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Chapter 25. Advanced Store-Building > Toward the Fully Integrated Store

Toward the Fully Integrated Store

The best online stores are the ones that can fully integrate all company systems into the front-end Web site. This way inventory on the site reflects inventory in the warehouse, invoices are generated and sent to accounting, shipping receives its orders, and, if you have EDI messaging for various segments, those messages are also generated and shipped. It can be a daunting process—and be sure to consider that many top online stores for traditional retailers are still not operating in a fully integrated manner with the rest of the store's back end systems, or with other vendor or distributor databases.

Depending on your situation, you either have existing back-end systems or you don't. If you do, integrating your Web store with back-end systems is straightforward in that the coordination is an internal issue to be dealt with. If the systems for inventory that you want to integrate are outside your realm, then you'll have to coordinate with distributors to see if they have systems you can hook into. The advantage of this is that once you've hooked into their systems, you gain the advantage of their information database and the ability to have orders pass automatically through to the distributor level. This enhances the chance to offer items quickly to customers.


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