Multichannel business managers are often keen to have one software package or system that can manage all aspects of their enterprise. ERP systems for enterprise resource planning (ERP), have been around for many years. Because the multichannel phenomenon–traditional brick-and-mortar businesses reaching into direct marketing, and traditional direct-to-customer companies developing brick-and-mortar stores as well as a Web presence–is so recent, it has in many cases outstripped the ability of software vendors to keep pace erp software for manufacturing.
It makes perfect sense to have one computer system that controls all functions of a business. The common customer, inventory and order database is also a good idea. There are obvious opportunities for synergy among channels and the possibility to improve the customer experience. Unfortunately, this has often proved to be difficult to implement.
There are two main ways that the push for a multichannel solution has been manifested. ERP vendors with a history in manufacturing have sought to tailor their functionality to multichannel customers. Existing niche vendors working in the direct to customer or retail sectors are looking to expand their offering and become more like ERPs. Both approaches have not been successful so far. The niche or best of breed solutions suit more complex environments while ERP solutions can be used in environments that are less broad and complex.