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Questions about CS-CART and management software commercial (ERP/CRM) Rate Topic   * * * * * 1 votes

 
  • jjtrottier
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Posted 12 May 2012 - 04:53 AM #21

I've pretty much built our ERP to CS-Cart integration from the ground up so that we can leverage integrated multi-store, CRM, Invoicing / Accounting and other functionality.

Our ERP is Tradepoint 360 - http://www.tradepoint360.com .

I did all of the comparisons between Netsuite, Everest, and so on. In the end, I decided that a custom-made integration between CS-Cart and Tradepoint 360 would be the most ideal fit, taking into consideration time and cost. Bear in mind this has not been a cheap endeavour, but the results are paying off.

We had unique requirements that no total out-of-the-box solution could provide. As such, we chose to go with Tradepoint and build our own pathway between the two systems. The results have been impressive and the outcome is successful.

If there is interest, I'd be happy to attach screenshots and provide further details surrounding our integration.

 
  • solesurvivor
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Posted 12 May 2012 - 05:02 AM #22

I considered tradepoint a while back. What's the price these days?

Would like to see your integration.

 
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Posted 12 May 2012 - 05:28 AM #23

If I remember correctly, our going rate was $995/user. We have 13 on staff at our parent company. Pricey for sure, but when you consider how much sales force and some other rip-off CRMs are going for by month, then Tradepoint is a steal.

I've provided some screenshots below. Note, our product database is compiled in Tradepoint (backend = MSSQL), and then the product data is pushed into the CS-Cart database by automated scripts.

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Not only do we sync product data, but we also sync customer information and push invoices into Tradepoint once the CS-Cart orders are complete. Inventory is also updated real-time between both systems.

As you can see, we've put a lot of effort into this :)

 
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Posted 12 May 2012 - 02:55 PM #24

Impressive I built a similar thing for everest integration.

Did you use asp scripts on the tradepoint side and hook directly into SQL queries or did you use a tradepoint API?

 
  • jjtrottier
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Posted 12 May 2012 - 04:37 PM #25

Yea that's exactly what we did. I knew nothing about C# until that moment lol

So yeah, we created a web service using aspx and MSSQL. It's all xml-based communication of course. We wrote it in a standardized way in case we ever wanted to switch away from CS-Cart. However, I don't see that ever happening!

How did you tackle everest? Same methodology?

 
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Posted 12 May 2012 - 04:42 PM #26

Yea that's exactly what we did. I knew nothing about C# until that moment lol

So yeah, we created a web service using aspx and MSSQL. It's all xml-based communication of course. We wrote it in a standardized way in case we ever wanted to switch away from CS-Cart. However, I don't see that ever happening!

How did you tackle everest? Same methodology?


I will also add that Tradepoint does have an API. Any data we inject into Tradepoint is done via their API rather than direct SQL inserts. We did not feel comfortable manipulating the database directly in these instances.

 
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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:12 PM #27

Everest was hard because they don't have an API or at least one you can easily use and is well documented or complete at this time. Plus I'm the only tech guy at out small business and I only knew php I had to piece together the asp end.

My method was a little more old school. I used classic asp scripts with SQL queries to get data from everest into Csc and then we dumped the data in Csc files that were then imported into Csc by way of cron php scripts.

As for getting orders from Csc to everest we wrote some php scripts to get data out and then some auto it scripts to automatically go thru the everest sales order import utility.

Our integration covers all product data including features, categories and promotions, and customers, and orders.

In the future I hope to learn asp dot net and use the everest API if it gets better documentation to do so it would make this job much easier and allow for tighter integration.

 
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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:35 PM #28

You're not alone in the poor documentation factor. The problem with the all-in-one ERP providers like Netsuite, Everest, and Tradepoint is that they're so focused on developing new functionality that they leave no money in the budget for proper documentation. Many other software providers are also guilty of this as well.

I can't give Tradepoint any credit for helping me out with their API. They barely have anything in the way of documentation that describes how it works. Their excuse was that the "API is self-documenting" - in other words I should just read an XML schema of the DLL and understand everything magically from there. Anyhow, the way I managed to figure it out was by looking at the source code of their e-commerce software. Luckily that code provided enough examples for me go from there and do my own thing.

I can't say perfect things about Tradepoint, but when I look at the value it brings to my company for the price, I can't complain. To me, the next step would be something like SAP BusinessOne but that is wayy out of our price range.

 
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Posted 13 May 2012 - 08:51 AM #29

Your solution looks awesome. Just curious, did you guys look into vtiger by any chance? This is a very affordable crm solution with inventory. It looks like many online stores use it and I'm currently looking into the possibility of connecting it to cs-cart.

When life hands you lemons, bring on the Tequila baby!


 
  • solesurvivor
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Posted 13 May 2012 - 01:37 PM #30

I did check it but didn't see if it contained a good point of sale cash register that you can charge credit cards to.

Our current solution does eveything including pos, accounting, inventory, sales etc... Were also highly invested in our solution and aren't going to be ableto change platforms unless its extremely beneficial to change.

 
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Posted 13 May 2012 - 06:42 PM #31

We're also highly invested in Tradepoint.

My understanding (and correct me if i'm wrong) is that vTiger is more a CRM application than an ERP. Aside from inventory does it have full GAAP accounting and warehousing capabilities?

In terms of open-source ERP, have you looked at openERP or erpnext? I have been keeping a close eye on those two, although I doubt I'll ever make the switch as we're highly invested in our solution. However, both look real promising.

I'd be curious to see what a CS-Cart and vTiger integration would look like.

 
  • vidan
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Posted 13 May 2012 - 09:56 PM #32

i hope someone will create this addon integrate with crm, crm is a must for multichannel retailing

 
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Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:23 AM #33

In terms of open-source ERP, have you looked at openERP or erpnext? I have been keeping a close eye on those two, although I doubt I'll ever make the switch as we're highly invested in our solution. However, both look real promising.


Interesting, do you think these solutions compare to everest and tradepoint? I see they cost a monthly fee, I assume you van download a free version to though. Have you messed around with either one??

 
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Posted 15 May 2012 - 10:00 AM #34

openERP seems pretty cool. I don't think I really need an ERP though, which is why i'm looking into vtiger (which, you are right, is a CRM).

Vidan, we will probably be developing something like a crm plugin in the coming months.

I'm also open for other crm systems, but for now Vtiger seems to be most interesting, because it is not so expensive but very powerful, easy to use, and also has inventory control. I think we should be able to:

Sync customers, their orders, and track emails, and so on. So if we click on a customer we will see all communication with them, their orders, our notes, etc. There is already a mailchimp add-on for vtiger as well for bulkmailing and there are many option of connecting it to an accounting app.
If possible we would also like to use vtigers inventory system and connect all our stores so they are always in sync.

Please also see http://www.crm4ecomm...m/product.html/ -> they have an addon like this for some other shopping systems.

What do you guys think?

When life hands you lemons, bring on the Tequila baby!


 
  • vidan
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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:47 PM #35

vtiger only $12/user/month right?
thats cheap. got mobile solutions.

 
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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:48 PM #36

Yep, it's a complete solution with raving reviews and a good price.

When life hands you lemons, bring on the Tequila baby!


 
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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:52 PM #37

after integrate with vtiger, admin.php will no longer in need? because all the backend stuff will be done by vtiger?

 
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Posted 15 May 2012 - 05:57 PM #38

Well, not everything I guess. I basically want it to use to store data about my customers and communicate with them so I can see their history, our notes, communition (emails, phonecalls) etc and I can give them better service.

Next to that, I might use it for inventory and connect my 3 shops to them.

When life hands you lemons, bring on the Tequila baby!


 
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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:42 PM #39

Interesting, do you think these solutions compare to everest and tradepoint? I see they cost a monthly fee, I assume you van download a free version to though. Have you messed around with either one??


I have played with nextERP and I do find it impressive. My only hesitation in working with it is that it's written in Python and I'm more of a PHP/C# guru. It would also require a lot of modifications to work the way Tradepoint does. So, given the language hurdles and lack of out-of-the-box features, the modifications alone could surpass the cost of something like Everest/Tradepoint.

As for OpenERP, I find it overwhelming. It takes a lot of clicks to accomplish a few simple tasks. The UI could be better done, IMO. Its bonus points are that it is written in PHP and has a larger development community than nextERP. It could be a contender for some, but I didn't find it suited our needs.

In anycase it's all a trade off. It's very hard to gauge which solution gets you to market the fastest, with the best integration capabilities, at the lowest total cost. While it might seem crazy to spend $1000/user on a commercial product, you could just as easily spend a fortune integrating something free that is open source.

It's also a matter of fit. Some ERPs/CRMs may be designed to work better in certain industries than others. Hence, I think this is one of those exercises that needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

All in all, I'm happy with the route we've chosen!

 
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Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:46 PM #40

Well, not everything I guess. I basically want it to use to store data about my customers and communicate with them so I can see their history, our notes, communition (emails, phonecalls) etc and I can give them better service.

Next to that, I might use it for inventory and connect my 3 shops to them.


Let me know if you move forward with this. I'm always curious to see what other solutions are out there. Finding the right CRM or ERP can be long process. I'm always interested to see what integrations are a success or not. I believe we all stand to gain from sharing our mistakes and best practices in this forum!

Cheers,