SFCC gives online businesses of all sizes the tools to create a unique buyer's journey for every customer. It meets people where they are and empowers them to make successful purchases effortlessly. The program combines sales, marketing, order fulfillment, advertising, and customer service under a single platform for a 360-degree look at every customer and business operation.
This guide is designed to answer the most common questions surrounding Commerce Cloud, giving potential users a comprehensive overview of what it is, what it can do, and how to begin implementing it immediately. Learning about the product's core features, advantages, and potential disadvantages should give you a clear idea of whether implementing the platform could serve you well and take your business to the next level.
Click on any of the following questions to jump to the answers throughout this guide:
Salesforce Commerce Cloud Defined
Commerce Cloud is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for B2C and B2B online retailers. The cloud-based platform with artificial intelligence (AI)-powered features and omnichannel capabilities allows consumers to seamlessly engage with brands across any platform (web, shop, social, and mobile) while enjoying a personalized shopping experience.
Commerce Cloud is programmed to engage customers at every stage of the buyer's journey, meeting them where they are and empowering them to make informed purchase decisions. The software also equips businesses with the necessary tools to plan, launch, market, and promote a successful online store. It's marketing, sales, content management, data, automation, reporting, analytics, and predictive intelligence all in one.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud Users
Hundreds of B2B and B2C brands worldwide use Commerce Cloud, including Brooks, PUMA, PacSun, Cargill, PetSmart, YETI, Columbia, and American Red Cross. Its primary users are C-level executives and those responsible for finding a digital commerce solution to grow their business. Individuals tasked with improving store and customer experiences may also benefit from implementing Commerce Cloud.
Commerce Cloud for B2B and B2C
Commerce Cloud has two core products: B2B Commerce and B2C Commerce.
The B2B platform helps businesses of all sizes grow and scale fast to keep up with ever-growing customer demands. It also allows companies to see into buyer behavior by combining CRM data with the commerce experience. B2B Commerce enables businesses to generate more revenue by giving buyers a one-of-a-kind experience.
Salesforce B2C Commerce takes a mobile-first approach and allows for easy customization and smart personalization to enhance customer experiences. Its rich feature suite includes content management, promotions, merchandising, marketing, fulfillment, customer service, and predictive intelligence.
Why Two Separate Products Are Required
B2C and B2B shoppers use ecommerce websites differently, which is why Commerce Cloud offers two separate products.
Websites designed to sell to other businesses often have fewer customers who purchase more products more frequently. Therefore, B2B commerce sites need to have the functionality to handle large orders and inventory.
Conversely, businesses that sell to consumers need to market to a broader audience. B2C commerce websites often have larger numbers of customers that order smaller amounts of product. Large numbers of guests (who haven’t shopped with the company before) are also more common in B2C retail. On B2B websites, customers often know what they want and are merely reordering what they've ordered in the past.
B2C websites require more customization and personalization for each customer, in hopes of leading guests and returning customers to buy new products that are relevant to them. B2C websites also experience large surges around the holidays and during sales, so they need to have the scalability to handle mass amounts of sudden traffic.
How to Learn Commerce Cloud
Salesforce Commerce Cloud is backed by an around-the-clock support team and various resources. Individuals and teams can access the Trailblazer Community or Help Portal for 24/7 support. For developers, GitHub is a helpful website that allows development teams to work together and collaborate on projects.
Trailblazer is a community where users can collaborate with other like-minded individuals. Help Portal contains helpful documentation, walkthroughs, and videos to help users learn and implement Commerce Cloud correctly and efficiently. The B2C Commerce document, for example, covers information for merchants, developers, designers, and administrators. Release Notes help users stay up to date on the latest Commerce Cloud features.
These resources offer tips, expert knowledge, news, demos, online training, and more to help businesses learn to use SFCC, find answers to difficult problems, troubleshoot, and communicate with other users.
Unique Features of Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Commerce Cloud has impressive capabilities that set it apart from other cloud-based commerce platforms. Here are a few of its unique features.
Salesforce Order Management
Whenever someone makes an online purchase, they interact with an order management system. Order management involves everything that happens from the moment someone submits an order to the moment the order is received. A lot is happening behind the scenes throughout this process.
Here's what the traditional order lifecycle looks like.
- Capture: A shopper places an order, the order details are sent to the merchant, and payment is authorized.
- Fulfill: The order gets assigned to a specific location, and a warehouse team fulfills the order and preps it for shipping.
- Deliver: The products are sent off to a shipping carrier then delivered to the customer. The billing department captures payment.
- Customer service: Customer service associates (often from a call center) communicate with customers, answer questions, and process any returns or cancellations.
Each business unit works independently to move through the various stages, communicating little with outside teams. This segmented approach can lead to problems and errors throughout the process.
Salesforce Order Management solves many potential order-fulfillment problems by creating a united, centralized system that brings systems and people together to streamline and automate the entire process.
Salesforce Order Management allows teams to
- View the entire order lifecycle
- Capture orders, fulfill them, and deliver them—all from a single location
- Access a master repository containing information on all orders placed
- Provide customer service for shoppers at every stage of their journey
Salesforce Order Management gives users a 360-degree view of their customers, enabling them to create the best buying experiences possible.
With Einstein AI, businesses no longer require data scientists to personalize the shopping and buying process for every customer. Einstein's predictive intelligence capabilities craft a unique experience for individual shoppers based on their search and purchase behavior.
Einstein's five core features include the following:
- Einstein Predictive Sort: Deliver tailored search results to customers quickly to increase conversions.
- Einstein Product Recommendations: Show shoppers highly relevant product options automatically on every page.
- Einstein Search Dictionaries: Identify popular search terms and synonyms so every site search shows relevant results.
- Einstein Search Recommendations: Recommend search terms to shoppers looking for related products.
- Einstein Commerce Insights: Understand customer behavior by analyzing metrics based on customer habits and decisions.
This brings more options to brick-and-mortar store customers by offering digital inventory in addition to what's available on the floor. Endless Aisle helps businesses avoid losing sales and allows brands to ship products to customers from any location, for faster and more cost-effective delivery.
The Pros and Cons of Implementing Commerce Cloud
While SFCC comes with a long line of benefits, no platform is faultless. Here's an overview of what businesses and users have to say about the popular cloud-based commerce solution.
Here’s a nonexhaustive list of benefits Commerce Cloud has to offer.
- Built on the world's number one CRM
- Predictive intelligence with Einstein AI
- The ability to scale quickly and seamlessly
- Easily customizable storefronts
- Personalized buying experiences for customers
- Powerful growth strategies
- Data-driven insights into consumer behavior
- Responsive design for mobile shoppers
- A streamlined checkout process
- A unified shopping experience connecting digital and physical channels
- Advanced reporting and testing capabilities to improve marketing
- Automated manual tasks
- Multistore management
- 24/7 support, advisory services, and adoption programs
- Multitenant cloud platform
- New innovative features delivered regularly and automatically
- Seamless upgrades
- Fast load times
- Fit for B2B and B2C
- Content management system to manage content marketing efforts
- Borderless and secure infrastructure for international marketing
- Agility and flexibility
- 360-degree view of customers
- Customer service, marketing, sales, community, and order fulfillment in one place
Here are some challenges users may face when implementing the platform.
- It may be difficult to utilize all available features of the software.
- Customer service may not respond immediately to requests.
- Switching over may result in lost sales if not executed quickly and efficiently.
- The software programming language may be challenging to read for developers who haven't been explicitly trained in SFCC.
- It may be costly for smaller or less profitable businesses.
- Inconsistencies may be found across the user interface.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud Pricing
Exact pricing depends on whether your business is B2C or B2B (or both) and which edition of the platform you choose (Starter, Growth, or Plus). Different options offer different features. Product catalog size and number of storefronts can impact pricing, and so can apps and additional products added to your purchase.
Since pricing can vary so much from customer to customer, Salesforce Commerce Cloud doesn't publish its pricing online. To find the best solution for your business needs, contact an advisor to get a quote.
Professional Salesforce Commerce Cloud Implementation
Implementing SFCC in a way that sets a business up for success requires specific knowledge and skill. To get the most out of the program and reach your full potential with your business, you need Salesforce-certified developers who understand SFCC's architecture and programming language. They can implement and customize the platform with the proper functionality for your unique needs. They can also provide ongoing site maintenance and support.
Astound Commerce is a Salesforce Platinum Partner with more than 15 years of Salesforce Commerce expertise. Astound is also a leading implementation partner for Salesforce. Astound will implement and configure SFCC for your business and offer continued support and training once your site is up and running, so you'll never be in the dark.