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What Are the Business Management Applications?

Commerce Server 2009

Commerce Server 2009 provides a suite of Web service applications to support the daily operations of business managers, customer support representatives, and others.

These Web service applications include:

Catalog Manager enables business managers to import, export, create, and manage online catalogs. Catalogs provide a way of organizing the products you want to sell. You store catalog and product data in a database. You define catalog data in groups of categories and products. Catalog data contains descriptions and pricing information for products and services.

You manage the following through the Catalog Manager:

  • Base Catalogs. A grouping of categories and products that you use to organize and present information on a Web site.

  • Catalog sets. A group of catalogs that are jointly assigned to a group of customers.

  • Categories. A group of products in a catalog.

  • Inventory Catalogs. A type of data storage that holds inventory data for the products and variants for single or multiple product catalogs.

  • Products. A single item defined in a catalog corresponding to either a physical product or service item. You use product definitions, product variants, and product families to manage products.

  • Virtual Catalogs. An aggregate of one or more base catalogs with pricing, language, and other properties assigned to provide variations of catalog information on a Web site.

The Catalog and Inventory Schema Manager lets business managers, developers, and system administrators perform the following tasks:

  • Define new property elements that you can use in defining catalog, product, and inventory data objects.

  • Manage the database schema for the Catalog System that allows for the real-time management of catalogs and products for display on the Web site.

  • Manage the database schema for the Inventory System that allows for the real-time management of inventory for items in catalogs.

The following data is managed through the Catalog and Inventory Schema Manager:

  • Catalog metadata. The set of properties that you use to define and store data that holds product and catalog information.

  • Category definitions. A collection of properties that specifies the information that is stored for the category.

  • Inventory Catalog metadata. The set of properties that you use to define and store data that holds Inventory Catalog information.

  • Inventory SKU metadata. The set of properties that you use to define a single directly sellable product or variant. You use stock-keeping unit (SKU) metadata to specify properties that track inventory, such as In Stock, Quantity in Stock, Back-Ordered, and more.

  • Product definitions. A collection of properties that specifies the information that is stored for a product.

  • Property definitions. An attribute that describes a characteristic of a product or category, such as Name, Title, Color, and so on. Property definitions are the fundamental unit defining schema data. Multiple product definitions and category definitions can use a property, and you can share the property across catalogs.

  • Property metadata. Data that you assign to a property.

The Customer and Orders Manager provides business managers and customer support personnel with the ability to manage information stored in the Orders and Profiles databases. You can perform the following tasks from the Customer and Orders Manager application:

  • Find orders and baskets based on specified criteria.

  • View customer orders and baskets.

  • Remove and clear old orders and unfulfilled baskets.

  • Create and edit profile data, site terms, shipping methods, and payment methods.

You collect order and profile information when customers place orders by using a shopping basket and the check out system on your Web site. As part of the order placement process, users select a shipping method and payment method. When customers place an order, customers provide information about themselves that you store in a profile. You use site terms to restrict the choices of select profile fields.

You can manage the following information by using the Customer and Orders Manager:

  • Orders. Commerce Server 2009 creates an order when a customer purchases a product or service from your Web site. An order contains all the information necessary to process the order, such as customer information, date purchased, currency used, tax information, and more.

  • Baskets. A virtual container on a Web site that holds the products and services that a customer wants to purchase.

  • Shipping methods. A way to fulfill delivery to customers of the goods that they purchase on a Web site. Commerce Server 2009 supports three types of shipping methods: Charge by subtotal, Charge by quantity, and Charge by weight.

  • Payment methods. The method that customers use to pay for the items that they purchase on a Web site. Commerce Server 2009 supports these types of payment methods: credit cards, gift certificates, purchase orders, cash cards, and custom methods.

  • Profiles. Profiles store information about business-related items, such as users and organizations. Commerce Server 2009 supports these types of profiles: address, purchase order, credit card, currency, organization, and user object.

  • Site terms. A set of valid values for information that the user provides. You use site terms to standardize and restrict the choices that users see when you request user input on your site.

Marketing Manager lets business managers personalize the customer buying experience with targeted merchandising by determining the type of content that the customer will see and when to deliver the content. You can create an ad campaign, a discount campaign, or a direct mail campaign, and then specify when to deliver the content to a targeted group of customers.

You can perform the following tasks by using Marketing Manager:

  • Create and manage customers, campaigns, advertisements, discounts, coupons/promotion codes, expressions, direct mail, and lists.

  • Personalize the buying experience with targeted merchandising.

  • Create and schedule campaigns for customers who compete in the same industry. The competing ads never appear on the same page.

  • Create direct mail to distribute e-mail message ads to a targeted group of users. Direct mailings can include attachments, such as pictures, discounts, or URLs.

You use Marketing Manager to define and update the following information:

  • Advertisements. A piece of content that Commerce Server 2009 delivers on the Web site based on a specific formula for delivery. An advertisement typically has a delivery goal, date ranges, and target attributes.

  • Campaigns. A marketing program that represents one or more contracts or orders from an advertiser.

  • Campaign expressions. A condition that Commerce Server 2009 evaluates against profiles to determine whether to deliver content, or perform another action. Expression-based marketing is the process of creating expressions that define the customers or context that you want to target and the type of content that you want to deliver.

  • Customers. An owner of a marketing campaign such as an advertiser, an agency, or a business manager that is using Commerce Server 2009.

  • Discounts and coupons/promotion codes. A type of marketing promotion in which you invite shoppers to save money on specific products or product groups.

  • Direct mail. A service that you use to send bulk e-mail messages to a specified group of users by using mailing lists.

  • User lists. A collection of user records that you use to send a direct mail message for targeted marketing purposes.

  • Reference tables. Reference data that specifies limits or describes information that you use to manage the size and placement of advertisements on your Web site, and also associate advertisements with specific industries.

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