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Magento 2 ERP Integration - Consultation

Magento Commerce is the leading provider of open omnichannel innovation. Its an open source, cloud-based digital commerce platform and omnichannel solution which empowers merchants to integrate digital and physical shopping experiences. Built for rapid innovation, the platform combines rich, out-of-the-box functionality with powerful business tools. This customizable platform seamlessly integrates with third-party solutions, can be deployed in any environment, and is backed by a vast network of commerce experts ready to help you.

Objective:

The client has an existing ERP/CRM system with multiple physical stores. The objective is to explain to the client flow between the various enterprise systems - ERP, CRM, Magento 2 Enterprise Edition - and the external vendor modules. The client particularly stressed on explaining how manual orders (phone orders), external marketplaces will affect this system and “store pickup” will be handled.

Schogini’s Role:

Draw a system flow diagram explaining how the existing enterprise systems that the client has, will work with the Magento 2 Enterprise software The diagram will highlight the data flow direction and the various points where external services will be used.

Schogini’s Solution:

ERP

The existing ERP system of the client will be the heart of the project. Catalog Data, Pricing, Tax, Shipping Rates, Inventory, Orders and Customers are all consolidated and managed here.

Customers who have placed an order via the Magento portal (either through the front end or via phone order) can see the orders and updates made to orders via the ERP system when they login into their account on the store. Orders placed in any other way (like Marketplaces, Retail) cannot been seen via the Magento system.

CRM

The existing ERP will communicate directly to the existing CRM system via connectors appropriate for the software. Magento will send customer data to the ERP system (using the an extension like mentioned above via XML or JSON) and the ERP will then, send the data to the CRM. There will be do direct communication between the CRM & Magento.

Note:

Many ERP systems have the CRM system built in as a sub-system. If this is true with the client’s ERP software then, a separate connector is not required.

Inventory Management

Inventory is managed by the ERP system for the POS, Marketplace & Magento. It is preferable that the logic of warehouse selection lies within the ERP system since, multiple POS will connect into it. Stock updates can be sent periodically or in real-time depending on the client requirement.

POS & Marketplaces

Point of Sale systems will communicate with the ERP system for catalog data, pricing, tax & order management. There will be no direct communication between Magento 2 and the POS or Marketplaces.

Phone Orders

Phone orders can be handled via the Magento Admin area. An authorized user will login into the Magento Admin area and place the order – whether new or existing customer. Hence, the normal Magento 2 flow and inventory management will apply here.

Pickup from Store:

‘Store Pickup’ can be a shipping method in Magento. Normal Magento order flow and Invoice will be closed after pickup. Hence, inventory management will also be done as usual via Magento.

Magento 2 EE supports both ElasticSearch & Solr. Remember you have to install Apache Solr first on your server before you can configure your Magento shop for it. They are encouraging new merchants to choose ElasticSearch over Solr.

Shipping

OOTB Magento 2 has USPS, UPS, FedEx & DHL configured and will allow you to setup shipping rates, shipping label workflow and enter tracking numbers. If, you have any other carrier you will need to install a ready 3rd party module or custom develop it.

Tax, Currencies, Websites

Magento 2 is structured in the form of Website > Stores > Views. This structure allows you to have multiple Website-Store-View combinations to create different user experiences. This structure also supports multi-currency, multi-language. Magento extensions can be used to automatically redirect customers to a region based website based on their IP. Magento 2 is capable to handle US based tax rules out of the box. In case of special tax rules you may need to install an extension.

Email Service Provider

MailChimp + Mandrill is the perfect combination for sending emails. While MailChimp is an Email Marketing Service Mandrill is an Email Service Provider. The MageMonkey Magento extension is a free extension that lets you configure MailChimp + Mandrill with your Magento store to send transactional and promotional emails. This combination can also be integrated with the CRM to send promotional emails outside Magento.

Front-end Features

Magento 2 provides most of the common features needed to attract and engage customers, increase the average order, and to build loyalty and advocacy.

  • Auto-complete search with drop down of search results. To get product recommendations you will need to configure Magento with ElasticSearch.
  • Mini cart (mini cart also depends on the theme that you implement. Magento’s default theme has this feature)
  • Multiple pricing displays - Price, Sale Price, MAP
  • Multiple product images and videos, which update based on color selection. Can be done using product attributes, attribute sets & configurable products.
  • Product reviews & ratings. You can even customize the ratings
  • Wish-list & Gift Registry
  • Estimate shipping and tax in the Shopping Cart
  • Cross sell & Up sell products
  • PayPal Express button at checkout. (Magento is an eBay company that owns PayPal).
  • Promotions & Discounts.
  • Monogramming - This can be done through “Custom Options” on the Product page.

These features can be easily added to Magento 2 using extensions:

  • Mega Menu (including merchandising)
  • Social Media features
  • Retail store locator
  • Upload photo for reviews
  • Free gift that auto-adds to cart with qualifying order
  • Multi-select Layered Navigation.

Client Benefit:

With the system flow diagram & documentation, the client gets a clear picture of how the data will flow between the various systems and the external services required to meet the client requirements. With this clear picture in mind then, can safely move into the detailed planning phase before starting the implementation & development.

Author

Gayatri S Ajith - CEO/Cloud & DevOps Architect
Gayatri is a certified professional and highly experienced OpenSource eCommerce developer, team lead, and project manager. She is Magento Certified Developer Plus and Magento Certified Solutions Specialist. With over a decade of hands-on development experience in web technologies (LAMP & MEAN), she has a strong technical background with the ability to communicate those technicalities frequently and clearly. Gayatri is comfortable in proposing alternatives when necessary to ensure the client goals are met - always. Currently, she is mastering AngularJS & Ionic while heading the eCommerce division of Schogini.
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