Business has irrevocably changed with the advent of COVID-19 in our lives. Sadly, some industries, such as food and entertainment, will see business failure rates as high as fifty percent in some geographical regions, while others struggle on as a shadow of their former selves. The survivors and the few that are thriving often are able to do so due to their ability to rapidly transition to a digital online, or e-commerce, environment.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is an excellent platform for businesses earning from five million to one billion in sales needing strong inventory, sales, and purchasing controls in addition to a powerful core accounting solution. Add in manufacturing, warehousing, service management, and job cost and you have the pieces necessary for running almost any successful business today – apart from one small exception.
While Business Central is the most popular mid-market accounting or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system in the world today, it didn’t get there by providing a module for e-commerce (and a few other niche requirements). Instead, Business Central relies on a network of over 2,000 partners to provide individualized, unique solutions for customers.
Sana Commerce provides ultimate flexibility & scalability for your online store
One of those partners is Sana Commerce and its e-commerce solution for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central which helps distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers to successfully maintain long-term relationships with customers who depend on them. Sana Commerce’s recent research shows that 65% of businesses who implement e-commerce see a return on their investment within a year.
A major advantage of e-commerce that business owners may not realize is the ability to have your online store open 24/7. Choosing a Sana web-store offers guaranteed 99.9% uptime and 24/7 active monitoring. If your business grows or needs multiple locations now, the system can easily be scaled up for multiple or unlimited locations. In contrast to a one dimensional e-commerce system with a rigid hardware structure, Sana provides ultimate flexibility and scalability.
Some specific metrics include improvements of 91% in sales order process efficiency, 77% in order processing speed, 72% less in regularity of order errors, 71% in inventory turnover, 71% in order to delivery, and 66% in sales representatives having more time to generate new leads.
Surveys show customer loyalty is strongly enhanced by suppliers who provide the ability to track orders online, to order through an online sales portal, to manage returns online, and pay online. Companies reported their major concerns with failing to embrace online solutions, which are: little to no impact (16%), loss of customers (30%), decreasing revenue (20%), and competitors taking advantage (34%). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the importance of getting on board with an online presence for your customers. Companies that do implement an online solution report improved customer experience (10%), increased customer retention (26%), and increased sales (64%).
You can find more information and statistics on Sana and e-commerce trends in our recent client webinar here.
Sana Commerce offers simplified setup & ongoing maintenance
Sana Commerce has been designed to be implemented in weeks instead of months or years. This reduces much of the pain, investment cost, and downtime associated with new systems as you convert your business to this new model. Get your system up and running quickly to take advantage of your Business Central system. Sana Commerce’s ability to automatically update as your Business Central cloud solution is updated by Microsoft means your system is never out of date. Configuration capabilities allow the system to be set up to match your unique requirements.
Real-time data and catalog management from your ERP system
Integrating your Sana Commerce web-store with a Business Central ERP system means all of your inventory setup and product information is instantly available to your customers. Changes to your product information, including quantity adjustments, are immediately available in the store. This integration allows you to rely on the powerful inventory capabilities found in Business Central including replenishment rules and actions.
Sana Commerce automatically calculates sales tax
If your customers provide legitimate business address information, the system will immediately calculate any sales taxes due on transactions. Sales tax information is stored in the ERP system, which can be updated manually or updated automatically through tax services (more on that in a future blog). Calculating sales tax immediately means an accurate estimate of the customer’s final charge, which results in fewer abandoned carts.
Although we will not be covering Shipping in detail in this blog, be aware that Sana also offers excellent add-on products for carrier-specific shipping fees using integrations with FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
Enjoy a variety of secure payment options
Sana Commerce also offers secure PCI DSS payment processing and payment method variety to meet your customer needs. The system can also handle multiple currency. For a complete list of payment add-on options, click here.
Sana Commerce automates order processing and provides visibility into your complete buying cycle online, which allows for tracking from browsing to purchase to returns. Customers can request and track return merchandise from your Sana web-store.
The technical details behind a Sana Commerce web-store
Sana relies on Microsoft Azure hosting, which allows them to offer the same guaranteed uptime as Microsoft – 99.9% by working closely with Microsoft Azure Architects to design the optimal architecture for hosting Sana Commerce web-stores.
Microsoft offers over 38 hosting centers around the world and this number is continually growing. Choose the data center most appropriate for your location and have your data kept on encrypted data servers. All databases are stored on SQL Azure servers. Microsoft assures the latest in hardware and software technology for security and performance. All of the setup is easily handled during the Sana Commerce implementation project.
Sana developers employ best practices as defined by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). The system also offers:
- Proactive data defense based on the Microsoft Cyber Defense Operations Center, which operates 24/7. Sana Commerce also includes anti-malware protection.
- The code is a closed source system reducing the opportunity for predatory parties to determine how the system works.
- Failover systems can be set up using multiple Sana installations to ensure your web-store is always available for use.
- The web-store also offers data redundancy to ensure your data is safe.
- There are a number of other security measures available including SSL or TLS protocols, VPN’s, firewalls, IP restrictions, or a DMZ to secure your web-store and ERP system.
Sana Commerce enables automatic scalability
Companies can scale reliably to support high volume orders or to optimize web-store performance with large product catalogs. This can be done through adjusting the configurations in your ERP and web-store systems. Performance can be scaled vertically during periods of peak traffic with more hardware or horizontally with more servers. Sana also offers load balancing and lazy loading to ensure the best performance and optimal use of your servers. The design allows for the maximum flexibility to allow for almost limitless scalability. Scale up or down, as needed.
Easy setup and cancel at any time
As a new Sana Commerce customer you will incur a one-time setup fee for a fixed budget implementation and a recurring monthly fee for the ongoing use of the web-store. The fee includes support and hosting, if you choose to host with Sana. You are also able to cancel at any time if your needs change so you aren’t locked into a long-term contract.
Sana Commerce multi-site features
|B2B and B2C ordering environments; internal customer service / sales portal ordering environment||X||X||X|
|Sell online with multiple brands defined in catalog hierarchy||X||X||X|
|Sell online with multiple brands represented with unique URLs; each web-store has its own record in the ERP and can have custom configurations||X||X|
|Unique design per brand web-store||X||X|
|Unique product catalog per brand web-store||X||X|
|Unique sales agent and customer data per brand web-store||X||X|
|Shared file system||X||X|
|Multi-company support in ERP per web-store||X||X|
|Multi-ERP support per web-store||X||X|
For more information on Sana Commerce, watch our recent client webinar here. Some topics we reviewed in this webinar include:
- Understanding the urgency around B2B e-commerce, and when to act on it
- The short and long term benefits of implementing an online revenue stream
- How to build the right strategy and how to choose the right technology
- Insight on how to get your online sales channel live quickly and easily
*Did you know the Manufacturing module for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central offers flexible features to suit your manufacturing operation? Read our previous blog here for more details on the agility this module can bring to your business.