Everyone loves new features and capabilities. They continually push the CloudCraze solution and enable our clients to deliver the best customer experience possible. Behind the scenes, the technical team often wonders what these features really mean and how can they help customers take advantage of them. With this post, I hope to give a different take on some of the key features of our latest release.
Let’s say you have a product that comes in a variety of colors, sizes, and materials – aka different attributes. But there are only a certain number of valid combinations of these three attributes and only some customers are allowed to purchase certain combinations. In previous versions of CloudCraze, solving this would potentially require a large number of similar product records in Salesforce to represent each combination, a variety of pricing records to entitle the gaggle of products to a large number of customers and some heavy customization to ensure a good customer experience. With ADC, we now have an out-of-the-box way to represent this with only one main product record, some re-useable attribute records and the standard pricing records that would go with entitling a single product to a group of customers.
You may ask: How does this make my life better? By using one main product record instead of one per combination, you do not need to maintain separate images, descriptions, specs and more for each combination. Instead, we only have to keep those things up to date for a single product record.
Additionally, by using attribute records to represent the different product options, we can offer the same variations linked to different products and again, only have to maintain things – like translations – in one spot. For example, if you have shirt, shoes, and pants, and they all are offered in a few different signature shades of color, you would only need one attribute to represent each shared color option. You could link the same ones to all three products instead of requiring duplicates for the shirt, the shoes and the pants.
Finally – and I think the most exciting part from a technical perspective – since ADC leverages CloudCraze’s new pricing engine and pricing objects to drive entitlement, we can still use the standard CloudCraze entitlement options to customize it down to a per customer level. From an ADC configuration standpoint, the pricing object is the link between attributes offered, prices for each combination, how customers see these specific combinations and prices, and what product the combinations apply to. In practice, this means that you can have a completely different set of options and prices for each customer and only manage it at the pricing object level.
From a technical perspective, the API-based pricing engine is the most exciting new feature. One of the most common implementation pain points is connecting to the main pricing logic. While the capability to touch most parts of the pricing logic was in previous versions, it often required a good bit of technical work to achieve the end result due to the limited number of available extension points.
With the new engine, there are a variety of places to hook in, extend, augment, or even replace the standard logic. Previously there were a small number of touch points to accomplish this, but now the touch points are spread across almost every step of pricing, and at a granular level, even down to per-product-type customization.
Now, pricing is much more consolidated. Instead of finding and changing four or five spots to connect to the correct points, I can simply customize the single logic class and achieve the same results. Overall, this means faster, cleaner implementations that are easier to maintain, not to mention an increase in terms of both out-of-the-box and customizable capabilities.
While these two new features are exciting and bring great new functionality to CloudCraze, these are just the headliners for the current release of CloudCraze. As with all releases, CloudCraze continues to evolve its abilities to be flexible, extensible, and scalable to suit a variety of needs, wants and asks. And given the current trajectory, the future seems very exciting. For a full list of enhancements, check out the full the release notes.