Some of the significant challenges that are unique to the e-commerce architecture include:

  • Customer engagement: Personalizing product offerings and site content with reminders and digital messaging leads to a more engaging customer experience.
  • Omnichannel delivery: Adapting the sales experience (online, in store or via a mobile device) to a particular channel, while still delivering consistent functionality and user experience.
  • Adapt to changes in market: Integrating social analytics into planning process for merchandising supports timely response to customer demand.

Consider the following functional requirements:

  • Users opt-in to receive personalized content and notifications of availability and product launch.
  • Social media analysis and purchase data integrated with cognitive systems to deliver merchandising and marketing advice.
  • Dynamic catalog based on user purchase history and shopping patterns.
  • Integration of systems to deliver a consistent customer experience across all channels.

Shown below is a reference e-commerce architecture.

A customer wants to buy new garments online to attend a wedding in 4-5 weeks. She searches a specific retailer online. The retailer offers the merchandise both online and in retail stores in the mall. The retailer also maintains new designer clothes for special occasion. This illustrates the flow of this typical scenario for the digital transformation of the retailer’s commerce enabled by cloud.

Step 1: The customer browses information about the needed garment using a mobile phone. She learns that there will be a new design of the garment available in two weeks. The customer registers on the site to receive information about the availability of the new design. The customer’s presence on specific mobile pages and preferences entered as part of the registration process are captured through the commerce analytics and marketing components.

Step 2: A few days later, the retailer introduces the new design in their product catalog. The product is launched through a marketing campaign on various channels, including an e-campaign. The updated e-commerce catalogs are available through various channels.

Step 3: The customer receives an email from the retailer about the new garment design. The customer opens the email and clicks on a link to learn more about the product. Digital experience components, such as digital messaging, are used to engage the customer.

Step 4: Based on the customer profile, three different variations of the product are shown on the website. When the customer appears on the site, marketing dynamic preferences can be rendered using the customer’s preferences (captured in steps 1 and 3).

Step 5: The customer uses a special promotion offered to her as a preferred customer. This is based on the past purchases and order capture component of the e-commerce applications.

Step 6: The customer places her order (payment processing occurs) using the e-commerce applications. The specific customer order capture information is forwarded to distributed order management.

Step 7: The retailer fulfills the order, ships it to the customer, and sends an email to the customer with tracking info. Supply chain management is called by distributed order management to fulfill the captured order.

Step 8: The retailer also checks the inventory in order to replenish from their contract supplier by using the warehouse management.

Step 9: The retailer sends out appropriate purchase orders, drop ship requests, and service requests, and receives shipment notices, acknowledgements, and invoices. The supply chain and logistics management components enable these steps.

Step 10: Information obtained from social analytics (including a survey from this customer) suggests that the new design of the product is more popular than the original design. The commerce analytics subcomponents social commerce and sentiment analytics are used for this purpose.

Step 11: Information obtained from social analytics is passed to merchandise inventory for further analytics and optimization. The merchandising is adjusted based on feedback from commerce analytics and warehouse management.

Omnichannel retailing is not just about a distributed order management system, it’s about managing the complexities of the changing landscape of how customers order to in-store, warehouse and transportation systems. Creating simplicity from complexity is the objective, and learn how leading retailers are doing this, today.