As ecommerce has become increasingly essential, many organizations have been forced to overhaul their online presence to adapt and foster direct relationships with their customers.
Yet, the front-end ecommerce site is just one aspect businesses need to address. Operating an ecommerce site disconnected from financial, order and inventory management solutions can be a big drain on efficiency. Manually entering online orders or batch imports can cause delays and errors. If the front-end website is out of sync with the back-end business systems, these order and inventory issues create fractured shopping experiences like shipping delays or items being out of stock, which lead to lower conversion and retention rates.
Some companies attempt to bridge these disconnected systems by relying on third-party integrations to process one-way data exchanges. These integrations are often unreliable and require ongoing fees and maintenance that eat into profits and productivity. In fact, integrations, add-on applications and extensions and payment gateways all factor into the total cost of ownership of ecommerce software.
Here are some common commerce challenges:
In order to attract new visitors and convert website traffic, businesses must deliver relevant and engaging B2B and B2C shopping experiences. Although acquiring new customers is always important, growing customer loyalty and lifetime value is vital to the long-term health of an organization. Getting first time purchasers to make their second purchase requires businesses to provide value beyond the initial transaction. Organizations can’t solely rely on the quality of their products for repeat purchases, they must drive shoppers back to the website and find ways to increase average order values and purchase frequency.
Being able to provide the experiences that are relevant and personal requires that
every interaction an individual has had with the company—whether online, in-store or on the phone—is captured and used to drive relevant promotions, email campaigns and online experiences.
Big Agnes, a maker of high-end camping gear, needed a more scalable solution, one that would replace its time-consuming manual processes with integrated, cross-functional data. NetSuite’s impact has been dramatic. In the year after the switch, Big Agnes doubled productivity in order and inventory management, fulfillment and accounting; freed up staff resources and avoided hiring additional people; gained real-time visibility into the business; and improved customer support quality. Big Agnes launched a new ecommerce storefront to showcase its brand story and connect with fellow camping enthusiasts. The SuiteCommerce website delivers a mobile optimized experience that has driven a 27% increase in conversion rates since launch. The online store also supports their dealer network by allowing shoppers to find a local retail store to shop for their products.
Having a beautiful, interactive online shopping experience doesn’t matter if inventory isn’t available to ship. And without being able to display stock availability on your site, shoppers are not able to make informed purchasing decisions. Without these instantaneous insights, inventory managers can’t make distribution adjustments to fulfill spikes in ecommerce activity which results in lost sales. When businesses overstock popular products to keep up with demand, they hurt their cash flow and risk being stuck with excess inventory.
Little Unicorn, a maker of stylish baby products, saw rapid growth of its business as demand for its products took off. That growth, however, led to issues with product availability. At one point, 60% of its inventory was out-of-stock. Incorrect shipments, backorders that led to incomplete shipments and chargeback fees from vendors were common, creating headaches for employees, hurting the bottom line and damaging the brand’s reputation. The retailer adopted a unified, cloud-based solution to run its key back-office operations and financial processes. Now, orders are automatically routed to the warehouse and shipped within 24 hours. Order confirmations, invoices and tracking numbers are automatically sent without any staff member touching it.
Organizations that do not have a single place to manage orders from all channels often have issues fulfilling orders quickly, efficiently and profitably. Orders take longer to process and get out to customers if they have to move between separate ecommerce and order management solutions. Stale or inaccurate order data can have disastrous effects on customer satisfaction. Shoppers don’t have the patience for order errors and will take their business elsewhere.
An order management system unified with ecommerce, inventory and financials can increase customer satisfaction, decrease labor and shipping costs and increase margins.
Unifying Ecommerce with Your Business Systems
It’s nearly impossible to gain a full understanding of your customers’ interactions and preferences when your customer, order, inventory and financial data is stored in separate, channel specific silos. And the manual efforts to maintain duplicate data sources of orders, SKU information, pricing in your ecommerce solution and business systems is inefficient and prone to errors.
When ecommerce is natively unified with ERP, CRM, order and inventory management, organizations are able to gain real-time visibility into every facet of their business. No integration is needed between front-end ecommerce systems and back-end business systems. Businesses no longer need to manage separate systems and stumble through manually importing data to get everything to work together.
NetSuite’s ecommerce solution, SuiteCommerce, is natively unified with NetSuite business applications, enabling companies to manage their entire business with a single solution. NetSuite’s unified commerce platform provides a single source of customer, order, and inventory data providing unprecedented, real-time visibility across the organization by consolidating fragmented sources of data into a single repository to make informed, timely business decisions. Because of this, SuiteCommerce has access to essentially any record or field stored in NetSuite back office in real time; truly providing a complete view of your customers’ activity and experiences. By housing operations under one unified system, merchants ultimately see lower total cost of ownership than other disparate solutions.
To learn how to unify ecommerce with your business systems, watch this SuiteCommerce product demo webinar.