NetSuite introduced new e-commerce management features to its on-demand business application suite that company officials said provide all the tools midsize companies need to manage their Web sales and marketing.
One of the key features lets the Web marketers integrate the NetSuite e-commerce features with eBays online auction site, enabling them to sell their wares on eBay as readily as they do on their own Web sites, said NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson.
The problem with many Web sales companies is that they use a variety of separate and usually incompatible systems to manage orders, inventory, distribution and accounting, Nelson said.
“You have your Web site hosted in one system. You have your…shopping cart in another system. You have your warehouse on a third system. Invoicing is done in some QuickBooks or Great Plains accounting system. And then you have customer service on Excel spreadsheets,” Nelson said.
“How are you possibly ever going to deliver a real-time experience when it takes you a week just to figure out how to get the data in all of these systems? And by the time you get the data from one system together, its out of date,” he said.
“This is the problem that NetSuite has solved in spades. What we have built effectively is a single system which manages this end-to-end process,” Nelson said.
Nelson contends that NetSuite, which integrates the new e-commerce features with the existing, customer relationship management, sales, marketing, enterprise resource management and accounting features, is far more cost-effective than using competing on-demand e-commerce systems such as Venda, Demandware or MarketLive.
NetSuite integration with eBay will make it easier for dealers on the global auction site to ramp up sales and expand their businesses, said Max Mancini, eBays senior director for platform and innovation. Mancinis group works with third-party software developers to ensure that their applications integrate smoothly with eBays auction site.
According to company officials, eBay works with a community of more than 45,000 software developers, who provide applications that support sellers and buyers on eBay.
Mancini noted that there are about 1.3 million sellers on eBay whose primary income comes from selling on eBay. So its important that “we figure out how to help them grow. In some cases its eBays tools, and in some cases it our relationships with third-party developers and [ISVs] that we work with like NetSuite, who are helping integrate these things.”
NetSuites e-commerce package allows companies to manage multiple Web stores that are supporting multiple foreign languages and currencies from a single account.
Since NetSuite is an online application service, it allows Web site managers to sign on to a single NetSuite account that allows them to publish different Web sites that have their own product lines, domain names and interface designs.
NetSuite also provides tools for managing transactions in multiple currencies. These allow merchants to work with a currency conversion rate utility to automatically convert prices across multiple national currencies. Merchants can also choose to set specific product prices for each foreign currency.
The package also includes electronic product distribution to allow dealers to sell services as well products on the Web. This includes any type of electronic file, such as software, music, text and documentation.
NetSuite also provides built-in site search analysis to learn what kinds of products visitors are looking for, how many results they got for each search and how many visitors became customers after searching for products.
One company that has been building its Web sales with NetSuite is Littlearth Productions, a Pittsburgh-based manufacturer and distributor of “ecofashions,” including handbags and other accessories that are mainly produced with recycled material, such as metal, rubber and plastic.
Littlearth worked with NetSuite to integrate its Web store with its back-end inventory and accounting systems. The integration with NetSuite allows Littlearth to eliminate all the manual data entry of Web orders, which has sped up sales and allowed the company to generate more revenue from its Web site, according to Ava DeMarco, Littlearth CEO.
Before Littlearth moved to NetSuite in 2004, it might get 100 orders a day from the Web that all had to be processed manually, with no quick way to check inventory to see if the goods were available, DeMarco said.
With NetSuite integration, the orders are automatically recorded and checked against inventory so the customer knows immediately if the products are available, she said.
NetSuite has also streamlined the process for adding new items to the Web site and updating Web site information, she said. New items can be added in minutes as soon as new photos, graphics and text are ready to be uploaded.
With a streamlined order entry and inventory system in place, Littlearth has increased its sales 189 percent since 2004, according to DeMarco.
The new NetSuite e-commerce features were released Feb. 15. Some of the features are available as part of the Standard NetSuite online service.
Others will be delivered through add-on modules. The starting cost for the NetSuite on-demand service is $499 per month and $99 for each user per month.