Modernizing the Campus Store

Updating the retail environment with a unified commerce platform
By: | Issue: August, 2017
July 3, 2017

In this web seminar, attendees learned how The Duck Store at the University of Oregon has transformed the shopping experience. By implementing a unified commerce platform—complete with in-store and e-commerce functionality on the front end and real-time inventory visibility, order management, CRM, business intelligence, warehouse management, marketing and financials to support it—The Duck Store now has the tools in place to efficiently manage the complexities of their multiple retail locations.

David Homyak

Solution Architect, Campus Bookstore Initiative

NetSuite Global Business Unit

Alex Lyons

Strategic Technology Team Leader

The Duck Store

The University of Oregon

David Homyak: Oracle NetSuite shares common strategies and goals to help produce better products and services for your students, faculty and staff, and to help build brand loyalty. Moreover we hope to help you improve your financial performance and make money available for increased investment in your campus store. We also share a goal with you of modernizing the technology stack in your organizations. Many of you are running software that is 20 to 25 years old, written by consortiums in the 1990s, and you’re looking for opportunities to modernize that software and move onto the cloud.

Some of the common challenges you face are that it’s difficult to close books on a monthly basis and many of the software products used in campus stores today don’t provide a robust set of analytical tools to help you analyze the financial results down to the product level. Many of the decisions are made by gut feel, by experienced buyers and academic materials managers who have a good sense for what to buy, how much to buy, what to price it at. But they don’t have the tools necessary to understand: Is this the right product to stock? Is it the right quantity to stock? Are these margins the best that I could achieve?

Changes in the regulatory landscape and competitive landscape keep your IT staff on constant edge. Those folks are continually faced with having to react to what Amazon does next or what the next change in legislation will bring.

Lastly, one of the biggest challenges faced by the campus store as they seek to modernize is how to provide that true omnichannel experience where a customer can buy anywhere, and where you can fulfill from anywhere, with a unified vision of your inventory position at all times. Without that it’s difficult to build those necessary personalized relationships with students and faculty and staff. If you can’t promise to deliver goods on time, to the right place, at the right cost, then it’s difficult to build the loyalty that you need.

As you seek to modernize the campus store, it’s Oracle and NetSuite’s belief that as you move from the systems that have been powering your businesses for the last 30 years to best-of-class, cloud-based and modern-era pieces, that it drives improvements across your organization in your use of store ops, product management, inventory management, accounting and information technology.

The Oracle NetSuite campus store’s modernization initiative offers you the opportunity to grow your omnichannel revenue, along with the opportunity to reduce your information technology costs, while at the same time optimizing your inventory positions and improving your store effectiveness, particularly during rush periods. It offers the opportunity to improve product margins and the effectiveness and efficiency of the finance and accounting operations.

Alex Lyons: We needed to expand our e-commerce platform and we needed the ability to integrate our e-commerce platform with our ERPs. We began talking about how we could find a system that would satisfy both our inventory management and accounting management needs as well as an expansion for our e-commerce platform. We wanted the ability to stay modern and competitive by having third-party integrations and we wanted to simplify our processes throughout the whole organization.

We were looking at customer expectations. We needed a system that was easy to use—a system where we could provide superior customer service across any channel, whether in-store or online across any device. We needed that customer service and experience to be branded regardless of the point of contact. We also needed the ability to have competitive pricing, expand our selection very easily and provide a tailored shopping environment.

NetSuite’s product offered us the specific technology that we needed for having one unified system. It would provide solutions for every division. We would have the ability to customize the environment for each goal and per user. It also offered a robust API structure with modern system architecture and for dealing with the needs of omnichannel commerce and fulfillment. The solutions were all out-of-box.

We always liked the idea of a large-scale development team that will push the product and advance as customers need new solutions. With NetSuite’s development team we were going to be able to provide that on an ongoing basis. The responsive e-commerce solution was also completely integrated with ERP. That was something we were not going to be able to get with any other solution.

The system provides transparency and visibility. We have live inventory across point-of-sale, ERP and our online e-commerce platform. The transaction items and customer information are all available in one unified environment, and we’re able to personalize each environment to tailor the system for each user.

We have customized solutions in analytics. We’ve developed a huge library of our saved searches and reports. We have data filters available to us, both within ERP and our website. We’re able to help our customers and team members drill down to exactly what they want to see. We have the ability to customize transaction forms and PDFs. Working with the SuiteCommerce Advanced consultants, we were able to design an elegant solution that was modular and scalable for years to come.

When we launched we had no idea what to expect or anticipate. We saw a sales increase of 315 percent, and order volume was 370 percent—and that was in a three-week period right before we hosted our grad fair. Students received the benefit of a better-designed, easier-to-use, mobile-friendly system, and our staff was able to fulfill those orders and provide top-level customer service by being able to navigate the back end in a unified system from the processing center all the way through to in-store pickup.

To watch this web seminar in its entirety, visit