Riding The Coat Tails Of Online Giants With Omni-Channel Solutions

Kyle Scobey, Supply Chain Evangelist

As the economic impact of the corona virus unfolds on the world economy, customers have been driven to online marketplaces for safety and in some cases due to closing of traditional stores. According to BigCommerce online sales will increase from $3.5 trillion or 14% of retail sales in 2019 to $4.2 trillion or 16% of retail sales in 2020. However, some of the short comings of online sales has been the inability for shoppers to touch or feel product, try it on or visually see how the product will fit into their home. Many small businesses have struggled to incorporate capabilities into their websites that mimic the in-person shopping experience. However, the larger marketplace players such as Amazon, Walmart, and others are investing enormous amounts of money to do just that. Technology such as Augmented Reality (AR), Voice Search, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Big Data are being deployed to personalize shopping experiences.

Gartner predicts that 100 million consumers will shop in Augmented reality online and instore experiences by the end of 2020. As such, this type of technology will become mainstream for businesses of all sizes eventually. However, it also comes with a hefty price tag that is beyond the reach of many small businesses.

NetSuite users have many significant advantages that the solution brings to their business. One of the most significant is its ability to manage Omni-Channel sales structures tying together ecommerce marketplaces, webstores and EDI relationships. One approach to providing a more sophisticated shopping experience is tying into the Amazon, Walmart and other marketplaces that utilize these technologies.

Development partners such as NetScore, produce ready made connectors that will give your company access to many of the large online marketplaces. You get the advantage of their technology spend in the selling experience without the cost of deploying the technology yourself.

Building an Omni-Channel network does have challenges when it comes to deploying and maintaining your network. Many of the providers of connectors charge a substantial fee for setting them up on top of the annual subscription you will pay for the application itself. Additionally, you can expect more consulting fees when updates are needed, or you choose to deploy more advanced capabilities.

Most connectors have a defined data set that consists of the data points the trading partner utilizes and the corresponding fields in NetSuite. Some data points center on features you wish to manage through the connector and are typically defined in the connector documentation. The deployment of the connector becomes mostly a mapping task of tying together the fields where data will be pulled from or delivered to.

Some NetSuite customers will deploy a number of connectors as they tap into marketplaces, 3PL’s, webstores and shipping solutions. Managing a network of connectors can be tricky in some environments needing constant attention to ensure data is flowing smoothly. However, NetScore recognized the need for companies to take a more “do it yourself” approach to managing their networks and save on consulting fees. Earlier this year they released their IPass solution providing a tool to do just that.

IPass provides an application for your NetSuite platform that allows customers to manage their connector network without the need for consulting services. With their available connectors for Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Jet, Wish and more, customers have a wide variety of marketplaces to choose from and a tool that is preconfigured with the connection points. Users simply deploy the connector and use their IPass tool to map the desired fields to their NetSuite solution.

The built-in command center allows users to quickly configure purchased connectors using a preconfigured mapping tool. Users can quickly map out fields they wish to connect, and a scheduler allows for controlling the frequency of each items update. Fields are categorized into intuitive groups such as product, inventory, images, orders, billing, shipments and more. Audit and error logs allow for monitoring each connectors activity with the ability to correct and process any failed transactions.

There will come a day when we will all be trying to figure out how augmented reality and other such technologies will play into our online presence. However, leveraging the online marketplaces and riding the technology coat tails of the big marketplace companies can go a long way to providing your customers with the best possible buying experience.

For more information on NetScore’s connectors, IPass solution, and services, please reach out to NetScore Account Executive.