In the tech savvy environment in which we now live, the power of the Internet has significantly changed business processes. Sales of goods and services are now commonly made via the Internet, through the use of electronic commerce (e-commerce) technology. Business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce opens up new opportunities within numerous markets, expands existing capabilities and allows companies of all sizes to compete for high visibility within the world of the Internet. As new software and technological advancements have made e-commerce affordable, more and more small business owners continue to implement e-business solutions. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not know that for the cost of installing an e-commerce component to their business, they could afford to implement an e-business software system that also integrates with accounting, customer relationship management (CRM) and inventory management.
Integrated e-commerce, accounting, CRM and inventory management is not a new concept. For years, large businesses have controlled costs and managed inventory by sharing critical business information over networks. Information was shared over networks via a complicated and expensive process called electronic data interchange (EDI). With the advent of new software and technological advances, implementing an integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) system which includes e-commerce, accounting, CRM and inventory management is no longer a tool that only the large businesses can afford. Now, implementing an integrated e-commerce, accounting, CRM and inventory management system is a viable option for industries of any size.
Today, many dentists and medical doctors purchase supplies from a sales representative that visits the dental or medical office on a frequent basis. A salesperson typically represents tens of thousands of dental or medical supply products. Due to the extremely large number of items within the supplier’s inventory, salespeople often cannot provide detailed information on specific products to the dentist or doctor. As a result, the burden of knowing the cost of items and product differentiations is often the dentist’s or doctor’s responsibility. In an effort to stay abreast of current trends and product innovations, medical professionals invest additional time and effort by attending continuing education classes, tradeshows, or by reading monthly trade journals. Unfortunately, when dentists and doctors utilize such limited resources, it is difficult to easily obtain the information necessary for making sound product purchasing decisions.
As the majority of dentists and doctors use a computer, fax machine and a wireless phone to manage their practices, many have become proficient utilizing the Internet to obtain fast, accurate and helpful information about products. The use of e-commerce has changed the relationship between actively licensed, practicing medical professionals work with supply manufacturers/distributors in profound ways. Instead of spending an inordinate amount of time attending classes, tradeshows, or relying solely on relationships with traditional dental and medical supply distributors for useful product innovations and information, dentists and doctors are now successfully utilizing e-commerce websites to help make wise purchasing decisions. E-commerce websites have a plethora of free, easily obtained information that make dental and medical manufacturer’s costs more transparent to buyers. By using the Internet to locate e-commerce websites that show the true manufacturing costs of dental and medical supplies, dentists and doctors use this technology to their advantage. E-commerce dental or medical supply websites help these professionals easily assess whether or not the costs of items are consistent with the prices ultimately being charged.
Buyers frequently utilize e-commerce to exact price concessions from suppliers. Dental and medical device companies selling directly to consumers via the Internet provide dentists and doctors with an efficient means for keeping their costs to a minimum. Not only does this purchasing option benefit the consumer, the supplier utilizes the efficiencies of Internet to shorten selling cycles, reduce transaction costs, and establish better communications with customers. As a result, client satisfaction improves; sales increase and profits are generated. In addition, manufacturers selling through distributors use e-commerce to reduce their own purchasing costs. Communications with distributors improve and more direct communications with end users is established. Through the use of e-commerce technology, dental and medical supply manufacturers and distributors are expanding their existing capabilities and achieving high visibility within the world of the Internet.
E-commerce not only increases dental and medical supplier’s profitability, it also reduces in-service training costs for suppliers and customers, while improving its effectiveness. Currently, dental products purchased through major distributors are bundled with service agreements and presentations on how to use the new products. As the Internet offers the convenience of online videos and training documents on e-commerce websites, consumers no longer have to file dental device training and service related paperwork. A dental or medical assistant, for example, may be trained to use a device. The attendance of the training class event can be documented online. The record of the dental or medical device training could then be imported directly into his or her personal credentials database, which is maintained by the employer and manufacturer of the device. The ability to offer focused customer training sessions online not only helps to create a paperless environment, it makes it easier for manufacturers and institutions to test and document end users’ comprehension of their training.
The Internet offers dental and medical practices with the unique opportunity to reinvent themselves as virtual organizations. As the importance of physical boundaries is irrelevant to the Internet marketplace, the dental community is capable of achieving levels of business performance never before possible. One of the most substantial benefits of e-commerce is that it gives small businesses the same “reach” as the larger companies. While large “branded” companies may be given a formidable advantage over smaller companies, the Internet allows consumers the flexibility to research products. The Internet allows for smaller companies to have a web presence, targeting specific groups of customers, and sell products within markets they may never had previously had an opportunity to reach. Continual sales to new and existing customers may also be attained, due to the ability to perform customer profiling.
To take advantage of the Internet’s limitless possibilities, dentists and doctors are entering the online marketplace. As a means for competing within the worldwide dental and medical communities, many dentists and doctors have had a website created which include e-commerce software programs (known as shopping carts) to sell products via the Internet. In many cases, the website and e-commerce shopping cart systems that dentists and doctors have implemented, were not designed to integrate with business management software. Unfortunately, using non-integrated software applications for web order processing wastes dentists and doctors time and resources.
For dentists that sell toothbrushes, tooth floss, teeth whitening products and more, considering the implementation of an integrated e-business system on a strategic level, is imperative. For the doctors selling medical devices, medical creams, medical lotions and more, the installation of a single application for accounting, e-commerce, customer relationship management (CRM) and inventory management is critical. Dentists and doctors using an integrated e-commerce, accounting, CRM and inventory management system reduce transaction costs, streamline the online ordering processes, and generate additional profits from their webstore sales. When items are purchased through an integrated e-commerce website, as opposed to a non-integrated system, pertinent information is processed all the way through the accounting and inventory management software, without any duplication of data entry. When using an integrated system, the process is efficient: the order comes in from the website; the system fulfills the order from stock and orders product from vendor; a payable is created; the picking ticket is created; the product is shipped; the web payment is applied to order / invoice; paid invoice and tracking information is automatically emailed to customer. By having a unified and streamlined e-commerce system, dentists and doctors save time, and easily maintain accurate up-to-the-minute product, customer and vendor / supplier data.
Having the ability to instantly access and track customer, vendor and item data enables dentists and medical doctors to effectively maintain their database, minimize errors and eliminate the potential for data corruption. In addition to integrated business applications saving dentists and doctors time, it also conserves dental office resources. As an integrated e-commerce system processes all web orders placed through accounting and inventory business management applications, there is no need for Order Processing and Customer Service Departments to manage your webstore. Your integrated e-commerce website can act as your Salesperson, taking orders 24 hours a day, every day of the year, and always be accessible to customers all over the world. Therefore, integrated e-commerce, accounting and inventory business management system enables sales and revenue growth, without the need for additional staffing, facility, or infrastructure expense. Yet, if an e-commerce system is implemented without integration to accounting and inventory management software, your dental practice will not only lose valuable time, it will also diminish revenue potential.
E-commerce has become a critical tool for the success of a business. Over the years the Internet has redefined the way in which business is conducted. It has transformed the way in which products and services are purchased and sold and has increased the efficiency of communication between customers, producers, suppliers and intermediaries. In addition, e-commerce has changed how the average consumer perceives a company. The Internet has become a foundation for e-business which can easily make or break the success of an enterprise. Web development and e-commerce are key elements in maintaining current branding and creating new consumer interest in a company’s products and services. As each day passes, the number of consumers utilizing the Internet to access product information steadily increases. Thus, it is imperative for businesses to have an interactive website that offers beneficial resources for consumers.
It has been estimated that it takes the average consumer 45 seconds to judge a company solely on the look, feel, and content on a website. As custom programmers, website designers and resellers of integrated software solutions, we understand the importance of designing eye catching websites for clients. We also value e-commerce that can process web orders without the need for much human intervention. Our clients benefit from having well designed company websites unified with integrated e-commerce, accounting, CRM and inventory management software. By combining an attractive website with unified e-commerce, accounting, CRM and inventory management, our clients not only have a highly effective means of attracting new customers to their webstores, the integrated applications streamline their business processes. The user-friendly integrated e-commerce websites we implement for clients simplifies web order processing, encourages word-of-mouth marketing, and promotes brand loyalty. Affordable integrated e-commerce, accounting, CRM and inventory management solutions are used by companies of all sizes for streamlining and strengthening their e-business processes.