Editor’s Note: Andy Lloyd, the general manager of NetSuite’s Commerce Products, recently completed a global tour, meeting with NetSuite customers, learning about their markets, their challenges and how they’re solving them. Andy will post insights from his travels from the different regions and markets.
In the UK, as in much of the world, the economy is top of mind.
Consumers are nervous and they are holding their purse strings more closely. That’s made the competition for what little business there is tougher than ever.
As much as competition is about superior products, talented employees and sound planning, more than ever competition demands a firm focus on the customer experience. Fall short of giving your customers the experience they expect and they will walk – or click – over to your competitors. You can’t give your customers a reason to re-evaluate their relationship with you, especially now. You must create the most engaging, responsive, customized consumer experience possible, no matter the channel - website, store or phone.
At NetSuite, we believe a comprehensive application suite can provide the answer. It not only brings down IT costs but can make a business more agile. For example, running eCommerce in the cloud allows businesses to cost-effectively and quickly deploy more advanced capabilities to enhance the customer experience and continuously adjust to changing consumer behavior patterns.
Take Blitz Sport, the UK’s leading retailer of martial arts equipment. Prior to implementing NetSuite, the company had different systems running order management, inventory management and eCommerce. Customers were placing orders for out of stock items, the sort of customer experience that risks sending customers to competitors and a particular challenge for companies in the UK, according to one recent study.
With all the systems integrated under one platform, Blitz Sport was able to adjust to customer demands rapidly. Additionally, with both physical stores and an eCommerce operation, BlitzSport was able to provide a seamless, omnichannel experience for customers with the entire shopping experience working off of the same database of prices, products and promotions.
Competition in the face of a weak economy isn’t just about the customer experience, however. Businesses in the UK have always looked to France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe to extend into new markets, and that hasn’t changed. Ecommerce enables that expansion, with huge upside and less cost than a physical storefront.
Organizations still need to establish physical distribution capabilities, but a web presence optimized to local languages, currencies and consumer tastes is less of a commitment than retail locations with facilities and employees. NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce, lowers those international expansion costs. One instance of a company’s website can be used to support localized content for many different countries.
Companies looking to expand internationally are right to focus on selling the right product to a target customer, developing local distribution and support capabilities, building an eCommerce website and opening for business ready to immediately start processing payments. However, they often then come to the realization that they must file tax returns and monitor compliance to a variety of regulations around their operations. NetSuite’s platform provides the capabilities to handle tax and compliance requirements in each market.
Again, Blitz Sport was able to take advantage of just such a scenario. The company launched French and German websites that increased international orders tenfold, while still running sales processes through the central UK platform.
These international capabilities, along with order management, inventory management, warehouse management and others, are easy to ramp up as cloud services. They make it easy to take advantage of new geographic markets when your local market is facing more than its fair share of challenges.
-Andy Lloyd - GM of Commerce Products