There is no question that marketplaces have many advantages. Large ranges, article selection, advertising options, service and shipping offers are just a few points that make this sales channel interesting, both in B2C and B2B. Despite many advantages, the Scope of the sales process some challenges that can hardly be overcome with standard solutions from the SAP system.
Re-In Retail International uses over 15 marketplaces
The Re-In Retail International GmbH has been operating various online shops in the areas of consumer electronics, household appliances, model making and technology since 2008 and is already successfully represented with this range on over 15 marketplaces through in-house developments. In the French Fnac online marketplace, which has a similar mechanism to the international marketplace Amazon, Re-In Retail lists about 45,000 offers via FIS / TradeFlex, which customers can order, pay but also return and cancel.
SAP software complements the integrative connection of marketplaces
Central areas in e-commerce can be handled well with the ERP system from SAP. However, when it comes to trading in marketplaces, many aggregators reach their limits. “The biggest challenge is that it has not been possible to connect marketplaces directly using standard SAP processes,” explains Florian Kohler, Head of Data Analytics at Re-In Retail International GmbH. Be often Interfaces on your own designed, which of course ties up enormous development but also downstream support capacities.
The result is that from a certain number of connections, the further expansion of the existing marketplace portfolio is no longer possible, ergo scalability suffers. A direct flow of information cannot be guaranteed without interfaces. However, the area of the transferred stocks shows how important a dynamic real-time data flow is: If further orders are received for stocks that are already empty, these must be canceled again, which results in negative reviews and causes customer dissatisfaction.
Connect the SAP system to the marketplace using middleware
For Re-In Retail International GmbH it was clear that a digital solution had to be found in order to be able to handle the sales processes for additional marketplaces automatically without additional developer resources. Together with FIS Informationssysteme und Consulting GmbH, a pilot project has now been started, in which the SAP system from Re-In via Cloud-based Middelware FIS / TradeFlex connected to the Fnac market place.
FIS / TradeFlex acts as an interface between the marketplace and the SAP system and controls all of the sales processes. This creates great potential for sellers on online marketplaces. Employees can be relieved and return to the strategic direction of the company, while the whole Connection to marketplaces largely automated. The Fiori launchpad also ensures a high level of user-friendliness with a structured system surface.
SAP system: Reliable takeover of all sales processes
It is important for sellers that the marketplaces are continuously connected to the ERP system from SAP. All steps in the sales process must be able to be automated in this way, without any development effort, in order to meet the high number of orders and continue to serve the customer guarantee short delivery times. Only with a direct flow of information and mutual communication is it possible today to meet the challenges as a seller on an online trading platform. The deep integration of the marketplaces with the SAP system ensures end-to-end process coverage: from item selection to payment and return.
Information can be obtained directly from SAP and, conversely, made available to it. The mutual communication runs perfectly automated without developer capacity to bind. In this way, orders are picked up directly from the marketplaces, stored encapsulated in the cloud and the entire administration management is carried out in the direction of the SAP system. This completely eliminates the need to start jobs in the conventional SAP system. In this way, several thousand orders can be processed reliably.
When the orders are transferred from the cloud, they are created by calling the OData services in SAP, provided that the requested order quantity is confirmed. The return communication takes place directly with the transfer of the order number to the cloud, which stores it. The cloud solution in turn communicates with the marketplace and can call up the address data in order to then forward it directly to the SAP system. This creates the connection between the marketplace order and the cloud and SAP, which ultimately illustrates the close integration.
Integration of a delivery block in the SAP system
The integration of a delivery block is particularly smart, with which the first step is to add an order after it has been picked up from the marketplace. Only when the address delivery comes from the marketplace to the cloud is it removed and it goes on to logistics. With so-called “worklists” is one efficient time control of the outstanding tasks of an order, so that the system knows exactly which information needs to be transferred where.
Which are connected further follow-up processes such as delivery and billing right through to receipt of returns in SAP, which are also fully automated 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 via the marketplace, the open items are cleared in the SAP system.
Since a payment from the marketplace to the seller usually contains numerous items, the seller saves manual effort in accounting due to the automated assignment and settlement of the open items. FIS / TradeFlex determines the invoice number itself and transmits it to the SAP system to match the order number.
Quickly convinced of the cooperation
When FIS / TradeFlex was first presented at Re-In Retail International, the decision-makers were of the automated and deep process integration so enthusiastic that a collaboration was quickly decided. “We had finally found the solution to implement the connection of marketplaces to the SAP standard processes and that even more comprehensively than we initially imagined,” said Kohler.
The initial challenges of integration were primarily the uniform design of the complete processes, which were initially considered independent of the market place. The question arises: “Which processes have to be mapped on the marketplace and which constellations result from it?”. It was therefore extremely important to control the parameters from the start in such a way that these questions were answered automatically in future marketplaces.
The Fnac marketplace is a pilot project in the collaboration of FIS / TradeFlex and Re-In Retail International and was completed with great success to everyone’s satisfaction. A connection to the Amazon and Otto marketplaces is planned for the second quarter of 2020. (sg)
About the author: Anna-Lena Eswein is a copywriter for Wordfinder PR.
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