Improving your eCommerce experience with an EDI solution

eCommerce is on the rise. Buyers want access to everything from the comfort of their laptop or phone, and customer journeys that span multiple channels have become the new norm. Because of these and other complexities, success in digital commerce depends heavily on a smoothly functioning supply chain.

Successful online retailers are adopting electronic data interchange (EDI) solutions so they can efficiently exchange purchase orders, delivery notes, invoices, and other documents with manufacturers and suppliers in their global supply chain using a single digital platform. EDI systems can enhance your eCommerce experience in several different ways:

Fewer stockouts

Few things annoy your shoppers more than their desired product being out of stock. Even if your suppliers are completely reliable, you might forget to place replenishment orders in time.

Modern EDI solutions that integrate with your ERP and WMS software let you simplify or even automate your replenishment cycle by either notifying you or immediately placing orders with your suppliers whenever stock levels fall below a specified threshold. As a result, your customers are far less likely to experience stockouts, which helps you maintain high customer satisfaction.

Fewer order fulfillment errors

Incorrectly keyed information can lead to your customers receiving the wrong product. They might be shipped the correct product in the wrong quantity, or if you’ve made a mistake in their delivery information, they won’t receive their order at all! Any of these errors will almost certainly lead to very irate customers and maybe even negative publicity.

EDI minimizes manual entry. You (and your supplier) won’t have to decipher someone’s messy handwriting, hunt down an email that contains order information, or risk making a mistake while rekeying an order from one program into another. More accurate order information reduces the risk of fulfillment delays, angry customers, and loss of business.

Personalization and direct shipping

More and more businesses are harnessing digital supply chain technology and consumer analytics to offer their customers made-to-order products. With real-time vendor communication solutions, retailers can keep their supply chain agile and minimize logistics and inventory costs by sending customized product orders to manufacturers so they can produce and send items directly to your customers.

You don’t need to offer product personalization services to take advantage of EDI in this way. Even if your products are mass-produced, the ability to instantly send delivery information to suppliers is a great way to drastically shorten order fulfillment times, minimize warehousing and inventory spend, and keep your customers happy.

Real-time special order availability

Some online retailers allow their customers to place special orders for items they don’t usually keep in inventory. However, most of these retailers don’t have an up-to-the-minute record of their suppliers’ stock levels or delivery times, which means their online store doesn’t tell their customers how soon they’ll receive these items. More often than not, customers decide to look elsewhere for the item they wanted, and the retailer misses out on a sale.

EDI integration can give your customers real-time information about special order availability and wait times. Even if you don’t keep a particular item in stock, your online store can use EDI to instantly consult your supplier’s records, determine the item’s estimated delivery time, and place an order.

Conclusion

Your customers value timely replenishment, quick and accurate fulfillment, and end-to-end visibility, and digital technologies like EDI that allow you to effortlessly deliver this value represent a real competitive advantage. To learn more about how digital B2B communication drives growth and reduces customer churn, please register for our December 13 webinar, “Live Demo of PartnerLink for Dynamics 3665 FO in Retail”.

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