SAP aligns your back-end operations as per business best practices. However many enterprise are enhancing their hard core brick and mortar businesses by having an online sales channel. We shall shortly look at what are the things which are driving companies to do that. However more interesting is what are the popular e-commerce option for the companies and also what are the key success factors for the online sales channel.
Why are enterprises going online?
There are multiple reasons why companies are adding the online sales channels. Of course one reason may out-weigh the others for the company in question but all of them surely add up. Though not complete, the reasons for adding the online store are as follows.
A. Credibility and Product Complete Information
For many enterprises an online presence is not only generating sales but to showcase the latest product catalog along with the detailed features, specifications and value proposition. This not only adds credibility but also can be referred to by end customers buying products from other channels lets say retailers. Moreover, some customers may want to buy directly from the OEM to ensure genuine purchase. An online store helps the enterprise in these aspects.
B. Making B2B Order Entry Easier for Customers
Not all business partners of a company run on Electronic orders. With B2C portals becoming popular, customers across the world are demanding same experience in doing B2B world. The process of customer specific agreements and tracking becomes important here. But surely as a customer you would favor a vendor who can give you ease of ordering and tracking similar to B2C portal, isnt it?
C. Added Revenues at fraction of additional cost
Its a common knowledge that the brick and mortar operations are much more cost intensive. Web based or mobile sales not only offer companies an opportunity to improve top line but also help them in improving the profitability figures.
D. Uniformity across channels
E-Commerce solution can also help companies extend into mobile commerce. The easiest way is to go for a responsive design and enable customers to search, scan, compare and buy products from their mobiles and tablets. It is important that value proposition is consistent across channels.
The popular E-Commerce choices for enterprises running on SAP
There are many e-commerce options for customers who are running on SAP. The choice may differ based on complexity and budget of the company. However, most customers would tend to integrate SAP with the following options.
The popular choices are listed below.
Now a part of Oracle suite of products, ATG stands for Art Technology Group. ATG is known for feature rich merchandising and call center features. ATG has good web-service and integration capabilities. However ATG is resource intensive and finding an ATG expert can get little difficult. A typical integration budget for SAP ATG Integration could be 1 – 5 million USD.
Hybris has a similar story when you compare it with ATG. The difference being that it has been acquired by SAP and hence is one of the favorites among the groups. Hybris is leaner as compared to ATG and also resource less intensive. The top feature of Hybris is product information management which helps customers easily launch multi-language and multi-currency store out of the box.
Magento is arguably the most commonly used online store. Its a commercial opensource solution which is far more affordable and simpler to use. Magento has tremendous community and feature set which can help in launching a multi-store, multi-language and multi-currency web store. Magento enterprise version is most commonly used with a SAP back end. Although Magento is typically used in B2C scenarios, it is also common in B2B world.
selling online is the latest trend, people look forward for the work to be done in an easiest way. Online shopping provides effortless shopping and selling of products. BigCommerce provides online business base to the stores by providing kind of shopping cart software. Generally, shopping cart software providers provides the shopping cart software in two ways one is licensed one another is hosted one. BigCommerce is in the list of hosted one, it have 400 features using which one can develop a online stores and it helps you to increase traffic. It has built 96 templates which offers wide variety of choices.
It is an Open-Source e-commerce solution which have 275 features and across the world it is used by more than 120,000 stores. PrestaShop is for small and medium businesses. It has bagged the award of Best Open Source E-commerce application in 2010. It easily connects with payment gateways like Google Checkout, PayPal via API calls. 41 languages are available in PrestaShop though, French and English are supported in all the versions. It tracks visitors, views customer Profiles, tracks orders and sales, catalogs statistics, affiliates statistics.
Critical Success Factors for an E-Commerce Initiative
Not all web stores are successful. Therefore it is important to understand and acknowledge what can help make the online channel work. They are listed down in order of importance.
(i) Consistency – Users shopping online must have the confidence on what they are buying. They should get information in a consistent manner. For example a person buying an electronic gadget may want to search for specifications and product features on company’s website, social forums and printed material before placing the order.
(ii) Customer Experience – Customers would want a complete end to end experience while buying things online. This include factors like promotions, personalization, user interface , customer support, check-out and delivery of goods.
(iii) Deals Promotions and New Launches – Sales spike during festive seasons and due to other cyclic parameters. Making them available on company’s web store in a prompt manner with appropriate social media engagement can go a long way in making e-commerce work for company.
It can be noted that each of the above success criterion depend on how closely the operation of the enterprise is inter-connected. New product launches, pricing and promotions and order handling are volume intensive and in-fact have almost zero margin of error.