On-demand business management software firm NetSuite announced on Thursday the release of an advanced e-commerce business suite that extends the functionality of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications to the online operations of mid-sized companies.
NetSuite also announced new features added to its e-commerce on-demand business management suite that give entrepreneurs the ability to manage their sales on eBay from within the NetSuite platform.
The new features enable mid-sized companies to efficiently automate e-commerce operations and avoid the cost and hassles of developing complex custom applications. These features include multi-channel, multi-store, multi-currency and multi-language support, as well as automated Amazon.com-like upsell/cross-sell capabilities.
“This degree of functionality levels the playing field for mid-size companies and provides a true return on their investment,” Craig Sullivan, vice president of product management for NetSuite, told CRM Buyer. “The average value of online transactions is going up. This is pretty exciting. Every company wants to sell more. We are attracting the mid market with its more complex needs.”
The new e-commerce business suite enhancements target mid-sized companies directly, according to Sullivan. The business platform spans the entire operation.
Providing a complete e-commerce business solution to mid-sized companies responds to a growing need in that market, he said. NetSuite now has over 1,500 e-commerce sites using NetSuite’s platform. Last year they generated an aggregate US$290 million of sales, up from $140 million in 2005.
E-commerce has to do all the things any business has to do, including back-office tasks. Mid market businesses have to handle higher volume and bigger shipping needs. These companies need multiple departments to have access to the same data, Sullivan explained about the rise in demand for all-encompassing business solutions.
Filling a Need
Limitations in traditional software have forced most mid-sized companies to build e-commerce capabilities from scratch, NetSuite officials claimed. Applications such as Microsoft Great Plains and Sage were designed a decade before the rise of the Internet, resulting in higher costs to extend them to support e-commerce for a Web business.
New applications from other vendors, according to NetSuite, are designed specifically to build e-commerce Web sites, but result in isolated, bolt-on systems that are difficult to integrate into core business processes and applications. NetSuite now offers the capability to publish on the user’s Web site and coordinate with back-end tools.
“For many companies, the Web has become the primary channel for meeting with and selling to customers, but the systems supporting those efforts are at best bolt-on applications that aren’t well integrated with the core business management systems,” said Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite. “With the addition of these new features, NetSuite demonstrates the future of e-commerce, where one system manages transactions placed on the Web as easily as those placed in person or via the phone — for businesses large, medium and small.”
The eBay Connection
The NetSuite eBay integration allows companies to sell on eBay as easily as they do on their own Web sites or with their internal sales teams, Sullivan noted. It also offers powerful capabilities for users to manage all business operations such as inventory, warehouse management, accounting, direct sales, telesales, keyword marketing, e-mail marketing and site hosting.
The NetSuite integration with eBay addresses the needs of growing online businesses. These features include:
- Pushing products to eBay.com and eBay Stores directly from the NetSuite product catalog with the appropriate listing categorizations and pricing (Starting, Reserve and Buy It Now) to maximize visibility and placement;
- Initiating Chinese or Dutch auction-style listings while specifying scheduling, duration and promotions;
- Viewing all live listings within NetSuite including details on how the bidding is progressing and when the listing is set to close;
- Receiving orders from eBay buyers automatically once the listing closes and a sale takes place; and
- Lowering automatically an item’s available inventory when it has been sold through eBay and updating the customer’s purchase history.
“Nothing like this exists for e-commerce players,” Sullivan declared. “Other Vendors give you a shopping cart and billing plans. That’s the extent.”
The NetSuite e-commerce suite is sold on a subscription basis. Some of these new e-commerce features are generally available immediately with the standard NetSuite service. Some of the new features require add-on modules.
The basic subscription costs US$499 per month plus $99 per user. Site Builder access costs $299 per month. Analytics features cost $299 per month.
The total monthly subscription for all integrated features costs $1,500 per month.
By comparison, Sullivan said, commercial and other products cost from $10,000 to $100,000 per month.
“We give far more for far less. We offer much more functionality for store fronts and back end operations. The proof is in the pudding,” Sullivan concluded.