Getty Images/iStockphoto

SAP reboots Service Cloud, adds retail recommerce

SAP venture-backed Feather by SAP integrates marketplaces for retail users to give their customers a place to resell goods they've bought from them.

SAP now offers recommerce marketplaces for retailers to sell used items, and the company has rebooted its Service Cloud customer service application.

Feather by SAP, a company backed by SAP's venture arm, will host the recommerce marketplaces, geared for large, premium and luxury brands in the United States and Europe. It integrates with SAP Commerce as well as ERP systems, allowing users to manage sales of new and pre-owned items on Feather sites and broker trade-ins. Users of non-SAP e-commerce applications can build their own integrations to Feather's open interface.

Recommerce, or selling items secondhand, is a red-hot trend among consumers, especially Gen Z. Under this model, customers purchase used items instead of continually buying new goods. Some companies see it as a way to capture some of the revenue they might be losing to other marketplaces, such as eBay and Facebook Marketplace, as well as upstarts Depop and Poshmark.

SAP's recommerce platform can also figure into a company's sustainability strategy and track the environmental impact of the goods it produces, said Jen Bailin, chief revenue officer at SAP. Feather includes two features: Recommerce Manager, which tracks and reports on the disposition of products, and Recommerce Take-Back, which tracks products that consumers trade in. It is one of a number of sustainabililty tools SAP is releasing that, in aggregate, can give users a picture of their carbon footprint, including transport and travel.

SAP is leading this charge, and it's surprising that competing technology vendors haven't yet come out with more ideas like this to help users track sustainability, said Ilona Hansen, an analyst at Gartner.

"SAP is pushing very hard in development to enable their clients to see how much emissions they are producing; track and measure them; and also come up with recommendations -- or empower through artificial intelligence technologies -- to let them know how to use SAP products even more efficiently, with zero emissions as a target," Hansen said.

SAP Service Cloud reboot

SAP released C/4HANA, its CX platform, to much fanfare in 2018. Since then, there has been leadership turnover in the SAP C-suite as well as multiple changes of CX team leadership -- including the surprise retirement of Bob Stutz last year after the departure of Alex Atzberger in 2019. Along the way, SAP dropped C/4HANA and renamed it SAP CX.

SAP renewed its focus on customer experience and delivered the first cloud-native version of Service Cloud, its call center and customer service application. Bailin said this version is homegrown, and not from acquired tech.

Features include a new dashboard that combines channels to give agents a full view of the different channels a customer might use to contact the company; deeper ERP integrations; a native integration with Microsoft Teams to facilitate collaboration among remote agents; updated case management workflows; and hooks into AppGyver, SAP's no-code appdev platform.

The ERP connection is key to automating customer service processes, Bailin said. Agents and customers will be able to see the availability of goods in SAP Service Cloud, which will enable faster time-to-answer for agents as well as self-service.

"We have that data on the back end, we personalize very well," Bailin said. "And now we pull it together into the cloud with cloud-native [customer] service, combined with commerce."

SAP needs to play catch-up in that regard, said Josh Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting. ERP data is a powerful tool, but most companies already can use SAP's ERP data in their own customer service integrations from other customer service technology vendors.

"The trick is for SAP to do a better job, and there's huge demand for that," Greenbaum said. "There's a ton of Salesforce customers who run SAP in the back office. They really need to bring that data to the front office and make it very transactional, and real time. That's SAP's opportunity: Do a better job at integrating with your own data than Salesforce or somebody else."

The SAP product releases were made in conjunction with the SAP Sapphire user conference.

Don Fluckinger covers enterprise content management, CRM, marketing automation, e-commerce, customer service and enabling technologies for TechTarget.

Dig Deeper on Customer service and contact center

Content Management
Unified Communications
Data Management
Enterprise AI