In an age saturated with convenient online shopping, how would physical stores keep up?
That’s the answer.
Merchants are relying on business software solutions like Oracle NetSuite to build their next-gen stores.
Oracle NetSuite is a business management tool that improves business efficiency across all locations on a centralized system.
This review reveals how Oracle NetSuite can help your retail business grow.
What’s a Next-Gen Store?
As the eCommerce wave continues to shut down brick-and-mortar stores, savvy physical store owners are adopting what Oracle defines as the next-generation store.
Next-Gen stores redefine the function of traditional brick and mortar shops into memorable shopping experiences. They are points of purchase that also do these:
- Drive buyer inspiration
- Allow sellers to test different buying experiences
- Offer product pick up for online purchases
- Act as shipping and return contacts
- Provide help desk solutions
For instance, Next-Gen furniture brands use extended reality (XR) to directly place an appliance on a customer’s space. XR provides a better testing and trial method and is a step up from Amazon’s “zoom” feature.
Jewelry stores let shoppers interact with their products through augmented reality using interactive screens in their showcase counters. Fashion shoppers at a Next-Gen store can try out outfits by standing in front of a VR smart mirror.
The possible applications of technology for a better and more personalized shopper experience in Next-Gen stores are endless.
What is Oracle NetSuite?
Oracle NetSuite is a very intuitive world-class, cloud-based business management platform. Most of what you get from the Oracle NetSuite system depends on your requirements.
NetSuite’s platform is highly customizable and based on business type, industry, role, and current business solution software.
However, at its core, NetSuite is an ERP platform. It promises quick, accurate, and efficient business decisions to help you save time, make money, and manage your day-to-day business tasks.
Other products on the system are add-on modules to assist the basic ERP framework and offer precise business intelligence and automation.
Who Can Use Oracle NetSuite
Small businesses, mid-sized businesses, and global enterprises with multiple locations and large personnel numbers use NetSuite.
Over 400,000 businesses in those three categories use NetSuite to simplify their business processes across different industries like:
- Professional and consulting service
- Marketing agencies
- Distribution and Retail brands
- Financial services
- Hospitality, transport, and logistics
- IT and Tech
All of these users run different business types:
- Enterprises, to
- Venture capital- and private equity-backed companies.
You can choose the NetSuite products you want to be available on your platform. Your choice depends on what’s most important to your industry, business type, or role in the company.
NetSuite can also provide you a module based on your current suite of business software. This option is probably to target the area you most need improvements. NetSuite would integrate with third-party, on-premise software to improve your efficiency.
Using Oracle NetSuite
This is what you can expect when using the NetSuite platform:
Users can access the platform from anywhere, with a stable internet connection and a good browser.
Once you log into your account, the dashboard will display all relevant data summaries related to your selected product subscription.
NetSuite groups data sets into expandable interfaces known as “portlets”. Portlets show you an overview of your business’ daily activities. Like KPIs, Metrics and Scorecards, revenue, customer data, or invoice-related data.
Click on any portal to view details of the summaries presented on the dashboard. You can customize the calculations and relevant data sets to display or use NetSuite’s preset formats. All visualized data is live and refreshed in real-time.
All transactions, client information, and employee data you enter at one point reflect across the whole system.
The NetSuite home dashboard displays data sets relevant to the user role in the company. For instance, the CFO’s home dashboard would show a lot of financial data. The COO’s would display data relevant to project management, service automation, and many other ERP sets.
The NetSuite dashboard also displays data for specific timeframes, locations, and business channels. Users can view data from particular channels, individual, or all of the enterprise’s subsidiaries in the “Consolidated” setting.
It’s much like viewing periodic transaction summaries on a Sage-50 dashboard. Only that NetSuite manages a more significant aspect of the business process and helps you visualize more data.
Features of Oracle NetSuite
The Oracle NetSuite is like a buffet of business management products. Each feature of the NetSuite system is a different product. Some are developed in-house by NetSuite, and others are third-party modules.
Each product will help you achieve efficiency in different areas of your business.
Here are the main features of the NetSuite system:
Enterprise Resource Planning
NetSuite’s main feature, the ERP functionality, integrates with other modules like the SuitePeople product to manage daily activities from one system. It handles procurement, production, orders, inventory, logistics, financials, and HR very conveniently.
Enterprises get the Global Business Management functionality with the ERP, SRP, and Global Ecommerce features to manage their multi-location business.
Accounting processes are quite a bore to handle manually and a lot harder to automate using cheaper legacy platforms.
The NetSuite Accounting software manages billing, revenue recognition, global accounting and consolidation, finance, planning, reporting, compliance, risk, and governance. It integrates with your legacy on-premise accounting software to automate payments, payroll management, and data visibility.
Business Service Automation
This feature is handy for service businesses, agencies, and service sections of product-based brands. It conveniently automates your services’ project management with unified client data visibility, timesheets, billing, accounting, resource management, and analytics.
The project management functionality uses the NetSuite SRP, ERP + PSA, or the PSA modules to achieve service automation. You may add other combinations of modules as you require it.
A combination of the CRM and Email marketing modules, this functionality lets you personalize customer engagement. Email marketing drives 20% of the traffic to your ecommerce channels.
You can view customer correspondence history, customer data, and preferences on one unified system using this feature.
58% of brands are personalizing shopper engagement using better data collection and analysis systems. 63% of consumers engage positively with brands that give them unique and relevant content.
Utilize this feature to innovate customer support and marketing.
Business Data Analysis
Image Credit: Oracle NetSuite
This feature incorporates NetSuite’s embedded analytics, real-time data visualization, and business intelligence modules.
The business intelligence feature will generate and analyze real-time data from all locations and channels of your business.
The platform lets you manage your order fulfillment across multiple channels. It promises a consistent experience for you, the user, and your shoppers.
NetSuite’s order management lets users have full visibility into their inventory across all sales channels.
Price and Promotions Management
Image credit: NetSuite
Users can manage their promotions and pricing automatically across channels. The feature lets you do these:
- Define and manage discount codes,
- Set multiple pricing levels,
- Use different currencies,
- Set different pricing and promotions options,
- Automate your pricing and promotions using controls,
- Organize your pricing per channels
Building Your Next-Gen Store With NetSuite
It’s perfectly natural to be concerned that the growing preference for eCommerce sellers will severely disrupt in-person retail.
However, data shows that eCommerce is still growing.
Besides, in 2019, up to 90% of retail sales happened in physical stores. It’s doubtful that online shopping would ever wholly replace in-store retail.
Nevertheless, 75% of shoppers buy online at least once a month, and 63% of all shopping journeys begin online. But, 49% of shoppers agree that the inability to experience a product physically is a major shortcoming of online retail.
Next-Gen stores will remain relevant in this eCommerce age as they support better integration of both online and offline channels. NetSuite provides software that lets you achieve that level of connection.
You can engage with shoppers more strongly and provide a more profound brand experience with these Next-Gen store strategies:
The Next-Gen Store Strategies
Highlight strategies for transforming your buyers’ in-store experience:
- Omnichannel retail: Now that many native digital brands are opening up offline spaces, they’re not shutting down their online stores. Instead, they’re leveraging their online store resources to create a more integrated and personalized in-store shopping experience.
Arguably the most effective Next-Gen strategy, an integrated omnichannel retail structure will let you sell to a broader shopper demographic.
- Multiple store formats: One innovative use of Next-Gen stores is to provide physical locations for an immersive experience, testing and trial, return and pickup, and product localization.
Flagship stores and experience and event centers are all future-proof ways to use a physical store.
- Centralized resource management: Collect all your business data from online and in-store POS and view and analyze them on a unified system. Access the data you need for Next-Gen business intelligence by hosting all business processes over a centralized system.
- Experiential retail: Over 78% of consumers choose to spend money on an experience or an event. Launches, demo events, and loyalty parties will build a lifestyle around your brand and positively engage shoppers with your business.
- Empowered employees: Arm your employees, retail attendants, and greeters with the right tools to better engage with your shoppers in-store. Run a centralized in-store POS that offers relevant content to shoppers at checkout.
Empowering your employees to personalize buying and make suggestions based on shopper preferences will attract more buyers to your stores.
There are no one-size-fits-all strategies for a sure win. What you choose to run with will depend primarily on your type of business.
How can Oracle NetSuite Help?
Your retail business will benefit from the Oracle NetSuite system in terms of:
- Scalability: The improvement in your business practice efficiency NetSuite provides will help you increase sales, improve profit margin, and expand operations.
NetSuite’s omnichannel feature through the SuiteCommerce product centralizes retail across multiple channels.
- Real-time Visibility: With the ability to manage your global enterprise from one centralized system, you can gather, store, and analyze business information from all channels.
With the Business Intelligence feature, which lets you generate and report data in real-time, business decisions are easier to make.
- The efficiency of processes: You save time and money when you handle marketing, customer support, CRM, resources, and projects through NetSuite. Automate and simplify accounting, financial reporting, and other business processes using NetSuite.
With these benefits, a Next-Gen “buy-anywhere, get-anywhere” store becomes a possibility.
Read more on how NetSuite can help you build a Next-Gen retail store.
The Toad&Co Example
While everyone worries that sales in physical stores would gradually disappear, Toad&Co plans to open 20 new physical stores.
Toad&Co supplies apparels to more than 800 US stores and sells directly to shoppers through their online store.
Based on the truth that many people still buy in-store, they’re transforming the traditional store idea into Next-Gen stores. The underlying strategy is to provide brick-and-mortar stores that are well-connected to other parts of the shoppers’ purchase journey.
Kelly Milazzo, Toad&Co’s VP of Operations, says the real push for their growth is to give shoppers a seamless brand experience.
So, they ditched their on-premise technology that couldn’t provide real-time data visualization for NetSuite’s unified cloud-based commerce solution.
By implementing NetSuite's core ERP and the SuitCommerce feature, they had enough time to focus on product improvement.
Oracle NetSuite Pricing
ERP systems are expensive, and prices generally depend on integration, customization, type of deployment, and user business size.
The cost of your NetSuite subscription depends on your selection of features. Product modules are added based on your requirements. User role, the total number of user accounts, add-on modules, and length of the contract also affect product pricing.
But, to use NetSuite for retail purposes, you should expect the following implementation costs to apply to your subscription:
- NetSuite core ERP: the cost of a basic NetSuite ERP license is $999, with a $99 user access fee paid monthly.
- NetSuite SuitCommerce Standard: to add this module to your basic ERP functionality, it would cost you up to $2,500 monthly.
- NetSuite SuitCommerce Advanced: a subscription to this service would cost over $5,000 monthly.
- Other implementation costs: Covers customization, training, and consultation costs.
To get a full quote on the features you select, contact Oracle NetSuite.
NetSuite User Support
Customer service for NetSuite users and prospects is robust. You can chat with the customer service team using the chat bubble on every Oracle NetSuite site page.
They provide information about all of their service locations in the US and foreign offices in 28+ countries. You may also email their public relations contact at [email protected] or call the sales team at 1-877-638-7848.
- Every customer gets basic support. This entitles you to the usual helpdesk services, 24/7 critical access, and SuiteSupport’s ticketing system for logging product issues.
- The premium support gives you greater privileges, which you might need as your business grows. This would include a toll-free technical center, four authorized support contact, weekend coverage, and routing to specific product areas.
- An advanced customer support service allows NetSuite to attach a standby team to maintain, optimize, and sustain your system.
NetSuite also provides a vast library of product training resources to help get you acquainted with the product, DIY-style.
Unified vs. Point Retail Software
Should you choose a centralized, probably more expensive, retail software or disparate cheaper solutions for different channels?
Here are some numbers to guide you:
As of February of 2020, 20.2% of online shoppers in the U. S. were millennials (aged between 25 to 35 years). But, 68% of millennials prefer a more personal and integrated shopping experience across all channels.
According to an Accenture report, 75% of consumers would more likely buy from you if you recognize them by name. Shoppers also prefer you know their purchase history and recommend products based on past buys.
For your Next-Gen store to achieve this level of responsibility, regardless of channel, you’d need access to real-time updates.
Access to customer data, inventory, and financials will help you manage buyer relationships and business processes across your sales channels.
It’d be best to manage these resources from one centralized system, and preferably cloud-based. Legacy on-premise ERP platforms would simply not do.
Why Use Oracle NetSuite Retail Solution?
Oracle NetSuite provides you a complete ecommerce business management solution. The pros of using the NetSuite retail platform include:
- It supports multiple business models (B2C, B2B, or D2C) on one system.
- Centralized order management and In-store POS across all channels
- Real-time data visibility for making an informed business decision
- A unified cloud-based SaaS platform you can access anywhere, requiring no extra cost in infrastructure associated with on-premise solutions.
- Centralized shopper engagement and CRM
- Efficient inventory management on one system
- Highly customizable selection of features and third-party SuiteApps
Here are some shortcomings you might experience with the Oracle NetSuite product:
- Some third-party modules on NetSuite’s multi-module system perform poorly.
- As a SaaS product, NetSuite does not offer an on-premise product that can be installed and managed locally.
- Customized user support based on your plan and basic plan users don’t get as much assistance as advanced plans.
- NetSuite lets you integrate with numerous business tools. Although it’s a plus, integrations can become problematic if third-party software is not updated as required.
In summary, it is improbable that the growth in eCommerce retail will dwindle soon. Not with increasing accessibility, personalization, engagement, customer support, product localization, and innovation in MarTech driving that growth.
Similarly, it’s not so far-fetched to imagine an increased online to offline store presence as digital brands continue to grow.
Revolutionizing the in-store shopping experience is the best way you can sustain the relevance of your brick-and-mortar shops. NetSuite is probably the best software in the market that can help you future-proof your physical store in this eCommerce age.