Shortly after the turn of the century, one of the best ways for retailers to dip their toe into the eCommerce waters was to implement an eCommerce add-on specifically designed for their point-of-sale (POS) system. These add-ons gave retailers a low cost and low risk way to quickly gain a presence on the web. Unfortunately, not all software publishers offered these add-ons, so several enterprising companies popped up to fill this void. NitroSell is one such company.
NitroSell and Microsoft Dynamics RMS
During the last decade, NitroSell accumulated a critical mass of customers due to their tight integration with Microsofts POS solution, Dynamics RMS, and how easy they made it to start selling online. And unlike some of the other solutions on the market, NitroSell offered customers the ability to add unique branding to their site and more web-ready content to their POS data.
Through a reseller ecosystem that includes a large number RMS partners, NitroSell helped companies get their online retail business off the ground. Their hosted solution included all the expected features in an eCommerce solution including design templates, item management tools, SEO, payment processing, promotions, gift cards, reporting and analytics and B2B support. But what differentiated NitroSell from its competitors was its ability to manage and synchronize inventory, item, customer and sales transaction data with RMS.
As a former Microsoft RMS NitroSell reseller, I knew which companies were the best candidates for a NitroSell site. For companies new to RMS who already had an established eCommerce site and a mature web strategy, NitroSell typically fell short of meeting their requirements. These companies had often already spent tens of thousands of dollars building a very custom sophisticated site with features like embedded shipping integration, order management, multi-location inventory support and eBay or Amazon integration. For these companies, our development team would have to write a custom integration to link those systems. Even our competitors asked us to write integrations for their customers when they knew NitroSell wouldnt be a good fit.
Although, as resellers, we recommended NitroSell to our eCommerce newbies, we took some comfort knowing that as our customers grew and developed more sophisticated requirements we had the skills and know-how to migrate them to a more robust solution. It always pained me, however, that at some point, our customer would have to go through the pain and expense of an eCommerce migration.
Over the years, we began to develop toolsets to deal with those custom requirements more easily, and eventually nChannel was born, but thats a different article. nChannel now gives those established retailers the same sort of turnkey integration functionality that was available in NitroSell, but with the option to choose a best-of-breed eCommerce solution.
NitroSell vs. Magento
Over the last decade, technology has changed. In fact, in the last three years the number of eCommerce solutions available to retailers has absolutely exploded. There are several reasons for this growth:
- More and more retailers are looking to open online sales channels
- Customers are more demanding and expect more sophisticated shopping features
- Retail processes are increasingly complex (i.e. buy online/pick up in store)
- Organizations are adding new business systems (i.e. ERP, accounting and CRM systems)
- New online sales channels are showing promise (i.e. eBay and Amazon)
Many of the new shopping carts have added a self-provisioning model that makes it very easy for the eCommerce newbie to dip their toe into the eCommerce waters. So much so that the majority of new nChannel subscribers are companies that started with an eCommerce system and then either decided to open a brick-and-mortar location or just wanted stronger inventory management. For these companies we often recommend Microsoft Dynamics RMS and put them in touch with one of our dozens of RMS partners nationwide. These companies enjoy the same benefits experienced by NitroSell users, but often with a far more robust eCommerce platform.
While not all of these eCommerce solutions are scalable enough to meet the growing demands on retailers, one company stands out as a leader, making eCommerce affordable for the newbie while still allowing them to grow and scale to thousands of items and multiple stores. That company is Magento.
Since it was purchased by eBay in 2011, Magento has become Americas fastest growing eCommerce platform with over 150,000 customers ranging from mom-and-pop shops to Fortune 500 companies. Meanwhile, many of its older competitors are struggling just to keep up with the wide breadth and depth of functionality that is native to Magento.
One of the best things about Magneto is that they provide options. Its simplest version, Magento Go, is a template driven platform that allows the most basic user to very quickly put up a highly functional website for about $50/month. As they grow, they can migrate to Magentos Enterprise Edition which supports very large implementations and has an even richer feature set. Meanwhile, all customers can take advantage of thousands of Magento add-ons to achieve the exact functionality they need now and in the future.
How to Migrate to Magento
So as all of these companies are moving to Magento you may be wondering, What about RMS? The truth is the integration model has changed too. Companies are no longer looking for a one-to-one connection between their eCommerce platform and their POS system; they want many-to-many connections so they are agile enough to move quickly as the market fluctuates and grows or as they change their strategies. If they decide to sell on eBay and then later on Amazon, they dont want to have to buy and manage multiple solutions to support each one. Similarly, back-end systems change. If you add an ERP or accounting system or change your POS, you dont want to start over with your integration project or worse, be tied down to specific technology that doesnt meet your needs because your eCommerce system doesnt support other applications.
So the newbie now has choices on how they want to connect their systems, and with nChannel they can get the same type of turnkey functionality offered by NitroSell, but without the fear of someday needing to migrate their eCommerce site. And for existing NitroSell users that want to move to Magento, nChannel makes the migration an easy task with pre-built connectors to both RMS and Magento (as well as a library of many other popular eCommerce, POS, ERP, accounting and marketplace connectors). Meanwhile, you can automate many of your sales processes:
- Manage items
- Synchronize inventory
- Process and fulfill orders
- Collect and analyze customer data
- Manage drop ship suppliers and third-party logistics
- Gain visibility into all of your sales channels from a single platform
With flexibility like this, companies of all sizes are choosing nChannel to meet their integration needs because we allow you to choose best-of-breed solutions such as Magento and Microsoft Dynamics RMS, while enabling you to grow your business how and when it is right for you.