A provider of innovative baby products for half a century, Maclaren is rolling out a modern form of B2B commerce.

Maclaren, a manufacturer known for introducing 50 years ago lightweight, easy-to-use “umbrella” baby strollers made with aviation-grade aluminum, has lumbered along for the past several years with an international business-to-business e-commerce system that wasn’t easy for Maclaren employees or its B2B customers to use, says Jim Ramsey, global head of technology.

The old system simply wasn’t designed to manage customer orders and inventory across multiple international web sites. “We had no means of tracking customer orders,” Ramsey says. In addition, the system required Maclaren’s web content managers to update content separately on each web site; its financial managers had to go through several reporting steps to get monthly sales data; and its busy I.T. department had a backlog of requests to help buyers who were having trouble placing online orders.

The problems stemmed from the company’s reliance on a legacy enterprise resource planning, or ERP, system for managing such tasks as inventory and financial accounting. The software had become extremely complex and did not integrate well with Maclaren’s customer-facing e-commerce software, Ramsey adds.

Maclaren, a unit of United Kingdom-based holding company Dory Ventures, decided last year to replace its e-commerce platform with the cloud-based SuiteCommerce e-commerce software provided through the Internet by NetSuite Inc. Maclaren had already deployed NetSuite’s cloud-based ERP system. After starting the e-commerce software project in October 2014, Maclaren went live with SuiteCommerce the following January for five e-commerce sites for North America, Germany, France, Spain and Japan, each with its own localized language and currency.

Maclaren sells to more than 2,100 retail companies worldwide, including about 300 in the United States. About half of its orders come through electronic data interchange, the option used by its largest retailer customers, or through direct phone or fax contact with account managers, an option preferred by many small retailers. The other half of orders arrives online through MaclarenBaby.com, which also takes orders from consumers.


The new software features an online B2B Customer Center designed to let retailers log on to check their accounts, including what they’ve ordered and spent during a particular budget period. The customer center, plus a more user-friendly interface, has increased the volume of online buying activity while freeing up Malaren’s I.T. department from having to assist in placing orders, Malaren says.

The new e-commerce software also includes responsive web design, making web content render properly across mobile devices as well as desktops.

“We expect this will help get more of our mom-and-pop retailers buying from us online,” Ramsey says.

The new software also directly benefits Maclaren’s staff, who among other things can now view online monthly sales figures and other data without having to run special reports. The new combination of SuiteCommerce with NetSuite’s ERP software has also enabled Maclaren to view available inventory down to individual identification numbers on each product, Ramsey says.


Maclaren is now also able to maintain a single master item list, which it can use to update product information across each of its web sites and manage inventory for individual B2B customers. Under the prior system, it could take weeks to set up a new business customer in the legacy ERP software, a process that now takes an hour or less, Ramsey says.

Dory Ventures plans to launch an e-commerce site on SuiteCommerce in July for another of its companies, LaserPerformance, which manufactures small watercraft.

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