It’s been a long journey into B2B e-commerce for screen-printing products distributor Ryonet, which sprung out of a punk-rock band’s desire a decade ago to emboss its own T-shirts.
But several steps it has taken in recent years have helped Ryonet emerge as a distributor that relies heavily on an e-commerce site, ScreenPrinting.com, to sell its graphical supplies and equipment to businesses that print their own garments.
Ryonet is wrapping up a multi-year process of integrating two e-commerce websites into one, and is continuing to expand the capacity of its suite of business operations software, including an inventory management system, to accommodate the diversified product needs of large as well as small business customers.
Also on the agenda are expansion of a points-based membership systems to grow customer purchases and expansion of work with logistics partners to provide overnight shipping to more than 70% of the United States and into Canada.
Ryan Moor, the CEO of the Vancouver, Wash.,-based company, says Ryonet’s improvements to its e-commerce capabilities stem from its transition last May to the SuiteCommerce Advanced e-commerce technology platform from NetSuite Inc. SuiteCommerce Advanced is the latest version of SuiteCommerce, including such upgrades as more complex site search and navigation capabilities, responsive design for automatically rendering content properly across desktop and mobile devices, and the capacity to serve a broader range of small to large customers. NetSuite hasn’t publicly noted the cost of deploying SuiteCommerce Advanced, though it has said SuiteCommerce software starts at $1,600 per month and is adjusted upward based on the type of installation and the number of users.
Ryonet, with $36.6 million growth in revenue last year and 11% year over year growth, has engaged in e-commerce since Moor founded it in 2004 as an outgrowth of his own screen printing of T-shirts to promote his pop punk band.
“That was on just a standard site-building platform, just a template platform,” Moor says. “Then we launched Screenprinting.com in 2013 with the NetSuite Site Builder platform. We merged the two sites in May 2015 into the SuiteCommerce Advanced platform.”
The new site includes such features as “Quick View” pop-up windows that show product details, the number of available units, and an add-to-cart button; and the ability to sort products by such classifications as Most Popular, Newest Arrivals, and High to Low or Low to High pricing. After testing those and other features, Ryonet quickly learned that the new site would effectively overcome the prior site’s lack of online merchandising capabilities. “That fixed those problems and once we tested that out for two months, we were confident in the fix,” Moor says.
The relaunched site, Moor says, helped Ryonet finish out 2015 with year-over-year increases of 1% in its number of conversions and 5% increase in overall web sales, which total about 37% of the company’s sales. Ryonet transacts its remaining sales via telephone and at its three outlet locations.
The new e-commerce platform has also enabled Ryonet to operate more efficiently, Moor says. With Ryonet’s previous platform before it switched to NetSuite in 2013, Ryonet employed three site administrators to manage web sales records—a process that required them to manually enter order data from the two sites into a single system for updating such information as customer accounts and inventory records. Having a single e-commerce platform backed by a single suite of business operations software for automatically updating customer records, inventory and other records has let Ryonet rely on one part-time instead of three full-time site administrators. “That’s why we wanted to go to one platform and that has drastically reduced our overhead and reduced errors,” Moor says.
Operating on NetSuite’s enterprise resource planning system, including customer relationship management and order management, is also enabling Ryonet to increase its capacity for handling larger customers that buy in high volumes, Moor says. “That will continue to drive more business to the site and increase conversions in the higher performance piece with a site layout with a more modern look and feel to it,” he says.
The responsiveness of the site has also been improved with faster page-load times, and the site will provide more intuitive navigation as a result of upgrades being completed in the next two months, Moor says, adding: “It will be more intuitive to go through the checkout process.”
The new e-commerce technology platform will also allow upgrades to the site without requiring the hiring of a web developer. This “allows the marketing department to do it themselves rather than having to rely on the developers to finish it for them,” Moor says.
With a buildout of the back-end management system, Ryonet will be able to share more information on product and category sales with its business customers, enabling them to better predict customer demand and manage their own inventory stocks, Moor says. Ryonet is also planning to use the capabilities within SuiteCommerce Advanced to extend its e-commerce ordering to mobile devices. “We’re also going to be building a special application that ties into SuiteCommerce Advanced in NetSuite that allows them to mobile order,” he adds.
“It allows us to purchase better, stock better,” Moor says. “It allows them to order easier and see their issues much quicker and easier than they can now.”
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