You’ve probably been wondering this for a while and trying to gather different experiences. You might have heard good things and bad things, the truth is that SCA is a solid and stable solution and we strongly recommend it. As a partner we’ve been exposed to all progress it’s been made and how Site Builder merchants faced this new environment.
With all the benefits that SCA comes with, the main factors explaining why every single online merchant haven’t migrated yet are the cost of the license and support, plus technical expertise needed to do it the right way.
If you are tight on budget… then you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Are you having performance issues?
- Is your website still not responsive?
- Are you planning on growing your eCommerce?
If your answer is YES to any of the questions above, then you might want to re-consider moving to SCA.
In order to prepare for the migration, you should know the following:
1. Handling Images
Forget about using the web store tab as you used to do on SiteBuilder. Since the first release of SCA there is a big difference on how the images are handled. The images will all be hosted on the file cabinet on a specific folder that you can determine. They will also need to have the same naming convention as the item identifier used and the association will be done automatically. The association could be through the urlcomponent, itemid, name or even a custom field.
You can validate this by going to the associated images on the item detail. If you don’t see it you might have done something wrong.
You can also forget about uploading a thumbnail for each of your products like you used to do. The same unique image will be resized and there will be no need to keep a thumbnail.
2. Commerce Categories
The latest NetSuite releases within SCA, bring to the table the Commerce Categories, which will make your life easier and you can keep using the same structure of categories.
However, you need to take into consideration that is not the same as the ones you used to use on Site Builder. You and/or your NetSuite partner will have to go through the hassle of replicating the same structure you have on SiteBuilder and assigning the applicable items.
3. Faceted Search
If you never had a faceted search on your site, now the time has come as this is one of the best features of SCA and a game changer for your business. You will need to think, re think and think again about the filters you’d like to use. The filters are based on attributes of your items. The most common ones used are Price, Color, Size or any other attribute relevant to your business. This is time consuming and can delay your project if decisions are not made in a timely manner or there is a lot of back and forth regarding which filters and which type of filters. The type of filters can vary from a bar range, a multi select, color swatch, etc…
Since Vinson (an SCA version), NetSuite has made it easier for you to control the filters through the SuiteCommerce Configuration.
If you’ve been on Site Builder for longer than you can remember and with many people touching the code, it’s time for you to rethink your business as you know it and make some big decisions. For those of you who are “hoarders” of customizations this might sound harsh, but the more you can adapt to NetSuite’s out of the box features, the less painful and time consuming this migration will be. Not even mentioning that it will be cheaper. Not everyone likes changes, but in this industry either you adapt or you might be left behind.
Bringing the term “hoarder” is because you need to think of this as you are moving from one house to another. The new one is far better for sure, bigger, with more solid foundations and it will be clean and impeccable. However, you might have a basement full of stuff with things that might be useful and some others that you have no idea what they are or how they even got there. And for sure you haven’t done any housekeeping because no one dares to put some order to it because it might break a pricey vase that you have stored somewhere in there.
If you don’t know what you have or in what order, don’t expect the moving company to figure that out for you. You should fully understand what you are getting by default from NetSuite and decide what to take from your basement. If you want to take all the chaos of your basement, the result will probably end up being another room full of junk on your new home.
“Don’t think of moving everything, think of moving forward”
We’ve seen billion dollar companies make that change. Thinking your business is not unique and being open to changes will give you less headaches on the long run.
5. Tracking Codes are a pain
No tracking code is equal to the other and usually the vendor will tell you “it’s just a matter of placing this piece of code”. If it’s that simple, I would suggest you go ahead and try it. What you need to consider is that SCA is a single page application and that may present big changes from what you had in SiteBuilder. Google Tag Manager might help ease some of the pain if you use the most common tracking codes for the most common actions you want to track. But tracking codes are a nightmare and most of the companies that offer them are not familiar at all with NetSuite and always assume that it’s just a matter of copying and pasting.
6. Updates will be much easier thanks to the CMS
Vinson brought to the table the CMS (Content Management System), which is one of the biggest changes on all post Denali implementations. The CMS gives you the possibility to update your homepage, links, categories, images, landing pages and more with no knowledge of code. Just by using point & click or drag & drop. Yes, we know and understand that this is a work in progress and NetSuite is putting a lot of effort on improving the experience, but so far it has been a huge improvement for our clients.
7. SEO Considerations
If you are making all these changes, make sure your team is fully aware of the impact on the SEO. Work closely on the structure of the new urls and be on top of the main 301 redirects that would need to take place when migrating. Not taking this seriously can cause your company to lose traffic and sales.
Having SEO in mind needs to be part of your project during the early stages of the migration and not just the day of the Go Live. Make sure you and your team are monitoring your Analytics on a daily basis to be assured that everything is going as expected. We offer this to our clients and have minimized any negative impact on the site by taking quick actions when something goes wrong. If you don’t know or you are 90% sure of what you need to do, we would suggest to get involved someone that does this for a living and take their advice at all times. Sometimes when trying to save a few bucks you end up losing thousands of dollars in revenue.
8. Your Partner (Fast – Cheap – Good)
If you are decided to go for it and flip the switch, take some time to understand if you have the right technical resources to do the work. If you have an inhouse developer, make sure he or she has been exposed enough to the latest releases or have them implement a test site before you throw them out there.
Besides finding the right partner, you’ll face a usual dilemma which can be solved with the well known project management triangle (Fast – Cheap – Good). You have three options to select from but you can only pick two.
More tips on how to find the right developer or partner will be subject of another blog post.
If you are choosing an agency as your partner for this endeavour, make sure to check other websites they have done, look at testimonials specifically focused on SCA or even request to talk to some of their clients with a similar experience to what you will be facing.
I would recommend to find out 2 or 3 features that you can do by default with NetSuite and ask them how they would do it. If the answer to every questions is “we can build a script”, “we can create custom records”, “we can hard code it”, then you should open your eyes.
A true agency or developer that knows what they are doing will tell you when something is native to the platform even if that means that losing the possibility of customizing it and charge 50-100 hours worth of work.
Besides finding the right partner, you’ll face a usual dilemma which can be solved with the well known project management triangle (Fast – Cheap – Good). You have three options to select from but you can only pick two. Therefore, if you want it fast and cheap… know it won’t be good. And if you want it Good and Fast, know it won’t be cheap.
Whatever decision you make, be sure to know that the industry is going that way. Don’t be left behind or wait until it’s too late.