Setting up an e-Commerce Web Presence – Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY)

When it comes to setting up a new e-Commerce web shop, there are a number of factors which need to be juggled:

  • Ease of use for the end user
  • Ease of use for your website administrator
  • Amount of effort in the initial set up and ongoing maintenance of the data (items, prices, stock level etc.)
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Added value for customers

The priority for these will vary according to your target audience, but generally each of the above needs to be considered regardless of whether you are targeting end clients or other businesses. Any modern e-Commerce platform worth the name will aim to satisfy the above to a greater or lesser extent

However, nowadays, when a new website can be setup in hours rather than days, a governing factor in choosing a new platform has to be not how slick is it to set up a vanilla system, but how slick is it to get my data with my business rules onto the website and keep the website in line with any changes in my data or business rules.

If your prices and stock levels never change, then the initial setup can be a straightforward export of data from your backend system to the frontend website, but if things do change, then that ongoing synchronisation of data is going to be an overhead which can quickly get out of hand. Especially if you have thousands of products.

In addition to the initial setup of data, there is also the business rules to be considered. For example, if you have special pricing for some large customers then the logic for that needs to be reflected in the website.

In today’s world of integrated systems it no longer makes sense to have logic and data repeated in disparate systems where there is a risk of that information becoming out of date. If that logic is already defined in your ERP system then this should be reflected in your website without the need for duplication of that logic. The modern principle of software engineering “Don’t repeat yourself” (DRY) is the principle that information and logic should not be repeated as this can lead to inconsistencies and errors – this applies to your business systems just as it does to software development.

It’s this challenge that has lead Technology Management to build an e-Commerce platform which is closely integrated with backend Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP systems. By having this close integration, we can be sure that any customer specific pricing, stock levels and item descriptions defined in the ERP system are immediately reflected in the website without the need to edit the data twice. And that any orders that are placed on the website appear in your backend Dynamics NAV system in real time.

Already Certified for Microsoft Dynamics, we have just released Version 4 of our Dynamics e-Commerce Addition which includes new pieces of functionality:

  • WishLists – the ability for users to maintain lists of frequently ordered items
  • Custom Pages – the ability for website administrators to add and maintain custom pages to the site to sit alongside the product pages of the items being sold.

The platform is being continually developed and we would love to talk to you about your challenges and how we can help you keep from having to repeat yourself!

For a full feature list of our Dynamics Additions see HERE

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