Unless you’ve been hiding in a darkened room with full media blackout for the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard the announcement that Chicago-based CloudCraze Software LLC have been bought out by Salesforce (as of March 12th). This is an exciting proposition for the expansion of eCommerce services on the Salesforce platform. The caliber of customers attracted by the company’s extensive B2B eCommerce capabilities is impressive and this event carries the promise of even more rapid expansion of the product feature set and a huge increase in demand for delivery and implementation expertise in this area.
But doesn’t Salesforce already have a Commerce product?
You may also know that Salesforce has had its own Commerce Cloud for a while now. In 2016, Demandware Inc.(based in Massachusetts) was the subject of another Salesforce acquisition. They specialise in cloud-based eCommerce retail management software. With this strategic move, Salesforce set themselves up as a comprehensive service provider for retail customer experience across a full range of verticals.
Do these two seemingly competitive products work together?
The result of these two acquisitions is a cloud-based platform for both B2B and B2C businesses to build stores, present their product catalogues to customers with a complete complementary ordering, fulfilment and service offering available. Add to that extensive features to customise, extend and integrate applications with on-premise and cloud-based systems and you’ve got a fully scalable, secure and flexible system to manage your business all the way from product rollout through to payment.
If you sell to individuals, then B2C is your market, therefore Salesforce Commerce is your product of choice; if you sell to businesses, B2B is your market and you should be aiming to use Cloudcraze to sell your wares.
The key point is that these two technologies, whilst being closely related, serve separate and distinct purposes. They also operate in a complementary fashion for businesses that need both sets of features.
Salesforce often groups together their Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud which, as a unit, provide an effective solution for tackling the B2C world. Their new acquisition, Cloudcraze, checks the box for B2B.
B2B vs. B2C: Surely Selling Is Selling?
To the inexperienced, this may appear to be true. After all, we’re simply showing what we sell, allowing the customer to choose and pay, and shipping product. But look deeper and there are significant differences, as shown in this table:
|Business-to-Consumer (B2C)||Business-to-Business (B2B)|
|Buyer||Mainly private individuals buying for personal consumption, for families or small business. Personal taste and emotion often influences purchasing decisions.||Mostly professional buyers who make purchasing decisions based on time-tested objective criteria often combined with expert consultative advice from a salesperson at the end of the first purchase. Purchasing decisions will often be subject to scrutiny and must be clinically executed. Often, a formal purchasing process backed up by a purchasing team. It is important to understand the buying needs to the all the stakeholders in the purchasing team and ensure their varying informational needs are met. Wholesalers, dealers, and commercial organisation make up this buying community.|
|Product Information||Brochure-style information suitable for mass consumer markets is the norm.||Detailed technical information is common: data sheets, total cost of ownership calculators, technical specifications, user operation manuals, product schematics, detailed troubleshooting and maintenance information, instructional videos and complementary media are often available.|
|Relationships||Quite often, purchasers have no personal relationship with the seller and tend to purchase infrequently and in low quantities.||This is where the vendor and the buyer build long-lasting relationships. Buyers may have preferred suppliers, with long-lasting associations being common. A vendor Sales Representative often has a number of customers that they actively manage. Bulk or high-value purchases are common. These bulk orders often take place within pre-negotiated framework agreements.|
|Price Lists||Buyers usually purchase from territory-specific price lists.||Most customers have negotiated and agreed their own price lists, with contracts based on expected purchase volumes and transaction lifecycles.|
|Discounts & Agreements||Discounts are usually available through campaign coupons or standard discount schemes, but not on an individual basis.||Detailed service-level agreements are usually drawn up, with agreed purchasing quantities or monetary amounts. Discounts are individually negotiated to maximise value from the relationship.|
|Credit Terms||More often than not, purchases are made with credit cards or comparable instant funds transfer facilities.||Credit terms are usually negotiated, with payment terms of 30, 60, 90 or more days.|
|Predictive / AI||Einstein provides a personalised shopping experience, including product recommendations, personalised shopping predictions and more.||Guided Selling features help the buyers make informed purchasing decisions with cross-sell and up-sell opportunities being exploited.|
|Order Complexity||Typically relatively small numbers of items in the shopping cart||Order volumes can be large and extensive. A customer might want to have multiple shopping carts open at once. From an ERP / logistics perspective, an order of many hundreds of SKUs in one order can mean that the order needs to be fulfilled from multiple warehouses with varying availability. Shipments can be planned with varying lead times or across a detailed schedule.|
|Delivery types||One delivery address per shopping basket and rarely any split orders||It’s not unusual for a single order to be provisioned from multiple locations, with several different shipping dates, to multiple shipping addresses, with many different SKU’s on a single (shopping cart) order.|
Above, I discuss the differences between the two Salesforce eCommerce offerings, but they also share some common ground:
- Both products are built natively on the same platform1, they inherit the same sophisticated security model and the same API model for industry-standard systems integrations.
- Scalable platform with redundant data protection and time-proven availability record of > 99.9% uptime.
- Ability to take advantage of standard objects such as Account, Contact, Opportunity, Lead and Case.
- Augment business processes with custom platform extensions and AppExchange add-on applications, workflow and approval processes.
- Internationalisation and localisation features across the products: multiple languages, currencies, date, number and address formats.
- Salesforce provides a sophisticated set of standard Reporting & Dashboard features as well as add-on Analytics .
- Mobile platform support is available to enhance the buying experience.
- A full 360-degree view of the customer’s eCommerce status
- Ability to leverage marketing cloud and DMP for enhanced customer journeys such as shopping cart abandonment and sophisticated up- and cross-sell propositions based on lookalike target segments
- Ability to sell products and services/subscriptions
Whether you wish to sell to consumer mass markets or to your partners, dealer networks or wholesale customers (or all of the above), the Salesforce platform has a set of product offerings and a robust extensible application architecture to give you what you need.
Waeg is an international Platinum omni-cloud Salesforce partner dedicated to helping multinational organisations improve productivity and customer experience through digital transformation. Waeg’s digital transformation services are supported by commercial and customer engagement automation tools such as Pardot Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, CloudCraze and Commerce Cloud. Waeg has 40 senior certified consultants composed of 12 nationalities. It has its HQ in the city centre of Brussels, the heart of Europe, and sales and local delivery offices in the Netherlands and Northern Europe.
1 Some elements of Salesforce Commerce infrastructure used to host Customer Data submitted to the Commerce Cloud Services is provided by a third party, Amazon Web Services, Inc.