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SaaS vendor NetSuite launches e-commerce editions

A Montreal VAR says the added functionality will drive new channel opportunities

NetSuite (NYSE: N) furthered its verticalization strategy recently with the release of two new editions of its on-demand ERP platform specifically geared towards e-commerce vendors.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based SaaS developer of ERP and CRM offerings for the small and medium-sized business (SMB) space has released two new vertical editions designed to meet the needs of e-business companies: NetSuite Ecommerce Company Edition and NetSuite Ecommerce+ Company Edition.

Mini Periris, NetSuite’s vice-president of product management, says with the large number of customers turning to the NetSuite platform for e-commerce the vendor decided it was appropriate to develop a vertical-specific solution already customized for the space.

“We have a lot of customers in the e-commerce space,” said Periris. “We’ve found more are looking to NetSuite for best practices and visibility into their business so we crafted two editions specifically for e-tailers.”

The Ecommerce Company Edition is designed for smaller e-tailers that are looking to grow beyond stand-alone shopping cart solutions, and are looking for more business tools around areas such as inventory management and automated cross-sell and up-sell engines.

The Ecommerce+ Company Edition is designed for a more complicated business environment, such as the e-tailer with large inventories across multiple warehouses, and adds assorted SKU management tools.

“We’ve built-in more best practices, dashboards and roles catered to e-tailers, plus terminology, analytics and metrics,” said Periris. “It’s a best practice template that’s a better starting point for new customers.”

While in the past NetSuite VAR partners might have developed some of the e-commerce add-ons and customizations, Periris says NetSuite has found its partners weren’t too active in that area. Rather, they’ve been focusing more on the value-add around areas like Web site design and search engine optimization (SEO).

“There’s still plenty of upside for partners in terms of engaging customers, and we have many that have built thriving businesses around site design and SEO,” said Periris. “Our e-commerce partners tended to offer more services around site design and SEO, and were less focused on core e-tailer business processes, so we felt wanted to address that void.”

That’s backed-up by Martin McNicoll, president of IT-Ration Consulting, a Montreal-based VAR and NetSuite partner since 2005. Every time NetSuite comes-out with a new product or a new feature on the platform it really helps the partners, he says.

“If you can deliver something out of the box that’s easy and the customer can configure themselves, that’s not taking business away from me; it’s just empowering my customers,” said McNicoll. “If it’s great for the customer it’s great for the VAR, that’s how I look at it.”

As an example, McNicoll said NetSuite used to have a manual process during implementation for uploading customer data onto the platform. While IT-Ration used to spend hours uploading that data for its customers, now an automated wizard approach lets customers do it themselves.

“Well, frankly yes, it has taken time away from us to do that work, but do I really want to do that as an integrator? That’s not where I bring the most value, and that’s not what consultants want to do,” said McNicoll. “I can now have a better offer for the customer, and I can spend more time on value-added tasks.”