When the pandemic hit and physical retail outlets had to close or limit their operations, midmarket brands had to pivot quickly to sell directly to consumers (D2C) and learn how to interact with customers digitally – only to realize that a simple webstore was not enough to compete in the digital world.
This spiked a need for a new kind of commerce solution, one that equips midmarket companies with all the necessary tools to sell fast and easy, apply changes quickly, and offer intelligent merchandising capabilities that were previously only accessible to large enterprises.
SAP Upscale Commerce enables this by offering an intelligent selling engine that delivers engaging storefronts while optimizing for sales and profit, with the ability to more rapidly create mobile-first shopping experiences to meet the changing expectations of their customers. Businesses can take full control of the customer journey, drive world-class omnichannel customer experiences, and create a competitive edge by choosing to start with easily configurable building blocks or create completely custom commerce experiences.
The solution enables brands to:
- Sell anywhere — make the store the destination: SAP Upscale Commerce delivers rich mobile-first, cross-channel, in-store experience for shoppers and makes it easy for shoppers to intuitively shop by swiping, pinching, and tapping their devices.
- Sell intelligently — big or small, sell smart: With built-in artificial intelligence (AI), brands can create a unique storefront experience for each shopper at scale and deliver intelligent, relevant experiences that optimize business profits. Intelligent capabilities also help to convert one-time purchases into subscriptions.
- Speed and agility — start fast and go far: Brands can start small and scale as they grow using no code tools out of the box to create new and fresh shopping experiences in days and using low- and no-code tools to easily extend and build the perfect fit solution.
- Keep the promise — deliver on the brand promise: Brands can sell and ship from everywhere with an agile order orchestration and fulfill orders from the closest stores.
Transitioning Customer Engagement from In Store to Online
One organization that experienced these changes firsthand is Swedish fashion retailer JOY. JOY, which for many years has delighted Swedish women with quality clothes, has re-emerged in a completely new form. JOY no longer has any physical stores and is instead focusing on e-commerce and personalized fashion advice. The founders see JOY as a startup building next-generation e-commerce based on AI and slow fashion – a more sustainable alternative with clothes lasting several seasons. JOY is also the first company in the world that has selected the combination of the cloud-based solutions SAP Upscale Commerce and the Emarsys platform for customer engagement functionality.
“We are definitely in a paradigm shift within e-commerce and digital channels. The retail industry has so far been able to make a living from using large product catalogs, but they do not provide the best customer experience. Instead, customers want inspiration, advice, and, in our case, also ready-made combinations of clothes that suit their own style – and lasting several seasons,” said Anna Ullman Sersé, CEO and co-founder of JOY. “SAP Upscale Commerce fit our needs perfectly. The solution is very flexible, allowing us to make changes quickly and to provide more content than just a traditional product catalog. This frees up more time for us to truly focus on engaging with the customers online, much like we did when we would meet in stores.”
Powering Social Selling with Top Social Media Platforms
Another option for brands pivoting to direct customer engagement is selling through social media channels, more commonly known as “social selling.” With careful and considered targeting of the right products at the right time, it is possible for midmarket brands to drive down the cost of customer acquisition as products find customers directly through algorithmic targeting. However, this means that having the right type of information about products and the right content in posts is critical – as is for that information to be up to date.
To deliver on this opportunity, SAP Upscale Commerce integrates into social media platforms, enabling organizations to easily start taking advantage of social commerce. The solution makes it easy to connect an online store to a Facebook business account, continuously sync the product catalog, create a Facebook Shop, and use that to drive new sales opportunities to consumers. The result is a consistent shopping experience on social media, with the front-end and back-end business processes fully integrated.
Hackathon Spurs New Ideas to Solve Customer Pain Points
To meet individual customer challenges, the SAP Customer Experience team in Canada recently hosted a hackathon, in which teams of product experts and solution integration partners battled to create brand new online shopping experiences based on specific, real-world client requirements for fashion, automotive, and retail – all within SAP Upscale Commerce.
Judging criteria was based on overall creativity, use of available product extensions, ease of shopping experience, time-to-market, and how well the solution drives customers toward long-term loyalty and advocacy for the brand. After a day and a half of competition, the event culminated in a final virtual pitch presentation, with ECENTA taking home the award for Most Creative, and LiveArea awarded for Best Use of Technology.
“As a judge, I was truly impressed with the quality and quantity of results after only a day and a half of hacking, showcasing incredible innovation, creativity, and accomplishment by small teams in a small amount of time,” said Frédéric Bouthillier, CEO of Groupe Touchette. “The teams’ rapid development of new, innovative experiences proves the time to value of SAP Upscale Commerce and headless commerce solutions.”
The events of the past year have changed the way people shop and the shift to online purchasing is here to stay. Now midmarket brands don’t have to settle with a simple direct-to-consumer webstore. With SAP Upscale Commerce, businesses have the ability to put the customer at the heart of everything they do, connecting front- and back-office data, simplifying and automating complex sales processes, and delivering insights in real time that enable seamless, personalized experiences that grow revenue.
The SAP Upscale Commerce solution, available on SAP Store, is the next-generation intelligent selling engine that can help midmarket brands to achieve fast growth, create differentiated experiences, and leverage intelligence to optimize sales and profits.
Bob Stutz is president of SAP Customer Experience.