Integrating NetSuite with External eCommerce Solutions

Unlock Business Potential through Intelligent Implementations

The processes your team presently completes in a manual -or mostly manual- way can be significantly automated via a NetSuite integration with an existing eCommerce system. This can further enable extensive abilities for personalization and individualized self-service for end users, as well as optimized workflows and productivity for internal users. The ultimate goal for a NetSuite integration is to provide the ability to scale and build a long-term capability for continual growth by improving the business offering for end users. The integration allows for efficient completion of key business processes that would otherwise be very expensive and cumbersome to scale.

Due to the inherent complexity that is present within a NetSuite eCommerce integration, a successful implementation should involve more than just technical knowledge; it also needs to incorporate the logic of business processes. Your selected partner will provide business recommendations and suggested best practices based on their overall experience that comes after completing countless eCommerce integrations with NetSuite. The Clarity team certainly welcomes the opportunity to work with you and apply the wisdom of extensive experience on your upcoming project. We also encourage you to evaluate the selected integration platform to ensure it supports advanced scalability and enterprise-level functionality.

Clarity Connect offers the creation of very dynamic and adaptive integration tasks or jobs as a core off-the-shelf ability. The tasks can be further customized, extended, and catered to your specific business requirements from a business workflow and a data transformation perspective. This allows them to be very adaptive and meet the specific business needs that are in place for your end customers and internal users, instead of having to settle and adapt to integration limitations. From a technical aspect, the integration between NetSuite and an existing eCommerce platform is typically going to leverage the web REST-based API of NetSuite as well as the REST-based eCommerce web API framework. Therefore, a deep understanding of the APIs is an asset that your ideal integration partner should possess.

Setting the Foundations of a Successful Integration that Deliverss

Numerous Available Entities to Match Your Business Scenarios

When the integration begins, some of the standard out-of-the-box offerings will include:

  • Customers and accounts
  • Categories and products
  • Product catalog, which might contain attributes, associations, and related products
  • Sales orders
  • Invoices and quotes
  • Shipments and shipment status
  • Payments
  • Users
  • Locations

Of course, custom entities and fields can also be integrated within customers and accounts. You may choose to bring addresses, such as shipping and billing, as well as contacts that are synced from NetSuite into an eCommerce system as users. These contacts might have a hierarchy in NetSuite that can be in turn translated into roles, access information, or corresponding hierarchy.

An additional possibility is to import core account information, such as:

  • Tax data, tax levels, and tax exemption status
  • Pricing, pricing groups or rules, and quantity-based price discounts
  • Credit limits or the ability to purchase on account
  • Past order history and past inventory of items

This information is especially useful when the need arises for replacement and ongoing support for complicated items or machinery, but it's also useful for providing recommendations. You may even allow invoices and quotes that are generated in NetSuite to push into an eCommerce platform, where the end user will be able to complete a payment and have that data return into NetSuite to verify the status of the invoice and update it as paid.

On the subject of payments, it's very common for sales orders, invoices, or quotes to be pulled from NetSuite. The flow can also be in the opposite direction, as an order pushed into NetSuite. The information may go back and forth many times, for example a NetSuite quote can be converted into an order in your eCommerce platform and then returned into NetSuite in the updated state. That order information usually contains any of the following:

  • Overall order data
  • Line item details
  • Tax classes on the line items, detailed taxes on the order, document IDs, and transaction information from a third-party integration like Avalara
  • Shipping and fees
  • Customs and duties
  • Payments and payment transactions
  • Discounts
  • Split shipments or split payments
  • Refunds or necessary customer support for order processing

For example, an order is placed in the eCommerce platform and then goes into NetSuite as part of the integration. Inside of NetSuite, the status of the order might be paid and awaiting fulfillment, in other words a pick and pack process. When the order becomes ready for dispatch, the shipment progress can be updated through a tracking ID until the order is delivered and receives a completed status. All of these steps can be updated in NetSuite and then pushed dynamically through the integration.

Expanding the Integration to More Sophisticated Capabilities

The Value of Omnichannel Management and User Associations

Once an order is marked as complete, the status can change in the eCommerce system and enable an extra self-service capability for the end user that allows for requests regarding refunds, replacements, questions, or support. However, it doesn’t stop here as the integration between NetSuite and an eCommerce platform can further incorporate the information below:

  • Product catalog data with categories and products
  • Accessories, associations to related items, and attributes
  • Kitting information and variants
  • SKUs, product and manufacturer numbers, and detailed information from the manufacturer or distributor
  • Media, like pictures and video
  • Product information such as dimensional weight and detailed descriptions
  • Pricing data and facts about quotable-only items
  • Inventory data

Whenever the items sync from NetSuite, they will likely need to be enriched with marketing content so that they're more presentable from an end user perspective. It's important that the integration capabilities preserve this marketing information that might be unique but still update other areas that are necessary. For example, inventory and pricing data must be updated in real-time, or near real-time, from NetSuite through an efficient and logical update process that doesn't overwrite that rich marketing content. There needs to be a high-fidelity level of integration between the systems so that it's possible to preserve very useful data while also updating a set of discrete fields, like pricing and inventory.

Other sets of information that commonly make sense to include are location data, user data, and custom fields. User data could be pulled from an eCommerce system into NetSuite, which would then associate those users with contacts on a customer record. At the end user’s discretion, their company may be set up so that new users on the eCommerce website can make a request to associate their account with the overall company where they work. The company might have a common domain name or an account number that can be used to make that association request. Then, based on your specific business logic, there may be an approval process for their account administrator to handle within the company. Once their user account is associated with their customer or company record, they would be able to access past order history, make payments on behalf of the company if they're in a financial role, possibly use the purchase on account capability to book items, or purchase items via an eCommerce website that would then get synced back into NetSuite.

In respect to location data that was mentioned before, it's possible to bring in detailed location information around multiple warehouses, distribution centers, or stores and storefronts where applicable. This allows for an omnichannel experience whenever end users are using an eCommerce platform, as they receive rich data about item availability within each of the stores or the most efficient warehouse to ship from. The process may be dynamic, such that the eCommerce system will dynamically select the most efficient shipping location, and potential split shipments or split payments, while also accounting for possible drop shipping or a need to transfer items. In conclusion, this presents a rather extensive capability when integrating with NetSuite.

How Can Clarity Help

NetSuite eCommerce Integration Specialists

We recommend working with a partner who has the ability to cater and customize the eCommerce system to NetSuite integration process in a way that matches your specific business needs. The Clarity team certainly welcomes you to reach out and request a complimentary review from our knowledgeable and friendly staff. We’ll be happy to provide you with a needs analysis and proposal for your upcoming project. We can also offer a demo and any additional information that might be needed in order to plan and determine the next steps for your integration project. In the meantime, feel free to click on any of the links on our site to discover more related information. If you have any questions that we haven't fully answered in our resources, click the Ask the Expert link and we'll gladly reply with a detailed and timely response to your question.

UPS + NetSuite Integration

Clarity Connect is a middleware platform that facilitates the integration of UPS to NetSuite , including the automation of business processes and the sharing of data. Why would you do this? Every company, as well as every need to integrate is different. The most common is to marry the front-office web property with a back-office application, such as an online storefront connected to and ERP to pass orders automatically when the order is placed online.

There are many considerations when designing the connection between UPS and NetSuite . There can be security and performance criteria, as well as the physical access available to the applications. The two common connection types of applications that are typically connected are SaaS and On Premises.

Pricing
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Connecting with Clarity Connect:

  • UPS

    UPS

  • NetSuite

    NetSuite

Clarity Connect is a middleware platform that facilitates the integration of UPS to NetSuite , including the automation of business processes and the sharing of data. Why would you do this? Every company, as well as every need to integrate is different. The most common is to marry the front-office web property with a back-office application, such as an online storefront connected to and ERP to pass orders automatically when the order is placed online.

There are many considerations when designing the connection between UPS and NetSuite . There can be security and performance criteria, as well as the physical access available to the applications. The two common connection types of applications that are typically connected are SaaS and On Premises.

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Be Nimble, Be Quick

SaaS or In-the-Cloud Applications

SaaS-based integrations are very common. These are exclusively online and used to integrate applications like Salesforce, Office365, USPS, UPS, 3PL, Avalara (Clarity is a certified Sage, Microsoft and Avalara partner) and any other application that is served up in the cloud.

In any of these scenarios, the eCommerce storefront is hosted on a cloud-based server (usually at a provider like Amazon, Azure, Rack Space, Liquid Web, Managed.com, etc.), and Clarity Connect is installed on the same server, with the connector or adapter communicating to the other online application across a secured Internet connection.

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Working from Within

On-Premises Applications

Another common implementation is when a client has their ERP or CRM installed on premises, behind their corporate firewall. In this scenario, Clarity Connect is then installed on a server on premises, along with the connector at the client’s facility and configured to communicate securely within their network to the back-office application(s).

Then an IP exception, with specific port and public / private key combo is used so that Connect can securely communicate with the other application’s connector / adapter in the cloud, improving security and ensuring that the client’s ERP / CRM are not exposed outside of their network.

UPS
Innovative & Robust

How Middleware Integration Works for B2B Platforms

Integrated UPS & NetSuite applications can foster greater customer loyalty with business process automation that delivers consistently outstanding customer service. Order processing speeds up, customers can access a range of information about their accounts such as order history and shipping options, so that it’s easy to place complex orders. Examples of how integrating ERP software works in practical terms include the following automated processes:

  • Customers and prospects visit an eCommerce website.
  • A record of the visit is generated and converted into a format that works in UPS & NetSuite software (Contact record -> Activity log).
  • If a sale is made, a Customer Record and Sales Order are automatically generated.
  • Visitor behavior is tracked and recorded to build user profiles for custom displays, marketing messages, recommendations and content curation.
  • Sales Orders and Quotes are sent to the appropriate staff for review, fulfillment and shipping.
  • Shipping details are converted into readable formats and forwarded to the eCommerce store.
  • Inventory figures update in real-time.
NetSuite
A Better Experience

Customer Service Takes its Place at the Top of the Queue with ERP Integration

The usefulness of both CRM and ERP software depends on how efficiently business process automation works, and that depends on how fully the software is integrated into operations. If customers must contact sales or customer service staff frequently to troubleshoot problems with orders, get answers to simple questions or manage other issues with their accounts, the hidden and labor costs can be tremendous.

Companies routinely lose orders, fail to upsell accounts and frustrate customers when self-service eCommerce applications don’t work seamlessly with back-office data, pricing and automation. The costs of staff intervention also raise human capital costs and prevent staff from pursuing revenue-generating tasks.

  • Generating customized email, marketing promotions and newsletter marketing.
  • Generating customized reports and 360-degree views of each customer’s profile and real-time actions.
  • Automating line of business applications to foster seamless connections with multiple databases and internal management systems.
  • Delivering customer-centric tools for order fulfillment, support requests and ticketing applications.
  • Triggering custom quotes, accelerated workflows and faster management decisions.
  • Triggering custom quotes, accelerated workflows and faster management decisions.
It's All About Endpoints

Business Logic & Endpoint Types

Business logic are workflows that are the real meat and potatoes of the integration. It's where all the business processing happens and is made up of events, triggers, rules, and more. It's what allows all of the real-time or batched communication and automation of the front-end website with data and logic from the back-office applications. This is what extracts and exposes all of the value of your website / marketplace project.

The workflows can be very simple, such as checking a product's in-stock inventory count, to something much more complex. The basic endpoint categories are:

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Contacts

Individual users, typically customers or individuals of partners

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Accounts

Customer accounts, partners, resellers, etc.

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Products

Products or services that your company provides or sells

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Inventory

Stock quantities of products or services

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Pricing Tables

Pricing set on your products or services

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Sales Orders

Orders placed on the web that are pushed to the back office for processing

There can be literally hundreds of endpoints an API can expose to a connector (Clarity's eCommerce API exposes over 10,000) and the list can be very different from the two sides you're integrating. This is important because you may want to push or pull information from an application that can't be easily accessed or loaded to an application that doesn't support that type of data (Accounts and Contacts may both be in your CRM and ERP, but products and inventory may only exist within the ERP).

Possible Complex Workflow Samples

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Login Authentication Workflow

When a user logs into your store, Connect can go to the integrated CRM, look up the user, see what account they belong to. Is the account status on hold? Does the user have permissions to purchase on account? What pricing table does the account get assigned? Which products should be made visible to the user, etc.?

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Viewing a Product Workflow

When a user clicks on a product category, go to ERP in real-time and check to validate their (the account's) pricing, inventory story quantity and whether the product can be back ordered.

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Displaying Multiple Stock Quantities

If you stock products in multiple warehouses, how do you let users know how many are at each location? Connect can pull that information from your ERP(s), and display that on the website, allowing users to order from the closest location that has the number they need in stock.

Workflows and Benefits Supported by UPS

UPS uses REST for its Connector-Adapter (API). This allows for the integration of data in the Product and Orders categories. Here's a brief list of some possible workflows:

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Login & Tiered Pricing

Automated login can validate users & account-based tiered pricing with NetSuite

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Lead Capture & Generation

Capture leads to support your marketing activities

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Automate Sales Orders

Automate push Sales Orders for processing into NetSuite

Workflows and Benefits Supported by NetSuite

NetSuite uses EDI File Exchange for its Connector-Adapter (API). This allows for the integration of data in the Pricing and Fulfillment categories. Here's a brief list of some possible workflows:

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Products & Services

Automatically pull products and services from NetSuite into the UPS storefront

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Inventory & Stock Quantites

Display accurate stock and inventory counts on your UPS store by pulling real stock quantities

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Invoicing & Payments

Pulling invoices from NetSuite into UPS allows customers to save, print and pay their invoices online

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Integration Cost & Timing

Since the endpoints expose what is accessible to each connector, those applications with robust, well-defined APIs allow you to integrate more quickly and at a much lower cost. Simple integrations (i.e. forwarding orders to the back-office, pulling stock and quantities to the front-office) can start around $15k (including the platform's one-time license fee), especially for those that we've already developed robust connectors for. The complex integrations or those with many workflows and dozens of endpoint calls, may run as much as $30k all the way up to $100k for multiple applications.

It all depends on the number of applications being integrated, the ability to easily integrate with the applications, and the numbers and complexity of the business workflows being built. Using Clarity Connect, typical integrations can take from a few weeks to a few months. Over more than a decade, Clarity has done over 3,000 integrations and although 40% of the integrations that come our way are new, we haven't met an integration that we haven't been able to develop. Give us a call today to discuss your integration project.

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