Coding Commerce: Extending the Price display widget for consumable products

Commerce systems are getting more and more advanced and specifically in the B2B space you are seeing more and more information about products on the product page or even in product listings. We see things like color swatches, likes, ratings, reviews, etc in the B2C world but in the B2B world its all about value. This little change to WebSphere Commerce (and I mean little, a few lines of JSP code) should spice up your site to show the value of your consumable products. Here is a picture of a somewhat normal looking product display search result. We will be enhancing this with the price per page based on the contract price of the customer:

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I present to you a pattern. A pattern you can use across all consumable products in your catalog. The pattern is generic and can be applied to any product simply by assigning an attribute. Let’s start with an example, a printer cartridge. Most printer cartridges, especially high-end business printers, come with a max number of page the cartridge should be good for, like 500, 1000, 10,000, or 20,000 pages. From a business perspective it would be good to know how much you are paying per page so a product listing like this might just do the trick:

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GreenWheels 2 – The demonstration from the IBM booth

katieThis was the live demonstration we gave at for the enhanced greenwheels demonstration. The focus of the demonstration was to show the different organization imperatives the greenwheels brand is attempting to carry out:

  • Execute Cross-Channel Marketing Campaigns
  • Create Behavior Based Rewards Program
  • Enhance Customer Engagement, Loyalty and Insight
  • Extend the Digital Experience to the Store
  • Offer Customers Choice and Flexibility in Fulfillment
  • Leverage & Optimize the Use of Inventory Across Channels


Want to know about Tealeaf integration with WebSphere Commerce?

Look no further than the IBM Education Assistant! This video shows how Tealeaf is integrated with WebSphere Commerce Feature Pack 6.


This is what an omni-channel solution solves…

omnichannelA woman (Linda) buys a pair of jeans from a store that will not be mentioned. After a bit she decides to buy another pair of jeans. Linda wants the same exact pair – same style, size, color, etc. Linda tries to go online and order the jeans but to no avail they are out of stock. There is no indicator on the web site to say if the jeans are available at a store nor any indication they will become available at a later date. Linda then goes into the store and attempts to find the same jeans. No success! So she goes up to the store associate and asks if these jeans can be ordered or if they are in the back room inventory. Instead of using a point of commerce or a mobile device to check inventory the associate goes into the back room for almost 10 minutes looking for these jeans. The associate comes out and claims there are no jeans in that size. Being a good employee the associate suggests she calls around to other stores to see if she can find this size of jeans. The associate brings out a list of stores and starts calling each store to see if this pair is available. In the mean time Linda continued shopping and 45 minutes goes by. The store associate then approaches Linda and says “I called four different stores and none of them have your size, I suggest you wait a week or two until we get in more inventory”.

This could have been a much better story for Linda and Linda would not have left frustrated. Let’s start with the web site. If there was an order management system that linked the site into store inventory Linda could have done this search herself. The web site  could also have insight into distribution centers and warehouses and offer a time to promise for the delivery of the jeans.

Now for the store: the associate, while very nice and wanting to help, did not have the proper tools to really assist Linda. If a point of commerce was available in the store the associate could have quickly gotten a clear view of inventory and availability across all of the stores and not just stores within driving distance. A point of commerce would have allowed the jeans be ordered and delivered from any store – essentially saving the sale. So while Linda may not have left with the jeans the visit would have been less than five minutes and the jeans would be on their way! There could have been a possible cross sell also, since a point of commerce could potentially “know Linda”, there could have been promotions or other products that could compliment the jeans based on Linda’s tastes.

If you want to hear how some customers are doing omni-channel then you should make sure you attend the Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Nashville or Monaco!


How do your eCommerce key performance indicators compare to your industry?

I meet with a lot of clients and many of them know different aspects of their online presence “could” be better yet some do not know where to begin. A first sign is your conversion rate – exactly how many people are clicking the buy button after searching, browsing, or even adding an item to the cart? And further, how do I compare to my industry? Are they getting more items in the cart than me? Is their cart value higher than mine? I read this well written article this morning over at the Smarter Commerce Blog by guest author Chris Withers and he writes about Cyber Monday and the effect mobile devices like smart phones and iPads are having on the industry. What is your mobile story? Do you even have a mobile presence and if so, how does it compare in your industry?

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Good set of starter videos for WebSphere Commerce 7, Feature Pack 3

The InfoCenter is the best place to find information on the WebSphere Commerce product. It is one of the best info centers IBM has, in my opinion. You can see a lot of the latest function in full video format on this site. Check out the Feature Pack 3 videos today.

Books on Amazon: