SPS Commerce [NASDAQ:SPSC]: Unifying Retail through Cloud

SPS Commerce [NASDAQ:SPSC]: Unifying Retail through Cloud

CIO VendorArchie Black, President and CEO Omnichannel customers are the latest trending hashtags in retail. Carrying the laptops in backpacks and smartphones in hands, these customers live just a few clicks away from their adored brands. Whether it is inside the walls of a retail store or outside, the ability to win these customers is quite an uphill battle for the retailers. To keep up with this fast moving consumers, retailers today, are joining hands with suppliers to find common roads for mutual success and profitability. However, this effort is falling short, as there exists a huge gulf between retailers and suppliers. This is preventing organizations from working in a collaborative environment, which favors their supply chain strategies and boosts the ability to expand their customer base.

"By delivering a holistic view of consumer demand and inventory, our Fulfillment solutions enable retailers to seamlessly manage orders, shipments, payments and returns"

Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, SPS Commerce (NASDAQ: SPSC) offers a cloud based EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) integrated Fulfillment system that closes this gap. The company has hit a home run with its cloud platform, which— interestingly—eliminates the factor of geographical separation between “retailers and suppliers” and automates all the supply chain operations to enhance flexibility and responsiveness. “By delivering a holistic view of consumer demand and inventory, our Fulfillment solutions enable retailers to seamlessly manage orders, shipments, payments and returns,” says Archie C. Black, President and CEO, SPS Commerce. The cloud based EDI Integrates with customer’s resource planning system, using SPS’ retail standard (RSX), and leverage efficient communications and transactions with the industry’s leading players. SPS has pre-built integrations with numerous ERP and accounting solutions, including Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, SAP, and MYOB.

The marvel of SPS is their trading network—60,000 companies from 60 countries—that provides an unprecedented opportunity to organizations: expanding the footprint across states or continents. Using SPS' platform, a flower shop owner in Brannan St, San Francisco can open a store in London or an ecommerce company from France can start a new venture in Asia Pacific regions. And this distance can be travelled through few clicks as well with SPS’ cloud Fulfillment solutions. Companies in this group can benefit from the company’s string of products, as they empower supply chain strategies and trading partner relationships for an omnichannel era—streamlining collaboration, maximizing inventory and connecting customers to the industry’s leading retailers, suppliers, and more. A global lifestyle brand Zumba Fitness manifested such outcomes when they wanted to expand in the retail partner channel.
SPS employed their cloud platform Fulfillment across NetSuite that gave Zumba scalable and efficient channel to reduce the time in generating invoices, purchase orders, and simplify order management across its 14 million members in 185 countries. “Customers join our global community to benefit from our broad trading network and industry-leading retail cloud services,” says Black.

Customers join our global community to benefit from our broad trading network and industry-leading retail cloud services

Gaining Global Visibility

It was the time of dot-com bubble when SPS opened its doors for the first time in 1999. Though, the blaze of various companies faded in the wake of preceding years, SPS never stopped to astonish the business world with its cloud based solutions— and continues to do today, with its Commerce Platform. The platform, powers three key capabilities that deliver item-centric agility: Analytics, Assortment, and Sourcing. With Analytics, retailers can make data-driven changes to inventory levels, merchandising, pricing and product lineups. With the right data followed by best practices and analyses, retailers can uncover trends before they occur to make profitable, fact-based decisions. SPS keep retailers an easy implementation away from successfully assessing risk and opportunities, aligning supply and demand, and streamlining the collaborative process. On the other side, suppliers gain global visibility they need to track product performance and create business-building opportunities with retailers.

To ensure maximum quality and results of Analytics service, SPS’ Assortment Inventory maintains a smooth and secure data flow between retailers or suppliers and their trading partners. Assortment allows organizations to access detailed item information to provide data to their trading partner’s planning, promotion, ordering and logistics systems. For companies looking to grow their assortment, SPS’ network can be used for sourcing vendors, brands and carriers.

Writing the Success Stories

For Jodi Scott, Cofounder of Green Goo, SPS community was the real game changer. Through SPS and its array of partners, Jodi got an opportunity to exchange stories with manufacturers, suppliers, and logistics providers for her medicinal skin products business. Taking deeper dives into the sea of knowledge and wisdom, Jodi was able to discover reliable partners that helped her company with streamlined order Fulfillment and shipments, and new customers. Today, Green Goo products are sold through Walmart, True Value, Scheels, REI, Roundy’s Supermarkets, and Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers.

SHOP.COM is also a reseller partner of Green Goo; and an eminent member of SPS’ network. SHOP.COM, which offers robust product selections from over 2,000 merchants in segments ranging from apparel to housewares, selected SPS to vastly increase the number of drop-ship vendors to deliver merchandise to customers.
Coming in contact with SPS, SHOP.COM increased its vendor list—having more than 50 names—and expanded its online assortment by more than 50,000 new products. Overall orders and revenue also jumped 45 percent, demonstrating the power of the SPS Retail Network.“What stood out about SPS was the vendor recruitment piece,” says James Ferrier, Director of Marketplace Sales at SHOP.COM. “They gave us valuable connections to suppliers we didn’t know about. And that was so important because we had very specific needs.”

The list goes on with such anecdotes of success stories and testimonials of leaders. Hidden in these listings are exciting trivia as well. For instance, a company is only required to connect with SPS’ network once for unlocking seamless collaboration with all the trading partners to do business—now and in the future. “We ensure retailers, suppliers, and logistic companies a seamless flow of data with their partners,” says Black. As soon as a company becomes a part of the SPS’ family, EDI services comes into action to remove compliance issues from the picture and uncover new opportunities for growth. These cloud based services are upgraded frequently to let SPS stay ahead of their customer’s business. An example of such service is SPS Commerce Testing & Certification. It is designed to enable partners meet their compliance requirements—whether they are adding a new EDI trading partner or expanding an existing relationship. Using proven integrations battle-tested by thousands of companies, SPS’ Testing & Certification service helps partners achieve EDI compliance quickly and ensures a successful out¬come in production. When retailer extends their interest to join forces with another firm, a dedicated and experienced SPS consultant is assigned to make sure the compliance needs are met at both ends. Requirements and technical specifications are exchanged under the presence of the consultant, which is followed by exchange of test data. Each testing program incorporates a customized data set based on retailer’s order management model and electronic trading needs. On completion of the initial test, the assigned consultant ensures the maintenance and sanctity of the orders between two parties.

SPS remains highly committed towards making trading relationships successful, regardless of the systems used by the companies. With their unique and flexible approach, companies can test and certify their own in-house EDI system, or any third-party EDI service.

The Path to a Better Future

Every year, during the summer, SPS holds a convention “In:fluence” in the heart of Minneapolis, a home to seventeen Fortune 500s and many other retail organizations. In:fluence is the destination of thinkers in retail, all gathered under one roof to share their views and lend their advices to others. The drive behind this initiation can be fathomed through what Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is a progress. Working together is a success.” On the same line of motivation, SPS is bringing retailers and suppliers together, simplifying collaboration between them, and creating a successful path to a better future for retailers.