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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 November 2013

What are the options for mobile enabling my website

25th November 2013

What are the options for mobile enabling my website?

If you are thinking of expanding your online sales channels beyond a desktop website, then you need to be thinking about mobile enabling your website. Before you do so its worth asking some questions: Is the cost of a mobile website justifiable? And if yes then what are the options?

The Monetate Q1 2013 Ecommerce Quarterly gives insight on smartphone vs. tablet vs. desktop share of audience for large eCommerce brands. From the graph below you can see that tablet and smartphone use nearly doubled in a year based on 500 million visits for these retail clients. Mobile share is now around 25% on average.

mobile

With the rapid expansion of mobile web browsing and mobile shopping, it is becoming critical for retailers to provide an easy to use mobile shopping experience for their customers.

The fastest way to work out your mobile traffic demand is to look at your web analytics. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics allow you to see what proportion of your traffic comes from mobile phones. You can even see which device or operating systems the traffic comes from. If a significant amount of traffic is coming from mobile phones then you are potentially loosing sales due to the fact that your website is not optimised for mobile and hence not convenient for completing a purchase.

Mobile enabling your e-commerce business can be done in different ways:

1. Mobile website: A mobile website is the mobile version of your desktop site. Typically the way it works is the mobile website is a subdomain of your desktop site. When users accesses your website from a smartphone, they are automatically re-directed to the mobile website address, for example, m.yourdomain.com. If you type the website address of most of the large retailers such as Tesco or John Lewis, you will see that you are automatically redirected to the mobile version of the site which is easy to view and use in a smartphone.

2. Responsive design: if you are a small company and want to mobile enable your eCommerce website, this is probably the fastest and most cost effective way. Responsive design is relatively new and with advances in HTMLS and CSS technologies it is becoming increasingly popular. Responsive design means that your desktop site will adopt itself to different screen resolutions, which will make it easy to use on a small smartphone display. This means that unlike mobile website which has its own subdomain, a responsive website will have the same domain name as your website. The disadvantage of a responsive website is that since it is not specifically designed for mobile, the user interface is typically not as optimised for mobile as a mobile website.

3. Mobile apps: Retailers use mobile apps primarily for two different functions: brand promotion or selling of products. Benadryl for example has a free app that gives pollen forecast, which is good for brand awareness. The Benadryl app also has a buy now link which takes the user to a selection of affiliated shopping websites. Tesco on the other hand has an Android and iPhone app for grocery shopping. A mobile app can take full advantage of the native features of the smartphone and hence provide the best user experience. A mobile app however will be the most costly solution in terms of development costs and the fact that you will need both an iPhone and an Android app to cover most smartphones.

In next months article I will explain in more detail the pros and cons between responsive design and mobile websites.

Processing a VAT Refund in NetSuite

25th November 2013

Finance User Tip

Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you find yourself having to refund the VAT/Tax element of a Sales Transaction only?

As standard NetSuite is normally configured to automatically apply the appropriate VAT/Tax code to any international sales transactions. For example with European Union (EU) transactions the system normally applies VAT to Sales Transaction based on the ship to country and whether or not the Customer is VAT registered and has a Tax Registration ID or not. For example if a sale is to an EU country the system will automatically apply an EU VAT code. If the customer record has a Tax ID included then a 0% Exempt EU VAT code will be applied to the sales transaction. However, if the Tax ID is not present on the customer record then a Standard rate EU tax code would be applied and the customer would be charged VAT at the appropriate rate.

Problems can occur where VAT is applied to such a transaction and the customer subsequently advises you that they do in fact have an VAT registration number and request you to refund the VAT only portion of the sales transaction. In such an instance you will need to process the following:

1. Update the Tax ID on the customer record so that VAT is correctly accounted for on all future sales to the customer.

2. Setup an "Other Charge" item type with sale amount set to zero.

3. Create a standard Refund transaction against the original Sales transaction and save it as follows:

Item Rate Amount Tax Code Tax Rate Gross Amt Tax Amt
Other Charge
0.00
0.00
VAT:ES
0.00%
6.00
6.00

 

Version 2 of the NetSuite iPhone application is here

25th November 2013

Version 2 of the NetSuite iPhone application is here

For those who used Version 1 of the NetSuite iPhone application you will no doubt recall that the app substantially provided "view only" access to records. The fact that users were unable to create or edit transactions or cases limited the usefulness of the application. This has all changed with the new Version 2. Now users of the iPhone app can not only view records but they can also create and edit records as well. This makes Version 2 significantly more useful as you can now effectively process transactions and cases on the move.

One small limitation we noticed is that with the standard user/role setup you are unable to access the application using the Administrator role. This does generally create a problem for users in smaller organisations who tend to make more use of Administrator access in their day to day roles. While NetSuite generally suggests not providing Administrator access on a mobile device primarily for security reasons, there is a workaround that you may want to consider. 

To effect the workaround and allow Administrator access login to NetSuite on your desktop and using the Administrator role go to SETUP > COMPANY > ENABLE FEATURES. On the Employees sub-tab check Global Permissions. This effectively means one can then set any permission for an employee across all roles whereas normally you would be required to go into each role individually to apply a permission. Next go to your Employee record under LISTS > EMPLOYEES. Select and edit the appropriate Employee record by going to the Access tab and then to the Global Permissions sub-tab. Select and add "Mobile Device Access" and under Level select "Full". Save the Employee record. This should then now allow you to select the Administrator Role when logged into the NetSuite iPhone application.