For successful omnichannel retailing, countless Shopify retailers incorporate NetSuite as their go-to ERP system and depend on Celigo for their NetSuite Shopify integration. Although Celigo is a widely recognized connector between NetSuite and Shopify, it often proves inadequate when businesses scale to multiple locations. It lacks the functionality to accurately calculate the "Available To Promise" (ATP) inventory and falls short in pushing a consolidated inventory count to Shopify. This gap can affect Shopify retailers dealing with multiple fulfillment locations.
In this blog, we take a deeper dive into the reasons why Celigo might not serve as the ideal NetSuite Shopify connector and propose alternative solutions that Shopify retailers can consider.
How Does Integration Work With NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo
Shopify retailers frequently use NetSuite as their ERP system, capitalizing on the "Advanced Order Management" (AOM) module for effective omnichannel fulfillment. Additionally, the AOM module features an order routing engine known as the "Automatic Location Assignment" (ALA) to guide orders toward the most suitable fulfillment location.
The NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, facilitates the synchronization of orders from Shopify to NetSuite. Once in NetSuite, the Automatic Location Assignment (ALA) uses its routing logic to assign orders to the suitable fulfillment locations, taking into account various inventory and fulfillment settings such as Buffer Stock and Auto Location Assignment Suspended.
However, there's a catch. These configurations are only considered after the order has been captured, leaving Shopify in the dark about the buffer stock or the locations suspended for fulfillment in NetSuite. Additionally, Celigo does not calculate the consolidated "Available To Promise" inventory based on these configurations.
This gap in communication results in a scenario where Shopify retailers may inadvertently oversell their inventory, causing an unwanted increase in canceled orders.
Challenges And Shortcomings Of Celigo In Business Contexts
- Buffer Stock Management
Even with the significant surge in online sales, the importance of physical stores in omnichannel retailing remains undiminished. Catering to customers visiting these stores continues to be crucial for the success of any retail business. As a result, Shopify retailers who use their physical stores as fulfillment centers must ensure there's enough stock on hand for walk-in customers, as well as for online sales. Moreover, problems, like delayed inventory updates and system failures, can lead to inaccurate information on the eCommerce platform, causing inventory discrepancies. To address these scenarios, retailers often maintain a Buffer Stock. This strategy involves reserving a certain amount of inventory from the total available stock, ensuring online orders don't entirely deplete the in-stock inventory, and effectively tackling inventory mismatches. This way, customer satisfaction remains high, and potential inventory issues are effectively mitigated.
NetSuite enables retailers to set a "Buffer Stock" to reserve inventory for walk-ins and manage inventory discrepancies. However, the NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, falls short. It lacks the ability to calculate the consolidated “Available To Promise” inventory and fails to account for the "Buffer Stock" when syncing inventory data from Shopify to NetSuite.
This oversight can result in stores receiving orders they can't fulfill, leading to order cancellations. On the other hand, if stores decide to fulfill online orders, walk-in customers may not find their desired products. In either situation, it creates a less-than-ideal customer experience.
The impact of disregarding buffer stock implementation can be illustrated by the following:
Fig.1: Impact of not considering Buffer Stock
- Turn-Off Fulfillment Locations:
There may be instances where fulfillment centers decide to pause their operations temporarily due to factors like nearby protests, large public gatherings, renovations, maintenance work, natural disasters, staffing issues, labor disputes, or even during peak times when in-store promotions attract a high volume of walk-in customers. During these times, it becomes necessary for Shopify retailers to suspend the online fulfillment option for those locations. This is because the inventory stored at these locations cannot be utilized for online sales while unavailable.
NetSuite enables retailers to temporarily deactivate fulfillment locations using the "Auto Location Assignment Suspended" feature. However, the NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, lacks the ability to calculate the consolidated "Available To Promise" inventory or consider the "Auto Location Assignment Suspended" configuration when syncing inventory from NetSuite to Shopify.
As a result, to ensure that the inventory from suspended locations is excluded from online sales, retailers have to manually disable the "Fulfill online orders from this location" option in Shopify. This adds to their administrative burden.
Failure to suspend fulfillment locations can impact the flow of inventory, best illustrated here:
Fig.2: Impact of not considering Suspended Fulfillment Locations
- Facilitate In-Store Pickups And Disable Shipments From Stores:
Shopify retailers operate from fulfillment locations of various sizes, including large establishments and smaller, more specialized stores catering to distinct customer segments. Small-format stores, often situated in residential neighborhoods, serve urban areas where traditional-sized stores might not fit. This strategy offers operational efficiencies, convenience for local customers, and significant benefits for retailers.
However, these smaller stores, due to their limited capacity, primarily cater to walk-in customers and lack the infrastructure needed for shipping orders. Constraints like limited storage space for packages, lack of shipping label printers, and no designated loading areas for carriers make shipping orders from these locations impractical.
Nevertheless, handling in-store pickup orders is a more feasible option, as store associates can schedule pickup times based on their store fulfillment strategies. Therefore, while small-format stores may not accommodate shipping orders, they are well-equipped to handle in-store pickup orders.
NetSuite provides Shopify retailers the option to prevent shipping order routing by disabling the "Automatic Location Assignment Allowed" feature for a specific store location. Simultaneously, enabling the "Allow Store Pickup" option facilitates pickup orders from that location. However, the NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, falls short. It overlooks these configurations and fails to calculate the consolidated "Available To Promise" inventory. Despite a location disabling the "Automatic Location Assignment Allowed" and enabling only the "Allow Store Pickup" option, Celigo continues to push inventory data for that location to Shopify.
This miscommunication leads to Shopify displaying incorrect inventory availability, causing retailers to often oversell, which subsequently results in order cancellations. This effect is best illustrated by the following:
Fig.3: Impact of not carrying forward Inventory Configurations to Shopify
- Deactivate Pickup For Selected Products:
Numerous multi-brand retailers, including big-box retail stores, often employ a "wide variety" strategy to tempt customers. By providing a diverse array of products across multiple categories, these retailers strive to create a comprehensive one-stop shopping experience. Whether customers are looking for basic necessities like personal care items, clothing, fashion accessories, tech gadgets, home appliances, or home furnishings, they can find them all under one roof. However, among these products, heavy and bulky items like large appliances, furniture, mattresses, exercise equipment, and large electronic devices necessitate special handling and delivery services. These products are not usually suitable for immediate pickup due to their size, weight, and the need for proper transportation arrangements.
NetSuite enables Shopify retailers to exclude select products from in-store pickup by disabling the "Allow Store Pickup" feature for those particular products at a store location. However, the NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, syncs each product’s inventory from NetSuite to Shopify. As such, when a location permits pickups, Shopify retailers are unable to exclude specific items.
Consequently, retailers often face situations where they receive pickup orders for products that aren't eligible for this service, resulting in the cancellation of these orders. This is illustrated by the following:
Fig.4: Impact of not considering Products with Deactivated Pick-Up
- Deactivate Store Fulfillment For Selected Products:
Retailers stock a variety of products in their stores, but not all of these items are suitable for standard shipping or pickup. Customized or personalized items fall into this category. These products, specifically crafted according to customer preferences, require additional processing time as they are made to order. The process involves customization, engraving, or special crafting based on the customer's specifications, which adds to the production time. As a result, these products are not readily available for immediate pickup or standard shipping. Once these products are prepared, they are typically dispatched from warehouse locations rather than being instantly available at the retailer's store.
NetSuite enables Shopify retailers to selectively disable the "Automatic Location Assignment Allowed" for specific products at a store location. This feature allows retailers to exclude those products from store fulfillment. However, the NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, operates on a one-to-one mapping where each product is associated with a specific location in NetSuite and Shopify. This creates a scenario where, even after disabling store fulfillment for certain products at a location in NetSuite, retailers can still receive pickup or shipping orders for those products.
As a result, such orders must be canceled, leading to inconvenience and potential disappointment for customers, illustrated by the following:
Fig.5: Impact of not considering Products Excluded from Store Fulfillment
Streamlining Inventory And Order Management With Shopify And NetSuite Integration Using The Order Management System
For a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels, Shopify retailers must unify their inventory data, often siloed across multiple systems such as Point-of-Sale (POS), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Warehouse Management System (WMS). The next step involves synchronizing the unified inventory count from these disparate locations with their Shopify eCommerce platform.
Unfortunately, with the NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, Shopify retailers face difficulties in leveraging NetSuite's Advanced Order Management (AOM) to effectively achieve omnichannel fulfillment. Rather than depending on NetSuite’s AOM paired with the NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, it is recommended to implement a reliable Order Management System (OMS) for seamless integration between NetSuite and Shopify, promoting efficient omnichannel commerce.
Fig.6: How HotWax Commerce syncs Order-Inventory data to Shopify
When the NetSuite Shopify Connector, Celigo, falls short, HotWax Commerce Order Management System emerges as an all-encompassing solution to overcome these challenges. With ready native integration with both NetSuite and Shopify, HotWax Commerce Order Management System offers crucial features for Shopify retailers, as discussed above. These include buffer stock management, the ability to turn off fulfillment locations, facilitate in-store pickups without allowing store shipping and deactivating in-store fulfillment for specific products. Additionally, it can calculate the consolidated "Available To Promise" inventory and update Shopify's inventory levels at regular intervals.
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By leveraging the HotWax Commerce Order Management System, Shopify retailers can effectively ensure the accuracy of inventory availability before customers add items to their shopping carts. The OMS performs inventory configuration rule checks, accepting orders only when necessary inventory is available. Furthermore, the intelligent order routing system assigns incoming orders to the most suitable fulfillment location. Subsequently, these orders are seamlessly pushed to NetSuite for efficient fulfillment.
Get in touch with our team today to explore the benefits and capabilities of HotWax Commerce OMS for your business needs.