As eCommerce sales continue to grow, merchants are investing more in their online presence. They’re upgrading their technology and expanding to even more sales channels. They’re chasing their customers and trying to meet their demands.
However, a multichannel strategy puts a lot of pressure on your operations. Increasing online orders means keep tracking of inventory levels, processing more orders, and ensuring that shipping/tracking information is accurate between your ERP NetSuite and eCommerce platform.
When your processes are too slow, the customer experience suffers.
Merchants can improve their customer experience by upgrading their eCommerce platforms and integrating their backend ERP NetSuite. We’ll help you better understand the benefits of integration and the best way to do it.
Making Customer Experience Your Top Priority
It’s no longer enough to just simply be online. The landscape for retailers has become overcrowded and competitive. With a plethora of information at their fingertips, shoppers are harder to attract and win over.
Online shoppers are tough to please. They have high demands. Your site must be attractive, easy to use and have a fast checkout process. You must have consistent, detailed product descriptions and accurate inventory levels across all your sales channel. Merchants must be able to deliver in 2 days or less – and for free. Then, customers expect to be able to track that package until it lands on their doorstep.
This type of customer experience is a tall order for merchants. And if you don’t deliver, you can expect customers to let you and all their friends know about how disappointed they are.
Retailers who want to differentiate themselves will provide the best customer experience. Everything you do will focus on attracting and winning over more customers. The better a customer’s interaction with your brand, they more likely they are to buy from you again and again.
86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. But only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations.
Merchants no longer compete solely on price. From now on, it’s all about providing the best experience.
So, what can you do as a merchant to ensure a better customer experience? Integrate your systems!
Why Integrate NetSuite with Your eCommerce Channels
Integration is a key way to consistently delivering a uniform experience to your customers across online channels. It benefits your business in three major areas: ensuring consistent data, automating processes, and delivering timely data.
Integration replaces manual reporting processes that center on Excel spreadsheets to manage your retail operations. No longer will you use disparate data sources that lead to information that is rarely timely, accurate or immediately actionable for your teams.
Instead, NetSuite and eCommerce integration centralizes nformation across multiple systems so you have a single source of the truth. It gives you one place of control for operations so you can deliver better information to all lines of your operations.
With consistent and timely data, integration ensures you know when to move inventory from one location to another, when to mark down products, and how to market in one region versus another. Automation saves you time from entering data from one system to another, while reducing harm of human errors.
The benefits for your customers are accurate inventory levels displayed online, consistent product information, and fast and transparent order status and delivery. All these areas are critical to a better customer experience.
While the benefits of integrating your ERP and eCommerce systems are easy to understand, it’s not always easy to achieve. You have a few choices to choose from and must decide which one makes the most sense for your business.
NetSuite and eCommerce Integration Options
When not handled correctly, integration projects can quickly turn into a mess. They can cost you loads of time and money without ever turning into something that actually works for your business. However, merchants shouldn’t fear integration projects!
If you do the work upfront and pick the right approach, you’ll avoid many of the challenges that doom integration projects.
There are three ways you can integrate NetSuite with your eCommerce channels: point-to-point, custom project, and multichannel integration platform.
Many integration providers offer point-to-point solutions. This means that your NetSuite ERP is “pointed” at your eCommerce systems with no operational hub in the middle of them.
These types of solutions are usually affordable (like a couple hundred bucks a month), which can be great for smaller retailers who are just starting out. However, they aren’t always sophisticated enough for growing retailers undertaking a true multichannel strategy.
This solution is not flexible when adding more sales channels or management systems beyond NetSuite and one eCommerce platform. Each system requires you to add multiple new connectors because point-to-point integration only allows for a 1:1 relationship between systems. If one connection fails, the whole system can fail.
It all depends on your size and complexity of operations. If you’re just starting out and don’t plan on rapid growth, you could be just fine using point-to-point integration. Otherwise, you’ll want to consider a different option.
It’s always an option to build your NetSuite eCommerce integration in-house. Using each system’s APIs, developers can connect the system and establish data workflows.
Custom integration requires that you have an IT staff in-house with the knowledge, time, and resources to build it. Then, you must be able to support and maintain the integration over time.
Often, companies opt not to build in-house to avoid creating hard-coded, rigid environments with no path towards growth. Instead, they turn to integration providers with the right tools and expertise to meet their expectations.
Multichannel Integration Platform
The third integration solution is a multichannel integration platform. This technology differs from point-to-point as this platform sits as an operational hub between NetSuite and your eCommerce channels. Your data is then synchronized between your systems through the platform.
A multichannel integration should leverage pre-built connectors for NetSuite and eCommerce channels like your website or marketplaces. These connectors make configuration flexible both when setting up your integration and when changing out systems.
This type of solution is usually more expensive than point-to-point solutions, but still more affordable than custom integration. You’ll pay more for more robust capabilities like order splitting, integrating multiple warehouses, and real-time sync of data like inventory updates.
This type of platform is best suited for SMB or Enterprise merchants looking to integrate and grow their business over time.
(Full disclosure, this is what nChannel is. We are a cloud-based multichannel integration platform. That’s why we care so much about helping merchants integrate NetSuite and their eCommerce channels).
How NetSuite Integration Affects Your Business
Integration helps you achieve a competitive advantage for your business. With automated operations, even a small business can compete and provide the experience their customers demand.
It allows you to provide consistent product data, update inventory in real-time, process orders quicker, and give customers transparent order status. You can operate more efficiently. Your customers will thank you by buying from you again and again.
Learn more about how to integrate NetSuite.
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