HCL Commerce Enterprise

Business relationship management

To customize what a customer can do in a store use the business relationship management system. By using this system, you can entitle customers to various aspects of a store such as what products they can purchase, the price they pay, and what payment methods a store accepts.

Customer entitlement is controlled by business accounts, contracts, and business policies.

The default customer entitlement is defined by a store's default contract. This default contract typically specifies that customers can access the master catalog and purchase products at standard prices.

Business relationship management provides the infrastructure and tools that facilitate scenarios like the following examples:

Extended sites
Creating a contract for each extended site governs the product assortment and the respective prices available to customers of that site. As an example, consider a company that sells products in multiple countries. This company configures a different extended site for each country in which they do business. In this case, the company creates a contract for each country-specific extended site. The contract specifies the available product assortment, and set the respective prices for each country.
Customer groups
Creating a contract for each customer group governs the product assortment and the respective prices available to the customers that explicitly belong to that group. You can use this process as the basis for implementing customer loyalty groups. As an example, consider a company that offers a 5% discount to customers that belong to a special 'Platinum Club'. In this case, they would need two contracts. One contract is applied to regular customers, the second contract applies the special 5% discount for any customer who is a member of the Platinum Club member group. Customers that met the criteria for to belong to this club need to be manually added to the member group. Contracts apply to member groups that explicitly define their members.
Business customers
Creating a contract for each organizational unit that is associated with a business account establishes the terms and conditions that govern the product assortment and the respective prices available to employees of that organization. As an example, consider a company that sells products to multiple business customers. Each customer organization with which they do business is entitled to one or more contracts independently. Collectively, the applicable contracts impose the negotiated available product assortment, and the respective prices for each customer.

These scenarios are explored in further detail in the Business Relationship Model topic.

In each of these cases, HCL Commerce enforces the defined contracts while customers are browsing the site, modifying the customer experience based on the criteria that you define. Furthermore, you can import contracts from external sources. For example, if you have contracts that are defined in an external CRM, or ERP system, these contracts can be exported to XML, and then imported to HCL Commerce. This process ensures that contract data is maintained on one system, with regular updates to the production environment.

Business accounts

Business accounts represent the relationship between a store and the store's customer organizations, and are the starting point for managing business relationships. Using business accounts, you can track contracts and orders for customer organizations and configure how buyers from customer organizations shop in a store.

A business account contains the following information about a customer organization:

  • The name of the customer organization and a contact person within that organization.
  • The department and name of the account representative from the store that is assigned to the customer organization.
  • Information about purchase orders a customer organization has with a store.
  • How invoices are delivered to the customer organization.
  • Information about the customer organization credit line, if any.
  • The shipping methods that are available for the customer.
  • The payment terms that are established between the store and the customer.
  • Any display customization information for the business customer. To customize store pages for a business account, specify HTML code that is used on store pages.
  • Any general remarks about the business account.

Business accounts control customer entitlement by controlling the ability of buyers to access a store's master catalog and see standard pricing for products. If a customer organization is not entitled to purchase products in the store's master catalog at standard prices, they are limited to products and prices that are covered by contracts the customer organization has with a store.

The customer organization must exist in HCL Commerce before you can create a business account for a customer organization.


Contracts enable a customer organization to purchase products from a store at a specified price for a specified time under specific conditions. A contract specifies what products a customer is able to purchase, the price to pay for the products, how to pay for an order, and the addresses to which an order can be shipped. You can use HCL Commerce Accelerator to manage contracts. Specifically, you can create, change, deploy, suspend, resume, and unlock contracts.

A contract consists of the following elements:

The contract profile contains the identifying information for the contract. This information includes a unique name for the contract, a short description, and a time period for which the contract is valid.
Contract participants are the organizations that take part in the contract. There is a buyer organization, a seller organization, and contacts at both organizations.
  1. When you specify an organization as a buyer participant, any user who is a member of that organization is entitled to the contract. Your direct parent organization does not have to be the buyer participant. If there are child organizations under the organization, you do not have to explicitly select child organizations; the child organizations are entitled to the contract and be participants of it.
  2. Contracts cannot be entitled to a customer segment or an implicit group based on dynamic conditions. Only customer groups with explicit members can be specified as a customer group in a contract. With a B2B contract, you know precisely which members of an organization or members of a group are entitled to the contract. Therefore, contracts can be entitled to an explicit member group; that is, a member group where individual members are directly assigned to the group.
Terms and conditions
Contract terms and conditions are the rules that cover the actual implementation of the contract. Contract terms and conditions cover such information as product pricing, returns and refunds, payment, shipping, billing, and order approval.
Contract attachments cover any information that is not covered by the previous elements such as file attachments that provide additional information about the contract and any general remarks about the contract. HCL Commerce uses the Universal Resource Identifiers (URIs) for contract attachments, not the actual attachments.
A contract can refer to another contract to share its terms and conditions. For example, contract A can refer to contract B. Thus, a buyer who is entitled to contract A is entitled to all the terms and conditions from contract A, and to all the terms and conditions in contract B.

Contracts that are managed within HCL Commerce Accelerator are associated with a business account. Base contracts are associated with a base contracts account, and customer contracts are associated with the customer's business account. Some contracts might not be associated with an account, such as the store default contract.

Different items in a single order might be purchased under different contracts. Buyers can select the contract they shop under at either the start of the shopping flow or when they add an item to their order, depending on the store design. When a customer purchases items under different contracts the following rules apply:

  • Contracts for all items in an order must share at least one payment method. If the contract for an item does not share a payment method, the buyer cannot add that item to the order. Only the payment methods that are shared by all items in an order can be used to pay for the order.
  • All items in an order must come from contracts that belong to the same business account or the store default contract.

A contract's lifetime might include numerous states, and fully supports an approval flow, if that process is required.

Business policies

Business policies are sets of rules followed by a store that define business processes, industry practices, and the scope and characteristics of a store's or group of stores' offerings. They are the central source and reference template for all allowed and supported practices within a store or group of stores.

Business policies are enforced with a combination of one or more business policy commands that implement the rules of the business policy. Each business policy command is a Java class. A business policy command can be shared by multiple business policies. The behavior of the business policy command is determined by the parameters that are passed to the command.

Parameters affecting the function of a business policy command can be introduced in three places:

  • The contract term and condition, which refers to the business policy
  • The business policy definition
  • The business policy command that enforces the policy
There are several types of business policies:
Catalog business policies
Catalog business policies define the scope and characteristics of the catalog of products for sale in a store which includes the prices and the categorization of products in a store's catalog.
Payment business policies
Invoicing, payment, and refund business policies define how a store accepts payments, pays refunds, and the format of a store's invoices.
Returns business policies
Returns business policies define whether refunds are accepted, the time period they are accepted for, and any restocking fees that are applied to returns.
Shipping business policies
Shipping business policies define the shipping providers a store can use and the charges that are associated with each type.
Referral interface business policies
Referral interface business policies define the relationship between a proxy store and a remote store.

To provide measure of control over the nature of contracts a store can enter, many contract terms and conditions reference business policies.