Ucommerce for Kentico
Ucommerce for Kentico is designed ground-up to replace Kentico Commerce with the aim of bringing more powerful e-commerce capabilities on Kentico than what is available out of the box.
Ucommerce is designed to work with Kentico and e-commerce enable all aspects of CMS. Wherever possible Ucommerce leverages Kentico native features in an e-commerce context, e.g. images are stored in Kentico and leveraged inside Ucommerce wherever there's a need for images.
Ucommerce delivers three key functional areas: CMS, EMS, and the Accelerator.
Kentico CMS Integration
L1 integration enables all Ucommerce management tools in Kentico.
Catalog Manager - Multiple sales channels (stores) - Multiple catalogs per store - Price lists for multi-currency and B2B scenarios like tiered pricing - Product information management - And more
Order Manager - Full order management workflows - Distributed order management across stores - Split shipments on orders - Split payments on the order - And more
Promotion Manager - Unified promotions engine - BOGOF, promo codes, unit level discounts, free gifts, order value discounts, free shipping and many more.
Ucommerce Settings - Flexible product taxonomy - Payment framework with full payment life-cycle management support, i.e. auth, capture, refund, void - 25 payment service provider integrations - Set up a faceted search - Notification emails - And more
Kentico EMS Integration
Ucommerce for Kentico is fully integrated with all Kentico EMS capabilities to enable marketing automation, personalization, email engine and others.
Leverage the marketing tools of Kentico in an e-commerce context.
The enabled EMS capabilities for Ucommerce do not interfere with the default features of EMS. They will continue to work as they always have.
For more information on the integration with EMS, see here.
Replacement for Kentico Commerce
Ucommerce is a superset of the capabilities of Kentico Commerce designed as a replacement for Kentico Commerce. Ucommerce ships unique solutions designed for the various domains of e-commerce. Indeed, it is discouraged to install Kentico Commerce in an environment with Ucommerce installed.
Please note the two can co-exist if required.
As a replacement for Kentico Commerce, Ucommerce leverages its own data stores for data native to Ucommerce:
- Customers (can be linked to a user in Kentico)
Native data to Kentico EMS continues to be stored in Kentico itself:
- User groups
How do Websites and Stores Work
To set up a new store using Ucommerce for Kentico you will first set up a website within Kentico. Next, you will set up a new store within Ucommerce and pair the two by selecting the hostname you want the store in Ucommerce to tie itself to. Each pair is considered a channel.
This model enables you to set up multiple pairs of website and store (channels) to enable multi-channel e-commerce.
Ucommerce is designed ground-up to work like this and enables you to share or differentiate information across channels. For example:
- You might want to share some products across your channels, but want pricing to be different.
- You might have separate e-commerce teams managing your stores and you might not want them to see every store.
- You might want to run a different marketing campaign in different channels, e.g. US customer receive different discounts than EU customers.
How Does a Page Work
The development model for Kentico remains unchanged with Ucommerce installed. You will still develop using Portal Engine or MVC, but with the added benefit of Ucommerce headless commerce APIs.
The main difference you will notice is that products in Ucommerce are not content and so by default, they will not have individual pages assigned in Kentico. Instead, one or more pages in Kentico will serve as templates for product presentation, essentially data-driven pages, which draw in relevant data from the catalog using Ucommerce catalog context.
This is also true for catalog hierarchies. Catalog hierarchies live inside Ucommerce, which means that website structure is defined both inside Kentico and Ucommerce. Kentico remains in control over the overall websites and page structures and Ucommerce augments these with catalog structures.
The benefit of this model is that hierarchies can readily be switched out at runtime depending on rules. If a certain customer is logged in, they could potentially see a completely different catalog thana an anonymous customer.
Within the workflow of creating pages and enabling commerce capabilities, sits the usage of the Ucommerce APIs for presenting data. Please refer to Catalog library for browsing relevant APIs.
Ucommerce URLs (Catalog, Categories, Products)
While we are on the topic of Catalog presentation, we should touch on the subject of Ucommerce URLs.
Ucommerce uses a certain payload to identify and populate the context for what catalog, categories and product the customer is viewing at any given time.
For example, a payload like c-24/c-70/p-105 means you are viewing the catalog with id 24, the category with id 70 and product with the id of 105. Using the IIS Rewrite Module mentioned in the system requirements this payload will be rewritten to query string parameters which are then interpreted by Ucommerce for setting up the CatalogContext.
You can find the URL rewrite rules either in the web.config file of your site, or in the IIS manager's "URL Rewrite" section, and you can modify them to fit your needs.
You can see an example of how this is set up in the open-source Accelerator project.
Similar to the presentation of products and categories you need to use relevant APIs during checkout. This can be completed on a single page, or as many steps as you prefer. You have full flexibility to do it however you'd like. For relevant APIs on checkout please see Transaction library
Ucommerce ships with a search engine designed to work for e-commerce scenarios. A common question in a model like this is, "how does a customer get a single search result?".
There are multiple ways search can be configured, but by default, you will work with two search engines: One to provide content search results and one to provide catalog search. From a customer's perspective who is browsing your store, the separate search results are often combined in the way they are displayed, but this behavior is entirely customizable. It is possible to display a single search result with focus on product hits and a secondary one designed for content aimed at providing the highest conversion.
It is possible to index all catalog items to the Kentico search engine by replacing indexers in Ucommerce and provide a unified search engine for both content and commerce. However, the e-commerce related search capabilities of Ucommerce will be lost in the process, e.g. automatically detecting witch price list to use for faceted search on price intervals.
Relationship between Ucommerce and Kentico Membership Entities
There are several integration points between Ucommerce and Kentico regarding membership, permissions and managing information about customers. First, a brief overview of each entity:
- A Kentico User is mapped to a Ucommerce User entity.
- A Kentico Role is mapped to a Ucommerce UserGroup entity. Using the Security Foundation you can manage permissions for Users and UserGroups
When the "Create customer as member" option is enabled:
- A Kentico User is created during checkout.
- The user is added to the selected Kentico Role.
- The created Kentico User will be associated with the current site.
When to Select Ucommerce over Kentico Commerce
Ucommerce provides a richer set of capabilities out of the box than Kentico Commerce, which makes the platform unique suited for more advanced e-commerce scenarios.
The following are a set of markers to look for when decided to go with Ucommerce over Kentico Commerce.
More Than One Store (Channel)
Ucommerce is designed for omnichannel commerce with the focus on managing multiple stores in a single instance. Whenever you need to manage more than one store Ucommerce is the obvious choice.
More Than One Catalog
If the vendor requires multiple catalogs, often tailored to a certain customer segment or for seasonal businesses when products change over the year, multiple catalogs might be exactly what you are after. Ucommerce supports multiple catalogs per store with multiple price lists associated.
More Than 10,000 SKUs
You have a requirement of dealing with thousands of SKUs. Ucommerce was designed to do exactly that.
In addition, you can support very large scenario involving hundreds of thousands of SKUs by adopting a search-driven architecture, which leverages the built-in search engine of Ucommerce.
"Customers also bought"-recommendations
Ucommerce can automatically suggest to customers other products based on overall purchasing behavior in the store. If a vendor is looking to forego a potentially large investment in creating static product relations, typically with very large catalogs, Ucommerce can automatically suggest other relevant products
More Than One Currency
Ucommerce price lists are designed to handle multiple price points per product and variant, enabling multi-currency scenarios and price products in more than one currency.
More Than One Price Per Product
Price lists also support multiple price points for a single SKU using the same currency, which is very common in B2B scenarios involving multiple trading partners. Each trading partner might have its own pre-negotiated price list available. This is supported out of the box with Ucommerce.
Different Price by Quantity - Tiered Pricing Engine
Price lists support the notion of tiered pricing where the unit price of a product will change depending on the number of items bought, e.g. a customer orders between 1 - 10 will yield one price, a customers order between 11 - 20 will yield a different price usually lower but not necessarily.
Complex Discount Scenarios
Do discounts required by the vendor go beyond free shipping, buy one get one free, and promo codes? The unified discounting engine of Ucommerce is able to express very complicated discounting scenarios and can be extending to support new ones in cases when the out of the box functionality falls short.
Different Discounts for Different Markets
Discounts might vary from market to market, e.g. US customers get different discounts than EU customers. As a multi-channel e-commerce platform, Ucommerce readily supports this scenario.
Order Processing in Kentico
In most scenarios order processing happens in a back-end ERP or dedicated OMS, however, sometimes order processing is required inside the e-commerce platform and Ucommerce is designed to work like that.
Multiple E-commerce Teams Managing the Store(s)
Different teams across geographies manage the over-all store. Ucommerce Security Foundation has the ability to lock users into certain roles and stores to support distributed management of the solution.
20+ Payment provider integrations in the box
Most stores require payment processing and Ucommerce comes with more than 20 payment service provider integrations out of the box.
Need to Refund or Void Payments
Ucommerce Payment Framework supports the full payment lifecycle. If a vendor wishes to manage payments without leaving the e-commerce platforms, Ucommerce can do it.
Payment service provider integrations support Authorize, Acquire, Refund, and Void out of the box, in order to make a vendor's day to day operations simpler.
See the Payment Providers for the latest list