Business to business (B2B) ecommerce needs to be easy, engaging, and efficient.
Buyers expect more than an online catalog, although that’s important. They are looking for secure logins that will deliver personalized experiences that allow them to serve themselves and manage their business relationship with your company. It’s essential to provide effective purchasing, tailored billing and direct access to support when it’s needed.
NetSuite SuiteCommerce can provide an end-to-end solution that brings together back office operations and ecommerce, point of sale (POS), and order management.
Buyers can have a seamless, personalized experience at every point of contact. Multiple brands, countries, currencies and languages can all be supported from a Cloud-based platform available on a subscription basis.
With all this power available in a single software as a service (SaaS) solution, are there any reasons to consider an alternative like Cloudfy?
We think there are, and we have taken a look at some of them here.
Business type and age
The B2B world is complicated and many businesses have different types of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software systems, which could include:
- Accounting and Financial Management (FMS)
- Inventory Management
- Warehouse Management (WMS)
- Manufacturing Management
- Demand and Materials Planning
- Procurement Software
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Sales
- CRM for Customer Support
- Point of Sale
- Human Resource (HR) Management.
That’s a lot of systems, and they probably weren’t all implemented at the same time. In many cases they won’t all be fully connected, and some will be in operational ‘silos’. Depending on the age of your business, some might be more up to date than others.
NetSuite can support all of these processes with out-of-the-box functionality and without any need for additional integration. However, you had very good reasons for choosing the systems you already have, and you might not want to migrate them all to a new platform.
If you are in this situation Cloudfy could be your solution. It was designed from the very start for B2B ecommerce, so integration with all the leading business systems, including NetSuite, is available from the outset.
You could, for example, move to NetSuite for your finance and CRM systems but retain your existing HR and procurement systems. Cloudfy can accommodate them all.
If your business is very specialized, you might also have some bespoke systems that can’t be replaced. Cloudfy has a powerful application programming interface (API) that supports customized integration as well as flat file integration options for businesses that want to implement some systems themselves.
NetSuite SuiteCommerce is a recognized market leader that is especially suitable for companies that have a variety of sales channels including brick-and-mortar sites.
Many businesses have chosen NetSuite to consolidate their systems after experiencing difficulties in integrating multiple systems. While this can save costs in the longer-term, the initial investment can be significant.
NetSuite includes CRM and ERP functions such as FM, Procurement, Order Management, Item and Inventory Management and employee self-service, known as the Employee Center. Additional advanced modules can also be added to your package such as Fixed Asset Management or Warehouse Management. Alternatively, you can take a license for just FM or CRM.
You can have a tiered approach to your NetSuite solution, but you will still be left with the challenge of integrating other business systems to achieve an end-to-end view of your business from your ecommerce portal through to delivery.
It’s also worth considering that prices for NetSuite begin at $999 per month plus $99 per user per month. Depending on the size of your organization, that could represent a big investment.
Because many of Cloudfy’s solutions and business integrations are available out of the box, with powerful customization tools, it can offer a very cost-effective option that can be tailored to your business needs.
As well as providing an integrated set of business applications, NetSuite also offers SuiteCloud as a framework for customers, partners and software developers to use for customization. It’s designed for teams with little background knowledge of ecommerce. However, some users have found parts of the platform complicated to use.
SuiteScript is also available for NetSuite customization. It allows users to create custom fields and forms, documents, and workflows, although this flexibility might be limited by budgets and timescales.
NetSuite is also scalable and can grow with your business.
Cloudfy features include built-in tools, integrations and an easy user interface to allow you to customize your solution. You can scale at times of peak demand and when your business grows, so you don’t have to pay for capacity that you don’t need. You also have the Cloudfy team to help you out from time to time.
B2B ecommerce functionality
NetSuite SuiteCommerce provides self-service support so your team can focus on detailed case management, returns and track to teams in the field. Customers can access their order history, including shipping, billing and payment information.
It provides tools to streamline the B2B online buying process, including routine, repeat and bulk ordering. It can support integration with suppliers, distributors, and manufacturers. Online orders can be automatically converted to invoices with workflow management for approval, fulfilment and billing.
Registered customers can see their own agreed prices, terms and credit limits and can submit requests for quotes that can be converted into online orders. Product catalogs can be linked directly to customers’ e-procurement systems and Punchout is available using third-party connectors.
Buyers can review and manage payments online, including summaries of balances, deposits, and credit. Preferred B2B payment methods like invoice billing, credit, and automated clearing house (ACH) processing can be provided.
As you would expect, a purpose-designed B2B ecommerce solution like Cloudfy also supports all of these customer-focused functions along with predictive search and product filtering to streamline the journey.
NetSuite SuiteCommerce offers powerful solutions for a wide range of businesses. Using the complete package could streamline business performance and ultimately deliver cost savings.
However, it won’t be the ideal solution for businesses that want to harness the power of NetSuite and also retain some existing business systems. This is especially true if the systems are customized or if the business strategy requires flexibility to choose and easily integrate best-of-breed solutions in the future.
The good news is that Cloudfy is specifically designed for B2B and for seamless integration with NetSuite, so it can deliver all the flexibility you need.
If you are considering NetSuite as part of your business strategy but would like to find out more about the flexibility of Cloudfy, contact us today.