IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising price list integration

You can integrate WebSphere Commerce with IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising, formerly known as IBM DemandTec, to provide your WebSphere Commerce store with better pricing optimization and management capabilities through IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising. This integration uses the Data Load utility to load data that is exported from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising.

IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising is a leading provider of cloud-based price, promotion, and merchandizing analytics. By integrating with IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising, you can simplify and streamline the pricing process with rules-based pricing and then quickly approve and deliver pricing changes through this integration to your store. You can configure this integration to retrieve price list data that is exported from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising Price Optimization, IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising Price Management, or IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising Markdown Optimization.
  • IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising Price Optimization enables you to optimize base or everyday prices to achieve sales, volume, profit, and price image objectives for regular, everyday items. For more information, see Price Optimization.
  • IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising Price Management enables you to improve execution and compliance with your pricing strategy and boost efficiency by automating time-consuming pricing tasks. For more information, see Price Management.
  • IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising Markdown Optimization enables you to optimize markdown timing and depth to help achieve inventory, profit, and revenue objectives. For more information, see MarkdownOptimization.

This integration uses a Data Load utility scheduled job and an SFTP transport to retrieve price list CSV files that are exported from an IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising. The scheduled job then calls the Data Load utility to load the pricing data into WebSphere Commerce. You can configure the scheduled job for this integration to run on an interval. By configuring this interval, the job can routinely check the file transfer site for newly exported files and then automatically download the files and call the Data Load utility to load the files. To change how frequently the utility job runs, change the schedule interval parameter for the job in the Administration Console.

Benefits and capabilities

By integrating the Data Load utility with IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising, you can gain the following benefits and capabilities:
  • You can ensure that your store prices are always managed and optimized based on the pricing strategy for your site that is set up within IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising.
  • You do not need to copy files from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising to WebSphere Commerce or run the Data Load utility to load the files.
  • Business users can access and, if needed, manage the price list data with the Catalog Filter and Pricing tool after the data from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising is loaded.
  • WebSphere Commerce EnterpriseWebSphere Commerce ProfessionalYou can configure the scheduled job to include parameters that identify a specific workspace. With these parameters, the Data Load utility can load the price list data into the workspace. Business users can then view the updated price list data in the Catalog tool in that workspace. The Catalog Filter and Pricing tool is not available when a business user is working within a task or task group in a workspace. The Catalog Filter and Pricing tool is available only when a business user is working on approved content.
  • This integration does not affect any price rules. If you use price rules, the rules continue to determine which price list is used for getting the price of a catalog entry for a store.

Considerations and limitations

Before you configure the Data Load utility integration with IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising, review the following limitations:
  • You can use this integration to retrieve data only for loading into WebSphere Commerce. The scheduled job and transport for this integration does not support sending data from WebSphere Commerce to IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising. If you require data from WebSphere Commerce to be available in IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising, work with your IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising implementation team to create the data within IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising.
  • You can use this integration to retrieve and load only the base offer price list and markdown price list data from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising.
  • You can export pricing data only for existing WebSphere Commerce price lists. If you want to import a new price list, you must first create the price list object in WebSphere Commerce. Then, you can retrieve and load the offer price data for that price list. The price list name in the file from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising must match the name for the price list in WebSphere Commerce.
  • By default, you cannot download a specific exported price list file from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising multiple times. After the scheduled job successfully downloads a file to a local directory in your WebSphere Commerce environment, the job deletes the file from the IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising file transfer site. To retrieve and load the same data into another WebSphere Commerce environment, you must have an administrator configure the scheduled job to not delete files from the file transfer site. Otherwise, you must export the file from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising to the file transfer site before you can download the file into another environment.
  • You must work with your IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising implementation team to configure IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising to export pricing data in a format that is compatible with the Data Load utility. Contact your IBM Professional Services team member if you are interested in this integration.
    • A catalog entry must have the same part number in both IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising and WebSphere Commerce. The part number is used by the Data Load utility to ensure that the pricing data from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising is associated with the correct catalog entry in WebSphere Commerce. The catalog entry part numbers in the file from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising must match the part number value for the catalog entries in WebSphere Commerce.
    • If your site includes multiple stores, the store identifier must be included as a prefix in the file name for each file that is exported to the file transfer site.
    • If you need to add or delete catalog entries or price lists in your WebSphere Commerce store or site, update IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising to add or remove the same objects.
    • You cannot include pricing data in multiple currencies in the same exported CSV file. Each exported file includes data for only one currency. To export price list data in multiple currencies, an instance must be set up in IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising for each currency. You must export the price list file from each instance to export the pricing data for all of the currencies. You must export all of the price list files into the same directory on your file transfer site, regardless of currency. When the scheduled job for this integration runs, the job downloads all of the files from the file transfer site. The Data Load utility then loads all of the currency data into the WebSphere Commerce database.

Integration process flow

When you integrate the Data Load utility with IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising, the integration uses the following high-level process to retrieve and load price list data:

  1. In IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising, a Pricing Analyst determines the everyday offer price or markdown price for each catalog entry in a store by using the appropriate price rules and scenarios.
  2. A user with the permission to approve the prices, approves the catalog entry prices in IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising. Then, a user with permission to export the prices exports a CSV file that includes the prices to the store download directory on the file transfer site. This directory includes all files that are exported from IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising for a store.
  3. In WebSphere Commerce, an administrator configures an SFTP transport and a Data Load utility scheduler job that can access and retrieve exported files from the file transfer site. When the administrator configures the SFTP transport, the administrator needs to configure one, and only one, transport for each store. The administrator can configure multiple Data Load utility scheduled jobs to run for a store, but each job must use the same transport.

    WebSphere Commerce EnterpriseIf your site uses the extended sites store model, configure the scheduled job to download and load price lists into the appropriate store. Ensure that you always load a price list into the store that owns the price list. If a price list is owned by an extended site store, load the data into that store. If the price list is owned by the asset store, load the data into the asset store.

  4. When the configured start time and date for the scheduled job occurs or the configured schedule interval elapses, the Data Load utility scheduler job runs. The job uses the configured SFTP transport to check the file transfer site for any exported price list CSV files. If exported CSV files are available, the scheduled job command downloads all of the exported price list CSV files for a store to a local directory in your WebSphere Commerce environment. By default, the scheduled job deletes the files on the IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising file transfer site after the job downloads the files. An administrator can configure the scheduled job to not delete files from the file transfer site.
  5. The scheduled job then calls the Data Load utility to load the downloaded files into the WebSphere Commerce database. This load operation updates the offer or markdown price data for the appropriate catalog entries.
  6. A Pricing Manager in WebSphere Commerce can then use the Catalog Filter and Pricing tool in Management Center to verify that the correct price list or lists are updated. The Pricing Manager can also use store preview to verify that the correct prices display for the catalog entries in the storefront.

Configuring the integration

To integrate the Data Load utility with IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising, you must configure an SFTP transport and scheduler job for the integration. You must also work with your IBM Professional Services team member to configure IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising to export price list data that is compatible with WebSphere Commerce price lists. For more information, see Configuring the IBM Omni-Channel Merchandising integration.

Demonstration