How to enable configurable products on a SAP B2B eCommerce site

Office Relief, a leading retailer of ergonomic office equipment, sells products that have configurable options.  For example, an ergonomic chair can be configured with different fabric colors, arms, and caster options.

But, how do you get configurable products into your Magento storefront, with contract pricing options when you don’t have configurable products in SAP?

We found a way.

The task at hand was to bring these configurable products online. But, the real challenge was less about technology and more about organizational ownership.

If the Marketing Department owned this project, the presentation would look great, but order management and business rules would be a mess.  If the IT Department owned the project, the business rules would be enforced, but it would (most likely) look like hell. And you could forget about cross-promotions, up-selling or social integration.

But what if we could give everyone what they wanted? We did.

Our solution needed to work with the following constraints:

  • Magento Community Version
  • Each product, and each configurable option was a separate SKU in SAP
  • No changes to the SAP configuration could be made
  • The IT department had little or no time to devote to facilitating this task
  • A user experience that showed product orders as one line item, with the options selected.
  • An order placed in SAP that used existing, separate SKUs
  • Post-order management that showed the customer a configurable product that tracks and ships as one item.
  • Non-logged-in b2c customers needed to see configurable product options at standard pricing
  • Logged-in b2b customers needed to see real-time, contract-dependent information from SAP like:
    • pricing and terms
    • product selections and options (colors, accessories, etc)
    • shipping and delivery options
  • Used Magento’s native display capabilities, and then customized it to show configurable options
  • Gave the Marketing department the ability to:
    • use Magento’s built-in marketing and cross-promotional features
    • manage the main product images and descriptions as well as images and descriptions of each configurable option
  • Added the ability to display contract-negotiated sets of options and prices for logged-in b2b users
  • Used the existing SKUs, SAP configuration and business rules
  • Extended SAP-based post-order management and tracking to the web for logged-in b2b users
  • Required very little time or resources from the IT department
  • Increased sales
  • Improved the online shopping experience for b2c and b2b customers
  • Increased order management efficiency with configurable products

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