How to jump-start a B2B project with SAP Commerce

11.12.2020
11 min.

The tremendous growth of online shopping and all-time high customer expectations force ecommerce and retail companies to migrate to ecommerce platforms in order to streamline sales and marketing operations, engage customers across multiple channels, and boost business performance. One of the most full-featured platforms that offers flexible, scalable and omnichannel ecommerce solutions for B2B, B2C, and B2B2C is SAP Commerce Cloud, a part of the SAP Customer Experience (C/4HANA) suite.

SAP is a long-standing leader on Gartner’s Magic Quadrants. For example, in 2020 it was named a leader in digital commerce for the sixth consecutive year, mostly for its B2B Commerce Cloud solutions.

SAP leads in the 2020 digital commerce

In collaboration with SAP Customer Experience consultants from Itransition, we will explain why SAP Commerce has more advantages over other popular ecommerce solutions on the market and look closer at SAP’s B2B accelerators.

What’s great about SAP Commerce Cloud?

Cloud-based SAP Commerce solutions spare businesses from heavy investments in hardware and maintenance and provide end-to-end coverage, from quote generation to compliance. Its powerful features and customer experience technology for mid-size and large-scale businesses nurture agility and cost-efficiency.

Flexible architecture and deployment models

SAP Commerce can be easily customized to deliver flexible architectures for various business needs and user requirements, which lets companies move at the pace dictated by their business priorities. The platform makes it easy to deploy and run necessary apps and services and access them across the clouds.

Omnichannel features

The platform helps integrate all sales channels into a single ecosystem, which makes digital customer experience consistent across physical and digital touchpoints and enables customers to have a no-barrier access to available services via their preferred channels.

Advanced personalization tools

SAP Commerce makes it possible to generate personalized content and contextual recommendations based on automated customer segmentation and channel-specific analysis of customers’ behavior, preferences, purchasing and browsing history. Meanwhile, with SAP customer loyalty management tools, businesses can grow customer retention rates and build long-term relationships.

Data management

Data management tools in SAP Commerce help handle diverse inconsistent information from multiple sources by streamlining data integration, cleaning and transformation. As a result, business users can get a centralized view of and controlled access to data to make use of it for their operational and analytical initiatives.

Mobile-ready solutions

SAP Commerce can be used to engage customers with intuitive and personalized experiences via mobile apps and progressive web app-based stores. For example, it allows companies to enable direct notifications powered by location-based services and speed up shopping with single-click purchase options.

Plenty of integrations

Integrating third-party sources with SAP-based solutions, both cloud-based and on-premises, is easy. It makes SAP Commerce Cloud a foundation for a full-featured ecosystem of products and services that connects online and offline touchpoints, suppliers, customers, payment and delivery options, and enables smooth data exchange between integrated systems.

B2B and B2C commerce accelerators

SAP Commerce Cloud provides out-of-the-box accelerators for the rapid deployment of ecommerce solutions. The accelerators are suitable for different business models specific to particular markets and industries. SAP Commerce Cloud accelerators are particularly powerful for the B2B sector as they help manage complex B2B relationships and operations expertly.

Why SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator?

Let’s see how SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator allows building full-featured SAP-based ecommerce websites fast.

A B2B home page built with SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator

SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator is an automated self-service web framework that helps business owners jump-start B2B ecommerce implementation with minimized initial costs and time-to-value. It offers ready-to-use templates, content, and automated business workflows that can be tailored to the needs of specific B2B enterprises and organizations.

The accelerator automates order processing and allows users to manage multiple accounts via a single platform. Advanced self-service features include management of users and user groups, permission and cost centers, budgets and approval workflows.

B2B account managers can also benefit from the B2B Admin Perspective in the Administration Cockpit. The tool empowers them to have full control over a wide range of operations. For instance, they can utilize one wizard for creating an organization and another for managing quote approval. Additionally, admins can make use of integrated merchandising tools that allow managing and personalizing promotions and enable cross-selling and upselling.

The Administrator view of SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator

The omnichannel capabilities of SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator allow users who manage both web-stores and brick-and-mortar businesses to get access to stock visibility in all locations for each product. There is also a BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) option. Admins can also employ localization and internationalization features and deliver websites with multi-language and multi-currency support.

SAP Commerce Omnichannel Capabilities

Key features of SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator

The advantages of SAP accelerators, such as simplified development and plug-and-play features, help organizations achieve faster time-to-market and shorten their development cycles. Let’s have a look at the major features and modules of SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator.

Backoffice integration

Backoffice is a flexible SAP-based administration framework that streamlines the creation of business tools and user interfaces. The solution complements all the features of the B2B Administration Cockpit by providing a user-friendly, scalable and customizable widget-based user interface.

Self-service account management

A simple automated workflow engine for B2B administrators makes it easy to assign rights to employees, set up individual purchasing units and limits within the organization, configure approval rules and workflows, manage cost centers and budgets. The accelerator enables admins to create multiple organizations associated with users, user groups, order thresholds, budgets, and cost centers.

The My Company menu allows B2B admins to access organization management sections, such as budgets, cost centers, units, users, user groups, permissions, and account summaries. Created organizations are further divided into structures, like departments or locations. Within a unit, which is the most basic building block of the organization, it’s possible to assign users with the roles of B2B administrators, B2B managers, B2B approvers, or B2B customers.

Online ordering

This feature allows users to place orders and schedule them for automatic replenishment. Registered customers can easily track orders and request quotes using B2B checkout and ordering features. At the same time, customers get a possibility to choose how cart items should be processed at the Final Review checkout step: they can either place an order at the time of the session or opt for automatic replenishment of the cart contents.

Custom catalogs

Using this functionality, merchants are able to customize product lists and search product pages for specified organizations, departments, and customers. Merchants can offer customized product catalogs that include product lists and search page customizations.

Custom pricing

SAP Commerce B2B Accelerator supports complex B2B pricing models from a wide range of internal SAP databases or backend system models. Price lists customized per individual requests can be managed either in SAP Commerce or in a connected ERP system. Prices specific to each customer can be negotiated at different levels, be it a B2B organization or a B2B department. Customized prices can be assigned to a single B2B customer, a B2B customer group, or the entire B2B unit.

With multiple price lists in place, individual price lists can be negotiated per article or per article group. In the meantime, base price lists remain available for all the customers without an individual price list.

Credit management

Merchants can assign different credit limits with the currency and date range specific to particular customers. Credit limits are set up by B2B account managers in the Backoffice Administration Cockpit. It’s possible to set up notifications that will alert account managers when the customer is approaching their individual limit. Alerts are also automatically triggered when the amount of the used credit exceeds the threshold value.

Multi-dimensional products

Multi-dimensional products can be described with multiple attributes, such as size, color, and fit. Admins can define the dimensions and attributes needed for a product description. The B2B Commerce Accelerator has three out-of-the-box dimensions. To describe products using this model, admins can use one, two or three dimensions. For example, boots can have the following dimensions and attributes:

  • Color: Olive
  • Size: 10.5
  • Fit: Wide

Advanced product search

Admins can perform advanced searches using bar codes and product codes. It’s also possible to search by text or delimited list. Users are also able to choose their preferred search method between the two options—keyword search or product ID—and ways to display search results—products with a quantity field or with a check box.

Product search options

Early login

This feature requires users to log in before they can view the storefront and browse the website.

The early login page with the B2B Early Login AddOn enabled

Itransition’s SAP B2B success story

Itransition is a certified SAP Silver Partner, with a team of SAP-certified developers who offer:

  • SAP consulting that includes evaluation of existing operating models and mapping of a digital commerce strategy.
  • Development of a SAP solution from scratch or customization of an existing SAP infrastructure.
  • Customization of B2B and B2C accelerators and admin cockpits.
  • Integration of SAP tools and third-party systems by using the DataHub integration platform and/or developing SOAP/RESTful connectors.
  • Development in line with security standards and SAP GDPR compliance.

On one of our SAP Commerce projects, Itransition provided Mydeposits, a UK-based government-approved provider of tenancy deposit protection, with a reliable and scalable retail management platform for deposits management and dispute resolution.

We integrated the customer’s disparate systems within one unified SAP-based platform and automated a number of business processes:

  • Leased property management
  • Creation and editing of guaranteed deposits
  • Protection of guaranteed deposits
  • Management and resolution of disputes

SAP Commerce Cloud became the foundation for the following functional modules:

  • The administrative module that helps users manage companies, units, user roles, and properties.
  • The deposit module for creating and protecting deposits.
  • The disputes module that allows landlords and tenants to exchange information within the framework of the initiated dispute.
The SAP-based solution architecture

As a result, our unified tenancy deposit solution let Mydeposits achieve a 50% faster time-to-market and grow their customer base by 25% while ensuring consistent customer experience across channels. Currently, the customer’s online product serves 150K+ users, with the system securing about 1.6 million deposits and processing tens of thousands of records on a regular basis.

User basket

A secret ingredient of B2B commerce success

SAP Commerce is an all-in-one suite for creating omnichannel B2B experiences based on an ecosystem of channels, markets, and relationships between suppliers, distributors, partners, and customers. In order to go live with their services in the shortest time possible, businesses can choose SAP Commerce Accelerators that offer a range of pre-set modules. However, if there’s a need to customize the SAP platform to specific requirements, businesses can choose to partner with professional SAP consultants to carry it out.