Thursday, May 25, 2017

7 SAP-Integrated Promotions You Can Set Up on Your B2B eCommerce Website

By Ray Mannion, Corevist Solution Architect

SAP-integrated eCommerce promotions bring lots of value to SAP companies and to their customers. eCommerce promotions drive sales for the company, and they provide customers with value which they might not have experienced otherwise. The key is to build these promotions in the right place, using the right SAP functionality, so everything runs smoothly.

Any time you’re integrating Magento eCommerce to SAP (or using any other eCommerce platform, for that matter), you need to get one thing straight: put SAP first as the system of record. SAP is already the master software for business processes, so this is the most logical approach to take. It reduces data duplication and maintenance. This is especially true when you’re setting up SAP-integrated promotions for your B2B eCommerce website. The best SAP B2B eCommerce architecture will establish everything in SAP, then carry that logic to the web and the eCommerce store.

That said, here are 7 great promotions which you can set up in SAP and carry over to your eCommerce store.

1. Buy-1-get-1-free

This promotion is fairly straightforward. You can easily set it up in SAP using the buy 1 get 1 free functionality. When carried over to your eCommerce store, this functionality can be used to prompt customers with a message as they view an item in the catalog. You can also program the message to appear once the customer has added the item to their cart. SAP transaction VBN1 allows maintenance of the necessary data to activate “Free Goods,” as this is known in SAP parlance.
The beauty of putting your promotion functionality in SAP first is that your eCommerce site should immediately reflect back to the web user the same behavior that your customer service personnel see when entering these items into SAP.


2. Free samples

This feature doesn’t come specifically built out in SAP, but you can configure cross selling and use it for free samples. When used this way, the cross selling functionality will recommend free sample items for the customer to choose from.
 
To implement cross selling in your SAP system, configuration is required via the path Logistics > Sales and Distribution > Basic functions > Cross selling. The master data is maintained via transaction VB41.
 
This cross selling feature is usually used for recommended products. I.e., “you’re buying carpet, do you need any glue?” But you can use the function to offer free samples. “Because you bought this, you’re entitled to these 3 items as free samples.” You configure a pricing condition so that these recommended items will be free. The way we do it for our clients, the items are proposed. The customer either accepts the free items and adds them to the cart, or refuses them—though very few customers do that!


3. Coupon codes

At Corevist, coupon codes and promotion codes are the most commonly requested enhancement to our platform. They can be combined with direct mail efforts such as “enter promo code ABC123 to take 10% off your next order”.
 
To implement this functionality, begin with your SAP sales order pricing procedure and identify a field in the sales order header or item where you can store the promotion code. Tie this field to your pricing procedure field catalog to create a new condition table to suit the needs of your business. For example, the new table might contain the sales area, document type, promotion code, and the customer class.
 
When the customer enters the promotion code in the web, the value passes into the sales order field which then proceeds through the pricing engine to reflect the discount or special price.
 
One bit of customized logic you will need to implement is the ability to identify valid promotion codes so that you can let your customer know to check their entries.


4. Volume discount (pricing scale)

“Volume discount” is sales vernacular, while “price scales” is SAP vernacular. Either way, the idea is pretty simple. If you buy 9 of item X, the price is $15 each. If you buy 10 or more, the price is $14 each. At Corevist, we generally handle that in a way that alerts the customer to potential savings. When someone adds item X to the cart with a quantity of 9, we display a message that says, “The price for 10 or more is $14.” This is an informational message at the line-item level. That way, if they want to spend a little more now to save in the long run, they can.
 
To implement pricing scales, simply use the menu option Goto > Scales in the maintenance of your pricing conditions. Pricing is mostly maintained using transaction VK11 in SAP. The SAP help portal contains plenty of information on maintaining pricing scales.

5. Adapting group conditions for free freight

Free freight is one of the most popular promotions among our clients. It can take many forms, ranging from extremely simple to extremely complex. For example:
  •  Orders over $500 earn free freight
  •  Items not ordered in full pallets are assessed a 2 percent freight charge
  •  Orders with chemicals only have a $400 minimum order but spare parts orders have a $200 minimum order value to earn free freight.
However, free freight always presents challenges since it is often managed using “group conditions” in SAP. Group conditions essentially impose additional processing on a sales order. That additional processing tends to magnify exponentially as you add more items to the shopping cart. Group conditions operate by iterating over each item that precedes it to recalculate subtotals.
 
How do you intend to specify eligibility for free freight? If you have to total up everything in the order to determine eligibility, you’re going to have issues.
 
When it comes to free freight, our mantra is to Keep It Simple. For example, “Orders over $100 earn free freight.” However, if your company sells a variety of products that range greatly in cost and shipping cost (with some inexpensive items being expensive to ship, and vice versa), you will need to base your shipping policies at a product line level. Orders with more than 50 line items may take more than a minute for SAP to calculate—sometimes, even two minutes. Your real-time SAP ecommerce website can only be as fast as your SAP system when it comes to order processing.
 
We’ve discovered over the years that the best path is often to create a function module to analyze the order a single time after it has been simulated rather than using group conditions. One advantage of an ecommerce website is flexibility. As we like to say, pursue perfection pragmatically!

6. Rebates

This isn’t something that a B2B eCommerce site would usually report, but it can be done. For some companies, it could be a great promotion. You can show it in the pricing summary, using wording like “rebate earned.”
 
Often times, we are asked how to accrue order data over an extended period of time to allow customers to earn a discount, rebate, or better freight terms. Rebate agreements are designed by SAP to serve this purpose. Since rebate agreements manifest as pricing conditions in the sales order, all you need to do is reflect those price components in your eCommerce site. A label such as “Rebate basis points earned” or “Pre-Season threshold qualifying amount” lets your customer see how much they will earn on the current order..


7. Customer loyalty programs

While it isn’t a common request, we have encountered it before. One of our clients wanted to track how much money a given customer had spent so far in the current year. They were trying to do a loyalty points program for their customers.
 
What does a loyalty program look like in SAP B2B eCommerce? Something like this:
  1.  The user logs in.
  2.  SAP query returns the user's loyalty points either from a Rebate agreement summary, BW query, or another SAP query.
  3.  The user chooses how many points to use toward the order or line item.
  4.  The points get translated to dollars in a pricing condition entry (ZPTS -$20.00)
  5.  The user sees the discount in the header summary pricing.
  6.  Checks are carried out on each simulation and creation to make sure the points are still available.
  7.  Points are also printed on the confirmation and show up in the Invoice pricing.

In setting all of this up, you need to allow for a manual discount pricing condition in your pricing procedure, so that the web can pass in a discount amount to apply to the order.

The Takeaway

SAP promotions have been around for a long time, but we’re just beginning to see their widespread adoption in SAP-integrated eCommerce. This is a great trend because it benefits everyone involved. Even better, the promotions are generally not too difficult to set up in SAP. You just need to get your story straight in SAP and make SAP your starting point.