In the world of commerce today, customers are firmly in the driver’s seat. From individuals buying shoes to corporate purchasing agents shopping for machine parts, all customers are now ultra-informed participants in their transactions. They expect a completely personalized experience across every type of media and touchpoint.
The business-to-consumer (B2C) customer experience has been redefined, and business-to-business (B2B) enterprises are following suit, seeking to provide a unified sales and service experience in which business customers can view their order history and manage their profiles, create order change or return requests, manage subscription services, and engage in other customer-centric activities in an individualized, self-service fashion.
Enabling a truly unified, meaningful experience for your business customers requires more than just implementing the functionality to conduct online transactions. It requires the transformation of an entire organization from traditional, channel-specific ways of doing business to providing a seamless customer-centric experience regardless of the channel and device — an omnichannel approach.
Understanding the Omnichannel Approach
The omnichannel approach to commerce encompasses a much broader, expanded set of business processes compared to traditional approaches. A compelling omnichannel customer experience requires:
- Consistency across all channels, including print media, web, and partner channels such as distributors
- Real-time visibility into inventory across all channels, including direct sales and self-service
- Recognition that the balance of power has shifted from vendors to customers
- The agility to adapt campaigns, offerings, and promotions in real time to immediately and flexibly meet customer needs and expectations
Central to this is the understanding that customers recognize the enterprise as a brand — with no distinction between various business units and channels — and that customer loyalty is dependent on a brand’s ability to deliver a consistent and compelling experience regardless of purchase path, transaction history, or channel. Customers do not want to worry about the complexities of the sales interaction, or think about logistics. They want convenience, relevance, consistency, simplicity, speed, and high value from every transaction, whether the interaction is at a corporate location, via mobile or web channels, or through a direct sales or service channel.
So how can you transform your business into a synchronized, customer-centric organization that supports omnichannel commerce? To enable a seamless transformation, companies need to focus on two components: people and technology.
On the people side, the emphasis is on recruiting talent with the vision and experience to move the transformation forward and enable existing employees to buy in and become omnichannel commerce advocates. This portion of the undertaking can require significant effort and investment, but has a tremendous payoff.
For SAP customers, there is a simpler answer for the technology side — the SAP hybris Commerce solution.
SAP hybris Commerce brings a B2C experience to B2B organizations, providing everything you need to target and engage with customers and to ensure that they have a consistent, meaningful experience across all of your channels.
A Seamless Transformation with SAP hybris Commerce
SAP hybris Commerce brings a B2C experience to B2B organizations, providing everything you need to target and engage with customers and to ensure that they have a consistent, meaningful experience across all of your channels. This omnichannel commerce solution includes:
- A flexible, scalable platform built on modern, standards-based principles that define and meet customer demands, and give IT and business users greater agility
- An advanced, modern architecture that lowers the total cost of ownership and implementation risk for IT organizations
- Accelerator and integration components that enable a rapidly launched commerce experience designed around an industry or go-to-market initiative (see Figure 1)
- Plug-and-play integration with various solutions, such as the applications, extensions, and services included in the hybris Extend online marketplace; the service-oriented data integration solution hybris Data Hub; the SAP hybris Marketing solution; the SAP Cloud for Customer solution; and the SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application
- Standards-based application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable integration with additional solutions, such as SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management (SAP NetWeaver MDM) and SAP ERP
With SAP hybris Commerce, business users no longer need to depend on legacy back-office systems, which helps reduce the process of onboarding new partners — from six months to just a few weeks in many cases. In addition, this process can be driven by the business users themselves instead of enlisting help from IT. Business users can also quickly add new product offerings to sales channels with tools for creating, managing, and publishing sales content, and can orchestrate and fulfill partner transactions without having to manage long lead times with back-office systems, especially for services these systems were not designed to support.
Sales reps also benefit from functionality included in SAP hybris Commerce, including dynamic connections to SAP CRM that unify customer records; the ability to search relevant catalog data, including a view of individual pricing; the ability to configure and add items to the shopping cart on the customer’s behalf; and easy access to additional tools and information for pursuing upselling opportunities, for example.
SAP hybris Commerce in Action
Let’s see how all of this translates in the real world by looking at how two companies are using SAP hybris Commerce to transform their relationships with customers and partners (see the sidebar “Real-World Benefits with SAP hybris Commerce” for a look at how some other companies are benefitting from implementing an omnichannel approach).
A well-known global consumer products company is using SAP hybris Commerce together with SAP Cloud for Customer to strengthen its channel relationships by providing rich, self-service capabilities for both resellers and consumers. Through these processes, the company has gained new insights that enable it to serve and market to its customers based on individual preferences. The solution has also made it possible for the company to enhance its relationships with retailers by offering “buy online, pick up in store” functionality, strengthening the relationship between the brand and its resellers.
Another company, in global manufacturing, has modified its individual business unit sales approach to focus on its brand more holistically. The new focus is on growth through personalized engagement and powerful search, bundling, and reorder experiences that serve customers as individuals. This approach, enabled by SAP hybris Commerce, is driving cross-sell and upsell transactions and reorders. The direct sales channel is more informed, and can better notify customers of new products and services as they become available. This comprehensive brand transformation is designed to double the company’s online revenues over the next five years.
Practical Tools for a Complex World
SAP hybris Commerce provides organizations with practical tools for effectively navigating real-world complexity — helping them to transform how they do business into an elegantly simple B2C experience for even the most complex B2B environments. Built on a scalable and open architecture, the software is designed to get up and running quickly in your existing environment, enabling organizations to start reaping the rewards of an omnichannel approach.
SAP hybris Commerce can be deployed on premise, on demand, or as a managed service, depending on your organization’s needs. Learn more at www.hybris.com/en/commerce.