You may be aware that Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 was announced at the NRF 2018: Retail’s Big Show with much excitement. This year everyone will be talking about it. A lot has changed from Sitecore Commerce 8.2.1 that will make things easier and faster. If you are upgrading from an older version there are a few things you need to be aware of as well.
Good UX Means Good Business
In a world where technology is rapidly advancing and user expectations are rising, it’s no longer enough to have an average user experience; to delight your users and surpass your competition you must strive for the exceptional.
The short answer is the elimination of “Commerce Server” but that is only the part of the story. Here is what changed:
- Setup and deployment now using the Sitecore Installation Framework (SIF) which you will use to install Sitecore 9 as well. George Chang wrote a good article on How to Install Sitecore 9 with SIF . By using SIF, this means you can automate deploys by calling these PowerShell scripts from your build and deploy scripts simplifying the process and allowing you to customize the install. The DevOps cheer.
- Commerce Server is now no longer part of Sitecore Experience Commerce. This means everything is accessible from inside Sitecore.
If you are upgrading from an older version of Sitecore Commerce then this means migration. Currently, there is no migration tool to bring over those price books so you will need to migrate them.
Now there are 2 really big advantages to this:
- You can now go to one spot to make all your changes not multiple tools.
- You can apply all the Experience Platform awesomeness to everything since it is all in Sitecore.
- With the introduction of Global Sellable Item Lists, you avoid duplication. A Sellable Item lives as a single product, then you add it to various catalogs and categories. This means if something about the sellable item you change it once and voila.
- Inventory is now more flexible as an Inventory Set can be applied at the product or at the variant levels. This is important if your pink shirts sold out but you have lots of red ones.
- Federated Authentication is a key security improvement. This was introduced in Sitecore 9 and Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 supports it too. This means you can more securely authenticate with third-party systems.
Things to Consider When Upgrading:
- Data Migration and refactoring your architecture is a key concern. It is great that Commerce Server is gone and we now have a cleaner and more flexible architecture but now we need to migrate data but also refactor the architecture. There were probably corners you cut, workarounds you did to achieve some functionality related to Catalogs, Orders, Inventory, Profiles, Price Books, and all the other stuff you had in Commerce Server.
- Ensure you add time to determine the best architecture for your Sellable Items. This data used to be in Commerce Server and is now in Sitecore. Architecturally, they are now part of the Global Sellable Items list and then are assigned to catalogs and categories. With this change, you will have to consolidate your list of products in the one spot and then ensure all your variants are in the right place. In the long run, this is a lot better, however, cleaning things up can take time. What if a sellable item had different names in different catalogs.
- Price books need to be set up in the right places. Add extra time to ensure you refactor the Price books to get the most out of the new flexibility you may have worked around in prior versions. Price books used to be in Commerce Server now they are in Sitecore so you will need to migrate them. So far I have not seen a tool to do this so you will have to write one.
- With the new architecture changes, you will need to make sure Inventory sets are configured properly.
We are all very excited about Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 and all it has to offer. If you are curious about Sitecore Commerce 9 and have more questions please reach out to us. We are here to help.