Product Catalog: New Functions in Retail


As a result of requirements from the retail sector (SAP Retail), Release 4.0A includes the following new functions:

Of these, the following were not included in SAP Retail Release 1.2B:

Creation and maintenance of product catalogs

The Product Catalog component allows you to store, retrieve, and manage data to be used in advertising materials such as catalogs, promotional flyers, CD-ROM disks, online (Internet) services, and multimedia kiosks at point of sale.

In R/3, you define product catalog's structure by first specifying layout areas (hierarchical groupings of merchandise), then assigning materials to these layout areas. The system automatically includes pricing that will be in effect during the validity period defined for the product catalog. You can attach special advertising texts and images to the materials, as well as multimedia objects (video, audio, animation) for Internet and CD-ROM catalogs.

You can define variants of a product catalog based on language and currency.

Interface to external systems for product catalog production

A BAPI allows you to export data from R/3 to an external system, so you can then import it into the production software of your choice.

Support for electronic retailing (online stores)

Among the Internet Application Components delivered with R/3, the following two are based on the product catalog function:

These allow you to put your product catalog on the Internet. Customers can browse through your product offering or search for specific products. Your layout hierarchy is preserved, so that the layout areas form product categories within your online store (men's clothing, consumer electronics, health and beauty aids, and so on). With integrated order entry, customers can also place materials in their virtual shopping basket, have a quotation created for them with pricing information, then actually purchase the merchandise.

Name changed from Advertising Media to Product Catalog

The name of this component has been changed from "Advertising Media" to "Product Catalog."

Support for generic materials and variants

When you enter a generic material, you are prompted to select which variants you want to include. Generic materials are supported by the Internet Application Components Product Catalog and Online Store.

Support for sets

When you enter a set, the system includes all the components that make up that set, along with their quantities. Sets are supported by the Internet Application Components Product Catalog and Online Store.

Ability to copy or delete product catalogs

You can copy an existing catalog and save it under another name. This allows you to update catalogs as materials or prices change. For example, you might create a summer catalog for this year by copying the one from the previous summer, then add or delete materials as desired. The product catalog always takes the latest pricing information from the R/3 database.

As your list of product catalogs grows, you can delete the ones that you no longer need.

Material proposal function

You can display layout modules, material groups, or material classes, and all the materials contained therein. From this list you can then select one or more materials and copy these into the product catalog.

Ability to copy material class hierarchies into product catalogs

You can display material hierarchies from material groups or other material classes, then copy all or part of a hierarchy into the product catalog layout. For example, if you have a material group for consumer electronics, you might want to include only TVs and stereos in the product catalog, but not radios. Or, you might want to include only portable TVs and big-screen TVs, but not intermediate sizes. This speeds product catalog creation when you want to include many materials from the same hierarchy. The hierarchy is preserved in the product catalog.

Customer master data support for online stores

In the Internet Online Store, new customers can register themselves. When they fill out an electronic form with address information and submit it, the data is immediately passed to R/3 which automatically generates a new customer master record and assigns a customer number and password. The customer can then order right away. Customers can change their password or address information later, if they wish.

Credit card support for online stores

Customers can choose to pay by either invoice or credit card.

Support for a multi-user environment when maintaining catalogs

Product catalogs can be maintained in a multi-user environment, meaning that several people can work on the same catalog in parallel.

Change documents

Change documents can be created for product catalogs. These record what was changed, who made the change, and the date on which the change was made.

Ability to export product catalog data in IDoc format

Product catalog data can be exported to third-party systems in IDoc format (in addition to the BAPI method already supported in earlier releases of SAP Retail). The export is done through the R/3 menu. There are two IDoc types: one for the catalog structure and one for the position (material) data.

You can manually select which catalogs or positions to export. This is useful, for example, when you want to initialize a catalog on an outside system that is, export an entire catalog to that system for the first time). Alternatively, if you wish to update an existing existing catalog, you can use the ALE change pointers to detect which catalogs and positions have changed and need to have IDocs created.

Change system parameters in customizing

Refer to the IMG under Product Catalog