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Catalog System Integration

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Buying Group Catalog System Integration

Catalog System Integration within a buying group marketplace or group purchasing organization eCommerce platform can be really, really expensive. This is because integrations vary from the line of business applications like ERP and CRMs to very custom systems with very specific capabilities.

These capabilities might include pick impact tools, warehouse management, inventory management, robust customs and duties, tools, warehouse transfer and more. Really, the list is endless. Ultimately, as you scale and build your buying group, the ability to optimize the entire process will continue.

Defining Your Requirements

Fundamental Integrations

Nevertheless, there are some common, fundamental integrations that are a requirement as the buying group grows in size. This is especially true as members are looking for different capabilities that can scale.

First, in regards to system integration, is an accounting system, or ERP – one of the number one most important capability to integrate. ERP’s can be very complicated, but a lot of them have a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that can be leveraged to interact with the ERP systems.

Many buying group platforms will not only need to integrate these two systems internally, but also to integrate to external systems so members can interact directly with the buying group platform.

Detailed, Accurate, Informative

Buying Group Specific Catalog Information

For internal usage of buying groups systems, it will be important to manage the information that goes to the site for members to review from the catalog. This information can be perspective categories, products and those products member specific pricing. Being able to pull that data dynamically from the ERP system is incredibly helpful. Sometimes, depending on the ERP system, there will be customer pricing groups or pricing rules, meaning there could possibly be discounts that are quantity based. There could also be rebate logic built in that is coming from the different vendors. All this data needs to make its way to the website as quickly as possible in an automated fashion, helping improve customer satisfaction.

Think about it, if you have accurate, up-to-date data regarding inventory and pricing, to potential for customer self-service shoots up. This is a strong desire as it drastically improves overall satisfaction and allows for improved customer service as your buying group organization scales.

Automating Order Purchase Processing

Buying Group Order Integration

While it is important to have product catalog information integrated, it is also incredibly important to integrate the actual orders. Whenever someone is making a purchase, the purchase can sometimes need to be set up as a quote that gets pumped back into the internal ERP system for the buying group. They may need to be able to build orders and show different members who are purchasing as a collective group when they have reached the threshold for a premier discount regarding a particular group of items. This information needs to be shared accurately and quickly into the buying group marketplace in an automated fashion.

In addition to quotes and purchase quantity amounts, the actual purchasing of items can get very complicated with automatically integrating the systems. Be sure to imagine the scenarios buying groups may go through, such as there being 20 different members purchasing items that need to be shipped to different locations. Scenarios like these can occur, and you want to make sure your platform is ready to account for it.

There is a logistical overhead associated with manually generating and placing complicated orders. For the best customer satisfaction possible, you want to leverage a highly integrated system, allowing for all business logic to be standardized and automated. This is incredibly important for long term buying groups to compete within their online space and to provide the most value to their members.

Empowering Users and Improving Satisfaction

Item Returns and Shipping Notifications

System integration can also be really helpful for item returns and shipping notifications. You can keep your customers notified if their item was sent through properly or if there was an issue. While refunds and returns may not occur too often, the whole process can make or break the customer satisfaction for a member if it is a cumbersome and complicated experience. It is critical for business growth to have these systems integrated to any purchase or return can happen in a timely matter.

When making an order, it is possible the different items are being sent from different warehouses, meaning each individual item may be shipped at different times. As such, you want your customer to be aware if an item is going to take longer to get to them. You want to have all of this considered and automated with a system integration capability. It may not be necessary right out of the gate, but know that it may be needed in the future.

Buying Group Member Features

Member System Integration

It is also really helpful to be able to integrate to larger end members systems. Certain members require this. You do not want them to look for their own purchasing agreements outside of the buying group, you want them to be able to scale with the buying group as they grow. The more integrated you can make your buying group platform for a member's system, the higher the chance of them staying it; it increases the longevity of these business relationships. The Clarity buying group platform can enable integrations to internal systems for the buying group and vendor systems as well as enable member integrations.

A huge benefit of working with a group purchasing e-commerce platform, like Clarity’s, is that it has a connector that can integrate with hundreds of different systems in addition to the platform itself. We strongly encourage you to consider the long-term impacts of possible integrations and the benefits for integrating with specific systems as you continue to build your platform.

How Can Clarity Help

Clarity eCommerce Experts

To review, the main lesson here is that the more optimized the integrations, the quicker and more automated your organization can respond and deliver service to the end users. You can reduce human error and delay by having this all set up, meaning you do not have to sacrifice customer satisfaction.

We have provided several resource guides below to review. We are also available to review and talk about your specific project. Reach out to us at Clarity if you’d like a demo or to know how exactly we might be able to help you plan for both short-term and long-term success for your project.

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