HCL Commerce Enterprise

Extended sites

HCL Commerce supports the Extended Sites business model, where a seller can have many sites that are aimed at different audiences. For example, a seller might create sites based on geographical regions, while some customized sites might be created for individual large customers. All of these different sites can share assets such as the catalog, whereby each site selects the subset of the catalog that is presented, and adjusts the prices as necessary. A customer cannot share a shopping cart across multiple sites; a customer has a shopping cart at each location.

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The extended sites business model allows a business, or enterprise to use multiple strategies to make its products available to customers. Many different sites can be presented to the market and each is perceived by customers as unique. The business can customize sites by:

  • Geography
  • Brand
  • Market segment
  • Customer

Each site appears unique to the customers that access it, and each site can implement business rules unique to that site. For example, different geographical areas might have unique legal and tax regulations.

This business model creates and manages a set of common configuration data assets that are shared across all sites. For each site that the enterprise needs to present to the market, you can create an extended site that contains all of the necessary configurations to uniquely position the site for a specific market.

For more information about extended sites, see the WebSphere Support Technical Exchange presentation entitled available on the product support site.

Extended site business models and scenarios

Extended site stores can be created as either consumer direct or B2B stores. In the Consumer Direct business model, an enterprise sells goods or services to the general public. In variations of this business model, the set of consumers might be restricted. For example, the consumers might be employees of a company. With the B2B business model, an enterprise sells to other businesses, either users of the products or, in some cases, resellers of the products.

There are some common scenarios within these business models in which the selling enterprise needs to create multiple sites. Such scenarios include unique sites for different geographical areas, different brands, different markets, and for large customers. For each extended site scenario, you can create a main welcome page, where a customer selects the specific site they want to visit. For example, if you have a Canadian site and an American site, you can have a single main page that links customers to the individual sites. Including this main page requires customization.

Sites for different geographical areas

Although the enterprise maintains a single set of goods or services, any one of the geographical areas can decide which subset of products is available within its site. Such differences in the set of available products might be due to legal restrictions, or might result from marketing decisions. Other examples include tax regulations, which differ significantly from country to country, and shipping rules, which depend on arrangements with local shipping providers.

Marketing campaigns can be targeted at specific geographical areas, with specific advertising, or promotions that are offered in only selected areas. Marketing messages can also be delivered at the enterprise level, with global campaigns that are shared by all geographical areas.

Even for shared assets, some aspects might need to vary. For example, product descriptions can be shared by all sites that sell the particular product. However, each geography can present these descriptions in a different set of languages. For example, in the US, customers might choose to see the site in English or Spanish, while in Canada many sites are available in English and French. A multinational seller needs to set up sites so that the appropriate choice of languages is available in each geography.

A site setup for a particular geography must present pricing in the currency appropriate for the corresponding country. This setup involves either managing prices in multiple currencies, or dynamic currency conversion throughout the shopping or purchasing process. Currencies that are used in an extended site must be a subset of the currencies available in the catalog asset store.

Sites for different brands

An extended site can customize its presentation to suit the requirements of each brand it carries in its catalog, such as site look-and-feel, flow, and product display pages. Each brand can have its own unique marketing strategy, such as catalog up-sells, cross-sells, and promotions.

Sites for different market segments

In the extended sites business model, different market segments like B2B and B2C customers can be addressed by different sites. In addition, unique sites can be created for industry segments such as Education, Travel, Transportation, and Industrial. These sites are based on the same set of catalog data, but each site needs to filter the portions of the catalog that are applicable to it. As with branding, marketing campaigns and messages can be unique to the site, but a set of marketing messages can be common to the extended sites.

Sites for different customers

Each customer in the extended sites business model can have its own business rules, such as shipping and billing options, and contractual arrangements that affect pricing or product entitlement. A customer can be granted one of the predefined sets of terms and conditions, and additions or exclusions are also applied on top of the predefined contract. In addition, a customer can negotiate special bids with unique prices, or might have entitlements to made-to-order products that are available only to that customer.

Customers might have distinct options in the extended site flow. Some customers might require order approval, while others do not. There are variations in how purchase order numbers are handled, and occasionally a customer might want to see a logo of their company on the site when it is accessed by their employees. Customers in the extended sites business model can have specially designed pricing and product entitlement, unique marketing messages, and unique modifications to the site presentation.

Order notification is another area for differentiation. Notification of each order can be sent to a designated contact, or to the person that placed the order. Access control can also be configured to meet the needs of a customer. All employees can place orders, however, these orders are not submitted until they are approved by authorized personnel, such as a supervisor.