NetSuite ramps up e-commerce capabilities

Hosted applications suite provider NetSuite is increasing the functionality of its e-commerce software to appeal to larger e-tailers

NetSuite, a provider of hosted applications for midsize businesses, will announce Thursday that it has beefed up the electronic commerce capabilities of its software suite and has teamed up with online auction giant eBay in order to attract larger electronic retail (e-tail) customers.

The on-demand vendor offers a combination of applications targeting customers whose businesses have outgrown Intuit's QuickBooks accounting software, but aren't looking to take on the complexity of enterprise applications provided by vendors like SAP and Oracle.

To date, NetSuite's e-commerce capabilities have been aimed at electronic retailers whose Web sites generate average annual revenue of under US$10 million. "We're now releasing features to target larger, midsize e-tailers, not just B2C [business-to-consumer], but also B2B [business-to-business]," Zach Nelson, NetSuite's CEO, said in a recent interview. "What we're offering is the full multi -- multisite, multilanguage and multicurrency," he added.

Many larger electronic retailers are running tens of Web sites and have previously had to integrate each of those sites separately with their back-end ERP and CRM applications, Nelson said. Going forward, NetSuite users will be able to publish different Web sites from a single NetSuite account, each site featuring its own products, domain name and specific look and feel. In terms of languages, NetSuite will support Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

NetSuite also announced a partnership with eBay to tightly integrate the auction site's online marketplace with NetSuite's applications suite. The integration will make it easier for users of NetSuite's applications to list and sell items on eBay, monitor live eBay auctions from within their NetSuite software, and then automatically create customer records and sales orders once an auction is completed. The two companies will offer the combination of their technologies to eBay's high-volume sellers who are called Power Sellers, Nelson said.

The upper limitation for NetSuite's new e-commerce offerings going forward will likely be sellers with annual revenue of between US$200 million and US$300 million or those receiving more than 10,000 orders per day, Nelson said. However, he added that NetSuite already has several customers whose revenues are several billion dollars, notably integrated circuit vendor Linear Technology and ink and toner cartridge refill supplier Cartridge World.

Nelson does see NetSuite's applications rivals getting more serious about appealing to electronic retailers. For instance, Oracle has its iStore e-commerce application, while SAP acquired e-commerce vendor Praxis in November and is turning its AppExchange Web site into a fully functioning online marketplace for hosted software.

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