As Australia’s first NetSuite Commerce Partner, Annexa develops highly functional and integrated SuiteCommerce Advanced (SCA) websites that drive more sales for Annexa’s B2B and B2C clients.
Heading up the commerce team is Harley Crispin, a long time Annexa team member and passionate commerce specialist.
Here is a peek behind the scenes at some of the innovations coming out of the Annexa commerce team, in particular the SCA themes that not only look beautiful but are developed based on modern sales principles.
Before we dive in, let’s start with a little background on NetSuite’s commerce capabilities.
What is SuiteCommerce Advanced?
SCA is a selling platform that allows businesses to create beautiful, functional online stores. Like many of NetSuite’s products, it unifies ecommerce with core operational business systems – inventory and order management, customer support and financials – so you get that much-needed single view of customer, orders, inventory and other critical business data.
What is a SuiteCommerce Advanced theme?
When did SuiteCommerce Advanced themes become available?
Developing website themes isn’t new – there is an entire industry devoted to creating WordPress themes, for example, and within the SCA platform they have been available for some time – but because SCA’s architecture only recently updated to allow a more flexible core functionality that better supported theme makers, it has opened up far more possibilities for the SCA platform.
This is where Harley and his team come in.
Having access to commerce-ready themes had been on the minds of Annexa’s commerce team for a while, so when NetSuite announced the ability to create SCA themes they jumped at the chance to develop a set of theme options for Annexa clients.
Three themes and counting
Annexa’s commerce team have developed three SCA themes, each with a different emphasis in their design – bold and feature-packed Eiger, Image focussed Olympus and the clean minimalist look of Atlantic – with more themes planned for release in the future.
The value for clients
Since Annexa began offering themes, the value for clients has become very clear. For a start, SCA themes were not only going to allow clients to start with a strong base for their website look and feel, using professional SCA themes also brings significant cost and time savings to a client’s projects. For clients using the themes they have experienced reductions in the cost for commerce integrations plus customers are able to get quickly realise the value of their commerce investment.
“We have a lot of wholesale clients, who for them having a strong design hasn’t traditionally been a huge part of their operating model”, explains Harley.
“At some point early on in the conversation we would ask them how they would like their website to look and they would just scratch their heads. Now that we’re offering themes, they can see a baseline visual upfront and it makes that decision making process a whole lot easier. Of course, from there we can customise and shape the website around their brand and products”.
While many B2B clients see the immediate benefit, the SCA themes are just as suitable for B2C businesses that have strong brand guidelines and larger marketing teams to help manage that all-important design process. They are not static themes, they were built to be adaptable so they work just as well for brand heavy organisations.
The challenges of theme creation
Harley says that one of the biggest challenges of theme building comes with knowing how to build something that doesn’t reduce the flexibility of the platform – balancing design and functionality.
“For example, we have options in SCA that we don’t commonly use but it’s still available, such as the currency or language selector in the header. The theme must incorporate a place for those features to be visible, but invisible if not in use.”
“You also need to create spaces for the customer to be able to input their own content – a banner, for example. We have to design those in a way that allows for a variety of text but it still won’t overflow – this is particularly important for responsive designs. Getting it right means thinking beyond the filler content being placed in to show how the theme works.”
The value of in-house commerce and themes
Harley agrees that it is less common to have a NetSuite Partner who also develops themes – this is usually managed by a third party developer. But for Annexa’s customers there’s enormous value in the cohesion and integration possibilities that come with having the same team who deploy NetSuite also develop your SCA theme.
What’s next for Annexa commerce team?
The changes to the SCA architecture have also opened up new areas for innovation including the possibility of creating extensions for the SCA platform. Here, the commerce team are looking at creating integration pieces and accounting and custom extensions to further drive value from the SCA products. Keep an eye on this space.
Want to engage Australia’s only NetSuite commerce partner?
Reach out to our team in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane to discuss how Annexa can help your B2B or B2C business thrive with SuiteCommerce Advanced and Annexa. Contact us here.