Why Use ERPDriven – Shopping Cart/E-Cart

The integration of an online

shopping cart

with a company’s products or services is essential for

customer engagement

and provides a cost-effective and efficient means of promoting your company’s products and services.

ERP Shopping Cart Integration

Unless your shopping cart is

tightly integrated 

with the ERP system, there is always a danger that the

online catalog

will become disjointed or disconnected from what the company actually sells – it is all too easy to forget to remove parts that are no longer available, fail to align quantity

discounts and price breaks

in real time, and to not maintain part attributes, descriptions, and features within an external system. Without tight integration to the ERP, the online catalog is doomed to become stale over time. Customers will not have an accurate picture of the products and services that are on offer, which will translate into lost sales and ultimately affect

customer retention.

Maintaining a separate system for the catalog can also be a resource hog over time. It is time consuming to maintain two separate systems: one to manage your parts, and another to manage your catalog. This is doubly inconvenient when you consider all the additional resources used in troubleshooting and maintaining integration services between the

ERP and the external catalog system.


A very powerful feature of


is its

tight integration

with the backend system – the shopping cart shows the parts that are marked as

web salable.

If you don’t want them online, turn off the flag.

Changes to the backend system are immediately visible in the cart.

Users of the shopping cart see the part description, uom’s, and base price. These are all pulled in from the system of record – the ERP drives what the user ultimately sees in their shopping cart.  If a part description is changed, then customers will see this immediately in the cart. If the part image is changed, then the customer will see this immediately. All changes propagate to the cart within a few minutes of the change taking place in the backend system. The beauty of the ERPDriven shopping cart approach is that your catalog is always in sync with the ERP system.


Dynamic Attribute Driven Search

In many catalog systems, finding what you are looking for can be a time-consuming process. This is painfully true for catalogs that have limited user interactions – simple pdf or part listings with limited filtering, or blanket categories. Even in 3rd party integrated catalog systems, that are separate from the ERP, integration can be challenging when trying to keep the search attributes and classes in sync.  The advantage of


is that it uses the

dynamic attributes

defined in the backend system. These attributes are easy to setup and can take on a variety of different forms that allows for parts within a class to be accurately defined and constrained. These

dynamic attribute classes

allow for the parts to be broken down into groups – the attribute class defines the search criteria for that particular group. Even if your company has never setup attribute classes in Epicor before, it is a simple 3 step process to implement. From a web saleable part offering perspective, 1) group together the parts into categories, 2) within these categories, define a broad set of attributes that accurately reflects the common features found with the part grouping, 3) add the class to the part and assign the attributes. As soon as you have completed these tasks, the part is classified in the shopping cart; furthermore as soon as you have defined the attribute class, its features are available and selectable within the

shopping cart.

 For instance, you can quickly setup a number of checkboxes, simple flags, to denote that a part satisfies a set of constraints. For instance, it may be useful to denote that a part is suitable for use within a marine environment or meets a specific safety standard. Another example could be to annotate a part with specific skills, or competencies, that a physical resource possesses. In addition to checkboxes, you can add

number-based attributes

with upper and lower bounds - these are particular useful for defining tolerance ranges for your parts. You can even specify a list of selectable attributes. These can act as categories within a part group or class.

Part Attribute Search

In addition to these

user defined attributes,

the shopping cart system also implements the base attribute sets – such as brand, sub brand, color, etc. These can be enabled and disabled for the site as a whole; therefore, if you turn them on, the user can immediately use these attributes as a super selector across all

web saleable parts

and across all dynamic attribute classes. Using dynamic attributes and part attributes makes searching for parts easy, each selection refines the search to a more manageable part group, furthering refinement of the list in the grid. How you use these attributes it entirely up to you – you drive the shopping cart filtering.

Keyword Search

In addition to the

attribute driven search,

the shopping cart also supports keyword searches, across the entire part collection. The keyword search looks at the text defined in the part description, and the part memo - defined on the

part attribute screen.


Seamless Order Entry and Invoicing

Aside from the customer getting an accurate view of what you sell, the shopping cart also simplifies the process of creating

customer records,


orders, and invoicing.

The time-consuming process of setting up a customer, creating an order, managing, and maintaining ship-tos, and generating invoices is all driven from the

ERPDriven shopping cart.



Customer Maintenance

A user can browse the products and add items to the cart. Ultimately, they will need to


If they are not an existing customer, then they can easily set themselves up as a customer in the ERP system – no external


system or sales portal required. The ERP maintains the customer, and ultimately any orders that they generate will be linked to this customer record.  Letting the customer drive their customer record creation and maintenance simplifies the order creation process. They can add and remove shiptos, they get to maintain their preferred contact method – email address, phone number, customer address. All this information is stored in the ERP using the existing customer relationship tables and all these interactions require zero additional resources for the implementor of the shopping cart. A returning customer only needs to login, either at the time of checkout, or through the profile access menu.

Customer login information

is maintained in the ERP, password management, either lost password, or password changes, are driven through the shopping cart. No additional resources are required from our perspective.  Password data is stored within the ERP, the data is securely stored, and the cart uses

SSL encryption.


Credit Card Checkout

When the user checkouts, the

process flow

is seamless. If the parts on order are

digital (intangible).

At checkout the customer’s credit card is authorized through a 3rd part payment

processing platform,

an order is created in the ERP, the credit card is captured from the order creation, an invoice is created and emailed to the customer email address defined in the customer profile, and the cash from the credit card is queued for collection using a

batch process.

The shopping cart will not create orders if an invalid card is entered, or a card cannot be authorized. The card information is never stored in the ERP and so the security requirements from our perspective are limited to just storing the card processing reference number. From an accounting perspective the sale and cash are recognized in the ERP using the standard business processes making the

account process seamless.



Intangible Parts, Auto Invoicing, Cash Collection, and Automated Digital Delivery

Digital goods

can be anything that can be delivered through an email or a

shared resource.

The delivery mechanism to the customer is defined within the system on the part attachment record. In keeping will all other aspects of the shopping cart, the part links to the actual electronic item through the standard

ERP functionality.

These attachments could be movies, white paper, or software packages. All that is required from our perspective is a part to sell, a link to the attachments for digital goods, attributes to help the user search the catalog, and a customer record that defines the primary contact email address.

Physical Parts, Shipping Invoices, and Cash Collection


physical parts

that require shipping, the process flow is slightly different; however, this flow is still entirely dictated by the ERP system. The only indication that the order came from the shopping cart is during shipping. At shipping, credit card orders must be

shipped complete.

As soon as the pack is created and all line items added, the shipping desk marks the shipment as complete. The shipment will automatically

capture the credit card,

generate the shipment invoice,


email this information to the customer.

The cash capture will be queued for collection in a batch process. This flow requires no additional work from our perspective – in fact the only requirement added is to ship the order complete, which is standard functionality within ERP and defined at the order level. The accounting flow is identical to the

digital goods flow

– albeit physical goods will take some time to manufacture, and then ship, so the card authorization and card capture will be separated in time. What about failed credit cards? Again, the process flow is defined by the ERP. If the credit card fails to capture, then the


are removed, and the pack is returned to an unshipped status with a warning message supplied to the shipping desk to contact the customer to update their card payment method.




process is handled through the main ERP system. Parts are delivered immediately for digital goods, scheduled for a start date for human resources, and shipped when available [in stock] for physical items in a make to order or make to stock process. Therefore, the return authorization process is delegated to the company’s established refund and exchange processes.  All credit card authorization information is stored in the ERP system and in the

3rd party card processing system.

This information allows for refunds against the original transaction.

Vicki and a worry free weekend

Human Resources as Parts

As far as the

shopping cart

is concerned, everything that is marked as

web salable

will be shown in the cart for purchase. This can include

physical resources

– such as consultants, staffing resources for shipping, accounts receivable, payroll, etc. If they are defined as a web salable part, then their services can be sold using appropriate unit of measure. The potential of doubling booking a resource or scheduling a resource beyond their allowed hours is possible; however, the shopping cart seamlessly handles resources as a manufactured part through the

ERP systems job entry processes.

Therefore, the part that you are purchasing is really the resource on the job – this allows for a resource to be booked and scheduled. The ERP is again driving the process. Only available resource that can be schedule are available in the cart.  If no resources are available that meet a user’s requirements, then a contact us form will be provided to track the lost sale.

Pricing and Discounts


Part pricing

is ultimately derived from the base part price in the


however, these parts can also have

quantity break discounts,


early payment discounts,


customer based discounts.

These pricing structures are maintained by the ERP. The payload pulled to the shopping cart always reflects these

discount terms.

Therefore, as the user increases the quantity of an item to purchase, the shopping cart automatically shows the correct pricing structure based on the ERP’s discounting structure.

Pricing discounts

can also be associated with the customer – returning customers to the shopping cart always have a customer record in the ERP. These customers can be tracked, and discounts applied based on their ordering history.

Lost Sales Tracking

The shopping cart can be used to

track lost sales.

For this feature the user must be logged in/authenticated. The process of tracking lost sales is based on the cart cache clearance, either when a user exits the application without buying, or when they clear the cart. During these steps the part information can be moved into a losing quote- again the ERP is storing the data and the cart is just using the

ERP’s business processes.


Vicki makes a big sale after hours

Ease of installation and configuration

The process is

straight forward,

copy over the UI folder to IIS and convert into an application, then configure the web config. Copy the backend secure web services to IIS and configure the

web config.

Install the Epicor cab files that contain the BPM, BAQ, and Customizations.


Mark the parts for online sale as

web saleable,

and add appropriate

attribute classes

to decorate your parts.  Link your new shopping cart on your web site. You could choose to link it to one location only; however, if you have offerings by division, then you can link the cart in multiple locations and pass along these constraints to the cart to

prepopulate the filters.


Shopping Cart Advantages - Summary

In summary, the

shopping cart

is a value added component that is

tightly integrated

with the ERP system. This seamless integration allows

web saleable parts

to be immediately visible to customers and affords the end user with an intuitive search and selection mechanisms that is controlled and maintained within the ERP. The integration of

customer record creation,

order creation,


, and

credit card authorization

through a 3rd party card processing network, provides businesses with a cost-effective sales channel that requires minimal setup and/or resources assigned to manage and maintain the shopping cart and the integration with ERP.