Magento 2 Upgrade with NetSuite Integration and Custom Shipping Extension

Industry: Renewable Energy, Solar Energy

Market: B2B and B2C in U.S., Central America, Virgin Islands

Milestones: Built Magento 1 site with NetSuite integration, using custom-built connector; later upgraded to Magento 2, adding custom shipping extension and unique product categorizations.

Technologies: Harris Web Works SYNC Connection, Custom Shipping Module, AWS Hosting

Magento 2 Upgrade – Site Features

In early 2019, Harris Web Works (HWW) upgraded thesolarbiz.com from Magento 1 to Magento 2. This complete migration included re-templating, updating extensions, and migrating data. Solar Biz broadened the project scope to include advanced enhancements regarding shipping, pricing, product categorization, and Google reviews.

Technical Overview

HWW built the Magento 1 site from scratch, using a 100% custom lightweight theme for optimal performance. The site includes several business-specific features, extensions, and integration between Magento and Solar Biz’s NetSuite ERP system. Highlights of the upgrade include:

Integration: The Harris Web Works SYNC ConnectionTM customizable tool facilitates real-time, bi-directional transfer of product and order data between NetSuite and Magento. For Solar Biz, SYNC transfers data for over 2,400 simple and configurable products (and counting) and hundreds of orders per month. Making the integration M2-compatible required extensive cleaning and normalizing of data in NetSuite, then migrating data and conducting extensive testing.   

Shipping: The upgrade included building a way for Magento to apply advanced shipping rules to generate more precise shipping rates. This was accomplished with the Harris Web Works OMNI-Ship ExtensionTM, a custom-built tool that calculates shipping based on data from NetSuite and information from the customer. Calculations factor in insurance options, consolidation of items, and multiple warehouse locations. The extension works with UPS and USPS APIs, allowing for use of negotiated rates associated with the customer’s account.

Hosting: Since 2016, the TheSolarBiz.com has been hosted by Harris Web Works on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) network. The new site was built and tested on a development server then moved to the live server, replacing the M1 site.

Launch and Results

During the launch, HWW programmers, project managers, and administrators worked closely with the Solar Biz team to ensure data integrations, checkout, customer log in, and all other functions worked properly. There was no downtime and traffic flow remained consistent.  

The new, faster Solar Biz Magento 2 site features:

  • Updated NetSuite-Magento SYNC Connection for continuous integration with order fulfillment, shipping, and accounting functions
  • Complex group pricing settings for retail and wholesale customers, tiered/quantity pricing, and matrix pricing
  • Shipping prices calculated in Magento based on based on shipping address, customer’s negotiated UPS or USPS rates, shipping origin, product dimensions & weight, box consolidation, and insurance selections
  • Integrated Google API to show Google reviews on product pages (this improves Google search results, click-through rates, and conversions)
  • Improved UI/UX – recategorized extensive product inventory using knockout JavaScript, simplified navigation, creating quicklinks for product groupings, and refreshed the design

Background: Magento 1 Build and Ongoing Support

The Solar Biz specializes in selling renewable energy systems and all necessary equipment. Launched in 1969, it’s a multi-generational family-owned business that provides the expertise and materials needed for customers to get the most efficient system possible.

The partnership between Solar Biz and HWW began in 2016. HWW migrated the previous website from NetSuite ecommerce to Magento 1. Critical enhancements included integrating existing NetSuite ERP functions with the site, updating the look, reconfiguring navigation and product groupings, and updating the product feed to work with Google Shopping.

In the 3 years that followed, HWW provided strategic direction and made incremental site improvements that brought steady growth. Work included: creating a separate store for Central and South America with different pricing than the U.S.; managing the Google product feed with complicated configurable product pricing rules; building custom extensions for Mailchimp and Google reviews; and providing ongoing administrative support.

Additional Resources

About SYNC Connection
Why Host Your Magento Store on the Amazon Cloud