Recently, SAP presented their new Commerce Cloud 2011 release. They announced some key features that offer an even better customer experience and allow businesses to be more agile. In this blog, I will outline the key capabilities and improvements that were made available following the 2005 release earlier in May.
Commerce OCC API enhancements
As mentioned in one of my previous blogs, SAP is putting a lot of effort into a headless API-first approach. They created the configurable bundles OCC API that allows you to offer prepackaged options and guide customers through a process of creating their own bundles. This is an excellent feature to get more revenue and control your inventory, by exposing products that don’t sell very fast.
The cart validation OCC API allows customers to validate their cart at an early stage. You will also be able to add validation rules on the cart. The customer satisfaction will increase, as they will receive validation errors even before proceeding to the checkout page. An auto-correction on the cart entries is done as well, to assure customers that all data is correct before continuing their customer journey. This will simplify the checkout experience and will drive more conversion.
API endpoint deactivation will make it easier to substitute out-of-the-box APIs with custom API endpoints in real-time. It will also become more user-friendly, as users can enable or disable API endpoints without the need for a system restart. An OCC AddOn converter is also introduced. Converting AddOns to OCC extensions will be done in a breeze. This allows you to extend the functionality of OCC without the process of an AddOn installation.
The context-driven services AddOn is getting stronger and smarter
This SaaS integration to SAP Commerce Cloud enables a range of functionalities to deliver a more personalized experience and improve customer satisfaction and conversion. The intelligent capabilities allow you to build a picture of your customer’s behavior across commerce and non-commerce websites. Based on that data, a real-time personalization of your customer’s storefront can be done.
SAP have also added a product recommendation engine that makes use of machine learning. You will be able to promote alternative products and use the prediction mechanism to anticipate what the customer is most likely to view next.
Additionally, you will be able to detect if a customer has a certain affinity with a product or category. With the dynamic affinities, you will be able to hide or show products, categories, brands or geolocations. Context-driven services allow you to create both lifetime- and session affinities. These enhancements will result in a better customer experience, an improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, and in the end, it will boost conversion.
New extensibility possibilities: runtime Data Modeling & integration API features
With the 2011 release, you will be able to expose integration APIs at runtimeusing a Backoffice interface. It will also become safer for users, as it will prevent them from accidentally deleting integration objects or inbound channel configurations. Runtime attributes are introduced as well. These allow you to add new attributes without the need for the classic extension mechanism. The runtime attributes can be added via the Backoffice, and can be used instantly in multiple extensibility scenarios. Next to runtime attributes, you also have access to virtual attributes. They basically do the same, but in contrast to runtime attributes, these attributes are not part of the type system.
Some examples of virtual attributes: a formatted creation date on orders, a list of coupon codes on a product, product ratings that are formatted to stars instead of a review rating…
Another nice improvement are webhooks. They allow you to combine event subscriptions with runtime configurability of integration APIs to meet your extensibility use case. This means that a webhook configuration can auto-discover changes based on the root of the integration object. Once any change occurs in the root type, an event is triggered, and the payload defined by the Integration Object is sent to its destination. Webhooks support filtering, retries and monitoring.
Filtering: filter data that you don’t want to expose outside of SAP Commerce Cloud
Retries: each 5xx error is retried once after a 10 second interval
Monitoring: all requests are captured in the log results and visible in Integration Monitoring Backoffice.
This leads to a better Backoffice user experience and an increased productivity. It also allows companies to innovate very fast and in an agile way, by making changes and expanding business capabilities without affecting the Backoffice stability.
Backoffice Framework enhancements that improve the user experience
With the Adaptive search grouping, you can combine products to facilitate a more intuitive search experience for customers. In previous commerce versions, each product and its variants were treated as a separate product, which made it very time-consuming to make changes to them. However, with this useful enhancement, you will be able to change the display behavior by grouping variants in a category.
Changing the Backoffice password has become more user-friendly. In the Backoffice top system bar you will have a button to change your password. Once you have provided your old and new password, the change takes effect immediately without the need to log out and log in again.
Navigating the explorer tree will go a lot smoother thanks to a new algorithm that uses a Flexible Search-based lookup which is fast and has a low memory footprint, compared to the cache-based approach.
There were also some improvements made regarding classifications. From now on, you can bulk edit classification attributes that belong to categories assigned to the selected products. You will also be able to change the order of classification features and create classification feature groups. This can be done by using the drag and drop functionality, or by assigning them to certain groups. The last important change on classifications allows you to fetch classification metadata using the OData REST endpoints or via an Impex. Examples of classification metadata are: classification systems, versions, or attributes.
Some other enhancements:
In advanced search, you can filter the items with both date and time, or with date only
You can configure the column delimiter for CSV export per type or for all types
A new feature for automated testing against a running application using ytestid
Overall, we can conclude that the new SAP Commerce Cloud 2011 release improves the user efficiency and productivity by simplifying time-consuming manual tasks, ensures good system quality and stability, and certainly improves the customer experience, satisfaction and conversion.
If you have questions or feel that we can help you grow your business with SAP Commerce Cloud, feel free to contact me.