• February 15, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

NetSuite Moves Up the E-Commerce Ladder

NetSuite stepped up its efforts to service the commercial Web-site requirements of midmarket companies with a major update of its e-commerce engine. Today company introduced a series of enhancements to help e-commerce companies make better use of customer data by connecting their shopping carts to their back-end systems. To date, NetSuite's e-commerce capabilities have been aimed at electronic retailers whose Web sites generate average annual revenues of under $10 million. "We're now targeting larger, midmarket e-retailers, and not just B2C, but also B2B, with revenues upwards of $300 million," says Sean Rollings, senior director of marketing at NetSuite. Rollings says many of these larger retailers run multiple Web sites that have to be integrated separately with their back-end ERP and CRM applications. Moving forward, NetSuite customers will be able to publish different Web sites from a single NetSuite account, each site featuring its own products, domain name, and "specific look and feel," Rollings says. Besides being multisite, the enhancements will also enable companies to be multilanguage and multicurrency, supporting languages such as Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish. The new tools will enable organizations to offer a range of high-end services like gift certificates, shipping estimates, free shipping offers based on the value of goods purchased, and the sale of downloadable goods such as software or files. Other features include the ability to list products for sale that have various attributes such as size or color, with different pricing and inventory levels, data that can be pulled from NetSuite's back-end systems. Organizations will also be able to track the search behaviors of visitors to their Web sites, including tracking metrics such as the number of results being returned for each query, the number of visitors who become customers and how much they purchased, as well as queries that are returning zero results. In conjunction with its beefed-up e-commerce engine, NetSuite also announced a partnership with eBay to integrate the auction site's online marketplace with NetSuite's applications suite. The integration will make it easier for users of NetSuite's applications to list and sell items on eBay, monitor eBay auctions from within their NetSuite software, and then automatically create customer records and sales orders once an auction is completed. The two companies will offer the combination of their technologies to eBay's high-volume sellers who are called Power Sellers, Rollings says. E-commerce, along with its preintegrated ERP/CRM offering, has always been one of NetSuite's strengths, according to Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of Beagle Research Group. The enhancements to its e-commerce engine speak to the company's efforts to gain a competitive differentiator over its on-demand rivals. "The on-demand market is a crowded one, so vendors are trying to differentiate themselves from the competition with their go-to-market strategy," Pombriant says. Pombriant also feels that NetSuite has identified a possible untapped market for e-commerce. With best-of-breed vendors such as ATG and Comergent delivering solutions tailored for enterprise-size customers, NetSuite is "going after the midmarket by packaging up their e-commerce." As for NetSuite's tighter integration with eBay, Pombriant says it "makes sense," since eBay is a premium brand in online auctioning, though he says online auctioning is "a different breed of e-commerce. It will be interesting to see how it works out." Related articles: Gartner Combines Two Magic Quadrants
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