Online trade has been driving out traditional commerce that has historically relied on brick-and-mortar shops and stores. Indeed, between 2014 and now, eCommerce has been showing a tremendous growth of 107%. The tendency is predicted to continue, with an approximate annual 30-percent increase. That makes trade companies choose proper eCommerce solutions that streamline their sales, improve customer interaction and enhance business efficiency.
For many years in a row, SAP Commerce Cloud (ex. SAP Hybris Commerce) solution has been among the leaders of Gartner’s Magic Quadrants for Digital Commerce and of Forrester Waves™ for B2B and B2C.
Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
Source: Gartner (April 2017)
“Stability, large global implementation partner network, and vertical industry solution focus” – that is how Forrester describes digital commerce experiences of SAP C/4HANA, the leader of its B2B Commerce Suites, Q1 2017.
Figure 2. The Forrester Wave™: B2C Commerce Suites, Q1 2017
The maximum use of the out-of-the-box capabilities of SAP Commerce Cloud ensures a quick launch of the system into production, while thorough fine-tuning and customization are possible on the go. That is why the platform has become the choice of multiple organizations around the world, and such giants as Henkel, Volkswagen, Samsung and Nestle have already recognized its business value.
While SAP C/4HANA has originally focused on large-scale enterprises, it has been extending its offerings with an eCommerce product offering for midsized companies. If you are looking for a proper commerce platform, read this article to get insights into the benefits of using SAP Commerce Cloud platform and value that it will deliver to your business.
B2B on Par with B2C Capabilities
Over the years, businesses have created a requirement for an extensive eCommerce system: it should provide not only powerful B2B capabilities, but also opportunities for the B2C market. That is why the SAP Commerce Cloud solution combines both of the experiences into an all-in-one platform – it enhances its efficient B2B sales experience with robust B2C capabilities.
This approach helps companies to avoid superfluous fuss and back-and-forth between different-purpose solutions. Also, a combined sales experience facilitates in-house workflow and improves the delivery of results. That is why shopping and business verticals account for the major customer base of SAP C/4HANA.
While delivering a unique user experience for end customers based on their personal shopping profiles, vendors can make repeat and wholesale purchases and provide their clients with account management and self-service.
Comprehensive Omni-Channel Shopping Experience
One of the key strengths of SAP C/4HANA is the creation of seamless omnichannel customer experience. The vendor realizes that businesses are no longer constrained by brick-and-mortar stores and shops, and modern technologies create new sales channels, such as:
- Brick-and-mortar shops and collection points
- Contact centers
- Online stores, social media and emails
- Mobile applications on smartphones and tablets
That is why SAP Commerce Cloud integrates all of the company’s sales channels into a single eCommerce platform. Such a consistent customer experience at all touchpoints helps companies enhance customer acquisition, which significantly boosts their sales and profit opportunities. Also, such a system provides companies with real-time and systematized information on all current orders and warehouse stock.
Powerful Contextual Experience
Extensive customization capability is what businesses require of their commerce solutions. SAP C/4HANA enables easy content management through its Product Content Management system and site layout administration to provide a user-specific shopping experience. Its powerful personalization enables robust cross-selling that relies on delivering appropriate product and service offers in a proper time and suitable manner. Data-driven personalization includes the following features:
- Automated customer segmentation to provide the most relevant information based on individual targeting
- Personal recommendations on products and landing pages based on real-time self-learning algorithms that do not require maintenance
- Support of integration with targeted promotions and newsletters
- Preference comparison with those of other clients
- Compression of large data sets into a compact mode
- Search optimization
SAP Commerce Cloud platform performs smoothly even with large numbers of clients and products and provides benefits for both user companies and their customers. It enables organizations to enhance their business efficiency and get on their clients’ right side. At the same time, customers enjoy unique shopping experiences that rely on personalized merchandising – proper offers provided at the right time and in the most convenient fashion.
Product Content Management
SAP C/4HANA engages customers by placing the sales focus on smart product information processing and presentation. The solution offers easily configurable business processes that govern product catalog and website content, as well as seamless storage and management of product-related data and catalogs.
The platform not only facilitates corporate working processes, but it primarily provides users with rich information on products or services you sell, even those that you receive from numerous vendors. Moreover, it fuses together content, workflow and the website.
SAP Commerce Cloud solution helps achieve efficient product content management through its cockpits: a web content management system and a product cockpit module that organize product information and catalogs.
Content Management System
Alongside its comprehensive product content management, SAP Commerce Cloud offers a powerful web content management system that enables quick development of multi-faceted websites and consistent content access and administration. Also, it relies on SmartEdit that encourages real-time page creation and editing.
The WCMS’ comprehensive functionality includes the following features:
- Template-based rapid website and page creation
- The development of custom components in addition to out-of-the-box ones
- A standalone content management cockpit
- Content catalog version control, both stage and online, which enables updating and editing that is invisible to users, followed by posting to the website after the updates and edits have been thoroughly verified
- User-friendly project management based on page editing and preview, and easy navigation
- The application of user-created information
- Marketing campaign creation and administration
SAP Commerce Cloud enables the development of as many websites as required based on a single platform, such as local websites that process domestic currencies. It is of particular interest to big retailers as it allows creating shop-in-shops for certain brands or building stores with a different design for dealers of the same dealer network.
Also, SAP eCommerce platform provides a role-based data access and a system of product and page content processing. It sends every single system change through a status and validation system that protects the system from malicious and accidental harm to prevent financial and goodwill losses.
The modular structure of SAP C/4HANA that features low interdependence among its components improves the platform’s flexibility and enables extensive customization to help companies meet their specific business requirements. Its backoffice administration cockpit helps manage businesses efficiently by providing and customizing necessary components and business logic.
Also, the platform supports customer segmenting to offer personalized content.
Accelerator-Based Commerce Functionality
The SAP Commerce Cloud solution provides numerous cockpits that streamline content management, import configuration and payment integration. In addition, the platform offers accelerators – ready-to-go industry solutions that enable the quickest possible market launch.
To kick off an online sales channel as fast as possible, a company just needs to launch an appropriate accelerator, adjust the content, add goods, specify prices and stocks and integrate the accelerator with the ERP system. After that, an efficient eCommerce platform is ready for use, while a company can incessantly customize and fine-tune it.
- B2C accelerators – multichannel and multilingual functionality that allows managing the end-customer experience
- B2B accelerators – functionality that embraces deals and long-term payments
- Marketplace accelerator – a starting point for B2B and B2C marketplace creation that enables easy and fast management of suppliers, products, attributes and customers
- Financial service accelerator – functionality that helps financial service enterprises provide a personalized online customer experience
- Travel accelerator – functionality that enables ticket and accommodation booking for the airline industry, cruise companies, passenger transportation and hospitality companies and tour operators
- Telco accelerator – functionality that bridges a product ordering with a service subscription
- China Accelerator – functionality that covers commerce in the Chinese market
SAP Commerce Cloud provides flexible HML-configured checkout business flows, both single- and multi-step, which enable the development of each specific standalone step.
Efficient Order Management System
The platform offers a powerful order management system based on cscockpit. It relies on an easily configurable order fulfillment in XML that describes the whole process and enables unlimited tuning of every step. The system provides the following capabilities:
- Global real-time visibility into various company sales channels and stock inventories
- Combination of buying and order fulfillment functionality that encourages quick order pickup, packing and shipping
- Improved order management to prevent customers from leaving websites unsatisfied or abandoning their online carts
- Flexible sourcing to optimize shipments
- Order versioning to improve the visibility of order statuses
- Fraud monitoring
The system supports flexible user-friendly rule-driven promotions that are based on Drools. The promotion engine encourages both pre-configured standard promotions that a non-dev user can create, as well as more sophisticated Drools-based scripts. The SAP Commerce Cloud promotion module includes the following functionality:
- Templates that are relevant to most frequent promotion requirements
- Rule builder that enables the creation of various custom promotions with a drag-and-drop UI
- Promotion priority and stackability based on backoffice
- Messaging to provide useful contextual information
- Coupon management
Out-of-the-Box CPQ Solution
The system provides an out-of-the-box CPQ SAP solution that builds product configurators and enables the purchase of third-party CPQ solutions. If a product is complex and has a sophisticated attribute structure, CPQ helps integrate with out-of-the-box product solutions in SAP ERP and encourages customers to configure products all by themselves.
Powerful Search System
SAP Commerce Cloud offers a comprehensive search system that processes products and can be easily customized so that it can perform contextual searches according to any specified requirement.
Big Data Stream Management
While Big Data processing moving to the front burner, SAP C/4HANA has developed a functionality that helps handle Big Data streams. SAP Commerce Cloud manages large order amounts, high traffic and numerous in-house processes.
Based on the persistence layer that stores and retrieves information, the platform efficiently handles great numbers of products and users in a real-time manner and copes with excessive demand.
SAP Commerce Cloud can be easily integrated with other SAP solutions that a company has on its backends. The specific framework of SAP C/4HANA enables smooth integration of this commerce platform with any SAP-based product, both legacy and modern, and information interchange between the systems and web services.
The vendor provides seamless integration with any solutions of the SAP C/4HANA suite, such as SAP Cloud for Customer, SAP Marketing Cloud and SAP Revenue Cloud. The use of all of SAP solutions allows creating a full-fledged ecosystem that is capable of a wide variety of functions – sales, customer service, billing and marketing campaigns that feature efficiency monitoring.
Also, it manages the fusion with SAP Marketing Cloud to enable customer data aggregation, user behavior analysis, customer profile creation, segmentation, contextual campaign execution and other processes in a real-time fashion.
The platform’s powerful system for integration with any third-party ERP enables the creation of a data hub.
Powerful Cloud-Based Model
SAP C/4HANA provides an opportunity to use its solution on a SaaS basis. This implies concluding a monthly paid service contract that covers certain functionality, eliminating the necessity for a customer to run its own software.
The cloud provides insightful predictions, process execution and unique data-driven customer experience while avoiding high-cost license fees.
Flawless Mobile Experience
While ensuring equally efficient shopping experiences at all of the company’s user touchpoints, SAP C/4HANA provides a comprehensive mobile user experience through a full-fledged mobile application. Based on built-in services, the platform provides APIs to mobile applications, as well as to third-party frontend solutions.
No Additional Skills for SAP Commerce Cloud Development
This eCommerce platform utilizes a modern technology stack – Spring Framework, Angular and Drools. Moreover, SAP C/4HANA is built on Java Spring, which contributes to its usability. For companies that opt for SAP Commerce Cloud, training will not become a thing, as every Java developer can learn to program SAP C/4HANA with little effort. It also facilitates the hiring process, as there is a pool of suitable specialists in the market.
Weigh the Benefits against the Shortcomings
By opting for SAP Commerce Cloud (ex. SAP Hybris Commerce) omnichannel order fulfillment that has captivated numerous large-scale businesses, operating in both the B2B and B2C markets. The platform’s capability to launch quickly while enabling further thorough on-the-go fine-tuning allows for winning time, which is particularly important for highly competitive markets. Also, SAP places an emphasis on the importance of a seamless shopping process, which is why it bases it on contextual experiences and full-fledged content management.
However, the platform has a drawback: the cost of SAP C/4HANA eCommerce development is rather high, which makes it the choice of primarily large enterprises.
If the solution’s advantages outweigh the shortcomings and you would like to develop a comprehensive eCommerce solution in a time-efficient manner, keep SaM Solutions in mind. Our dedicated team designs configuration and functionality, which best suit companies’ capabilities and requirements, and quickly develops powerful custom SAP Commerce Cloud solutions which smoothly integrate into business and IT landscapes. Our solutions will help you increase customer engagement, streamline workflow and enhance the efficiency of your business operations.