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Which low-cost ERP should an eCommerce startup consider? Is ERP even an option at this stage?

Working on a startup eCommerce store that is due to launch in a few weeks, I have been evaluating different solutions to manage and track our transactions outside of the store's native environment for various reasons. Most solutions out there are either too expensive (SAP, NetSuite, etc.) or they are completely fragmented and require extensive efforts to integrate. Either way, startups rarely have the budget for either. There's always the option to do things manually, but it's time consuming and error-prone. Having a seamless ERP system not only makes operations easy, it also helps the company focus more on growing its business and less on maintaining and navigating its IT infrastructure. Is anyone aware of a cloud-based ERP system that is versatile yet cost-friendly for small startups?

12 Replies

Krishna Kant Gupta
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Krishna Kant Gupta Entrepreneur
Assistant Manager at Vardhman Estate and Developers Pvt. Ltd.
We will provide you erp application/custom erp based on your requirement. Please contact on +91 [removed to protect privacy] Mr. Ankit for more details.
Dipak Saraf
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Dipak Saraf Entrepreneur
Independent Information Technology and Services Professional
Hey Madhur,

There are a lot of open source ERP solution available in the market which you can try out, but keep in mind that the learning curve in integrating the business is quite high at the beginning. Now since being a startup, I can understand the primary focus should be on the marketing and customers.

Have a look at odoo

It is an opensource ERP, but keep in mind that while integrating your present storefront with an ERP would need a thorough investigation with the integration points, so it you should take some time in order to thoroughly investigate the process flows of your operations, and how it would be adding value and automating and integrating your operations, and it should be implemented diligently since ERP if implemented correctly can make the day to day operation smoother, but if there are loose end it might become a headache to maintain.
Richard Harris
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Richard Harris Entrepreneur • Advisor
Top 25 Inside Sales Leader, Public Speaker, 40 Most Inspiring Leader, Sales Trainer, Start-Up Advisor, SalesHacker
I think you answered it yourself...

'Having a seamless ERP system not only makes operations easy, it also helps the company focus more on growing its business and less on maintaining and navigating its IT infrastructure.

You will get what you pay for.

Sridhar Yerramreddy
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Sridhar Yerramreddy Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder & CEO at Oculus Health
Madhur,

I am unsure of what stage you are current on your product... I strongly recommend to think less on automation and start with customer validation and development.

ERPs are complex beasts and will vanish over time, with micro-platforms that provide similar capabilities but more effectively.

Madhur Chopra
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Madhur Chopra Entrepreneur
SAP Supply Chain (APO) Lead Consultant - Now looking for my next project
@Deepak: Thanks for the link Deepak. I will look into it with your word of caution. I completely agree on having a proper solution-business mapping for a seamless experience and my own personal experience of working on SAP for the past 18 years has been the same.

@Richard: I disagree with you Richard. There are tons of free, open-source software out there that are awesome. It's just a matter of finding the right one.

@Sridhar: We are close to launch and I completely agree with your point of view. Our development is nearing completion (we are using a customized version of standard software for the store front.) We have done some customer validations with the appropriate target group as well and received usable feedback from them.

Unfortunately, managing data flow through our organization and keeping everyone in sync is quickly becoming a problem that we want to address early on. At this time, we are focusing on evaluating available solutions so that we can be prepared to implement them when the time is right.
Christopher Burns
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Christopher Burns Entrepreneur
CEO at First Atlantic Commerce
I can comment on a specific ERP System but I would suggest what ever you a buy or build is compatible with a payments platform that has an integration to the Bank that you are opening a merchant account with. Many people leave this until last and realize they can't route transactions to their bank of choice.
Dipak Saraf
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Dipak Saraf Entrepreneur
Independent Information Technology and Services Professional
@Madhur, Cheers mate and best of luck. I have also been into SAP Implementation arena, and have gone through the pain of BPR, and the pain of the cleaning the mess due to bad implementation & due to lack of management vision.
Ankit Manglik
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Ankit Manglik Entrepreneur
Co Founder at Vilyoo & Core Team at Travelspice
Hi Madhur, There are a number of accounting applications you can use to integrate with your ecommerce portal to capture non-inventory related transactions. Cloud based apps like quickbooks, Waveapps, Xero etc. allow you to link them to your portal through API. Which will allow you to automate accounting for the sales and purchases, other transactions you can enter directly into the app. These apps cannot help you manage quantities and value inventory. Hope this helps. Ankit
Bogomil Pockaj
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Bogomil Pockaj Entrepreneur
Businessman
This post is clear commercial for SAP software and should be deleted. I have no idea how admin of this website approved your post, using which criteria.
Madhur Chopra
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Madhur Chopra Entrepreneur
SAP Supply Chain (APO) Lead Consultant - Now looking for my next project
@Bogomil - I'm sorry you feel that way. This question is anything but a commercial for SAP. While SAP is a widely used ERP amongst larger organizations, the cost of implementation is upwards of tens of thousands of dollars if not millions. Not to mention the average time for implementation is around 6 months or more. There's no way a startup could afford implementing it either financially or in terms of the time required. The purpose of this question is to see if there are low costs solutions that a startup could use. Even with my years of experience in the ERP world, I am struggling to find a light-weight, low-cost solution that I can use for my startup.
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