Posted by Barney Beal, Content Director, NetSuite

Heinrich Johnsen, the owner of Christian Art Gifts, knows ERP systems. A native of South Africa, Johnsen worked as an ERP consultant for six years at the global systems integrator Deloitte, traveling to client sites to handle on-premise ERP deployments.

Johnsen left the road-warrior consulting industry in 2003 to spend more time with his family and launch Christian Art Gifts, which has grown into a leading provider of Bibles, books, cards, journals, home accessories and other Christian-themed goods. The business carries on a family tradition that was founded by Johnsen’s in South Africa in the early 1970s.

Now based in Bloomingdale, Ill., Christian Art Gifts was using a Microsoft Dynamics GP (Great Plains) ERP system and a custom-built website, yet as the business grew, so did the workload of manually replicating data across the two separate systems. At the same time, the website lacked some of the rich ecommerce functionality that the market demanded.

After sizing up the cost and complexity of integrating the on-premise systems, Johnsen knew there had to be a better way. He found it with NetSuite’s integrated cloud solution for ERP, ecommerce and CRM, and took advantage of his ERP consulting skills to self-implement the system in late 2013.

“NetSuite is a great system because ERP, CRM, call center and ecommerce are all integrated and use the same data,” Johnsen said. “NetSuite puts us at a level where we can compete with much larger companies with much larger budgets and IT departments. It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made in the past few years.”

A B2C Commerce Experience for B2B Customers

A centerpiece of the system is the NetSuite SuiteCommerce, platform that delivers responsive design, faceted search, one-page checkout, pixel-perfect design control and a robust self-service Customer Center valuable to many of the company’s 4,000 B2B customers, including Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and thousands of smaller shops.

With SuiteCommerce, Christian Art Gifts is giving its B2B customers an online shopping experience that is on a par with leading retail sites, while also introducing new direct-to-consumer sales for incremental revenue and streamlining sales across more than 30 countries.

"We’re providing a B2C shopping experience to our B2B customers with SuiteCommerce,” Johnsen said. “The ecommerce site is the future of our customer service—customers can do nearly everything online that they can by phoning our call center. They can place orders, manage accounts and report an issue when it’s convenient for them, not when we’re in the office.”

The results have been remarkable. Site traffic and online orders are up five-fold in just six months, along with significant improvements in such ecommerce metrics as time on site and page views per session. In addition, because the site adapts automatically to any device, Christian Art Gifts no longer sees inordinate numbers of mobile users leaving after a single page view.

At the same time, workflow automation enables Christian Art Gifts to save two days a month by eliminating manual ecommerce order entry and two days a month in managing back orders. NetSuite inventory management has simplified the handling of 2,000 SKUs, while Christian Art Gifts has significantly improved the speed and accuracy of fulfillment from its warehouse.

“NetSuite is such a great system for our business,” Johnsen said. “It’s saved us so much time and effort to have a single customer master and a single item master. Being in the cloud, we don’t need to do backups or maintain servers, and that really helps on the IT side.”