Enterprise E-Commerce and ERP: Common Questions Series Part 1

Mike BatesPublished: Updated:

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2010 is off to a great start at HotWax Media. We are working with a steady stream of clients who are interested in enterprise eCommerce and ERP. The main client pain points we encounter are 1. a growing business outpaces an old system, or 2. business processes are more sophisticated than a limited e-commerce systems will support. At HotWax Media, it is our mission to make these pain points go away for our clients.

As we continue with our mission and the new year delivers a resurgence of tangible, budget-backed interest in enterprise e-commerce/ERP and OFBiz, I thought it would be useful to start building a list of some common questions our prospective clients face as they make their e-commerce/ERP purchase decisions. I plan to add to this list from time to time with subsequent blog posts. For now, we will begin with the following three common questions we have heard from sales prospects over the last month.

The answers here are meant to be relatively short and sweet. If you are looking for additional detail or are more generally interested in learning how HotWax Media can help you create or enhance your e-commerce/ERP system, contact us without delay!

1. What are my options related to product organization and display?

The first example today is related to product taxonomy and product content options. In this case, the sales prospect needed the ability to create quite a few categories, sub-categories, sub-sub-categories, and so on. She also needed the ability to deliver personalized content at each of these hierarchical levels based on user type. A competitor she had been speaking with was unable to support these requirements, so we were glad to be able to talk her down out of the tree (pun intended). The bottom line is that with OFBiz, you can create a product organization tree that has as many branches as you need to get the job done. There is no system-imposed limit to the number of categories you can create and use to organize and display your products in an OFBiz e-commerce storefront built by the OFBiz experts here at HotWax Media. Furthermore, you can deliver personalized content at any step along the way assuming you know who your user is (i.e. he has logged in or been somehow otherwise identified by the system). While you can personalize any product content at any step along the way, this capability requirement is especially common in B2B environments.

2. Can my system automate sales tax, payment processing, and shipping?

The short answer related to sales tax, payment processing, and shipping: No problem. A HotWax Media/OFBiz solution will empower you to handle sales tax, payment processing, and shipping however it will best suit your business. Sales tax is typically handled by 3rd party tax tables which provide sales tax requirement details all the way down to that specific split zip code you were wondering about in San Jose – no problem. Payment processing will generally be handled by one of the many integrations available out-of-the-box with OFBiz (PayFlow Pro, Authorize.net, Chase Orbital, etc.). In the event that you have a special requirement to use a different payment processor, the expert OFBiz developers at HotWax Media can implement a new payment processor integration in no time. Finally, with HotWax Media and OFBiz you will find a rich variety of shipping options from which to choose. These include integrations with USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and many other shipping companies. The integrations also let you rely solely on automated quotes from the shipping companies, manual overrides, or a combination. With relative ease, you can control every aspect of your shipping revenue/expense related to your enterprise e-commerce storefront.

3. Can we do inventory management in this system?

Yes indeed, as a full-featured open source ERP framework, OFBiz offers great inventory management features that support everything from ATP/QOH-driven product display to inventory moves and re-order points. If your business is growing, you may already have and wish to integrate with an existing inventory management system. OFBiz makes that as easy as possible using XML-RPC, SOAP, or most any other common protocol designed for that type of synchronization. If you do not already have an inventory management system or are looking to replace the one you have, then you are in a great position to leverage the fully featured inventory management in OFBiz as part of an architecture that will already be integrated with your e-commerce storefront. Bonus!

Feel free to let us know if you have other common questions you would like to see addressed in this series, or contact us today to learn more about how HotWax Media can help you build and grow your e-commerce business.

Mike Bates About Mike Bates
Mike Bates founded HotWax Systems in 1997 and is our chief executive. His career in web application sales, marketing, design and development spans two decades, and he is a long time open source software advocate. He has led high-profile web software projects for numerous national and global brands and has taught web development courses at the graduate level. Mike joins other HotWax employees and advisers in periodically posting thoughts here related to HotWax Commerce, OFBiz, digital commerce, and other topics.

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