Sitecore Commerce 8.1: What is in store for you?
With Sitecore Commerce 8.1, we encounter industry’s “first fully integrated commerce and content platform” driven by the pursuit of developing a seamless encounter.
Sitecore Commerce 8 traditionally accompanied Sitecore 8 and now with Sitecore Commerce 8.1, a second commerce-oriented product has been added to the Sitecore community, namely, Sitecore Commerce powered by Microsoft Dynamics AX. The product is motivated to produce an omni-channel experience. This implies that matters like identical price, shipping, tax and so on are calculated and decided for the physical store and the online store. With this capacity, you can buy the product online and have an option to get it delivered or picked it up from a store. Such a leap allows us to create personalized realities for different customers according to their interaction with the products and store behavior. In an interview with CMS Critic, Ryan Donovan (Sitecore’s Corporate VP of Commerce) pointed out that the prime goal with Sitecore Commerce 8.1 is, “to help lower the barrier of entry and help build knowledge share,” and improvise the product to provide stronger capacities from a commerce viewpoint.
How does Sitecore Commerce 8.1 stand out in the crowd of e-commerce products?
Largely targeted at medium and large-scale businesses, Sitecore Experience Platform allows configuration and management of their online shops in Sitecore. The more important quality is that it creates a space to provide interconnected e-commerce experience to the customers.
Here is a list of features of Sitecore Commerce 8.1 that enhances the Sitecore family portfolio:
- Usability Powers: You can choose as many products and categories and modify their character (relationships and attributes). You can apply the changes to them through inline validation.
- Cross and up-selling: creation of a symbiotic/two-way relation is possible allowing you to cross and up-sell.
- Commerce-Driven Experience: For those users employing ScpbCS8.1 or ScpbMD8.1, the Sitecore Experience Profile is completely functional. A series of functions like list of abandoned carts, individual order and cart information, cart removals, metrics for current visitor (average order value and total order sum) and most popular products are enabled now.
- Microsoft Dynamics: Within a single Sitecore Commerce deployment, many channels are supported.
- Profile Provider: Sitecore can be personalized according to the attributed stave on user profile of Microsoft Dynamics AX.
- Extra Support: The outstanding feature within Microsoft Dynamics is the enhanced support system with MS Dynamics AX2012 R3 CU9.
- Deployment Skills: It has highly functional deployment. There are seven added deployment capacities in Sitecore Commerce 8.1, namely: Azure PaaS, PowerShell involvement, NuGet packages, Fallback Language, Commerce Server configuration, Index Configuration Files and Commerce Connect.
- Azure PaaS: With Sitecore Commerce 8.1, you can run the Commerce Server on Azure SQL (v12) and Azure Cloud Services alone. The entire PaaS deployment can be based on Azure. While Azure Web apps are still not supported, they will be added in during the coming releases.
- PowerShell: Previously, creating or adding resources to Commerce Server sites was only possible through PuP and consequently, their management could only be carried out in Commerce Server Manager. However, now all the tasks can be done through PowerShell CmdLets.
- NuGet packages: The Commerce server install folder now comes with NuGet folder containing the NuGet packages which can be used for Customer Server web services, for automatic importing of Commerce Server CmdLets to the Package Manage Console and for accessing the default files that work with Orders system.
- Fallback Language: You can set a Fallback Language using the new cataloge pipeline (getCommerceCatalogFallbackLanguage). This can be applied to the catalog items when they are exhibited as items on Sitecore.
- Commerce Server configuration: Earlier, one had to add entries into the web.config to deploy a Sitecore site. Now, the Commerce Server configuration section can be saved outside the web.config in an isolated .config file.
- Index Configuration Files: Search indexes are now dissected and classified in separate configuration files. This allows you to enable and disable the indexes depending on the needs of your environment.
- Commerce Connect: With the newly added pipeline processor (UpdateVisitorEAPlan), the status of a user is automatically updated in the suitable EAP.