The connection of online platforms with SAP enables the automation of sales processes on marketplaces. Large online sales platforms such as Amazon or eBay are ahead of the search engines for product searches. Being present here opens up huge sales potential. However, the growing success also poses a major challenge for retail companies: sales processes must be carried out quickly, efficiently, and in real-time to offer customers maximum convenience and delivery security. However, the direct marketplace connection of the ERP via the SAP system was not feasible using standard processes.
The Re-In Retail International GmbH has solved this problem using FIS/TradeFlex, using standard processes. There is no question that marketplaces bring many benefits. Large ranges, selection of articles, advertising opportunities, service and shipping options are just a few points that make this sales channel interesting in B2C and B2B. Despite many advantages, the scope of the sales process poses some challenges that can hardly be mastered with standard SAP system solutions.
Re-In Retail International GmbH has been operating various online shops in consumer electronics, household appliances, model making and technology since 2008 and is already successfully represented with these product ranges on over 15 marketplaces through in-house developments. On France’s well-known marketplace Fnac, which has a similar mechanism to the world-famous marketplace Amazon, Re-In Retail lists around 45,000 offers via FIS/TradeFlex, which customers can order, return, and cancel.
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Integrative SAP Connection Of Marketplaces Ensures Scalability And Real-Time Data Flow
Focal regions in web-based business can be taken care of well with the ERP framework from SAP. However, when trading on marketplaces, many aggregators reach their limits—Head of Data Analytics at Re-In Retail International GmbH. Interfaces are often designed in-house, which ties up enormous development and downstream support capacities. The consequence is that from a certain number of connections, the expansion of the existing marketplace portfolio is no longer easily possible, so scalability suffers as a result. With interfaces, a direct flow of information can be guaranteed.
Cloud-Based Middleware As A Powerful Interface Between The Marketplace And The SAP System
For Re-In Retail International GmbH, it was clear that a digital solution had to be found to automatically handle the sales processes for other marketplaces without additional developer resources. A pilot project has now been started with FIS Informationssysteme und Consulting GmbH. Rein’s SAP system was connected to the Fnac marketplace via the cloud-based middleware FIS/TradeFlex.
FIS/TradeFlex is a point of interaction between the commercial center and the SAP framework and controls all deal processes. This results in great potential for sellers on online marketplaces. Employees can be relieved and devote themselves to the company’s strategic orientation, while the real connection to marketplaces is largely automated. The Fiori launchpad also ensures a high level of user-friendliness with a structured system interface.
Direct Information Flow Allows The Automation Of All Sales Processes
The consistent connection of the marketplaces to the ERP system from SAP is important for sellers. It is possible to automate all steps in the sales process without having to do any development work yourself to cope with the high number of orders and continue to guarantee customers short delivery times. Only with a direct flow of information and mutual communication is it possible today to meet the challenges of a seller on an online trading platform. The deep integration of the marketplaces with the SAP system ensures end-to-end process coverage: from article selection to payment and returns.
Information can be obtained directly from SAP and made available to it and vice versa. The two-way communication runs completely automatically without having to tie up developer capacities. Orders are picked up directly from the marketplaces, stored encapsulated in the cloud, and the entire administrative management is taken over in the direction of the SAP system. This eliminates the need to start jobs in the conventional SAP system. This way, several thousand orders can be reliably processed without problems. When the orders are transferred from the cloud, they are created in SAP by calling the OData services, provided that the requested order quantity is confirmed.
The return communication takes place directly with the transmission of the order number to the cloud, which stores it. In turn, the cloud solution communicates with the marketplace and can call up the address data to be sent directly to the SAP system. This creates the link between the marketplace order, the cloud, and SAP, which ultimately illustrates the close connection.
Integrating a delivery block is particularly smart, with which an order is provided in the first step after collection from the marketplace.
Only when the address delivery from the marketplace to the cloud is removed and the logistics continue. So-called “worklists” enable efficient time control of the outstanding tasks of an order so that the system knows exactly which information still needs to be transferred and where. The other follow-up processes, such as delivery, invoicing, and receiving returns in SAP, also run automatically, thanks to the APIs. In addition, such an interface with deep integration into the SAP system has the advantage that all information about an item, such as invoices, is stored in the cloud.
As soon as a payment is made to the seller on the marketplace, the open items are cleared in the SAP system. Since payment from the marketplace to the seller usually contains numerous items, the seller saves considerable manual effort in accounting through the automated allocation and balancing of the open items. FIS/TradeFlex determines the invoice number and transmits it to the SAP system to match the order number.
Smart Integration Convinces Across The Board
Right from the first presentation of FIS/TradeFlex at Re-In Retail International, the decision-makers were so enthusiastic about the automated and deep process integration that cooperation was quickly decided. “We finally found the solution to connect marketplaces to the SAP standard processes even more comprehensively than we had initially imagined,”.
The initial challenges of the integration lay primarily in the uniform design of the complete processes, which were initially considered independent of the marketplace. The question arises: “Which processes must be mapped via the marketplace, and what constellations result from this?”. It was, therefore, of enormous importance to control the parameters right from the start so that these questions could be answered automatically in future marketplaces.
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