, an online retailer selling home improvement goods for both B2B and B2C customers, has increased its conversion rate by 16% after it migrated away from an ageing ‘hairball’ of systems to NetSuite ERP and SuiteCommerce. DIY Home Center
Michael Anderson, president at DIY Home Center, was speaking on the first day of the annual SuiteWorld event in Las Vegas this week, explaining how the company migrated to the NetSuite systems in the space of a year and has seen a six digit increase in revenues as a result.
DIY Home Center is based out of Wisconsin and is a small operation of just 13 employees - four of which work in logistics in the warehouse, the rest of which make up operations, marketing and platform.
Anderson explained that when the company started operating in 2004, software-as-a-services was “just being born” and, as as result, the only feasibly option was do-it-yourself on-premise (mostly). He said:
We did what everybody else did, we rolled out ourselves. We built our own front-end, we built our own back-end. We used an older back-end system called M.O.M, which was for order management, purchasing and logistics. And like everybody else we used QuickBooks.
Over time we added in a few SaaS based services, for demand planning, for our third party logistics channels, we used ZenDesk. All told we had five or six disparate systems at the end of 2015. And that’s kind of what prompted us to start looking at another system.
We started talking with NetSuite and for us the big lightbulb moment was that we figured out we could have everything in one system and not have the hairball [of systems].
Anderson that he originally wanted to implement both NetSuite ERP and SuiteCommerce at the same time, but that given the company’s resources, it soon became apparent that this wasn’t the best idea.
As a result, DIY Home Center began implementing the ERP system first in February 2016, going live later that year in June. The SuiteCommerce migration began soon after in July and was completed in November.
Anderson explained that DIY Home Center decided to work with Boston-based NetSuite certified commerce agency, Intente. Intente splits its project into four stages: define, design, develop and deliver.
For the define stage of the project, Anderson said:
Up front we had a pretty good idea what we needed the site to do, we needed to replicate the functionality we had, needed it to be responsive, we wanted a face lift. We knew we needed to provide some critical metrics, and we also were looking for some gains in operational efficiency - we wanted to increase the amount of customer self-service and cut down some of the time spent on eternal processes.
And on the design front, he added:
Intente have literally done dozens and dozens of NetSuite commerce sites. That was pretty important to me. They’ve walked the minefield of implementation. Any software project is inherently complex, so they were very helpful in getting us through it.
In Spring of ’16 we headed out to Boston and locked ourselves in a conference room for a day or so. What came of it was a 66 page style guideline. Basically inside of it is every layout, every colour, every font, of what the site will look like. Nothing was left to chance for the developers to screw up, which is the way you want it.
Finally, for the develop and deliver stages of the project, DIY Home Center looked to NetSuite’s Professional Services arm to carry out the implementation, where the company was allocated a project manager, as well as programmers for both the front-end UX and the back-end system.
As noted above, the project took five months to complete. Now on the other side of it, DIY Home Center has seen its conversion rate increase by 16% - which Anderson describes as “modest”, but notes that it equates to a six digit revenue increase - and has seen its average order value go up by 6%. It has also seen the average time spent on the site increase by 15%.
However, Anderson did have some words of advice for other companies considering moving from a disparate technology estate to a single system that does everything. Namely, he warned that in order to be successful it is important to organise and cleanse your data thoroughly. He said:
The one thing you’ve really got to think about is, where does your data live? That’s something that we spent the most time on. The actual ERP configuration for us was fairly simple - we don’t provide terms, it’s credit card only, the accounting was simple.
Getting all of our data in those systems and getting it down into one spreadsheet - making sure we had everything together before we uploaded it, that was a pretty critical component.