Merging Existing Back-End Systems with Online Requirements

By the time you launch your Web site, you typically already have a lengthy history. You have established customers, extensive sales data, an inventory-management system, in-store policies, point-of-sale systems, ordering guidelines, and a host of vendors and suppliers at your beck and call.

Having that much structure and information definitely plays in your favor because you're not starting from scratch when you move into e-commerce. But integrating all these systems and procedures to an online business can present a few challenges to your back end.

A successful brick-and-mortar store, Garrison Confections, launched its e-commerce site with a nice look and a fairly standard back-end shopping cart solution. The online store worked fine initially, but as the site became more popular, it couldn't handle the increased traffic. The owners had to come up with a new back-end solution.

The company made two critical decisions about how to handle this transition period. First, the company outsourced the project to a local Web development firm. The second part of the equation involved making the decision to invest the necessary money to make the upgrade happen. A small business can't easily spend thousands of dollars, but as a part of the overall business, paying for a new back-end solution made sense.

This time around, the site is better integrated with the company's backend process, making the money that the business paid to rework ...

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