NetSuite Takes Hosted E-Retail Service To Midmarket

In addition, the software-as-a-service company introduced integration software with eBay for companies that want to use the online marketplace as a new sales channel through their NetSuite accounts.

Today, NetSuite retail customers are mostly small businesses with annual revenues of less than $10 million, says Mini Peiris, VP of product management. Out of NetSuite's 7,000 total customers, 1,500 are retailers. The rest subscribe to its ERP or CRM systems. NetSuite said it is hoping its new services, set to launch in the second quarter, will attract larger retailers with annual revenue of between $10 million and $100 million.

To lure larger customers, NetSuite is offering the ability to launch multiple Web sites that can have separate online sales and customer service operations, including a unique look and feel, while storing all transaction and customer information in a single repository. This feature is expected to be useful to companies with multiple subsidiaries, or distributors that sell multiple brands, with each requiring its own Web site. The single database makes it possible to get financial and customer reporting on the operations as a whole through the NetSuite Web interface.

New online sales features include automatic recommendations sent to shoppers. NetSuite software can track product purchases to know, for example, that a person buying a computer may also need a new printer, and can make the suggestion before the person checks out. "It's very similar to an experience," says Baruch Goldwasser, senior product manager for NetSuite.

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The eBay capabilities are available now. They enable subscribers to post items in eBay auctions and stores, and import orders every hour, Goldwasser says. As orders are entered into NetSuite, the service can make the needed subtractions to a subscriber's inventory, notify the warehouse, and complete the fulfillment process with a shipper. NetSuite can also send the order to billing, if the customer is an ERP subscriber. NetSuite offers a toolset called SuiteFlex for customizing workflows.

While the eBay integration is expected to appeal to retailers, it could also attract distributors or other companies currently using NetSuite that are looking to get rid of excess inventory, Peiris said. "It's opening up a sales channel that they may not have thought about."

NetSuite's pricing starts at $499 a month, plus $99 a month for each user. The company competes with similar software-as-a-service companies, including