WebSphere Commerce EnterpriseFeature Pack 8

Aurora as a B2B direct starter store

You can publish the Aurora starter store as a B2B direct store and take advantage of features that are offered by the Aurora starter store plus extra B2B capabilities. Get your B2B e-commerce site up and running faster at a lower cost by using the Aurora starter store as your starting point. With B2B-optimized features built right into the storefront, you can minimize the amount of customization that is required to provide an optimal shopping experience to your business customers.

Pages showing examples of B2B capabilities of the Aurora starter store

For the B2B direct business model, the Aurora starter store replaces the Elite starter store. The Elite starter store is deprecated starting in Feature Pack 8.

B2B capabilities in the storefront

The Aurora starter store offers a functionally rich customer experience with the following features that are designed for sites that sell directly to businesses:
  • Requisition lists, including support for uploading requisition lists
  • Multiple saved orders
  • B2B-optimized catalog browsing widgets
  • Self-serve registration for organizations and buyers
  • Self-serve buyer organization administration
  • Approval support for buyer registration and orders
  • Buy-on-behalf-of capability for buyer administrators
  • Organization and contract selection
  • Contract pricing
  • Product entitlement
  • Guest browsing and shopping
  • Support for account and contract terms on check-out pages, such as purchase orders, credit line payments, and shipping charge types

For more information on these features, see B2B-optimized features in the Aurora starter store.

For your B2B direct store, you can also take advantage of all the extensive storefront features that are available for the Aurora starter store in general:

Technology enhancements

B2B capabilities are incorporated into the existing Aurora starter store, rather than into a separate store. This approach means that your B2B direct store can use all the technology enhancements that IBM has added since the Aurora starter store was released in Feature Pack 5. The following table summarizes some of the key enhancements that are introduced in recent feature packs:

Store enhancements that are introduced in recent feature packs

Commerce Composer for managing pages and layouts The catalog browsing pages and content pages in the Aurora starter store are managed in the Commerce Composer tool, giving Management Center users unprecedented control over page creation and design. In Feature Pack 8, several B2B-optimized widgets for catalog browsing are added to the extensive Commerce Composer widget library to enhance category, product, and search results page layouts.

Other B2B-specific pages, such as the saved order pages, requisition list pages, and organization and buyer administration pages, are not managed in the Commerce Composer tool. However, the functions in the pages are provided by widgets that are arranged in templates. Both the widgets and templates are built on the Commerce Composer framework to simplify the transition to the Commerce Composer tool.

Responsive web design The Commerce Composer templates and widgets follow responsive web design patterns to provide a consistent user experience on any device. By adopting the patterns that are modeled in the store, you can extend the B2B experience to all touch points and reduce development and test times when compared to developing device-specific sites.
Representational State Transfer (REST) services The Aurora starter store uses REST services extensively to facilitate the invocation of classic controller commands and the activation of data beans. The WebSphere Commerce REST API includes support for a wide range of store capabilities.
WebSphere Commerce Search (Solr) enhancements The Aurora starter store is powered by WebSphere Commerce search to deliver search-based catalog browsing flows that support contract-based pricing and product entitlement. For your B2B direct store, take advantage of recent enhancements to search capabilities, including performance improvements, search-based navigation, dynamic merchandising, and rule-based sales categories.

Publishing the Aurora starter store as a B2B direct store

The Aurora.sar store archive contains assets to publish both a consumer direct and a B2B direct starter store. In the store publish wizard, you can choose to publish the Aurora.sar store archive as a stand-alone B2B direct store, or as a B2B direct storefront asset store in the extended sites business model. After you publish the store, you can use the Store Management tool to enable or disable store functions, such as saved orders and requisition lists, to suit your business needs. Certain store functions that are more typical in consumer direct stores are disabled by default, such as wish lists and registration fields for gender and age. However, you can enable any store function that makes sense for your B2B direct business, with a few exceptions (see Aurora starter store functions (Feature Pack 7 and later)).

If you want to display contract prices in the catalog browsing pages, you can index contract prices when you publish the Aurora.sar store archive. To understand the available options for indexing contract prices, see Indexing contract prices in WebSphere Commerce search.

Sample B2B catalog

When you publish the Aurora starter store as a B2B direct store, the store uses a sales catalog that contains rich sample data for hardware products. The sample data showcases key B2B-optimized capabilities in the storefront. Here are some examples:
  • Certain products in the Fasteners category have many defining attributes, which results in many SKUs for the product. This product data demonstrates the capabilities of two B2B-optimized catalog browsing widgets:
    Tip: To see an example of a product with many SKUs displayed in the SKU List widget, view the following product in the Aurora hardware catalog: Hex Head Shoulder Screw (FSC039_3910).
  • Certain attributes that are used as facets for hardware products have an associated image for each value. Examples are the Head style attribute for products in the Screws category, and the Bulb style attribute for products in the Lighting category. This attribute data demonstrates how merchandisers can enhance faceted navigation by adding images to the facet values.
    Tip: To view the facet value images in the Aurora storefront, you must perform some configuration steps after you publish the Aurora starter store. For more information, see Enabling image-based facets for the B2B Hardware category. After you complete the configuration steps, view any of the subcategory pages (Nuts, Bolts, Screws, or Lighting) to see the facet value images in the left sidebar.