Decoding the FUBAR world of ecommerce management system acronyms

If you want to be an EVP PDQ and get that shiny new BMW you need to know how your company’s ERP can play nice with its CRM, OMS, WMS, PIM and DAM. LOL, right?

When did ecommerce become such a bowl of acronym soup? Well, we’re here with a spoonful of knowledge to help you simplify this technology.

In truth, each of these acronyms represents a very specific functional system for the effective operation of your ecommerce business. You have data coming out of your ears. But what the heck do all these letters mean? What do these systems do? Keep reading to find out what systems are the right ones to make that data do what you need it to do to generate more sales.

In this article we will define each acronym and explain how these systems can help you better manage your growing ecommerce business.

ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning

Information is the lifeblood of any thriving business. An ERP system helps companies collect, process and effectively use that information. ERP software is designed to streamline business processes and brings together data from multiple systems and departments. It allows for the standardization of company-wide information and processes which ultimately helps the business make better, more data-informed decisions.

Important things you can do with an ERP system:

  • Manage customer accounts
  • Process orders
  • Track manufacturing and supply chains
  • Raise alerts when issues arise
  • Manage benefits, payroll and employee data
  • Manage hiring processes
  • View business operation data in real time
  • Coordinate company-wide business strategies
  • Drive real-time per-customer pricing online with an integration

CRM – Customer Relationship Management

Keeping your customers happy and loyal is the primary function of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It helps you achieve this by recording and storing every piece of information about customer interactions across multiple contacts and channels. The data it collects is very useful to the marketing department, as it can be used to tailor more personalized communication to prospective customers. Companies can organize and segment all aspects of the customer experience with the right CRM system. Its ability to collect accurate customer data leads to improved customer interactions and higher sales volume.

Important things you can do with a CRM system:

  • Automate marketing campaigns
  • Provide “best in class” customer service
  • Analyze purchase patterns
  • Track leads across a sales funnel
  • Automate redundant functions

OMS – Order Management System

The way customers make purchases has been forever changed by the internet and digital technology. Consumers want to buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere and return anywhere. Fulfillment operations need to make use of digital technology as well. Getting a product from shopping cart to front porch with perfection is the function of a good Order Management System (OMS). This process can be fraught with challenges from aligning inventory and orders across multiple channels, to making complex decisions about shipping carriers and rates, to tracking fulfillment with third-party logistics. As sales increase in volume, outdated labor-intensive processes like tracking your orders and inventory with spreadsheets simply must go. A good OMS helps a business track orders, inventory and fulfillment. Modern order management systems allow the automation of internal processes from order to fulfillment leading to happy customers and incremental sales growth.

Important things you can do with a good OMS:

  • Process orders and payments regardless of channel
  • Update inventory levels
  • Route orders from warehouse to destination
  • Track orders for customer service teams & customers
  • Provide data for forecasting stock levels
  • Integrate with accounts receivable to generate invoices and capture online payments

WMS – Warehouse Management System

Consumer expectations for flawless order processing and delivery are very high and an inefficient, slow or mistake-prone system is the fastest way to failure. A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is software designed to improve the efficiency of tracking inventory on its journey into, through and out of a warehouse. Receiving, picking, packing and shipping all become quicker and more accurate with a good WMS.

Important benefits of a good WMS:

  • Improved pick-and-pack efficiency
  • Automated shipping label generation
  • Location-specific receiving so you know where every item is stored
  • Clear reporting on fulfillment speed & accuracy
  • Accurate inventory tracking with barcoding or other scanning systems
  • Optimization of workloads and bin space

PIM – Product Information Management

A Product Information Management (PIM) system creates a centralized system that stores all product-related data and information required for its promotion and sale. The PIM system makes it possible to easily share the data and information across sales and marketing channels. A PIM system is particularly helpful in the effective management of multiple SKUs that are updated frequently.

Important things you can do with a PIM:

  • Respond quickly to market changes
  • Easily add new products
  • Update product features in one place
  • Ensure a consistent brand experience across multiple sales channels

DAM – Digital Asset Management

A Digital Asset Management (DAM) system stores and facilitates sharing of digital assets like videos, images, logos, sell sheets and more. This efficient sharing increases the value of the digital assets as they can be more frequently accessed and used. In ecommerce a centralized digital asset database is critical to achieving product and brand consistency by providing shoppers with the best quality, most updated visual content available. In addition, a DAM system can save many hours, even days, of work transforming visual content to meet the unique requirements of each online end point where your content is published. For example, Walmart has different image spec requirements than Amazon, and a DAM can help scale, crop and organize these different versions. DAMs help ecommerce businesses thrive by making it easy to store, organize, access, transform and distribute visual assets.

Important things you can do with DAM:

  • Easily access and distribute digital assets
  • Improve brand consistency
  • Manage copyrights and licensing
  • Streamline marketing efforts

You may have noticed that the benefits of a DAM and PIM overlap. Which do you need? Generally speaking, the PIM is the more general tool and will often include some DAM-type functionality. However, it’s not necessarily a question of choosing one or the other. A PIM and a DAM can be set up to work together nicely with each having capabilities that complement the other. Giving your customers the best visual content and most accurate product information available makes their life easier. By using a PIM, a DAM, or both together you’ve created a happy customer, and a happy customer is a loyal customer.

Congratulations! You’ve made it into the technical jargon insiders’ club. Now that you’re fluent in acronym soup, you can better understand how these systems might help your company. In the next article in the series we will discuss what systems make the most sense for businesses in various industries and at various stages of growth.

If you’re looking for how to utilize these systems for your organization, we can help out with the ecommerce strategy. We are both a Magento and Shopify Agency and capable of handling any one of these integrations end-to-end.

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