Find Out What Release 2017.2 Means for SuiteCommerce

The rollout of NetSuite 2017.2 has begun and while we as an organization are excited about all the features included in the latest release, I'm particularly excited about what's new and improved in the SuiteCommerce world.

You should, of course, take note of all the changes in the latest release. We have full release notes in the help center. I'll go the things that I think that could be of use to you.

Remember, releases for SuiteCommerce Advanced happen separately to the core code ones. New functionality and improvements can be added in either, and while we usually just look at what's new in the associated bundles, it's always worth looking to see what new stuff appears in the core code.

Enhanced Item Location Configuration

If you're the person responsible for managing the inventory of items as well as site development, and your site uses multi-location inventory, then you'll probably be familiar with the massive table in the Locations subtab when viewing an item's inventory. To put it bluntly, there are a lot of columns and there can be a lot of rows. Here's a totally indecipherable screenshot to comically emphasize this:

Now, if you go to Setup > Company > Enable Features > Items & Inventory and then select Advanced Item Location Configuration, you can take advantage of the new feature.

What this switch does is hide a whole bunch of the inventory related fields until you set up a custom view. After you put in the effort to set one up, using a custom view has a lot of benefits:

  1. Fewer fields makes it easier to visualize your item's inventory information
  2. Select the fields relevant to you to optimize your work
  3. Loading fewer fields improves the page's performance

Take a look at the functionality and see if it's right for you.

SuitePromotions Audit and Visibility

The new promotions functionality breathed new life into NetSuite by enabling you take advantage of new features such as stackable promotions and an automatic 'best offer' calculator, should the shopper use non-stackable promotions.

In 17.2 there are core code improvements that build on this by offering some small improvements to the way that you can track what's going on in an order in regards to the promotions. For example, if a sales order was placed and the promotion code that was used was not applicable, it'll give you feedback on why:

Along with Criteria Not Met, we also have Discard by Best Offer and Discard by the User, which will track if the system removed a promotion or if the user did. With this information, you keep a record of what happened should a customer get in touch to query it.

Separated Pickup In Store Buffer Stock

When we implemented pickup in store, one of the features we included was the idea of 'buffer stock'. What this meant was that while selecting a store for pickup meant that you use that store's inventory rather than a warehouses, there could be scenarios where stock's about to run out and you want to avoid the awkward situation where a shopper on the shopfloor picks and buys the item before you can take it off the shelves. Buffer stock means that you always keep stock back and keep everyone happy.

In 17.2, we've got a new field added precisely for this scenario. Whereas before we were using a generic buffer stock field, some customers raised the issue that this was sub-optimal for them because they were also using that field in scenarios where they would ship orders from stores.

Now on location and item records, you can specify Store Pickup Buffer Stock levels specifically, leaving the Buffer Stock field free to be used for ship-from-store fulfilment.

Sitemap Generator

One of the ways you can improve your SEO is by having a sitemap. Sitemaps list all the locations on your site that you want search engines to visit and index. While search engines do a reasonably good job of this by themselves, having a sitemap is like putting up sign posts and makes it clear that you want those pages included in their search results.

The sitemap generator tool (Setup > SuiteCommerce Advanced > Sitemap Generator) replaces the now deprecated sitemap crawler page (Setup > SuiteCommerce Advanced > Sitemap Crawler). It generates a sitemap in minutes and includes by default your home page, product detail pages and commerce category pages. You can also specify up to 10,000 additional pages that you want to include, which is super useful for static content pages.

You can use a feature in the Advanced tab that alerts Google and Bing of changes to your site map, requesting that they reindex the site.

Custom Content Types in Site Management Tools

This is quite an interesting development. As you'll know, the SMTs can be quite powerful, enabling site administrators to make changes to their site without developer intervention. However, before this change you were limited to a number of key components: landing pages, images, text blocks, etc. Now, with the help of a developer, you can implement your own custom content types to the site.

This means that if you find yourself needing to implement a certain kind of content over and over again, but one that isn't included in the defaults, you can create that type and then reuse it. A simple example of this would be a banner. For this banner, you would create a custom record type and then define a number of custom fields to accompany it (eg background image, headline, URL, etc) as well as some other basic configuration (such as an icon). After saving it, a site administrator can then drag and drop it onto a page just like they would any other piece of content.

CDN and Caching Improvements

Using a CDN and caching speeds up the response time for pages and resources when a customer hits your site. One issue that affects them is the time it takes to refresh a saved resource or page, meaning that despite you making a newer version available, users are still be served old content.

In 2017.2, we have made changes to this process that improve the automatic process of invalidation and making it easier to send manual requests. When you send manual requests, you can specify whether you want a whole domain cleared or just selected paths or files.

Automatic validation is triggered whenever you:

  • Modify the content of a file in the website hosting files (but not when you move, delete or rename it)
  • Overwrite a file or media item

You can also check the status of the invalidation requests that have been submitted. Filters are available, making it easier for you to pin down the status of specific requests.

You can access this page by going to Setup > SuiteCommerce Advanced > Cache Invalidation Request.

Duplicate Email Address Detection

While NetSuite has inbuilt features to allow you to merge duplicate records together, a number of customers have expressed concerns around the costs and time associated with this. In 2017.2, you can now enable a feature that prevents new users from registering if their email address is already associated with an account.

Final Thoughts

The developments listed here are what we can platform enhancements, in the sense that they benefit you as soon as they become available through the core code. While you may have to enable features or do some configuration for some of them, there's no work that needs to be done in the frontend code in order to get them to work.

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks and months for the next release of our frontend code. Named Kilimanjaro, it will feature a number of new features, enhancements and fixes, and is currently being beta-tested to iron out any kinks. Once we're certain on release content and schedule, I'll put up a page with information on it.