SuiteCommerce vs. SuiteCommerce Advanced
What sets these NetSuite ecommerce solutions apart from each other, and why might you pick one over the other as your company's ecommerce platform?
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What is SuiteCommerce?
Primary Difference: Access to Source Code
Secondary Difference: Upgrades
1. What is SuiteCommerce?
SuiteCommerce requires and comes pre-integrated into the NetSuite ERP platform, which means you have direct access to all of your ERP data, and you don’t have to pay for an integration. With SuiteCommerce, your company's ecommerce management is also directly connected to your other NetSuite tools such as order and inventory management and CRM for a streamlined business management experience. Due to its seamless nature, this solution is a single unified platform that easily supports both B2C (business to customer) and B2B (business to business) operations. The best part is, enterprise-level solution implementations can be completed in under 30 days.
There are two NetSuite ecommerce platform options, SuiteCommerce (previously know as SuiteCommerce Standard) and SuiteCommerce Advanced (SCA). At first glance, these solutions are really quite similar, but there are a few key differences that you will want to consider before purchasing one or the other.
Before diving into the differences between the two platforms, let's see what SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced have in common.
Business Analytics: Business insight and analytics tools such as configurable dashboards allow you to create reports and gain insight into your business, while integrations provided to Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager expand the scope of this business insight.
Customer Account: This functionality enables your team to offer personalized service to customers through a variety of available capabilities (view purchase history, locations, drop-ship options, wholesale distribution data, customer-specific data, personalized catalogs, view payment balances, and pay invoices online).
Purchasing, Payments, and Shipping: Provide a variety of options to your customers in purchasing (customized pricing, terms and credit limits, channel or volume discounts), payment methods (credit cards, promo codes, gift cards, invoicing), and shipping (seamless integration with carriers for printing shipping labels and automatic tracking information).
SEO and Marketing: SEO Friendly Automation (customizable H1, title, meta tags, SEO-friendly URL links) and additional SEO customization help you rank higher on Google, while marketing tools (upsells, cross-sells, related products, social media sharing, and product reviews) help you reach your customers and drive your online sales.
Website Management: Easily edit site content through responsive design themes with drag-and-drop tools and extensions for configuring new features and functionalities across multiple scheduled versions of your site.
Storefront: Responsive themes with pixel-perfect design capabilities optimize your site for any device, while faceted navigation and elastic site search make it easy for shoppers to find, learn about, and buy your products.
3. Primary Difference: Access to Source Code
Now that we've covered the primary shared features of SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced let's look at the main distinction between the two platforms, access to source code.
You do not have access to the source code with SuiteCommerce, meaning that heavy customization changing the architecture of the platform will not be possible. However, you still have the ability to write extensions that can create nearly all of the customizations that you may require.
Note: Some NetSuite Apps are exclusive to SuiteCommerce Advanced because they manipulate the source code. You will want to consult a NetSuite developer to learn if the additional features that you plan to add through apps will require SCA. The developer may know of alternative apps/customizations to solve the same pain point that are compatible with SuiteCommerce.
With SuiteCommerce Advanced, developers have complete access to the source code, which opens up the door to almost any customization you could imagine. Depending on your business, this may be really important. For example, if innovation is your competitive advantage and you are positioning your webstore to do things that haven’t been done before or at least are not commonly done, SCA is the way to go.
The easiest way to identify which solution you need is to get in touch with a SuiteCommerce developer who builds customizations in SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce advanced daily. If you have a road map of features you will want for the ecommerce platform, it is a good idea to explain them to the developer in order to ensure that you pick the correct solution.
4. Secondary Difference: Upgrades
SuiteCommerce updates automatically, while SuiteCommerce Advanced has a "version lock". On the surface, automatic upgrades sound much easier to manage, but version locks are helpful for companies that require more customizations within their ecommerce platform.
With SuiteCommerce, your site is easy to maintain because there is no “version lock”, no need to migrate between versions. Just be aware of your customizations before each update, because there are risks to customizations breaking during automatic updates.
Pro: Immediately take advantage of new features and updates which are made automatically available with every release.
Con: There is a higher risk of customizations breaking during automatic upgrades.
You will typically have access to new SuiteCommerce updates in sandbox before the release date, which will allow you to be proactive in protecting customizations. There are ways that developers can use extensibility API (managed NetSuite functions) to ensure that a customization will break less frequently.
SuiteCommerce Advanced is not a managed bundle, which means that you need to migrate to the latest versions yourself. However, there are benefits to having a bundle that is not managed. Companies rely on having a platform that doesn't break whenever a managed upgrade occurs. Having a bundle that is not managed means that you can make the transition when your team has had the time to test out the upgrade in sandbox.
Pro: It allows you to ensure that all of your customizations still work properly with the new upgrade.
Con: It lacks the ease of automatic upgrades.
Whenever you want to upgrade, you will want to get in touch with your development team to audit the theme and extensions, test the new version in sandbox, make any updates to a customization, and deploy to production when fully tested.
While both SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced are scalable solutions within themselves, there is even more room for growth since you can scale from SuiteCommerce to SuiteCommerce Advanced.
You can upgrade to SuiteCommerceAdvanced later if you only need SuiteCommerce for now. In fact, switching from SuiteCommerce to SuiteCommerce Advanced is relatively simple since it uses much of the same source code, extensions, themes, and other NetSuite ERP customizations. You don't need a brand new implementation to switch, and it only takes about a day to fetch the code and deploy it to SuiteCommerce Advanced. However, the process will likely involve migrating from one SuiteCommerce version to another, so there will still be a bit of work involved.
If you have more detailed questions regarding the scalability of SuiteCommerce or SuiteCommerce Advanced, it would be a good idea to get in touch with a NetSuite Consultant who can help you discover how this would look for your company.
SuiteCommerce is a NetSuite module that can be downloaded as a bundle and installed into your NetSuite environment. This requires a special skill set because it depends on advanced knowledge in NetSuite architecture as well as web development in single-page applications. That's why you should find a NetSuite developer who specializes in SuiteCommerce implementation.
Implementation or migration to any new platform will require a certain level of effort and time, and this needs to be considered when looking into any ecommerce solution. The amount of time required for a SuiteCommerce implementation varies greatly and also depends on what type of SuiteCommerce product you are purchasing. These are some general averages for each of these solutions, assuming that you want more than activation and therefore customize the platform to fit your business.
SuiteCommerce: 80 - 200 hours
SuiteCommerce Advanced: 150 - 500 hours
These ranges vary greatly because different organizations have different requirements when it comes to the look-and-feel as well as the functionality of the SuiteCommerce products. To get an estimate of the time your implementation will take, you will want to speak with a NetSuite Consultant or developer.
For some companies, pricing plays a big factor in the decisions that are made. Fortunately, SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced are set at significantly different prices. SuiteCommerce standard is about 30%-50% less expensive than SuiteCommerce Advanced, making it a more affordable option if this is your first ecommerce website or if you are a smaller business. However, pricing will vary even within SuiteCommerce quite a bit depending on your company's needs. Before purchasing SuiteCommerce or SuiteCommerce Advanced, it would be a good idea to look into budget-friendly NetSuite Implementation.
Large implementations tend to have additional customizations that your business may decide are highly important before Go-Live. SuiteCommerce Advanced (SCA) implementations tend to cost a bit more, simply because SCA customers tend to like more customization. If you are considering either SuiteCommerce or SuiteCommerce Advanced, you can get an instant SuiteCommerce Quote for a more accurate picture of what SuiteCommerce might cost you based on your company's needs.
Having all your data managed in one place makes everyone's lives easier, which is one reason why companies frequently choose SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced over other platforms. Having images, files, and data already live in NetSuite gives companies the tools they need to achieve operational efficiency that outperforms competitors.
While SuiteCommerce and SuiteCommerce Advanced share all of the same basic features, there are two key differences to remember. First, SuiteCommerce Advanced gives developers access to source code for greater customizations. Second, SuiteCommerce updates automatically, while SuiteCommerce Advanced includes version locking that protects customizations from breaking. When trying to decide which option is best for you, it is important to build out your requirements for the ecommerce website and try to anticipate your growth needs. If you want to get SuiteCommerce Standard to save more on your monthly licensing, then make sure to chat with a SuiteCommerce developer to help identify any customizations you may need and any reasons that you may want SuiteCommerce Advanced in the future. Spending a little time and money identifying where SuiteCommerce Standard may be the better fit will help you cut overall costs and position yourself for the seamless upgrade to SuiteCommerce Advanced when you are ready.