In this post I provide an overview of some of factors users of NetSuite should consider when choosing an Ecommerce Platform.
Whilst at Keystone Data and in a previous company I have built a great many NetSuite integrated websites. As a general rule, for simpler sites, integration with Best of Breed is a good idea, however as sites get more complex the cost of integration can outweigh some of the benefits the best of breed platforms offer.
Before discussing which platform you should choose, I have clarified a few often misunderstood terms relating to SuiteCommerce, SiteBuilder and SuiteCommerce Advanced (often referred to as SCA)
What is NetSuite SuiteCommerce?
NetSuite SuiteCommerce is NetSuites native ecommerce platform. One way to think of this is a way of opening up your internal ERP system and allowing customer to interact directly with it.
Doing this has significant advantages over integrating with an external platform as your customers can be provided with live data directly from your internal system and are effectively accessing the same system as your internal staff via a customer facing website.
SuiteCommerce offers two distinct products, SuiteCommerce SiteBuilder and SuiteCommerce Advanced.
What is SiteBuilder?
SiteBuilder is NetSuites legacy ecommerce platform offering a well road tested but rather simplistic ecommerce front end with limited customisation ability.
What is SuiteCommerce Advanced?
SuiteCommerce Advanced is a more flexible, higher end product offering full flexibility and higher performance.
Best of Breed vs SuiteCommerce
NetSuite SuiteCommerce platform offers an extensive set of capabilities for building Ecommerce Websites. However, building out Ecommerce functionality directly on NetSuite using SuiteCommerce can be more expensive that building using a best in class platform such as Magento or Shopify.
You might therefore conclude that best in class is the way to go, however if you have experience integrating ecommerce sites with ERP or you have read our article “How to Integrate Ecommerce Sites with NetSuite” you might have noted that although it can be cheaper to build on a best in class platform, the integration costs can outway the savings made by doing this.
Although this is true, for very simple ecommerce websites integration can be fairly straightforward and therefore best of breed is more suitable than SuiteCommerce.
A list of features which make ecommerce sites more complex and more difficult to integrate with an ERP system include:
- Complex or quantity driven pricing – the methods used to configure these pricing structures will often differ between the ERP system and Ecommerce Platform. Therefore integrating this can be very tricky.
- Offers, promotions and coupon codes – In addition to differing methods of configuring these elements, these can be represented differently on orders / invoices. This can introduce considerable challenges when integrating
- Multi Language, multi currency, and multiple geographical zones targeted – These elements can introduce a whole range of issues when integrating, from issues with currency exchange rates, issues with lack of centralisation of multilingual product data.
- Complex delivery options – these very quickly become next to impossible to integrate due to differences in the way these are set up.
- Customer based pricing – this area will almost certainly differ between Ecommerce System and NetSuite, if the business has a large number of customers this area can prove very time consuming and challenging to integrate.
- Integrated support systems
- Fully integrated returns processes
- Live orders required for customer orders not placed online – this would require a 2 way integration.
- Online statement downloads – As Accounts Receivable procedures are not operated in the Ecommmce platform this must be provided by the ERP System.
However, in addition to the features I outline in this document, other factors will play into the decision on platform such as:
- Budget – If a business generates a large volume of business online and has a considerable budget, an additional spend required to implement SuiteCommerce Advanced will not be significant when compared to the advantages to be gained from a fully integrated ecommerce front end.
- Technical Skills of In house staff – The customer might have an existing Ecommerce site or technical skills developing an another ecommerce technology.