularly suitable for use in the medium-sized B2B sector and especially for manufacturers who supplement their sales with e-commerce. The costs of the monthly terminable SaaS offer depend on the number of modules used and the users as well as the configuration effort.
abas ERP * Update 03.03.2021 *
With a little more than 4,000 customers, the abas ERP system - abas erp for short - is somewhere in the middle. The software company was founded in 1980 and, according to its own information, primarily addresses medium-sized companies from the manufacturing industry. Quite well suited for the management of warehouse stocks in simple client structures, but the solution should also be able to bring together all commercial, logistical and production-related data across locations and serve as a hub for external services and systems. Abas advertises with high flexibility, with the somewhat outdated software architecture and its own programming language FO, the system is a bit cumbersome in terms of adaptation and connection tasks. E-commerce projects in connection with abas should therefore be well planned.
abas ERP can be expanded to include modules for customer management (CRM), production control, purchasing, PPS, materials management, service processing, finance & accounting, BI, document management or business process management. A B2B webshop extension is also hidden behind the CRM module. Users should be able to design a professional B2B web shop that can easily map the complex business logics stored in the ERP.
Sage * Update 03.03.2021 *
Sage - actually the Sage Group - is one of the largest providers of business software for small and medium-sized companies worldwide. According to the company, 250,000 customers are served in Germany. Sage's solution portfolio is grouped around the three areas of order processing & accounting, ERP & merchandise management and payroll accounting. On the performance side, a distinction is made between small companies (e.g. with “Sage 50”, “Payroll”) and medium-sized companies (e.g. “Sage 100”, “Sage X3”, “Sage HR Suite” and “Sage People”). Most of the applications are available in the cloud.
In combination with the Sage 50 cloud solution, Sage offers two options for getting started in e-commerce. Firstly, the Sage 50 commercial solution was expanded to include “Sage Shop” - a shop module for smaller e-commerce companies. Sage Shop costs start at 49 euros for 5,000 products. In addition, the all-in-one solution "Sage 50 eCommerce" is offered, a dedicated combination of product components from Sage Shop and Sage 50, for customers who are not yet using Sage ERP.
For larger customers there are e-commerce extensions for Sage 100 that allow the creation of your own shops and the connection of marketplaces as well as plugins for the connection of shops based on known systems such as Shopware, Magento, OXID eShop, xt: Commerce. There are also modules for the automated processing of online shipping orders, the integration of shipping service providers or for improved product data management.
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