Multi-Channel Commerce – One Platform

March 27, 2012 by Ingo Woesner

Web Channel Experience Management 2.0 supports multi-channel commerce on one platform, ramp-up starts now! (Source: istockphoto)

Not too long ago, simply having a commerce-enabled “Web Channel” was considered a success if it allowed businesses to sell to and service customers efficiently and offered convenience for businesses in the B2B space.

But recent improvements in online security and connectivity have driven greater user confidence and adoption in e-commerce, while the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets in the consumer world has further made the Web a real hub of customer interaction. Running a simple Web shop is no longer enough.

Customers Expect More

Today’s “New Kind of Customer” is socially networked, well informed and empowered through the ability to interact directly with other customers. These customers expect a consistent and personalized shopping experience in a variety of touch points, not only in the Web shop, but also in mobile apps, on the phone, at the point of sale, in social media communities, in print media and online advertising.

To meet the multi-channel / multi-device challenge new communications and interaction channels have to be managed on top of traditional ones. This environment makes it challenging for organizations to be nimble and to act immediately while also putting in place strategies to achieve long-term objectives. This is both an opportunity and a threat for companies. The ability to rapidly transform will be a key to success.

Traditional IT landscapes, not designed for multi-channel purposes, are forced to follow the trend. Growing complexity and delays in innovation lead to higher maintenance costs, increased churn rates and lost sales.

A common platform for B2C and B2B multi-channel customer sales and self-service interactions (Source: SAP)

Single-Platform Solution

While some businesses have tried to address all these needs by implementing a variety of one-off, stand-alone solutions, this approach can result in systems that don’t work well together and result in a poor user experience, leading to dissatisfied customers – not to mention unhappy IT professionals that are tasked with trying to make all these disparate systems work.

To address this problem, SAP is developing its new, single-platform SAP Web Channel Experience Management 2.0 solution designed to allow businesses to keep pace with innovation, cut IT costs, and satisfy customers by running their shopping businesses on a single platform. While the first release was focused on B2C businesses, the 2.0 release will introduce native B2B capabilities and extend B2C capabilities, especially for retailers. SAP is now accepting customers and partners  interested in installing the solution as part of a ramp-up program, which offers early adopters safe and cost-effective implementation of the new software through special coaching, support, and training before and during the project.

This Web channel solution is being developed using the latest Web 2.0 standards in order to provide enhanced extensibility and setup flexibility. It will integrate end-to-end processes for e‑commerce, e-marketing, e‑service, and Web channel analytics on a robust and easily extensible Web channel platform, while innovative interfaces will provide an interactive shopping and support experience.

Benefits Consumers, Businesses and Internal Managers

With the line blurring in terms of user experience between the B2B and B2C segments, both consumers and business customers expect access to easy to use and powerful online self-services. SAP Web Channel Experience Management 2.0 will offer an innovative, intuitive, and rich common front-end user interface. Casual users will be able to purchase and get support online, while business customers will have the tools to manage their ongoing relationship with the vendor through more sophisticated options.

On the enterprise side, Web channel managers (business users and IT stakeholders) will only need a single administration tool – “Web Channel Builder” – to easily and flexibly set up, manage and extend their online channel to achieve an optimal online presence. This will provide the ability to continuously roll out website updates into production without IT involvement.

Want to be among the first to experience the new SAP Web Channel Experience Management 2.0 release? Nominate your business for RampUp.

Contact: Ingo Woesner, Winfried Gerg

Ramp-up for Web Channel Experience Management 2.0 is starting now. (Source: SAP)

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