- a physical retail store where customers can come and purchase goods in person
- a mail order store where they take orders by mail, phone and fax and send the goods to the purchaser once they have paid
- an online store which takes orders, processes the credit card transactions and notifies the business to fulfil the orders
- a popup store/market store that runs every month or for short periods of time
When the business is starting up, or when they are adding a new method of selling goods and services, the tendency is for each of these stores to operate as their own silo. This ultimately leads to a lot of data duplication/double entry in multiple systems as the business deals with orders coming in from multiple store presences. Quite often we see the following workflow:
- physical and mail order/phone orders are processed in the central office FileMaker CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution
- online/eCommerce orders are processed via the online store attached to the customer’s website. The business is notified of new orders via email and these are then entered into the central office CRM system by customer service staff who then notify the accounts department to create an accounting entry in Xero or MYOB etc.
We wouldn’t generally recommend to customer’s that they use FileMaker to run their online eCommerce store, so there’s no problem with having the physical presence and the online presence separate (and it’s highly advisable from a security standpoint). However this leads to the problem of scattered information and ad hoc processes – wouldn’t it be better if all the information was in one place and you could see all the physical orders and online orders from the central FileMaker CRM? Could you save time and increase productivity by not having to manually re-enter all the online orders in both the main FileMaker CRM as well as your accounting software?
We’ve been helping customers for many years now integrate their online stores with their FileMaker CRM solution so they can view everything in the one place and automate the transfer of online orders into their office CRM, and then push that into their accounting software without having to re-type anything.
Here’s a list of online orders from a popular shopping cart as it appears in the web browser admin view:
Wouldn’t it be great if you could also view these same orders live in FileMaker:
and instead of re-entering each order manually, including the line item details:
you could see all the online order details live in FileMaker:
and with the click of a button you can push the order details from the online eCommerce system into your FileMaker CRM and apply some business rules at the same time, such as:
- check for an existing customer in the FileMaker CRM and if no match is found create a new Contact record
- create a new Invoice and associated Invoice Items
- create a Payment record against the Invoice
- push a copy of the Invoice to your accounting software such as Xero or MYOB
- add the purchaser to a mailing list in MailChimp or Campaign Monitor etc
- send a thank you email to the customer with a discount coupon
Here at Databuzz we recently faced the same challenges that we’ve been helping our customers with for many years – we opened our first online store last year and have been working on integrating this with our internal FileMaker CRM every since. In Part 2 and 3 of this series we’ll cover some approaches to eCommerce and FileMaker integration based on our experiences as a small business that uses FileMaker and Xero to run their business.