The Salesforce commerce cloud was always a powerful, cloud-based, scalable solution. Salesforce’s acquisition of CloudCraze in April 2020 upgraded the commerce cloud into a much more powerful B2C tool. The upgrades enable businesses to deliver personalized shopping experiences to their customers. Customers get a frictionless, consistent experience across mobile, web, social, and physical channels.
Here are the key trends in Salesforce commerce cloud that enable businesses to seize the momentum and keep abreast of changes.
1. Enabling a Digital-First Approach
The spread of digital commerce due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even earlier, has changed customer preferences. The message to enterprises is clear – adopt a digital-first approach and be flexible.
Traditional systems were for physical spaces and engagement, with digital being just an add-on layer. This has many vulnerabilities and gaps. A good UX will pepper over the complexity of the underlying system only to an extent. In a digital-first approach, smartphones or other digital channels are the primary modes of engagement. Physical brick-and-mortar engagement channels become another touchpoint, and digital channels complement physical stores.
Salesforce commerce cloud is a digital-first platform that places the end-customer as the prime focus on all initiatives. Businesses may now use the commerce cloud to launch responsive, data-driven websites. They may drive innovative campaigns and promotions and scale across brands, sites, and devices.
An excellent case study of applying the commerce cloud to transform the business is M1 Singapore. The Salesforce Commerce cloud integrated new digital capabilities into its ecosystem smoothly.
M1 partnered with Salesforce to:
- Go paperless. M1 used Salesforce to migrate to e-bill, digital contracts, and e-invoices. M1 integrated product catalog, order management, and quoting with CPQ into the Salesforce cloud, and hit the ground running. The Salesforce communications cloud offered an out-of-the-box solution.
- Roll out end-to-end automation. Seamless digitization eliminates manual checks and re-keying of data between systems. Human intervention is limited to exception handlings such as managing order fallouts or failure. M1 used Salesforce to automate the complex order provisioning process, with an expected 85% reduction in human touch.
- Increase self-service. M1 expects self-service to grow to a whopping 90% of all support activities, from the current 15%–20% levels. Self-service saves on support executives, but needs a neat UX to succeed, which Salesforce delivers.
The commerce cloud offers native integration with Einstein, Salesforce’s powerful Artificial Intelligence engine. Einstein offers a host of powerful AI-capabilities that upgrades the commerce cloud feature list and enable marketers to design better shopping experiences for their customers. Einstein predictive sort tailors search optimization and category pages according to customer actions. Einstein’s commerce insights offer a deep analysis of customers’ habits. Einstein’s product recommendations offer the best product recommendations. Co-opting Einstein product recommendations increases average order value by 26%.
2. Headless Architecture Drives Better Agility and Flexibility
Today’s business environment is fluid. Only businesses that cope with uncertainty and are flexible to seize opportunities, succeed. Enterprises proactive in acting on changing preferences get the customers’ attention and goodwill. Agile enterprises make the cut.
The key driver of agility in commerce cloud is headless architecture. It enables agility without added risk or cost escalation. Business users can easily deliver consistent experiences across any engagement channel.
Salesforce’s scalable commerce APIs separate back-end services from the front-end customer experience. Businesses may choose the best-fit storefront based on their business needs and goals. They may build their headless storefront:
- From scratch over the commerce APIs, using any front-end framework.
- Using Progressive Web App (PWA) Kit and Managed Runtime. The PWA Kit offers components and e-commerce flows with built-in best practices. Enterprises may deploy custom build storefront with big savings on cost, time, and resources. Users get a modern and fully customizable web experience. Managed Runtime host storefronts securely, and enable easy scale. Development teams may now focus on innovation rather than waste their time and energy on maintenance tasks.
3. Data-Driven Approaches
Salesforce CDP or Salesforce’s Customer Data Platform captures data from various sources. CDP further segments and processes the data to offer a single source of truth. The API-first approach and compostable commerce services allow easy integration of data.
Integrated data sets offer deep insights and unlock many possibilities. It helps businesses:
- Personalize experiences across the customer lifecycle: Salesforce has, over the last couple of years, developed tools that deliver connected experiences to customers. These tools rely on customer data as the center of all actions and deliver personalized experiences
- Improve visibility to inventory: Data from inventory management software presents the most accurate stock position. Business managers may reorder stock at the correct time. Deep insights into the supply chain make it easy to predict when new stock will arrive. The analytics tool predicts when the business will reach a stock-out situation – this means you can sync campaigns and promotions based on stock availability
- Improved analytics: Salesforce CDP offers enterprises the full ownership of their data. CDP users get an in-depth insight into what their customers want. Seamless integration with Tableau enables analytics self-service. Teams may generate their analysis on-the-fly, and make instant decisions.
Salesforce CDP-enabled commerce cloud enables the flexibility to adapt to shifting market needs.
4. Easy Visual Merchandising
Most enterprises understand the inevitability of e-stores. The commerce cloud’s dynamic visual sorting capabilities make visual merchandising easy. Salesforce has paid attention to detail and taken care of the little things that improve speed and UX in a big way.
Advanced marketing tools integrated into the commerce cloud allow merchants to:
- Manage and share product information, content, and images across categories, catalogs, and pages
- Get a centralized view of products and pricing across sites, languages, and currencies.
Some of the recent enhancements in the Salesforce commerce cloud are:
- Easy drag-and-drop product positioning. Sales teams can merchandise category pages and sort categories visually. For instance, the page no longer reloads when the merchandiser drags products on the visual merchandise tab. This improves speed and UX in a big way
- Infinite scroll, rather than scrolling through 50 products at a time
- Enhanced import and export functionality to support the popular CSV format
- Variation groups or groups of stock-keeping units (SKUs) within a master product, based on specific attributes. Marketers may sort products by color, size, and other attributes, offering greater flexibility.
Salesforce facilitates easy onboarding of emerging technology, including VR solutions. 3D Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities help customers research their products better. The most popular applications are in automobiles and furniture retail.
The Salesforce commerce cloud enables marketers to hyper-customize effortlessly.
Salesforce commerce cloud empowers businesses to connect with consumers. They may deliver unique, personalized shopping experiences across web, mobile, social, and in-store.
Every update to the Salesforce commerce cloud makes it easier for users to customize the design of their e-commerce store. The latest customizable storefront themes enable a custom look and feel for each user. The new ‘Page Designer’ tool caters to the needs of immediacy. Marketers may design, schedule, and publish pages on the fly, without professional help. The tool offers:
- Drag-and-drop interface to add components and publish pages with clicks. No coding needed
- Custom components for campaigns, seasonal offerings, and other specific business needs
- Option to preview the website in multiple device screen modes, for the best effect
- Ability to schedule website content roll-out on individual pages by date, time, customer group, and locality
- Reuse any page or component from any digital storefront, anywhere.
6. Redefining Omnichannel
Delivering omnichannel experiences has been the priority for marketers for quite some time. A true omnichannel experience delivers a consistent experience across all touch-points. Customers get the same experience through websites, e-mail, social media, live chats, phone calls, or in-person.
Salesforce commerce cloud now allows businesses to roll out a seamless omnichannel experience. It offers:
- Shared view of orders, customers, inventory, and promotions across physical and digital channels
- Integrated order management across the commerce cloud digital and commerce cloud store. Customers may receive or return a product through any mode, be it online, pickup, or online store
- In-built, real-time inventory management shared across all channels. The business may deliver the product to a customer from a distant warehouse.
The commerce cloud also offers easy onboarding of partners providing independent omnichannel services. Many such partners offer innovative solutions that make things easier, deliver better value to customers, or enable delivering a more connected customer experience. For instance,
- New Store and Mad Mobile integrate Salesforce order management with their POS systems. These solutions synchronize information between physical and digital stores. Feedonomics, another innovative third-party solution, helps businesses list products anywhere
- M1 uses MuleSoft to integrate Salesforce with its operational and billing systems. The innovative configuration breaks down data silos and merges 150 legacy applications into 30. The benefits include standardization, easy scalability, and a 360-degree view of the customer.
7. Speedy Deliveries
Speed is of critical importance to delight customers. Businesses deploying the commerce cloud are always ready to match peak demand. The deep insights ensure that they will have the right inventory and the capability to deliver orders instantly.
The commerce cloud offers:
- Location-based inventory capabilities with full visibility
- Partnership with third patty fulfilment agents to speed up delivery. For the 2021 holiday season, Salesforce partnered with FedEx and Shoprunner. The power of Commerce Cloud FedEx’s logistics capabilities delivers synergy. Customers get faster, easier, and cheaper deliveries.
8. Payment innovation
Salesforce always offers a high velocity of innovation. Businesses need to remove inefficiencies in the invoicing process, through eliminating paper invoices to cut costs and delays, and integrated and automated invoicing and payment collection.
The latest developments in the commerce cloud facilitate these trends. Businesses may set up robust and integrated invoicing systems, and offer flexibility to customers. Businesses give customers
- New payment options including flexible payment terms, to gain their loyalty. Many customers prefer flexibility in payment, especially when purchasing big-ticket or expensive items
- Latest technology enablement that facilitates new payment channels such as one-touch mobile payments
- Seamless integration with partner systems, facilitating tie-up with third-party loan providers
- Back-end integration with accounts. The invoices, pending collections, and payments received get updated in the accounts database. Accounts executives and support agents get real-time information at their fingertips.
9. Better Security
Security is a big concern than ever before. Enterprising cybercriminals breach even the most robust of networks. They also drive sophisticated ransomware attacks. Cyber-attacks increased 600% during the COVID-19 pandemic. The damages related to cyberattacks will touch $6 trillion in 2021. Salesforce is prepared for this –
- Salesforce Shield, a comprehensive set of security tools, counters the latest threats. It offers an audit trail, event monitoring, platform encryption, and other robust tools. The shield offers trust and transparency, and ensures 100% compliance for business-critical apps
- Accessing applications using a Salesforce-supported browser offers added protection. The Transport Layer Security (TLS) technology offers server authentication and encryption. These protections make the data accessible only to registered enterprise users
- The Security Health Check option identifies and solves potential risks.
10. Thrust on Sustainability
Salesforce enables businesses to tweak their business models, to operate sustainably. The Salesforce sustainability cloud gives businesses a complete view of their operations. They may
- Analyze carbon emissions and quantify carbon footprints
- Reduce waste. The commerce cloud offers full views on the sustainable inclusions and exclusions in business operations. This enables optimal use of resources. A key element of sustainability is reducing waste. Wastage breeds inefficiency and reduces the competitiveness of the business.
Digital transformation is no longer a choice. It has become essential for survival. The Salesforce commerce cloud helps enterprises transform their customer-facing operations and remain competitive. It helps business deliver better value to customers and earn their trust and advocacy.