San Jose, United States
Apple’s retail stores vanquished the dichotomy between online versus bricks and mortar retail, replacing it with omnichannel – a seamless consumer experience across all sales channels – as the future of retail.
The Apple store is shorthand for a customer experience that recognises you based on Apple ID across different channels.
“We all buy from Apple because it’s easy,” said Zach Nelson CEO of NetSuite. “If you can combine an in-store experience with an online experience they [consumers] are going to buy more from your brand.”
Nelson yesterday announced a new software platform to deliver an Apple-esque experience to all retailers by combining the online store and POS system.
“We saw the omnichannel world coming. We knew it wasn’t just going to be about the website. All of us had gone to an Apple store and we saw the magic of Apple. ‘Hey it recognised me online, it recognised me in-store, this is cool. Everybody has to do that.’ So we knew it was coming,” Nelson said.
“Effectively what we have built is a system that enables all of our retailers to deliver an Apple-like experience.”
NetSuite’s software solution is called SuiteCommerce InStore, it is a platform to deliver both online experiences and in-store experience.
“This is the holy grail of in-store and online,” Nelson said.
Using the system retailers will be able to equip sales associates with behavioural information about the customer and inventory information. When a customer enters a store the staff will be able to ask if they are a regular customer and open up their profile on a tablet. Immediately the store staff will know the customers’ name, what they have on their online wish list and when they last shopped with you.
It will be a new selling experience for staff; holding a tablet they can show the customer online reviews of the product of if it comes in different colours. The system will also make contextual recommendations during the sales pitch based on the customer’s data that is collected.
For example sales staff will see a visual timeline of all purchases, returns, exchanges, store visits and service requests regardless of channel, with the ability to expand any transaction for more details.
It also has full POS capabilities for conducting complex transactions such as discounting, multi-tender, override, gift receipts, suspend/resume transactions and more. It provides visibility into inventory anywhere in the business including the ability to combine different fulfillment models such as cash-and-carry and ship-to-home in a single transaction.
“It is very difficult for a retailer to deploy a unified omnichannel commerce system that delivers customer-centric ecommerce and in-store experiences on the timeline and at the price point that they can with SuiteCommerce,” said Andy Lloyd, general manager of commerce products at NetSuite.
NetSuite says the system can be up and running in a few months, for a monthly fee rather than millions of dollars of investment.
NetSuite SuiteCommerce InStore is available immediately to NetSuite customers in the US, with international releases planned for early 2016. The solution is priced at US$39 per month, per store associate.