What is Oracle NetSuite’s Ecommerce Platform?

SuiteCommerce is NetSuite’s flagship ecommerce platform that is pre-integrated into the ERP. These means that companies don’t need to pay for an integration between an ecommerce platform and NetSuite. 

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

For example, if you were to purchase Shopify Plus as your ecommerce platform, you would need to pay approximately $5000 per year for the connection between Shopify and NetSuite. You would also need to pay for the implementation of the connection (mapping data).

If you had SuiteCommerce, you would not need to pay for this connection or the implementation of the mapping. SuiteCommerce comes unified with order and inventory management, CRM, and ERP.

NetSuite ERP drives the ecommerce experience which means that having total access to your ERP data is essential to scaling your ecommerce solution. Since SuiteCommerce is built by NetSuite for NetSuite, all the data is accessible so that your ecommerce solution can change as your business changes. You won’t hit a roadblock keeping you from optimizing the ecommerce user experience for both B2B and B2C.

What is SuiteCommerce and how does it compare?

If you have NetSuite ERP, you know that there is power to having all your data in a single location. This page goes through key areas of the SuiteCommerce module to help you understand why it beats Shopify Plus, Magento, and other ecommerce platform options. Since SuiteCommerce requires NetSuite ERP, we make the assumption that you are either implementing NetSuite or already have NetSuite as an platform. In our changing world, we have seen dramatic increase in online sales over the past year. A major shift to online shopping has been occurring for the last decade, but the most recent world events have put more pressure on organizations to change earlier than expected. By the end of this page, we hope that you will be more informed to make an ecommerce decision.

If you have already begun your search into finding out more about SuiteCommerce, then you may have stumbled across two terms…SuiteCommerce Advanced (SCA) and SuiteCommerce Standard (SC).

It is important to understand the difference between the two options since one is half the price of the other. Most people think that SuiteCommerce Standard (now just called SuiteCommerce) means that you can’t customize the theme or extensions. This is not true. In fact, you can do most of the same customization’s. 

The primary difference is that SuiteCommerce Advanced has total access to the source code. Heavy customization changing the architecture of the platform will require SCA to be able to accomplish the goal. 

What are some examples of a source code change that requires SCA?

1) A company wants every order through the ecommerce platform to be entered as a Purchase Order rather than a Sales Order. This would require a change to source code. 

2) A company wants to allow customers to log into “My Account” and modify existing orders that were already placed themselves. This would require a change to source code.

What are some examples of a customization that doesn’t require SCA?

1) You want to change the theme. Let’s say you don’t like your theme and have a graphic designer make a new mockup to match. This mockup has a different layout and new colors. This is not a change to source code. It is HTML and CSS work which you have access to with SuiteCommerce standard.

2) You want to create an extension that adds a new line item to the cart when an add-on (i.e. engraving option) is selected. This requires JavaScript but does not require source code changes. 

What if I don’t know if a customization requires source code changes?

The easiest way to identify which type of solution you need is to get in touch with a SuiteCommerce developer that builds customization’s in the platform on a daily basis. They will know if a source code is likely required. If you have a road map of features you will want for the ecommerce platform, it is a good idea to explain them to the developer so that you pick the correct solution. 

Can I upgrade to SCA later if I only need SuiteCommerce Standard for now?

Yes you can. It is rather easy to transition from standard to advanced. If you don’t need SCA for multiple years, you can change later if you only need standard features for the time being. You don’t need a brand new implementation to switch. It takes about a day to fetch the code and deploy it to SuiteCommerce Advanced. The best part about SCA is that you’ll never need to transition to another platform again due to limitations of the solution. 

Are there benefits to not having a managed bundle (SCA does not managed upgrades)? 

Absolutely, and this is because of the many customization’s that SuiteCommerce Advanced customers tend to add to their ecommerce platform. Companies rely on having a platform that doesn’t break whenever a managed upgrade occurs. When you have customization’s in your ecommerce solution, you don’t want them to break when a managed upgrade to the latest version occurs. You want to make the transition when you have had the time to test out the upgrade in sandbox first to ensure all your customization’s still work properly. This is the reason that SCA is version locked meaning that it doesn’t automatically upgrade to the latest version. Whenever you want to upgrade, you’ll want to get in touch with your development team to audit the theme and extensions, test the new version in sandbox, make any updates to a customization, and deploy to production when fully tested.

SuiteCommerce Standard does have managed updates, but just be aware of your customization’s prior to each update. There are ways that developers can use extensibility API (managed NetSuite functions) to ensure that a customization will break less frequently.

Summary

If you have NetSuite or are planning to get NetSuite as your ERP, stay up to date with the latest SuiteCommerce features to see how it best fits into your business modal. If you want to get SuiteCommerce Standard to save more on your monthly licensing, then make sure to chat with a SuiteCommerce developer to help identify any areas that you may need SuiteCommerce Advanced in the future. Spending a little time and money identifying where SuiteCommerce Standard may be the better fit will help you cut costs and position yourself for the seamless upgrade to SuiteCommerce Advanced when you are ready. You can check out some of these reasons why SuiteCommerce Advanced is better than Shopify Plus for your ecommerce solution.

Having all your data managed in one place makes everyone’s lives easier which is one reason why companies frequently choose SCA over other platforms since all the images, marketing data, files, and supporting data already lives in NetSuite. 

Oracle NetSuite Add-Ons and Apps?

There are some new initiatives by SuiteMarkets which is a 3rd party app platform that allows you to purchase SuiteCommerce and NetSuite ERP apps/features. It’s a great way to find existing solutions for NetSuite ERP or SuiteCommerce. It’s something to keep in mind as the platform continues to grow and more features get listed. Since it is free to list solutions, there are more smaller applications being listed such as order tracking, blogs, custom themes, customer center add-ons, in addition to software companies.

There is also NetSuite’s app platform which is primarily used to inform NetSuite customers of software that integrates into the platform. Shopify has something similar including applications that help them integrate into the NetSuite platform. More and more customers are utilizing NetSuite as an ecommerce platform in additional to its reporting, warehouse management, HR, and other ERP features. This expands beyond your traditional ecommerce website and includes integrations to popular ecommerce solutions including Amazon, eBay, and Overstock.

About the Author:

This blog was written by Caleb Schmitz, a NetSuite developer and SuiteCommerce Specialist at Anchor Group. Anchor Group is a NetSuite implementation partner that focuses specifically on NetSuite training and NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce.

Caleb received his Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Benedictine College as well as the University of North Dakota. A few years into his career he completed his Masters in Business Administration from Indiana Institute of Technology.

Since then, he has worked as a design engineer, production supervisor, and SAP developer prior to pursuing his certifications as a NetSuite developer. His knowledge of manufacturing, supply chain management, and operations helps bring unique expertise to the team. One of his specializations is in Oracle NetSuite’s ecommerce platform, SuiteCommerce Advanced.

During his free time, he enjoys mountain biking, writing books, and playing rugby.

Anchor Group NetSuite Consultants and Developers

Published by Caleb Schmitz

Author, Marketing, Engineering, Information Technology, and Sales. Lots of interests, experience, but never satisfied with learning enough.

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