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Let’s say you’re a Netsuite user selling your brand’s products at your own e-commerce site, but you want to expand into other sales channels. What questions should you be asking? Here’s how to get started.
How much will it cost to have a front-end developer create a custom e-commerce extension?
Do you actually need a storefront to sell products on marketplaces like Google Shopping, Amazon or eBay?
Google Shopping Actions is Google’s newest selling platform that allows a buyer to purchase an item right off a Google search (instead of being redirected to your brand’s store). For Shopping Actions, you DO NOT need an online store-front. You just need to provide a data feed file with your product information like titles, description, pricing, etc.
The same is true for other major marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. You don’t need a storefront to sell through a marketplace. you only need to fill out the appropriate category template for that channel with all the required pieces of data (such as barcode, title, image, etc.). Then as long as the template has been populated correctly, the marketplaces will create the product page on their platform and make the item available for sale.
CAVEAT: You DO need an online storefront for Google product listing Ads and other non-marketplace channels like retargeting platforms or shopping comparison engines. Shoppers must click over to your store from those sources and complete the purchase there.
What are the alternatives for connecting out to marketplaces?
1. The basic development approach would be to sign up individually on each channel and create your product listings manually, one by one.
You could also populate a flat-file template that is typically unique to each channel.
Advantages– You will have full control over the product data that is being sent to the marketplace/channel. So long as you’re painstaking and careful, your data will be accurate and the way you want the listing to be shown. You can provide different data on the marketplace (something more optimized) than what’s on your store-front currently. And, you won’t have any ongoing subscription costs as you would with Shopify or a feed syndication service.
Disadvantages– You may lose track of the products you’ve already listed; especially if you have a very large catalog. If you’re listing on many different channels & marketplaces at once, being able to track inventory on many different SKUs can be tricky and you will more than likely lose track.
2. Or, you could set up a plug-and-play connection through a Shopify store (or another storefront CMS like Magento, WooCommerce, etc.) to connect your Netsuite product source feed.
Then you can find third-party app extensions in their app store that connect you out to additional channels. But that’s if you can find one that’s offering all the channels that interest you. Some extensions will only connect you to one or two.
Advantages– Once you’ve completed the initial setup to sync your product feed to the unique listing requirements of each new channel, there’s no extra development cost. You only pay the monthly subscription costs of the storefront and any extensions.
Disadvantages– Unless you’re selling through PLAs, you don’t actually need a storefront. So adding the extra layer of creating a Shopify store just so you can sell through other new channels is an unnecessary step. Also, there are only a limited number of channels available through most of these app store extensions.
3. Go straight to an omnichannel product feed service such as Shoppingfeed, with hundreds more potential channels to select from.
This direct solution bypasses the CMS storefront.
Advantages– You’re subscribing to a dedicated service with access to expert, hands-on technical assistance to make sure everything in your feeds is correctly set up. And, in addition to Google, Amazon or eBay, you can also select from hundreds of different shopping channels worldwide. For scaleability in the future, this option is both the simplest and the best. If your strategy is to stick with marketplaces where you can directly connect Netsuite to Amazon, etc., you won’t even need a storefront.
Disadvantages– You’ll need a NetSuite developer or an expert of some sort. It’s nothing like Shopify where you can plug & play. You will need a developer to help configure product data and the whole inventory / fulfillment process (including Sales orders). Then if you want to work with a third-party solution such as Shoppingfeed you’ll need to have that developer create the connection between NetSuite and whoever. If needed, they’ll install another app or create custom scripts to help different apps communicate with their NetSuite setup. Most NetSuite setups are unique to that client, so a developer will have some extra configuring to do.
More advantages to using a product feed syndication service
We will help with creation of the Source feed (a file containing all the product data like titles, descriptions, pictures, pricing, etc.) when you open a Shoppingfeed account. We’ll advise exactly what we need from our end in order to begin and identify the most common data fields that all marketplaces/channels require.
Within Shoppingfeed, we provide data feeds for each connected channel you’ve selected. Those feeds are compliant with that specific channel. We do most of the heavy lifting in terms of mapping so the client doesn’t need to. We fill out most of the required attributes for that specific channel automatically based on the data provided in the Source feed. We’ll also guide you in how to complete additional, optional fields for those channels that enhance SEO results. You can choose to map it yourself or get hands-on help from our Onboarding teams. They also show you how to navigate around from your Shoppingfeed dashboard.
There’s no avoiding some amount of technical setup with any of these options. But if you want to make your e-commerce operations more scaleable from the start, the best way to connect Netsuite to Amazon and other marketplaces is to set up your system to operate with a SaaS product syndication module that offers the widest selection of channels, along with expert help on getting and staying connected.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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