Posted  by Rob Hooton, Ecommerce Vertical Market Expert for APAC, NetSuite

The ecommerce Conference & Expo in Melbourne is coming up on 11-12 March, and will no doubt provide a good indication of the state of ecommerce in Australia. From my consultations with industry leaders and NetSuite customers and prospects, there are a number of game changing trends we can expect in this space in 2015 we can expect to hear about at the show.

For example, a growing number of retailers and B2B merchants are streamlining end-to-end processes around the customer, driving new efficiency, accuracy and sales. Yet the majority continues to labor on with outdated ecommerce technology that jeopardise their ability to compete in the digital economy.

So what makes this year as being a game changer for ecommerce in Australia? The gap is widening between leading retailers and the also-rans as more Australian consumers and businesses gravitate to the ease and convenience of online shopping using desktops, smartphones and tablets. The question a retailer has to ask is not about supporting these multiple devices – responsive design is now mandatory – the question is rather: how do I truly support the customer between the store and the website or the call centre?

So what differentiates a successful ecommerce company and how can a retailer support its customers through all channels most effectively?

That’s the topic of a presentation I’ll be giving at the ecommerce Conference & Expo at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 12 March. I’ll be taking a hard look at what an integrated ecommerce platform means for B2C and B2B businesses, and seven reasons retailers should have a single system for ecommerce, order processing, inventory management, customer support and most importantly retail.

One reason is to achieve a 360-degree customer view. That’s essential if you’re going to meet customer expectations for a seamless omnichannel experience across ecommerce, mobile devices, call centers and, if you have them, physical stores. The fact is that many merchants have customer data scattered about, and can’t offer the consistent and rewarding cross-channel engagement that customers want. Can merchants accept an online return in store for example?

Another reason is the need to better coordinate back-office processes, such as order processing and inventory management. Visibility into stock is critical to satisfy customers who want the flexibility to be able to buy, pick up and return anywhere. Sound order management improves fulfillment speed and accuracy to help improve customer satisfaction while reducing warehouse costs.

A number of Australian companies, including Stylerunner, have dramatically improved their ecommerce performance with NetSuite SuiteCommerce, the only cloud ecommerce platform that seamlessly connects every step of the business—ecommerce, point of sale (POS), order management, merchandising, marketing, inventory, financials and customer service. Australia Post has also enabled NetSuite customers to automate postage of goods to customers using NetSuite.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear about these companies’ experiences on SuiteCommerce first-hand at the conference. On Wednesday, 11th March at 9:45 a.m. Julie Stevanja, co-founder at Stylerunner, will share how the apparel retailer is moving to NetSuite’s integrated ecommerce platform to deliver a seamless customer experience while building flexibility for scalable global growth.

The same day at 11:20 a.m. I will be presenting with Marc Gauci, Head of eCommerce Business Development at Australia Post on improving efficiency and automation of parcel fulfilment. Marc will talk about how Australia Post’s API toolkit enables the perfect omnichannel solution for retailers and gives consumers more choice and control at checkout.

Attendees can come see for themselves what we offer with a personalised demo of SuiteCommerce capabilities from NetSuite at Booth #3000. To those coming to the eCommerce Conference & Expo, be sure to enter our draw to win a KitchenAid Mixer from Kitchenware Direct!

Now in its third year, the ecommerce Conference & Expo is not to be missed by any company serious about ecommerce. NetSuite is a Diamond Sponsor of this year’s event, which is expected to attract more than 1,500 attendees, offering a wealth of ideas and inspiration on how to transform an ecommerce business. I hope to see you there!