Why do thousands of companies entrust SAP with their digital commerce? Let’s figure it out.
In 2018, SAP’s renowned solution for digital commerce, SAP Hybris, which has recently been renamed as SAP C/4HANA, was ranked among the leaders of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce once again.
Figure 1. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
According to the analysts of The Forrester Wave, “SAP Commerce Cloud delivers a full-featured suite that leverages the strengths of the SAP ecosystem and integration with the SAP S/4HANA and SAP C/4HANA applications.”
Why Opt for a SAP C/4HANA (ex. SAP Hybris) eCommerce Website
Forrester Wave experts believe that SAP will give the best fit for companies that require a powerful platform that performs smoothly across various business domains. In our blog article, “The Benefits of SAP Commerce Cloud Project Development,” we have already drilled down the advantages of SAP C/4HANA. They can be summarized as follows:
- B2B on par with B2C capabilities
- Comprehensive omnichannel shopping experience
- Powerful contextual experience
- Product content management
- Content management system
- Advanced customization
- Accelerator-based commerce functionality
- Flexible checkout
- An efficient order management system
- User-friendly promotions
- Out-of-the-box CPQ solution
- Powerful search system
- Big Data stream management
- Seamless integration
- Powerful cloud-based model
- Flawless mobile experience
- No additional skills required
|Read also: The Benefits of SAP Commerce Cloud Project Development|
Powerful eCommerce Functionality
To provide an efficient marketplace, SAP allows its users to combine their B2B and B2C experiences into a single touchpoint and streamline related processes and transactions. This powerful capability is based on various multichannel tools, such as those for basic data administration, order management, as well as additional search and marketing features.
The platform provides the following technical capabilities:
- A wide range of accelerators that allow companies to create solutions based on ready-to-use templates, such as B2B, B2C, Telco, Financial and other accelerators
- A variety of out-of-the-box extensions to tune a solution according to specific customer requirements
- Extension-based project structure that enables easy project scaling and support
- The simultaneous support of several websites, currencies and multiple languages
- Packaged solutions that enable easy integration with SAP products
- Flexible checkout functionality
- Java-based development
SAP is fully dedicated to seamless system enhancement, which is why every release provides add-on value and fixes existing bugs.
Integrated eCommerce Experiences
As you know, modern commerce has developed tremendously in the last decade: websites are no longer optional supplements, but rather have evolved into an obligatory if not the highest-priority component. SAP C/4HANA is an omnichannel platform that seamlessly manages and joins the exterior eCommerce components, such as:
- Digital and offline stores and points of sale
- Products and services
- Shipments and deliveries
Also, with equal success, it manages issues that are beneath the surface: customer interactions and management, custom UI, analytics, SEO, marketing materials and campaigns, zero-touch shipping, analytics and security provisions. Based on proper management of all of these components, the platform creates a single integrated business environment that fully meets customer requirements.
|Read also: Migrating SAP to the Cloud: A Planning Guide|
An Easily Customizable Platform
More than likely, a company has its well-established business processes, procedures and corporate policy, IT system and the accumulated amount of data. At the same time, eCommerce platforms are never ready for production and require proper fine-tuning and configuration in accordance with specific business requirements.
SAP C/4HANA is a special-purpose software platform that allows businesses to streamline website development and deployment, as well as its support and maintenance. Also, its flexible modular structure allows adding required functionality on the go, after the platform has been deployed and put into production.
SAP C/4HANA (ex. SAP Hybris) eCommerce Development: The Starting Point
Below, we will provide entry-level instructions on how to develop an eCommerce website using SAP single-handedly so that you can gain a basic understanding of the process. However, for extensive development expertise in solutions based on SAP C/4HANA (ex. SAP Hybris), we strongly recommend turning to proficient developers, if you need a robust and fully functional website.
Still, there are simple guideline stages of SAP C/4HANA eCommerce website development that even a newbie developer can handle. Naturally, they vary significantly according to specific project requirements.
Create a New Site
To create a new site, you need to access the SAP NetWeaver Cloud Portal through the Site Directory. Authenticate and then press the “New Site” button in the upper right corner of the page and enter its name in the appropriate field. Done!
Add Pages and Content
Open the site for editing and proceed with the Authoring Space. This area allows authors to easily build and manage sites. Now you can add pages by pressing the “+” sign in the navigation bar. Also, you can delete or rename them.
Access page options through the page menu and add content to the page. In the sidebar menu, open the Content catalog by pressing the button in the cross form. There, you can access widgets that you can use for your website. By double-clicking them, you can add them to the bottom of the page, or you can drag them directly from the catalog to a specific place.
Finalize your pages:
- Place widgets where you want them to be situated
- Resize widgets
- Rename and edit widgets
- Remove widgets
- Select a theme
|Read also: How to Make an E-Commerce Website with Magento|
Preview the Website
Before putting your site into production, you can preview it in tablet mode to imagine how end users will see it. The preview is fully operational.
Publish the Website
After your website is ready, you can finally publish it. Open the Settings panel in the side-bar menu to edit the URL if required and publish the website. Also, you can send invitations to users, and they will get them to their email addresses as soon as the website has been published.
As you can see, we have specified only baseline steps. The creation of a powerful eCommerce marketplace is much more demanding with respect to expertise, time, effort and resources. Below, we will discuss the core functionality that a basic eCommerce website should have.
Developing eCommerce Solutions Using SAP C/4HANA: The Guidelines
Before you start your journey with SAP eCommerce solutions, make sure that it suits you best. Our SAP experts recommend considering its development with respect to the following criteria: relevance and cost-effectiveness. In the table below, we provide financials, from which we advise you to proceed.
Table 1. Baseline Financials
|Expected annual business volume||Load, hits per day||The duration of an implementation project|
|$10+ million||150,000+||6-18 months|
Also, a convincing reason to decide on the development of eCommerce solutions using SAP platform is the leveraging of other products of SAP family, such as SAP Marketing Cloud, SAP Sales Cloud, SAP Customer Data Cloud and SAP Service Cloud.
Moreover, a company that opts for SAP C/4HANA will most definitely face the shortcomings of the development based on this platform:
- Highly qualified subject-matter specialists are scarce
- It is a closed development ecosystem that does not provide easy access to wiki and other materials
However, if you are ready to say “Yes!” to SAP C/4HANA (ex. SAP Hybris), we have prepared a check-list of components that are involved in the creation of a typical eCommerce website. The cost of SAP Commerce Cloud development varies significantly depending not only on the price policy of each specific company, but also on the following aspects:
- The country of origin
- The scale of the solution – small, middle or enterprise
- Requirement spectrum
The architecture of SAP C/4HANA (ex. SAP Hybris) allows companies to easily add or change specific functionality or modules, which significantly reduces website development and deployment time. That is why a company can get a tailor-made IT landscape within a short time. Also, a modular approach allows companies to include only the functionality that they currently require and extend it on an as-needed basis.
|Read also: What’s the Difference Between B2B and B2C eCommerce?|
B2B Accelerator Installation
If your website is aimed at business customers, then you certainly need the B2B accelerator. They provide a ready-to-use functionality sets that companies from the B2B market may require, such as business processes, content management and templates, and do so in an automated manner.
The solution features an efficient Administration Cockpit and Admin Perspective to facilitate order processing and the management of numerous user accounts and user groups from a single touch-point. Also, it supports pricing models of any complexity and advanced searching capability.
Content Management System Configuration
Usually, eCommerce websites’ catalogs encompass hundreds and thousands of items, which makes a content management system a prerequisite. With a properly tuned and comprehensively filled out SAP CMS, a company can easily manage its content in real-time and from a single platform.
The system allows customers to get up-do-date synchronized information, regardless of the location and the touchpoint they use. It relies on Master Data and enables administrators to manage every element of their website pages. Also, the CMS is SEO-friendly, which improves the efficiency of marketing campaigns.
Payment Functionality Integration
User-friendly payment functionality significantly reduces the risk of customers abandoning their shopping carts at checkout. That is why we recommend placing the utmost importance on providing a full-fledged payment functionality.
SAP Payment Engine enables comprehensive payment processing from a single platform that may involve advanced payment capabilities. This platform processes payments in a central hub, which facilitates the whole process, reduces related costs, adds value to transactions and operations and ensures compliance with regulations.
A properly configured SAP Payment Engine provides the following capabilities:
- Connection with internal and external channels
- The reduction of multiple workloads to a single platform
- Real-time status data
Shipping Functionality Integration
Since the shipping option has become a must-have eCommerce website functionality, we highly recommend paying great attention to it. An important component of SAP Sales and Distribution (SD), it incorporates various activities from packing and order picking to outbound delivery. Its proper configuration allows businesses to set a smooth flow of goods that start at the sellers’ warehouses and end at customers’ doors.
Tax Functionality Integration
To streamline transactions that involve the export of goods and comply with international tax regulations, businesses should make provisions for robust tax functionality. It enables tax calculation, validation, transfer and reporting.
SAP provides a wide range of out-of-the-box tax configurations that vary depending on the country, and its Materials Management, Financial Accounting and Sales and Distribution modules determine taxes. Moreover, proper integration with other business solutions, such as billing or enterprise resource planning software, helps companies retrieve all transactions that are subject to tax.
Above, we have described the components that we recommend you incorporate into your SAP-based eCommerce website. However, the list may vary depending on your requirements and business specifics.
eCommerce Websites with SAP C/4HANA: Final Thoughts
As compared to other eCommerce systems of the class, SAP C/4HANA (ex. SAP Hybris) has a very wide basic functionality set. The out-of-the-box omnichanneling, a variety of accelerators, adaptive design and the simultaneous support of several websites underlie the development of eCommerce solutions that meet the requirement of each specific business. Also, its flexible architecture enables creating adaptive solutions within the shortest time possible.
However, only the right hands will allow a company to make the most out of the platform’s capabilities and add value to its business processes. That is why we recommend entrusting the development to proficient service providers.
SaM Solutions has been providing SAP Commerce Cloud development services for more than five years, which resulted in 17 completed projects to date. If you have any questions or need to create a powerful eCommerce solution, contact us: our team of 50+ seasoned experts will create an elaborate solution that meets your specific requirements.