NetSuite talks 'Appstore' for everyone

Zach Nelson, CEO NetSuite talks about fixing the problem of multi-channel commerce. Has he got a winning formula?
Written by Dennis Howlett, Contributor

Zach Nelson, CEO NetSuite was in London this week talking SuiteCommerce. Rebranded e-commerce or something new? E-commerce has been around for many years but in recent times, the market has become extremely complicated.

Customers want to access services from any device and that alone presents a conundrum for vendors. Which devices do they support? Which devices should they support into the future? How do customers sensibly integrate a commerce engine into their back office landscape? What should the UI look like? Can that UI provide a brand enhancing presence on any device? The list of questions goes on and on. NetSuite believes it has come up with the answer to many of these problems for its mid-range customers.

In the above video, Nelson explains that NetSuite has solved the problem by exposing its commerce engine services in  two ways. 

First, it provides what Nelson describes as a 'headless' system. "We cannot predict how many and what devices peeople will use so we built a system that easily allows developers and designers to attach any UI they wish and create a pixel perfect exerpience." 

Second, NetSuite has decoupled the commerce engine from the main ERP without sacrificing functionality. Customers can run SuiteCommerce as a stand alone application platform but the real benefits arise when it is tied to customer specific order management processes. This way, the commerce customer can maintain the brand image they wish while preserving the processes that matter to them. 

This sounds like an attractive proposition but buyers will need to carefully think through how their multi-channel strategy will unfold. NetSuite believes for example that machine to machine transactions will eclipse web based or mobile commerce activities with which many of us are familiar. If correct, then this means NetSuite will be able to manage both B2C and B2B styles of automated transactions. That in itself could encourage the development of entirely new lines of business. A retailer might (for example) expand into wholesale distribution. The customer profiles wouldf be very different but the engine driving each approach could be the same. 

However, the knotty problems of design and fulfillment to say nothing of EDI and other forms of process payment connection don't go away. For these, NetSuite is partnering with design firms and the likes of WorldPay. 

Sound attractive? Nelson thinks this is a continuation of the cloud play full employment act for his company. He goes so far as to suggest that SuiteCommerce will be a bigger part of the long term revenue stream for NetSuite.

As always, we'll be keeping tabs on progress. 

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