Sitecore Commerce: An In-Depth Introduction
With yesterday’s announcement of Sitecore Commerce, we wanted to provide some more insight into precisely what is now available. Sitecore released three products: Sitecore Commerce 7.2 powered by Commerce Server, Sitecore Commerce Connect 7.2 and Sitecore Commerce Server 11.0. Although Sitecore Commerce 7.2, powered by Commerce Server now represents our primary offering, the other products represent key aspects of foundational technology as well as having their own discrete uses. Each is outlined in the brief below.
Sitecore Commerce 7.2, powered by Commerce Server
As the hallmark of yesterday’s press release, this software product represents Sitecore’s broad enterprise commerce offering, which is targeted towards both B2C and B2B customers spanning all industry verticals.
Under the hood, the product extends the Sitecore Experience Platform 7.2 by adding a comprehensive set of fully customizable commerce capabilities, such as:
- Catalog Management to allow for highly structured representation of categories, products (or services), and product variants across multiple languages and currencies. Advanced capabilities include aggregation, segmentation and targeting for scenarios such as loyalty programs or B2B purchasing contracts.
- Inventory Management to track item availability and configure logic around stock-out scenarios.
- Discount Management to facilitate percentage or fixed amount discounts on items or orders as well as shipping discounts based upon session context, basket contents, and/or user profile attributes. Also included are the ability to have both unique and personalized coupons with redemption validation.
- Profile Management to allow for the storage and management of complex personal metadata such as organizations (for B2B), roles, address books and wish lists.
- Order Calculation and Capture to allow for the correct calculation and submission of orders to ERP or B2B trading partners based upon an organization’s unique business requirements. Included is the capability to integrate virtually any tax, payment, fulfillment, or other service required based on anyone’s unique business or market requirements.
- Web Services and adapters (via support of Microsoft BizTalk® technologies) to over 30 different ERP systems (such as SAP or Oracle) and B2B trading protocols such as EDI or AS2.
- First-class merchandising experience, comprised of:
- Merchandising Manager, a purpose-built tool to help merchandisers and merchandise marketers easily manage large product and service catalogs with a focus on providing an extremely straight-forward, task-driven interface that makes it possible to complete complex catalog management tasks in a minimum of clicks.
- Extensions to the Sitecore Content Editor and Page Editor to provide full, in-context merchandising abilities as part of the content management experience.
Sitecore Commerce 7.2, powered by Commerce Server includes and is built on top of Sitecore Commerce Connect 7.2 and Commerce Server 11.0.
Unique capabilities include:
- Commerce Across All Channels – Every experience deliverable by the Sitecore Experience Platform is now seamlessly commerce-enabled. So, you can deliver robust commerce experiences over the Web, Mobile Web, Native Mobile, Print, Social, E-Mail, and more.
- Searchable Fusion of Content and Commerce – No longer are organizations limited by the lack of ability to easily affiliate unstructured content and media assets around their product or service catalogs. Nor are they hampered by the inability to have hierarchy, categorization, and relationships within their content. And search just works across everything – with automatic facets based upon underlying catalog taxonomy and the ability to define new facets and manage boosting within search results at will.
- Commerce-enabled Campaigns – The Sitecore Experience Platform already features extremely robust marketing capabilities. Now, personalization and automation is fully commerce-aware, enabling targeting around such dimensions as product viewing history, basket contents, order history, and/or personal profile attributes.
- Full Conversion Optimization – Leveraging the deep analytics, personalization, and testing capabilities of the Sitecore Experience Platform, marketers can deliver a tailored experience that optimizes for conversions and repeat business. Users now have the insights to take appropriate actions, the tools to streamline end-user experience, and the ability to create automated follow-ups such as e-mail notifications on abandoned carts or back-in-stock notifications.
Sitecore Commerce Connect 7.2
Sitecore Commerce Connect provides several important foundational technology capabilities.
First, it serves as the developer experience for building commerce solutions with the Sitecore Experience Platform. So, when you are, for example, manipulating a shopping cart, you are actually working through the Connect programming model.
Second, Connect commerce enables the rest of the Experience Platform so that such core elements as the rules engine and engagement plans can react to and interact with full commerce entities.
Lastly, and most importantly, Connect also allows for the integration of third party commerce or ERP systems in the Experience Platform. Although Sitecore Commerce 7.2, powered by Commerce Server, is a hallmark internal use case, the core commerce integration capabilities are equally open to our technology partners and customers for integrating with their own systems.
We are very excited about this because taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach to commerce simply doesn’t work. Sitecore is committed to offering customers the right option to suit their needs.
Sitecore Commerce Server 11.0
Sitecore Commerce Server 11.0 represents the latest edition of the Commerce Server family. In addition to serving as an underpinning to Sitecore Commerce 7.2, powered by Commerce Server, this release adds:
- Support for the latest technology platforms, such as Windows Server 2012 R2
- Merchandising Manager as a purpose-built, browser-based toolset offering end-to-end product catalog and inventory management capabilities, while featuring significant improvements in ease of use over the previous desktop-based toolset.
- Easy upgrade path from Commerce Server 2007 and above
- Incremental upgrade path to Sitecore Commerce 7.2, powered by Commerce Server, and all of the new capabilities brought forth by being part of the Sitecore Experience Platform
- Global ecosystem and product support from Sitecore’s regional presence in over 55 countries
Sitecore is excited to officially enter the realm of commerce platform providers. But Sitecore Commerce 7.2, powered by Commerce Server, is just an “opening act”. Stay tuned for more e-commerce news, including the introduction of true omni-channel retailing through our partnership with Microsoft Dynamics AX®.
Please join us in Las Vegas or Barcelona for Sitecore Symposium, where the product team will be offering commerce sessions for both business and technical audiences.