Examples of SAP Hybris in action at sports clubs such as TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and at BASF make it evident why the software goes beyond CRM.

Digitalization is redefining the way businesses and customers interact. Accordingly, immediacy and personalization are the next evolutionary steps in customer relationship management.

To deliver on these aspects of the customer experience, sales teams in companies need to understand their customers at every stage of their journey. Are they new? Have they purchased before? What is their situation? Why aren’t they paying? Has there been an escalation? SAP Hybris software helps answer these questions.

It also offers a whole lot more: A 360-degree view of the customer enables a seamless experience at every stage of the interaction process. A simple web shop is superseded by a consistent face to the customer across all sales channels  ̶  in line with the basic idea behind the omnichannel concept.

“We want to use the combination of data and improved customer service to encourage customers to buy,” explains Christian Klein, chief operating officer at SAP.

Experimenting with Microservice-Based Business Models

With SAP Hybris as a Service on SAP Cloud Platform, customer service takes precedence over pure sales. A customer looking to buy a house shouldn’t have to go to a bank’s website in search of a cost calculator. Instead, the cost calculator could be directly embedded as a microservice on the real estate website. The clever part is that microservices have a modular structure, which means they can be implemented with minimal programming effort.

For example, if a company’s customers want UberRUSH as a delivery option, this can be implemented using SAP Hybris as a Service without significant changes to the back-end.

“We’re helping our customers design end-to-end customer journeys,” says Matthias Goehler, head of Industry Solutions for SAP Hybris.

A team at SAP Hybris Labs is devoted to developing experimental prototypes for innovative business models. An example of their work is the chatbot Charly, which enables customers to complete an order end to end via Facebook Messenger. They simply give a basic description of the product(s) they want to buy — emojis and voice entries are also possible — and the software suggests a range of possible goods, also letting them select a delivery address from their Facebook profile.

Data-Driven Product Presentation: The Smart Wine Shelf

One prototype already in operation is in a rather unexpected place. BASF in Ludwigshafen is well known for its chemical products, but nestled within the mass of industrial facilities at its main site it also has its own wine cellar. The company’s wine business, which was originally established in 1901 for BASF employees, today delivers approximately 700,000 bottles of wine each year to over 40,000 customers in more than 50 countries.

Three years ago, BASF employees teamed up with SAP and spent just 12 weeks developing the Smart Wine Shelf. When a customer takes a bottle of wine from the shelf, a light senor transmits this information to the system, triggering details of the wine’s vintage and flavor to appear on a screen. Linked to the wine shelf is a “Wine Wizard” – a mobile app that asks the customer a series of questions before suggesting a suitable wine.

Pedro Ahlers, Process Design Manager for Digital Customer Experience at BASF, presenting the Smart Wine Shelf

From a business perspective, it’s not just the solution’s entertainment value that sparks interest, but also the data it generates. For instance, in the back end, it’s possible to analyze which wines are frequently recommended but rarely removed from the shelf.

Insights like this help the wine-seller select or rearrange wine bottles more effectively. While these functionalities were initially hard coded, they have since been implemented in BullsEye, which is based on APIs from SAP Hybris as a Service. Future plan include integrating the solution with sales data to obtain even more precise insights into customer preferences.

For BASF, pilot projects like this one provide valuable insights into the world of digital technologies. Like its peers in the chemicals industry, BASF wants to increase the focus it directs at the service concept in its core business in order to gain an edge over its competitors.

Important for all Sectors: Establishing a Personal Relationship with the Customer

SAP Hybris software functions as an end-to-end solution. In SAP Hybris Commerce, sales employees can individually bundle, price, and offer items across the entire product portfolio. The process eliminates traditional office work and fits seamlessly and scalably into the existing SAP landscape. Moreover, the solution complies with the EU General Data Projection Regulation that will come into force in 2018 and already gives customers the option of having their data automatically deleted on request.

SAP Hybris Commerce is also in action in other sectors, namely the world of sport. The National Hockey League in the United States and several of the teams that play in it use the solution. Thanks to geo-signal technology, season ticket holders can order drinks on their mobile devices and have them delivered directly to their stadium seat. And fans be sent recommendations for team merchandise based on their previous purchases. The NHL’s organizers also permit users to access historic player statistics in the service model.

“Our aim is to help sports clubs establish a stronger relationship with their fans in the stadium,” explains Marcus Ruebsam, senior vice president and head of Strategy and Solution Management at SAP Hybris.

Digital Revolution in Professional Sport: TSG Hoffenheim

And soccer is no exception. Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim uses SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer to manage communication with its fans. The solution enables the club to contact fans on site via their mobile devices and invite them to autograph signings or jersey printing sessions as a way of building up personal relationships with them.

TSG also uses SAP software for the benefit of its professional players. According to sports psychologist Professor Jan Mayer, while many traditional training methods are gradually reaching their limits, there is still a great deal of potential in the area of consciously controlled executive functions of the human brain.

TSG has begun examining this theory with the help of Helix, a training environment developed by SAP. In a simulator combining SAP software and an 180° screen, players learn how to keep the entire pitch in their field of vision, enabling them to make tactical decisions in fractions of a second.


TSG plans to take this approach to the next level. Currently, the simulated on-pitch situations are generated randomly. The idea now is to show selective footage from previous matches to enable an even more personalized digital training program.