Features

Enhanced websites: The key to success in 2022

Andy Scothern, founder of eCommonSense, an ECI Software Solutions company, has witnessed first-hand the digitisation of the merchant sector, with a growing number of businesses now embracing specialist technology to drive efficiency.

Accurate record keeping and inventory management, becomes much harder when a business adds eCommerce functionality. Often, this can lead to the mis-ordering of new stock or, worse, running out of certain products altogether and being faced with a period of lost sales. Many merchants previously had a traditional website which existed purely to share basic information such as where they were located, opening hours and what they specialised in, very few had a website through which items could be ordered. An even smaller number had a website that could communicate directly with their ERP systems, the programme responsible for managing their supply chain and wider business. This is what an enhanced website does.

One of the most important aspects of an enhanced website is the fact that it can display an up-to-date list of items currently stocked in the warehouse because it links directly to the overarching ERP system. This not only helps with more accurate inventory management, but it also removes the chance of a customer being allowed to place an order, only to be later notified that the item is in fact out of stock.

ECI’s eCommonSense software includes a wide range of tools designed to upsell and improve customer service, such as suggesting other materials a customer may be interested in or calculating the costs of a certain project. There are also tools to configure windows and doors, and a system to identify stock of matching bricks from a photograph. By including this sort of functionality on your website, you are more likely to impress customers and win repeat business. This is especially important when the nature of online retailing means customers are less loyal to specific brands and companies.

Naturally, implementing new software is daunting. It’s a big investment for businesses that have been relying on more traditional legacy technology. If you do decide to invest in a digital business management system and enhanced website, you will notice several benefits.  A digital system can display trend-based data so it’s easy to visualise when KPIs have been hit, and where improvements need to be made, rather than relying on guesswork. Staff can also access real-time data to simplify day-to-day tasks such as ordering and invoicing. This will save hours of time and allow employees to focus on the areas that require their attention.

ECI Spruce
ECI Spruce is a fully integrated ERP software solution that has been the trusted solution for builders’ merchants for more than 30 years. Spruce unifies all aspects of the business, reducing costly errors and manual mistakes – giving timber merchants more time to focus on growing their business. By eliminating time-consuming, paper-heavy processes, the end-to-end document management system can improve productivity and reduce costs. For those seeking to improve performance, advanced reporting and dashboard provide crucial business insights, removing the need for multiple spreadsheets and systems. The ability to monitor and track KPIs will also help with smarter long-term decision making.

ECI eCommonSense
ECI eCommonSense is a market leading eCommerce and product data management solution specifically designed for timber merchants. The expert developers at eCommonSense understand the building materials distribution business and are experts in digital technology. eCommonSense software includes a wide range of tools designed to upsell and improve customer service, such as suggesting other materials a customer may be interested in or calculating the costs of a certain project. There are also tools to configure windows and doors, and a system to identify stock of matching bricks from a photograph. The system also provides insight around how well a website is performing by comparing it to others and learning from best practice, as well as offering flexible architecture, allowing a business to change the design, colours, layouts and icons as much as they like.

You can read the full feature in the Summer Timber Trader UK magazine 

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