How Does OFBiz Meet the More Basic Needs of a Small to Mid-Sized E-Commerce Operation?
In this day and age, almost everyone is familiar with e-commerce storefronts. But relatively few are privy to the back-end: What does it look like for a business to manage a product catalog, fulfill orders, and provide service and support to customers? Is there a single online app that does all of that?
Maybe the business simply receives a system email with the order details, and pick, pack, and ship are paper-driven. For the lowest-volume sales and simplest supply chain, this can work. In fact, it’s how many e-commerce businesses get their start. But when orders pour in, businesses find it hard to survive without automated customer, order, inventory, and fulfillment management capabilities.
Small to mid-sized businesses can turn to OFBiz for a basic, out-of-the box suite of of apps to manage e-commerce. But figuring out exactly which features to implement is a challenge, especially for OFBiz and open-source newcomers.
With 16 mature applications and 8700 database objects and counting, OFBiz may overwhelm stakeholders seeking support for their customer service and warehouse operations. The vast and generic flexibility of the OFBiz framework presents potential end-users with literally thousands of options from which to choose, and all out-of-the-box.
HotWax Media’s business is to help clients cut to core functionality with a concise OFBiz solution, and over the years, we’ve developed a good sense of what most e-commerce customers want. In this series, we’ll clear a path through OFBiz’s complexity to the most straightforward out-of-the-box implementation for small or mid-sized businesses. Each post will map back to the following Must Haves.
Eleven E-Commerce Management Must Haves
- Control the type, relevance, and amount of product information on the storefront
- Know when inventory is low and order goods from suppliers with ease
- Receive products into the warehouse by way of the original purchase order
- Track product inventory quantities and warehouse locations real-time
- Queue up orders for picking and get them all set for packing
- Pack orders and ship them out the door
- Make returns easy on Customer Service
- Edit an in-flight order or put it on hold
- Keep track of customers’ purchases, returns, and account information
- Offer gift cards, special offers, and discounts
- Have an easy way to update website content
Laurian Escalanti is a Senior Business Analyst based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She works directly with clients’ subject matter experts, process owners, and end users to define and document business requirements, from e-commerce, purchasing, order management, manufacturing, fulfillment, and accounting, to UI design, third-party integrations, SEO, and site analytics.
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.