Any encounter that a consumer has with a company’s products, services, and brands on a mobile device or computer — such as looking up a product description online or checking out service reviews using a mobile app — are all instances of digital customer experiences. At SAP, we believe it is paramount to create a top-notch digital customer experience that is simplified, convenient, seamless, and unified. And it’s a belief backed by others. One Forrester analyst said in a recent blog post that “today’s sophisticated buyers find themselves chasing down inventory in a lot of disparate places in pursuit of well-rounded, cross-channel media programs” and that “fragmented buying means a fragmented consumer experience.”1 According to this analyst, the bottom line is this: Customers don’t care about your definition of omnichannel or how you’re delivering offerings to them in a cross-channel environment. “They just want simplicity, convenience, seamlessness, and advertising they don’t hate.”
Simplifying the Customer Experience
Through its digital integration initiative, SAP is bringing the SAP Store, SAP App Center, SAP Cloud Platform marketplace, SAP Training shop, and more together on SAP.com as well as inside its applications. Each online property has served a distinct customer need, and SAP approaches these needs from an individual customer perspective rather than a category perspective. This integration is a key part of SAP’s initiative to transform how it does business, including all aspects of technology, delivery, product, and commercial models. We are creating a uniquely curated experience for our customers — from discovery to purchase to implementation, and beyond.
With so many different websites around the SAP universe, there has previously been a disconnected discovery and purchase experience. By integrating product discovery and transaction for our customers and eliminating fragmentation, we are changing the game and unifying the experience for users. This creates value for customers, enabling them to find any SAP offering quickly and easily right on SAP.com.
Additionally, SAP provides context to further improve the customer experience. Our holy grail in this initiative is supplying the perfect match of when, what, and where — surfacing an offering when it’s the right fit for the customer, regardless of type, publisher, or channel. In addition to SAP offerings, customers can also directly discover related apps and application programming interfaces (APIs) — such as SAP Analytics Cloud API, APOS Live Data Gateway, and Marketo Connector for SAP Analytics Cloud — that can integrate with the particular solutions they want.
This can also identify related software offerings, training and education solutions, and professional services that complement the product — all within the same experience. The goal is for SAP.com to become the entryway to an organic commerce experience where SAP can bring what its customers want and need directly to them on SAP.com, without having to navigate multiple touchpoints and pathways to purchase.
Mapping the User Journey
How do we make all this happen? Digital buying and commerce capabilities need to be an overall part of the customer journey. It’s a process that works in stages, and so does SAP’s digital integration. First, we identify our customers’ needs and opportunities. This is the discovery phase of the journey where we help pinpoint a need or problem they are facing, and from there, understand how our solutions can solve this. We use simpler browsing sessions to help customers find options that address their needs faster and more seamlessly, and we also pull in information on related ecosystem offerings, helping the customer collapse several discovery steps into one. Once we’ve brought the right solution to the customer, we move to the next phase — action.
In the action phase of the customer journey, the transaction takes place and SAP enables this to happen wherever the customer is. “For us, it’s all about bringing the experience and our full product offering to our customers exactly where they are,” said Peter Barton, Director of Customer Experience, SAP Analytics Cloud. “In just a couple of clicks, we’ve taken them from realizing they have a need or problem they want to solve, to the place where they can directly purchase what they need to solve it.”
SAP has set up clear calls to action, with prominent and always visible buttons like “Try”, “Buy Now”, or “Get Quote”, to support customers on their path to purchase. Additionally, we provide quick access to trials, demos, webinars, and product overview videos — all to make the discovery, purchase, and implementation process as smooth, simple, and unified as possible. Currently, we are building out an embedded checkout process where purchases can be customized to customers’ specific needs. They will be able to configure the selected offering to their exact specifications, choosing the number of users, how long the subscription will run, the data center selection, and more.
Along the customer journey, SAP wants to ensure every piece of information the customer needs to make an intuitive buying decision is accessible in the most seamless way possible, and this commitment doesn’t end at checkout. That’s why we offer the option to chat with an SAP expert at any step along the journey, 24 hours a day. We will also use this platform to help our customers manage their subscriptions and renewals and get the most out of their purchases — with capabilities for calculating returns on investments, operating SAP solutions effectively, managing subscriptions and renewals, and implementing related items they want to add in the future to create and maintain business value.
“Looking at this user journey, our digital integration seeks to answer a question — how do we take the customer from knowing they have a need or problem to discovering what the right solution is and implementing it as well?” said Bertram Schulte, SAP Chief Digital Officer. “We need a platform that intuitively guides the user from a central entry point, setting up a way for the customer to learn about a product, understand how it can be expanded upon later, and know how to get it up and running right away. For us, this is SAP.com.”
Guiding Principles on a Simplified Path to Purchase
We followed the principles of simple discovery, and simple and intuitive purchase and platform play, to ensure that customers are positioned to make purchases that best suit their needs. To recap: Our simple discovery lets customers reach buyable offerings within two clicks, plus receive a fully integrated try-and-buy experience on the product page. We’ve started with SAP Analytics Cloud and will progressively roll out more throughout 2018, with roughly 20 products available for SAPPHIRE NOW 2018.
At a high level, this will translate into increased purchases because it is easier for customers to access the information they need. There will no longer be any guesswork for customers regarding where any of our offerings live online. We will have everything anchored across the customer journey, with SAP.com making it all accessible in one place and bringing it directly to the customers wherever they are.
“In addition to this, we are re-designing our software product pages to make it easier for customers to find relevant information. This includes all aspects of the software product life cycle, from features and function, to implementation, to support and training. It also includes things like transparent starting prices, customer use cases, and more,” explains Stefan Krueger, Vice President of User Experience & Strategy at SAP. Customers can buy right there on the spot and soon will be able to complete multiple transactions at once. Through this, SAP carefully maintains a highly protected digital footprint for each customer, curating a secure and comprehensive log of what they are buying to help serve repeat buyers — continuing the seamless digital experience. It also enables us to aid customers who decide to purchase enterprise offerings by having them interact directly with our field experts.
A Look Ahead
Every day, we continue to build on our goal of adding new, intuitive capabilities and functions through SAP.com, and we are excited to bring this fully integrated and intuitive platform to our current and prospective customers. Offering a world-class web journey for our customers will be a guiding force in catapulting us to the next level of doing business digitally — enabling customers, businesses, and developers to find exactly what they need in just a couple of clicks. We have already started to roll this platform out and look forward to showing it off to customers at SAPPHIRE NOW 2018. We’re excited to bring you all on this journey with us.
1 https://go.forrester.com/blogs/omnichannel-its-not-what-your-ad-tech-provider-tells-you-it-is [back]