6th October, 2020
Born of a need to better integrate online sales and inventory systems for e-commerce, Neto has developed into a fully featured platform ready to take local retailers online.
In the past few decades, the idea of ‘shopping’ has undergone some serious upgrades.
In fact, it doesn’t seem like so long ago that the act of shopping was considered as a kind of excursion — fun for the whole family. Fast forward to 2020, and many Australian and New Zealander consumers have at some point had to rely solely on online shopping in order to make non-essential purchases. For Melburnians, trying clothes on in-store before buying them sounds like a thing of the past.
What many retail customers may not realise is the sheer amount of systems and processes that go in to selling and fulfilling orders online, and even big retail brands have been caught out when making their first forays into the space.
Founded in 2009, Neto has quickly risen to the leading edge of e-commerce platform development and has become a major enabler of Australian and New Zealand retail and wholesale operations as they make the switch to online sales. As a result, this solutions provider has a wealth of knowledge regarding what it really means to digitise — and what the future may look like for retail and related supply chain operators.
We recently spoke with Alison Jordan, partner manager for Neto, to discover a little more about the technologies enabling e-commerce operations, as well as some insight as to what we can expect in the future.
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Alison, can you tell us a little about your career and how you came to join Neto?
My background has been working at software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms, so I’ve developed a good understanding of the tech industry before joining Neto. That said, Neto has provided me with an introduction to the e-commerce space. On top of that, I migrated from London to Brisbane, so it’s definitely been a learning experience.
During my time at Neto, I’ve developed the partner program into an ecosystem of partners that offer a variety of services and solutions to help our merchants. This entails working with partners daily in order to offer a variety of solutions to merchants; from website designers and developers who implement the front end, cloud consultants who help integrate Neto to other third party systems, marketing agencies who develop strategies (including SEO and SEM) and even accountants.
What’s Neto’s story in a nutshell?
Ryan Murtagh, CEO of Neto started his journey into e-commerce by selling a few items on eBay in 2009. That project quickly turned into an eBay department store and then into an online store. As orders rapidly increased he knew that he would have issues scaling the business. The main reason was that the systems didn’t talk to each other, eBay didn’t talk to the website, which didn’t talk to their accounting software (MYOB), which didn’t talk to the freight providers, and at that time there wasn’t a cost effective solution for SMBs. That meant for every 100 orders, a new staff member had to be hired.
So he built his own system and in 2009 Neto was launched. More than a decade on it is an award-winning platform used by both wholesalers and multi-channel retailers.
What are some of the largest challenges you see e-commerce businesses are currently facing and how can they be overcome?
The heart of any e-commerce business is stock. Merchants need to know what stock is on hand to sell, which products are selling or not selling, while also being able to forecast trends to predict how to maintain the correct volume and variety of inventory.
Traditionally, e-commerce businesses only used one channel to sell — online — making the stock levels relatively manageable. But this is changing.
Successful merchants in e-commerce now adopt a multi-channel approach to maximise sales. This means e-commerce businesses are not only selling on their own website, they’re now selling in-store, online, and via marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Catch, Kogan, TradeMe and potentially over multiple physical locations too.
More than ever, retailers of all sizes need to have an accurate way for their systems to communicate when a sale is made. This ensures they don’t oversell — putting themselves at risk of an unfulfilled order, an unhappy customer and possibly a refund.
How does Neto work with MYOB to ensure faster, more accurate tracking for inventory and sales?
It can be easy to underestimate Neto as just another shopping cart, but we go a lot deeper. Our focus is on back-office operations, like ERPs, but as a purpose-built solution for SMB wholesalers and multi-channel retailers, configuration is much easier and cheaper.
It’s a unified system that helps increase the efficiency of the business, reducing double handling of tasks, and updating stock in real time.
I recently interviewed a client who migrated to Neto. Before the migration, they were selling online and with eBay, their stock was being tracked via spreadsheets and MYOB was their accounting platform. Since everything was manual, processing an order took over 20 steps and over 15 minutes to process every time. That included manually updating stock levels in the website and eBay and also their master spreadsheet, creating an invoice in MYOB, accessing systems for shipping quotes, emailing the customer and more.
Now that they’re using Neto and MYOB, the majority of these processes are automated, the invoice is created and pushed to MYOB via the API, stock levels are updated automatically, and the multi-carrier shipping system finds the best shipping price. Once the order is dispatched, the customer notification goes out with the tracking information.
What does the future of this space look like, in your opinion?
Consumer buying habits are changing, and many have only accelerated as a result of the pandemic. Growth in the e-commerce sector has been astronomical, with traffic to Neto stores increasing by 50 percent since March this year and no sign of it slowing down.
Traditionally, a lot of this growth has been in business-to-consumer e-commerce, but we’re now seeing a strong uptick of demand from the business-to-business category, which includes wholesalers, distributors and more. Bloomreach Inc.’s The State of Commerce Experience 2020 recently revealed that 64 percent of B2B businesses are looking to increase investment in e-commerce over the next 12 months.
And we know online buying habits in the B2C market are translating easily into the B2B field. The convenience of buying what you want, when you want is now an expectation of doing business, which paints a bleak future for any companies that aren’t dedicated to digitising in a hurry.
Marketplaces will continue to thrive and account for the majority of e-commerce sales. In 2019, more than 50 percent of e-commerce sales made globally were through marketplaces, and accounted for USD$1.7 trillion and this trend is set to increase in the next few years.
Taken in all, the e-commerce sector has undergone some serious developments over the past decade and more, but that will be nothing compared to what we can expect in the years ahead of us.
Learn about how Neto and MYOB can help you start selling more online.