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Preparing your accounting software for an integrated website

When building an integrated ecommerce website you’re going to need to have certain key information prepared. It’s important to remember that what’s in your accounting system will sync to your site, and this means that any notes you may be placed in your product descriptions, or funny pictures you’ve uploaded could also end up on your site. You will also be shifting from using your accounting software exclusively for accounting, to populating the data on your online business presence as well.  Before launching a product line on an integrated ecommerce site, check to make sure you’ve completed the following steps:

1. Know your customers

Before you begin setting up your products you’ll want to understand your customers and the type of information they’ll need to make a purchasing decision.

Gather the important specifications, brands, and even the categories they expect to shop before you start. Take the time to understand what additional products may pair well with each other and what angles or features need to be highlighted in product images.

2. The Basics

Start by performing an internal data audit of all SKUs you will be selling online.  Each SKU should have the basics, including a name (short description), long description, and images. This is the bare minimum required to have your products online. If you’re not looking to have filters or advanced searches, you can include all of the specs and information you’ve determined to be required into your long description. If you want to build a better experience, move on to the next step.

The way you manage and describe your products will likely change from how you had done so previously. Where you previously were considering only an accounting-related context for your information, you should now consider almost exclusively how the information will appear on the web when displayed for your customers.

3. Getting the most out of your integration

It’s extremely likely that when you surveyed your customers and users of your store you discovered that by adding filters, properly categorizing your products, and prominently displayed key product specs can make the purchasing process. Many accounting packages will allow you to create custom attributes and associate them with the product. If you’re selling clothing, consider adding size, or material. If you’re selling electronics you may add voltage or wattage as some options.

Categorizing your product in your accounting software can also save time when setting up products online. Your product category structure should resemble how your customers expect to find product, and not reflect your account processes.  Remember, products don’t have to only belong to one category. If you think your customers may search by use type, item type, even activity, you’re often able to put one product in many categories, making your products easier to find.

4. Pricing

You will no longer be managing prices in several places, which will offer you increased flexibility in managing your pricing. Features supported in accounting packages such as customer-specific pricing, sales and discounts, and margin-based pricing can all utilized on your new website. Ensure you’ve set up your accounting software so that each product has a price designated for your site. If you’re operating with customer-specific pricing, ensure all your customers are seeing the appropriate price. 

5. Start saving time

Go ahead, launch your website. You’re about to reduce the administrative cost of your orders and begin making it easier to reach a wider audience. Enjoy!