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What is HCL Commerce? Everything you need to know to boost your online customer experience

by Jesús Maceira, August 10, 2022

HCL Commerce (formerly IBM WebSphere Commerce) is an all-in-one enterprise ecommerce platform, delivering powerful customer experiences across B2C, B2B, B2B2B, B2B2C and marketplace models, especially for businesses with large-scale and complex needs.

If you are interested in an ecommerce solution, with all the modern features to take your business to the next level, keep reading because we will explain more about the solution in this article.

HCL Commerce: the reputable solution for companies of all industries and sizes

Who can use HCL Commerce? It is a frequently asked question that customers often ask us, the answer to which is very simple: any company in any industry can take advantage of the full power of this platform. With extensive capabilities on a global scale, HCL Commerce provides tools to drive sales conversions, manage marketing campaigns, and manage product catalogs across all channels.

Who is using HCL Commerce? Global brands such as Sunglass Hut, JanSport, Vans and Ikea have developed their digital business on this platform. According to this Storeleads report, there are currently more than 3,000 large-scale stores around the world using HCL Commerce. As the report indicates, 28.8% of these online stores have been created in the United States, 10.6% in Germany and 4.5% in the United Kingdom.

HCL Commerce Stores
Source: StoreLeads

The current data on the growth and use of HCL Commerce, as well as the continuous improvement of the platform, have dissolved the doubts that in the past have existed regarding its future. In fact, version 9.1 of HCL Commerce, the most recent release, speaks of important improvements in its functionality and a modernization that undoubtedly seeks to meet the challenging ecommerce market around the world.

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What does HCL Commerce do?

In this post-covid world economy, B2C, B2B and B2B2C organizations are forced to reshape their digital strategy. It's a time when they must completely rethink how, where and when to interact—and connect—with customers and reevaluate whether the technology they currently have in business will allow them to effectively serve their customers.

It is very clear that CEOs, CIOs or Ecommerce Managers need their ecommerce technologies to offer them the greatest possible flexibility. Having enough freedom to choose the right business focus in any situation. Often industry leaders that depend on ecommerce require: quick time to market, high-level of customization and ability to expand globally, integration of third-party solutions, and creating seamless experiences for their customers from scratch or improving current ones. All this, on modern technologies and headless.

There are also two key factors that ecommerce leaders put on the table when deciding on a technological platform: cost and development time. In the case of HCL Commerce with its modernized path, these factors do not represent any type of friction, the present implementation times of a solution based on HCL Commerce are reasonably short. Here are some of the reasons Gartner placed HCL Commerce in its Magic Quadrant.

Others also include:

  • The ability to scale to the highest levels of transaction volumes, especially among enterprise-level retailers.
  • Comprehensive Out-of-The-Box features to get retailers to market faster.
  • An architecture to manage complexity and offer levels of customization. This is highly relevant to brand differentiation, which most SaaS platforms cannot offer.
  • The ease of use for leading ecommerce brands to easily implement new storefronts, new geo-locations, new brands, through its proprietary inheritance model.
  • B2B, B2C, and B2B2C support on a single platform, helping all organizations to sell more.

Let's look at some relevant features of the platform in more detail.

The key capabilities of HCL Commerce to boost the customer experience

The new features introduced in the latest version of HCL Commerce are very powerful. Without a doubt, the platform goes in the direction of the marketplaces and the improvements of the stores for B2B and B2C, in addition to other improvements, such as the native cloud, the flexibility to manage the catalog, the precision and personalization of marketing or the headless approach that without doubt are capabilities that will guarantee the success of your business. Here are the most relevant things HCL Commerce can do for businesses.

Rapid launch of modern stores

The recent version of HCL Commerce offers two new completely independent "launchers" for B2C and B2B based on React. Storefronts that are not only designed for speed, but are also based on industry best practices like SPA, RWD, and PWA. This allows your organization to offer the same user experience on all mobile devices. Using a decoupled, pre-built, pre-configured and tested Storefront allows you to make a relevant leap for your business.

It is possible to customize as much as you want, it just depends on the brand and business needs. It is also possible to take advantage of the entire ecosystem of partners that are integrated into your store, saving thousands of hours of experience —and money— working with the code of your store.

HCL Commerce ensures that the page load time is one of the critical success criteria fulfilled for ecommerce stores. In this sense, HCL Commerce starter stores are designed as PWAs and Single Page Applications (SPAs) that will allow you to deliver ultra-fast experiences for your customers.

Leveraging the power of Google Material Design, the new interfaces are minimalist and intuitive, improving usability and avoiding unnecessary friction in shopping experiences. The layouts also leave plenty of scope for branding with modularized functionality. For example, you can easily change the dimensions of the product grid and connect it to a completely custom category page template.

HCL Commerce Headless

A robust Headless Commerce and GraphQL API experience

Maybe your organization is interested in selling directly on Pinterest? Or your business needs to pull live customer shopping cart data for a better in-store shopping experience?

For maximum flexibility in customizing the user experience on the front-end, HCL Commerce can be adapted to a completely headless commerce solution. Without a doubt, headless applications are a trending topic in the world of ecommerce, but they have also become a key component of the digital transformation strategy of modern companies.

That's why HCL Commerce enables you to create fast, highly personalized user experiences across all devices and channels using any front-end technology you choose, both increasing speed and lowering the risk of running core platform updates. You can easily extend and enhance your customer experiences with multiple native web and mobile interfaces, using one of the most powerful, mature and scalable commerce APIs.

If you want to know more about the headless perspective of HCL Commerce, watch this video:

Improved search

We saw this improvement already in the version of HCL Commerce 9.1. There is an enhanced fully container-based solution on the popular ElasticSearch project with OpenNLP, text mining, color name mapping, and automatic unit conversions, but if it doesn't fit your needs, you can easily license a different 3rd party search tool, or even build your own. HCL Commerce's philosophy is always to offer a complete shopping experience with integrated management capabilities so that your business can optimize its processes, minimize the total cost of ownership, maximize the value of the investment in the technology solution and focus on growing and expanding. as the business requires.

User interface with modular components

React's new responsive storefronts were built with extensibility in mind. Each logical area of the "pages" can be replaced independently with a custom or third-party solution. From the product grid to the login box and all the widgets on the product page, you can easily swap different components that help you run your business better.

A service-oriented architecture

The latest iteration of the HCL Commerce REST API allows almost endless possibilities to extend the application. With minimal time and effort, marketing, CMS, ERP, ratings and reviews solutions are easily added. The customer experience can be totally differentiated, with revolutionary technologies created by innovative companies, which will work in complete security and without problems through REST APIs. You can easily try out new and different solutions to your biggest problems, without massive custom integrations or excessive development time.

An agnostic CMS for ecommerce

You can bring your own CMS or use the one from HCL Commerce. As long as it's headless, you can easily leverage the REST API of any CMS to dynamically retrieve content, directly from the store's code. HCL offers an extremely competitive and advanced content management solution called HCL DX that can be used to create digital experiences and manage your content today throughout your business.

There are more key functionalities, which may be worth exploring depending on the specific needs of your business. If you are looking for more freedom with your ecommerce, grow on a global scale, and manage large volumes of transactions with a modern platform, then HCL Commerce is a great alternative.

Now is your turn!

If you already know about HCL Commerce and you didn't know everything that the latest version can do, maybe it's time to start planning a strategy to implement improvements and not be left out of the market. If you are thinking of digitally transforming your business and need to move forward with a B2C, B2B and B2B2C model, it is time to define a strategic plan with a reliable partner and robust and experienced technology. For both cases, remember that you can contact us here, where we will surely offer you the best solution for your business.

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