SAP Releases Jam Communities for SAP Hybris Commerce

SAP today expanded its e-commerce offerings with Jam Communities for SAP hybris Commerce. According to Sameer Patel, senior vice president and general manager of products at SAP, the solution enables brands to embed e-commerce capabilities directly into community pages, thus creating a more seamless experience for customers.

According to Patel, consumers are increasingly buying products online, and their decisions are often influenced by peer guidance they find via Web search. But while many companies are equipped with strong community pages that tend to drive significant Web traffic, most forums do not allow for an easy transition to the company's e-commerce platform.

SAP Jam Communities aims to craft a more linear path for the buyer, one in which customer-generated materials, such as review pages, blogs, and forums, lead them more naturally to the option of buying, Patel says. The product draws on the collaborative capabilities SAP introduced in its Jam tool, which focused on employee engagement, to allow the customer to engage in deep and relevant interactions. The product is designed to give customers access to various related products that they might wish to buy, without leaving a page. Giving buying options on these pages will provide companies with better access to data about customers' tendencies and preferences, Patel says.

For SAP, the integration of e-commerce into the community environment is the next logical step, given the many opportunities companies are missing due to fragmented experiences. "SAP is…involved in securely closing millions of transactions on a daily basis," Patel says. "By injecting SAP Jam communities into the process, we can extend the relationship not just [between communities and] the commerce transaction, but the entire customer journey, all the way from awareness and consideration to purchase and loyalty."

What is unique about SAP's offering, Patel says, is its ability to apply flexible, customizable functionality to products that require different levels of research before a customer will make a commitment. For instance, firms that are selling mobile phone accessories will likely require a simplified experience that doesn't bog down the customer, since customers typically only want to see the reviews and not much else beyond that, Patel says. But "if a company is selling something that's as complex as a washing machine," or medical devices that require more research, "[the customer will require] inbound content marketing that will help him make a decision," Patel says. The solution helps companies figure out what is the most appropriate piece of content to produce.

With the amount of smart products on the market expected to soar in coming years, Patel says it's important that companies proactively adjust their communities accordingly. Smart products, he says, "will require a lot more handholding when [customers are] buying them, thinking about buying them, and after they've bought them. We want to make sure we've provided a platform that is designed and optimized with the assisted sales process that is going to be more and more prevalent, we believe."

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