SAN JOSE: NetSuite has expanded its SuiteCommerce system with an in-store option that lets retailers use the same data they have for their e-commerce sites on the shop floor.
SuiteCommerce InStore, launched at the SuiteWorld show in San Jose, will give sales assistants access to inventory and customer information so they can increase sales and improve the customer experience. Sales staff can perform item lookups from the sales floor and locate out-of-stock or alternative items to save the sale on the showroom floor, and can get a timeline of purchasing history for that particular customer to offer a more personalised service.
The software, which is built on NetSuite's order and inventory management system, also lets retailers combine different fulfilment models such as buying in-store and shipping to the customer in a single transaction. It also supports traditional point of sale capabilities such as discounting and gift receipts.
The idea behind SuiteCommerce InStore is to unify the online and in-store experience. For example, customers will be able to access items they have added to their online shopping cart or wish list at the in-store counter and add them to that transaction.
One retailer that will no doubt be keen to try out the new features once they are available internationally is surfing gear retailer Billabong, which has just signed on as a customer of the SuiteCommerce platform to support the rollout of a new global omni-channel platform.
Kadima Lonji, global CTO at Billabong, told SuiteWorld attendees that his firm is currently busy trying to solve issues around inventory, a single customer repository, and going global.
"A platform that can solve all these things is very critical. In the new world you have to have a system that has a retail component and an e-commerce component," he explained.
"Today if you walk into one of our stores and you want a particular colour or size and that store happens not to have it, there's no easy way for us to see other stores or the web, if we have that product. In the new world, with inventory in a single place, we'll be able to solve that.
"That's critical for us in terms of saving the sale. If you have 300 stores like we have, and if every day in one store we can save one sale, 300 stores times 365 days times our average order that's $125 that's $13m automatic."
The addition of the in-store element to SuiteCommerce could prove a key boon to retailers looking to reinvigorate their high street performance, according to senior research analyst at IDC Retail Insights, Miya Knights.
"When you consider that most industry estimates put the amount of retail sales still completed in-store as being between 80 to 90 pence in every pound, it is more important than ever for retailers to have the same view of customers in the store as they do of them online so they can exploit loyalty, behavioural and sales history information to offer them a more relevant, personalised and convenient physical shopping experience," she explained.
The launch could also help NetSuite gain access to new retail customers and compete against larger retail IT suppliers.
"Most retail IT vendors either major online or instore - not both, unless you're taking about the behemoth vendors serving the ‘super Tier 1' global retailers, like Oracle, SAP or IBM," Knights said.
"I think NetSuite is punching above its current weight by now being able to offer retailers the same system for e-commerce and POS, and a single system of record for customer, inventory or order information. The launch demonstrates that NetSuite understands retailers are looking to eliminate any inconsistencies between the physical and digital customer experience."
SuiteCommerce InStore is available now to US NetSuite customers at a cost of $39 per month, per store associate. UK stores and other locations will get access to the new features early 2016.
Microsoft and NetSuite have also teamed up this week to offer closer integration between Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and productivity suite, and NetSuite's ERP online software.
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