SAP announces commerce platform Upscale into US market today

At the SAP Customer Experience Live event this morning, SAP announced they’re launching the latest commerce platform, Upscale, in incubation mode into the US market today.

Upscale claims ultra speedy deployment. In their words, “really, really, really fast.” So fast, in fact, that they boast all of their customers will go live in 7-14 days.

After introducing the idea, Charles Nicholl, SVP Product Strategy, said, “Crazy isn’t it?? I mean this is SAP! You don’t expect that.”

What will Upscale solve?

Upscale is designed for mid-market, direct to consumer retailers, specifically selling on mobile. Ideal use cases would be launching a new brand, testing a new market, or going direct to consumer for the first time.

Mostly, it seeks to close one huge gap: 70% of internet traffic is mobile, but only 20% end in conversions. As we all know, websites built for desktops just don’t quite have the same effect on mobile. Nicholl says, “We tried to take this huge screen, rotate it 90 degrees, and shrink it down a ton. Obviously it doesn’t work.” On mobile, we deal with such little real estate compared to desktop. What do we include?

Secondly, Upscale tries to solve the problem of payment: 90% of customers on a mobile device bail on the payment. To do so, it offers the option of Apple Pay. From a consumer perspective, not having to go through the tedious process of credit card details at checkout will surely be an easier, less frustrating experience.

Finally, the platform is available as both an app and an in-browser experience. Not every customer needs or wants an app. If they visit the website via a mobile browser, customers will still be able to easily search, swipe, select, and Apple Pay their way through to purchase.

Case in point: New Era

To introduce the idea, we were told the story through the interesting — and at least for our US readers, deeply familiar — lens of baseball. They brought up Lorenz Gan, CIO of New Era, the company who does baseball caps for major and minor league teams, famously the Yankees.

New Era is a 100 year old company, one that many of us grew up with. They bring a strong combination of authenticity and heritage — not many other “authentic” brands can claim they’ve made hats for all our favorite childhood baseball heroes.

But while they’re found around the world, beloved by many, and have a deep and broad set of customers, New Era traditionally has been a wholesaler. Their products are found in most retail stores where sport gear is sold.

A few years ago, however, they wanted to change that. Lorenz Gan was brought on board to build a direct to consumer platform.

How does a traditional wholesaler stand out in direct to consumer?

In this case, for New Era one of their answers will be SAP Upscale. With no customer code, simple drag and drop configuration, and “really, really, really fast” deployment, this commerce platform offers a brand like New Era an easy way to introduce and experiment with direct to consumer sales. 

One example Lorenz Gan anticipates use is for events. New Era could have a mobile first popup at Coachella, and customers could have the option to use the Upscale platform for purchasing.

More than anything, New Era anticipates being able to use this platform to quickly deploy and test out different products and markets — which ultimately will help them connect with consumers.

From both brand and consumer perspectives, Upscale seems to be another step toward more seamless experience.

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