By now retailers know that buy online and pick up in store is something consumers have come to expect, whether they know what "omnichannel" means or not.
With consumers increasingly expecting a seamless experience on every channel from social media to an actual store, however, this omnichannel capability isn't going to be enough. Standing in the middle of a giant room surrounded by giant curved TVs and an even bigger audience than last year, NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson delivered his annual SuiteWorld keynote promising the omnichannel experience could be improved - even like the ability to buy in store and ship anywhere. Better, for NetSuite, comes in the form of SuiteCommerce InStore. NetSuite's new mobile-first, point-of-sale solution takes everything a company knows about a customer and puts it in the hands of an in-store sales associate and vice versa - gives the website everything they know about the in-store shopper. As Nelson puts it, "This isn’t coupled with the website, it is the website in store."
This means, for example, that the shopping cart a shopper abandoned on a website has now essentially followed that shopper to the store. While nobody mentioned this capability at SuiteWorld, nor may they ever, it could prove interesting to watch how NetSuite uses SuiteCommerce InStore and its just-acquired Bronto to leverage the latter's cart abandonment coupons, which is something Nelson directly said on Tuesday that differentiated Bronto from others NetSuite could have acquired.
SuiteCommerce InStore was the biggest product announcement of the second day of SuiteWorld in San Jose, Calif., but other notable announcements were made including a partnership with one of their indirect competitors - Microsoft.
In what is called a "strategic cloud alliance" the two are meeting in the middle to create new solutions that connect NetSuite's cloud ERP to Microsoft Office 365, Windows and Microsoft Azure for mutual markets and customers.
An unlikely pair, executives at NetSuite said in a post-keynote press conference that the partnership came (primarily) as the result of NetSuite CMO Fred Studer's tenure at Microsoft. Gaining Studer's insights into Microsoft and his existing relationships there gave NetSuite a new perspective.
The other noteworthy announcements mainly focused on new NetSuite customers, especially American Express Global Travel who went live this week with NetSuite - in nine countries and nine currencies to start - processing 58,000 transactions on the first day.
What's particularly interesting about NetSuite's new customer, however, is that American Express Global Travel is not just using NetSuite, but NetSuite is also using them. American Express Global Travel will now be part of the NetSuite platform, to help smaller businesses get the buying power of fellow NetSuite customers. Nelson idicated, "we have work to do there for sure, but it's pretty exciting."