New Product + New Web Channel
If you’re thinking of launching a new B2B product line through a new web channel, you’re not alone. We’ve helped several manufacturers take this approach, and we recommend it wholeheartedly. It forces you to align multiple teams across the organization, and it keeps everyone focused on delivering business value. What’s more, if you don’t have ecommerce in place already, launching a new product this way pushes you to define your digital strategy in the ecommerce age.
In this post, we’ll go over the benefits of using a web channel as the focal point of your product launch. Then we’ll help you build an intelligent plan to make your new product a win for the business.
Let’s dive in!
The business case: Why a web channel is the best focal point for a product launch
Historically, manufacturers have launched new products through their existing distribution channels. However, as a new, disruptive distribution channel, ecommerce offers all kinds of benefits which other channels don’t have. Here’s why a web store is the perfect channel for launching a new product:
- It forces alignment across all departments and puts customer value first.
- It offers a centralized digital landing point (the ecommerce website) where you can point your customers.
- It offers a centralized performance dashboard (ecommerce metrics like those which Corevist Commerce provides) to see how your new product is performing.
- It can help your R&D team design the next iteration of the product, based on ecommerce data on product performance.
Of course, for your organization to realize these benefits, you’ll have to align on the many facets of launching a new product. Let’s take a look at some of those areas where you need to create alignment.
The challenge: Make sure your product launch plan covers all the bases
Define your new product in SAP
It sounds easy, but getting your new product set up properly in SAP is the #1 hurdle to a successful product launch. Here’s what that means:
- Make sure you establish contract pricing in SAP for the new product, for all your users. That way, when you launch an SAP-integrated solution like Corevist Commerce, the right pricing displays automatically for each logged-in user.
- Configure the inventory/ATP rules in SAP for the new product. Are you going to show each customer the total inventory available, or will you use an ATP (available to promise) calculation, by customer, to show only the total amount of inventory allocated to that customer? You need to set this up in SAP so a solution like Corevist Commerce can display accurate inventory/ATP for each logged-in user.
- Configure the RDD/EDD rules in SAP for the new product. Are you going to let customers specify an RDD (requested delivery date), or are you going to show them an EDD (estimated delivery date)? Whichever one you choose…
- …make sure your logistics channel is worked out, in SAP and in reality, so you can ship the product immediately when customers start placing orders. You may need to account for geography, available carrier partnerships, minimum freight quantity, and more.
When all of these things are set up properly in SAP, they’ll flow naturally into an ecommerce solution like Corevist Commerce. Because Corevist is integrated to your SAP system out of the box, you only have to create and maintain those business rules in one place (SAP), and they’ll display in Corevist Commerce automatically, including personalized data like pricing and ATP.
Of course, getting that product off the ground is more than just an SAP checklist. To achieve a strong product launch through a new web channel, you’ll need to motivate and align people from multiple teams within your organization. Let’s talk about that.
Align your team on the timing and priority level of the product launch
Ultimately, you’ll depend on each member of your team to make this product a success. What will it take from an organizational perspective to make this work? Here are some things to consider:
- Is your IT/SAP team aligned with the goals which the business has set for the new product launch? Has IT made it their top priority to get the new product set up in SAP? Are they demonstrably working toward a deadline?
- If you have a marketing or sales team in charge of new product launches, are they informed and ready to use the new ecommerce store as the focal point for all their efforts? Do they have the supporting materials (training, documentation, marketing collateral) which they’ll need to do that?
- Do you have a communications plan to tell existing customers about the new product? This is especially important if the new product is replacing an old one. The first order of business is to inform existing customers of the upgrade (and why they should upgrade).
The Takeaway: Align your team, align your data, and choose SAP-integrated ecommerce
At Corevist, we believe launching a new product through ecommerce should be seamless. If you’re going to invest in creating business rules for the product in SAP, why rebuild those business rules in another system? (That’s what you’ll have to do with a middleware-based solution.) With a real-time SAP integration and no middleware, Corevist Commerce brings your SAP business rules to the web so your logged-in users see accurate personalized pricing, accurate inventory/ATP, and more.
Moving forward: FREE case study
Want to see real-life organizational alignment on ecommerce? Download this case study on PARI Respiratory. You’ll learn how Corevist Commerce met the needs of customers, Marketing, and IT with real-time SAP integration and best-of-breed user experience.