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5 trends disrupting the traditional wholesale distribution model

Multichannel Distribution Specialists

Integrating Wholesale Distribution alongside In-Store, Online and Machine-to-Machine to let today's multichannel businesses increase efficiency and reduce costs while achieving flexible and agile control of the supply chain.

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Archive for October 2013

Automating AR Statements

24th October 2013

Being on top of your AR collections is important. To help with this process customers often ask how to create an automated process for emailing out AR Statements on a regular basis. Read how you can effectively automate the AR process in NetSuite. To automate the process perform the following steps:

  1. Create a Customer Saved Search to select customers who you want to receive an AR Statement  
  2. Create a simple workflow to trigger emailing the statement based on the Saved Search results

Setting up the Saved Search
Create a customer type saved search. The criteria for the saved search can vary depending on your requirements for sending out a statement. For example you may want to send out a statement to include all customers at month-end, only customers who become 1 day overdue on a daily basis or only customers who have an overdue balance at month-end. So you will need to adjust the criteria to select the customers you want included.

Setting up the Workflow
Create a workflow for the Customer record and set a daily schedule for the workflow. You create a single state with a Send Email action and a Set Field Value action for the ‘Email Scheduled’ option on the Customer record. After you create the workflow, NetSuite runs the saved search daily or monthly depending on your requirements.

To create the workflow:

  1. Go to Setup > Customisation > Workflow > New.
  2. In the Name field, enter ‘Send AR Statements’.
  3. On the Record Type and Sub Types fields, select Customer.
  4. On the Release Status field, select Released.
  5. Under Initiation, select Scheduled.
  6. Under Scheduled, select the saved search you created above on the Saved Search dropdown and select ‘Daily’ or “Monthly” on the Frequency dropdown. By default, on the Daily schedule, SuiteFlow runs the saved search every calendar day at midnight.
  7. Click Save.
  8. To create a state, click New State and enter ‘AR Statements’ for the state name and click the Do Not Exit Workflow checkbox. Click Save.
  9. In the workflow diagram, select the state.
  10. Create a Send Email action with the following settings:
    1. In the Trigger On field, select Scheduled.
    2. In the Schedule area, set Time of Day.
    3. Select the email sender.
    4. Select the recipient of the email. You can use the email address of the customer.
    5. Specify the content of the email. You can select a template or enter the email details manually.
    6. Click Save.

BlueBridge One marks 10 year milestone

16th October 2013

This year marks the 10th anniversary of BlueBridge One as a company. Reaching this milestone, we reflect back on the highlights since starting off back in July 2003. During this period we have seen significant growth on the back our successful implementations and the success of NetSuite as a leading cloud-based business management suite:

o We have seen NetSuite grow from being a private start-up company with total revenues of around $15m in 2004 to a public company with revenues of $308m in 2012.

o During the period BlueBridge One has acquired over 300 NetSuite customers globally - customers that we support by serving either as their NetSuite assigned partner, or by providing them with professional services.

o Over the period our support team has helped customers deal with over 8,500 customer cases. Our goal has been and continues to be that of providing support as a free service to NetSuite customers who we represent as their registered NetSuite partners.

Here are the key achievements or decision points that we passed along the way.

2003

October 2003 saw BlueBridge One sign up as the first UK based NetSuite Solution Provider. Although starting off as a Sage and Act reseller we soon recognised the potential NetSuite offered for our customers and ourselves. While Sage, at the time, was a more mature product, we felt it offered less upside potential for our customers. Within a few years our direction had changed totally to being a focused NetSuite solution provider. The switch served us well.

In December 2003 we signed up Justoffbase, as the first NetSuite UK customer.

Read more about Justoffbase and NetSuite.

2007

It became apparent that many of our customers needed elements of functionality that were not standard in NetSuite. To support these customers we launched our SuiteExtender add-ons in June 2007 with the introduction of the Postcode Lookup SuiteExtender using the PostcodeAnywhere service. Since then we have launched more than 30 new SuiteExtenders which are used by NetSuite customers in more than 10 countries.

Read more about our SuitExtenders.

2008

In February 2008 we recognised that eCommerce offered an important sales and marketing channel for our customers so we started providing NetSuite eCommerce services. Our first project was providing advanced customisation services for the getgeared.co.uk website. Since then we have continued to help many customers launch successful NetSuite websites.

Read more about GetGeared.

2009

In June 2009 we officially signed up as a NetSuite Solution Developer Network partner. Since then we have provided advanced NetSuite customisation services, helping customers extend NetSuite’s standard functionality or by integrating it to 3rd party services.

2010

We completed our first OneWorld implementation in September 2010 for Warmup PLC. Since then we have continued to complete a number of multinational implementations for growing mid-market customers, all seeking to use the NetSuite platform to expand internationally.

Read more about Warmup PLC’s OneWorld migration

2013

In August this year we were certified by NetSuite to provide SuiteCommerce Advanced implementation services. This extends our eCommerce capability beyond only developing NetSuite SuiteCommerce Sitebuilder sites used currently by most customers. Our first SuiteCommerce Advanced implementation is due to commence shortly.

Here’s to the next 10 years of NetSuite and BlueBridge One. All of us look forward to the next 10 years of NetSuite and BlueBridge One. You can rest assured that we’ll keep up our high standards of service and support, backed with the outstanding expertise that has lead to us being recognised by NetSuite as a leading NetSuite UK Solution Provider and Solution Developer Network Partner.

Click here to register for a FREE 14 day trial of NetSuite, the recognised leader in cloud-based ERP for growing and mid-size organisations.

4 ways for achieving user-centred design

16th October 2013

In my previous post I explained the importance of user experience and mentioned a few examples on how central it has been to the success of many leading online retailers.

But what if you are a small company or a start-up? Does it have to be a very costly and resource intensive to involve the users in every stage of the design process?

Below you will find 4 effective methods for capturing user feedback that can lead to actionable insights for a better user experience. You will also see that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to capture user feedback.

1. Focus group: Focus group is a groups of people you gather together to get feedback from. Typically a focus group is used at an early stage before the launch of a new website, product or marketing campaign. You can for example take a website concept in the shape of some sketches or wireframes to a focus group, present the concept and listen to the feedback and reactions from the focus group. The session can also be used for brainstorming and bouncing ideas.

You can find participants using paid services such as findfocusgroups.com, paidfocusgroup.co.uk, place and advert on sites such as peopleperhour.com, use an agency to carry out the research for you or if budget is limited, you can quite simply select members from your circle of friends or colleagues.

The format of the session works best when participants are led through series of questions in conversational patterns. These questions should be prepare beforehand. The group questioning process should be structured enough to cause participants to give you the information you seek, yet informal enough that participants build on others' comments and ideas. It’s best to record the session but if not possible then somebody needs to take down all the notes.

2. User testing: The soon you have a working website, you can put it to test by inviting people to test your site following specified tasks. Since face to face testing can be time consuming and costly, most small businesses can benefit from online testing services such as usertesting.com or whatusersdo.com. You can select the demographics of the testers and upload the tasks you want them to carry out. What you will receive is a recording of the session where the tester will spend 15 minutes browsing your site following the test script, at the same time as speaking their experience.

In my experience user testing is very beneficial and I have always drawn useful learnings and insights which neither the creative team nor the client had anticipated.

It is far more effective to conduct user testing early in the project as opposed near the end or after go-live. In addition to it is best to do multiple testing sessions at different stages of a website project. In his book, “Don’t Make Me Think”, Steve Krug illustrates how doing two tests with 3 users each highlight more problems than doing a single test with 8 users. This is because following the first test you can make certain changes and corrections and then doing a fresh new test with new tasks, will normally uncover new areas of problem.

3. Split testing: Focus groups will give you ideas about what your audience wants and likes. User testing will help you identify problems with the site. Now the question is how do you solve the problems identified from user testing?

Although the solutions to some of the problems identified at user testing will be self-evident, many times the solution will involve trying different options to find out which option performs best. This also knows as conversion optimisation, where the goal is to convert more visitors to buyers.

If for example the user testing identifies that the offer price is not clear, then there are different ways you can show an offer price to capture the buyers attention. This is where the insight of a usability expert will be useful. A usability expert might suggest 2 or 3 different ways to show the special offer price. You can then do split tasting, where two different version of your page will be displayed and you can then compare which version performs best in terms of conversion.

4. Heat maps: Heat maps help you visualize where on the page people click. This is useful for fining out which links are popular or what call to actions are being ignored. There are various paid for tools what will create heat maps for you. A couple of popular tools are http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com an http://www.crazyegg.com/. These tools will generate detailed heat maps reports that can be very useful. There is however a free option to get this type of report and that is via Google Analytics InPage report which you will find in under the content menu. The InPage report is not as detailed as the mentioned paid solutions but is a good place to get started.

Heat maps are also a good way of putting to test different versions of a page to test and see for example which call to action gets the most clicks.