It’s not every day that new commerce platforms get announced – these are rare events, primarily because the build costs are beyond the reach of many start-ups, and big companies often struggle with innovation.
But last week at CX Live, SAP did exactly that by announcing SAP Upscale Commerce to great acclaim. Many people at the event asked if it came from an acquisition by SAP, but this is not the case: SAP Upscale Commerce is an all new commerce platform built from scratch on modern cloud architecture, by SAP. It fundamentally resets the industry agenda about what a commerce platform is, and in a single move dramatically expands the market for enterprise-grade commerce platforms.
What was announced?
SAP announced the immediate availability of SAP Upscale Commerce for early adopters in the US Market. Upscale is a new SaaS-based unified commerce platform that brings AI-powered retail merchandising science to mid-market Retail, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and direct-to-consumer companies. Upscale can be deployed in as little as a few days, delivers rich mobile-first shopping and blends online and in-store shopping into seamless experiences. It can be deployed either as a stand-alone commerce system complete with order management, or alongside an existing commerce platform.
Designed for the mid-market, Upscale is targeted at B2C brands, retailers and CPG companies in North America that have a limited budget for software and implementation. These will typically fall into one of two segments:
- Mid-market Retail, CPG and direct to consumer companies
- Smaller divisions of large enterprise companies (including SAP Commerce Cloud customers) looking for a fast deployment for a new brand, promotional ‘pop-up’ store or smaller market.
Why is Upscale so different?
- Fast commerce– Traditional enterprise commerce platforms are designed to be customized for your business perfectly, which is incredibly valuable but can result in long implementations. Upscale complements these types of commerce systems, with fast commerce that can be deployed in 7 – 14 days. This enables new use cases, such as launching new products, smaller markets or going direct-to-consumer which need to be done quickly and cost effectively.
- Low TCO– There are many applications for commerce platforms where the ‘customised for your business’ approach doesn’t work. Upscale provides a code free deployment option that enables brands and retailers to create beautiful new experiences with simple drag and drop configuration. As a multitenant SaaS platform, there are no upgrades (everyone is always on the latest version) and no scheduled downtime. This results in a dramatically lower Total Cost of Ownership.
- Mobile first– Commerce experience on mobile today is generally poor: while its gets 70% of the traffic, only 20% of the conversions are on mobile. Upscale provides easy and quick deployments of rich native mobile experiences via mobile apps and progressive web apps (which provide app like experiences on mobile web). Native mobile gestures (such as swiping, tapping, pinching etc) and one-tap-buy transform usability and drive significant increases in sales.
- Based on AI– Most commerce platforms today were built focused on transactions. This results in manual merchandising, which is driven by rules. Upscale is very different: while brands and retailers can still merchandise manually, Artificial Intelligence was built-in to Upscale from the first line of code. This means that many normally manual tasks are automated. The system automatically learns how to sell more and generate more profit. This spans three traditionally separate disciplines: personalization, merchandising and distributed order management to maximize profit for the brand, and optimize the experience for the consumer.
- Cross channel– Consumers expect to be able to shop across channels with ease, as far as they are concerned they are just shopping the brand. Today’s cross channel shopping experiences are very clunky, with customers repeatedly having to start over (or ‘re-shop’) as they move from a mobile, to a desktop, to in-store. Upscale provides Distributed Order Management (DOM) which enables customers to shop easily across channels, and includes new customer journeys like buy online in-store, and ship from a near-by store for example.
And finally, one more thing: Why did SAP name it Upscale? Upscale reflects the spirit of this new phase in commerce: Start fast. Scale big.
To learn more about Fast Commerce, join this SAP webcast on November 6th.