We all know Salesforce as a great tool to manage sales – it’s in the name, right? – but it can also help service, marketing and many other parts of your business. Salesforce’s overall strategy centres around helping customers gain a true end-to-end view of all their customer interactions and in this modern online shopping world, Salesforce believe commerce is going to be a key component in their drive towards $20b USD in annual revenue (currently $10b). Salesforce are quite likely right, so it’s no surprise two of their more recent acquisitions have been in this space.

The Adept team has been fortunate to build a leadership position in ecommerce on Salesforce so, as part of a multi-part journey of discovery, let’s first discuss the options.

B2B or B2C?

Like any journey, we need to start at the start – and like all things in life and tech it can be complicated.  But in the simplest terms most ecommerce interactions fit into one of two categories: Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Customer (B2C). In contrast to some other vendors who have adopted a one-size-fits-all approach that often seems to fit no one, Salesforce has distinct options for both B2B and B2C which in my view has proven more successful.

B2C – Business to Consumer

B2C is your classic ecommerce: businesses selling to end consumers. It’s typically people like you and I visiting an online site and purchasing items that are then delivered to us in some way. Of course, there are a myriad of variations of this in both products and methods but this in essence is B2C.

Two years ago Salesforce dropped $2.8b to purchase Demandware, a leader in the B2C space, and recently renamed it B2C Commerce Cloud. Prior to acquisition, Demandware was a standalone company with its own platform and technology stack which has already been integrated into the Salesforce world and, over time, will be further merged into Salesforce’s core technologies.

This platform has an impressive set of capabilities and came with an equally impressive list of customers with some of the most immersive online sales experiences around.  If you want cool cutting edge stuff, B2C sites are where you will find it! A good example is Ray-Bans where you can upload a picture of your head, digitally project sunglasses onto it and then order your chosen pair with custom engraving, to be delivered to your doorstep. Closer to home, Icebreaker and MacPac are both customising their sites to suit a global audience, with the support of B2C Commerce Cloud.

A good way to consider B2C is that it’s often focused on high-margin low-volume goods (i.e. sunglasses, shoes etc), products you don’t buy often and when you do it’s usually in small quantities and with high markups. For B2C it’s the experience that matters – it must be very good and completely immersive, with payment and shipping kept relatively simple.

B2B – Business to Business

B2B is based around businesses selling to other businesses online. Similar to B2C, there are a myriad of options here, however it’s usually based on purchases companies make from each another (e.g. bulk foods, stationary or building products) that are often high volume/bulk orders with often lower profit margins.

Organisations selling these sorts of products have significantly different needs to B2C sellers for example:

  • There’s often complex pricing schedules with agreed pricing in place, bulk buying discounts, and all manner of other options.
  • The products may be configurable, with rules around how they must be configured
  • Customers may come as often as multiple times daily to order more of the same over and over so the seller needs the process automated or at least streamlined, or they may even be using EDI and the like.
  • Shipping can also be complex with split deliveries, delivery schedules and all sorts of other factors. Stock availability, forecasting and geographic location and delivery schedules also plays a big part.
  • There may be multiple payment options including the ability to charge credit accounts which introduces complexity around credit control and size of order vs credit and even multiple payment options on the same order.

Customers still want and expect a great experience with modern design and mobile access etc but there’s much less focus on it – after all, no one needs to see a 3D rotatable image of a pallet of concrete bags, a standard picture will more than suffice! What customers do want, however, is detailed stock and product information (i.e. what price they will get it for if they buy one pallet vs one hundred pallets) does the supplier have stock on hand or perhaps coming in the future and the delivery schedule to get it to them. Last but not least, the customer will quite likely have a dedicated sales resource such as an account manager to help them, who will also want and need access to this information at all times in real time which is where Salesforce and its powerful CRM capabilities can come into play.

CloudCraze is a Gartner-recognised leader in the B2B space. As a dedicated B2B provider they intuitively understand the unique capabilities required in this space and delivered all of the above capability and much more, with the significant benefit of being a Salesforce-native application (as in built natively with Salesforce technology accessed via the Appexchange). Three months ago they were purchased by Salesforce themselves and are now known as B2B Commerce Cloud.

Being native on Salesforce and now part of the mother ship provides some massive benefits to existing Salesforce and CloudCraze customers because key infrastructure, upgrades and CRM capabilities such as AI, or marketing are immediately available to support their online site and with the backing of Salesforce,  this is only going to get richer and richer overtime. Most importantly, all Salesforce commerce customers can now experience a complete view of their customer interactions, allowing the sales team to see online purchases, inspect carts, add promotions and special offers – all from the familiar trusted Salesforce interface.

What next?

Being the only local CloudCraze implementation partner in Australia or New Zealand before the acquisition, Adept is the only partner to have implemented a solution in this part of the world – a huge benefit for our customers and something we’re pretty proud of.  In my next installment I’ll look at Salesforce’s B2B Commerce Cloud (formerly CloudCraze) in more detail and share my thoughts on what makes it such a great option for many New Zealand and Australian businesses – keep an eye out.

In the meantime, if you’d like to find out more about how ecommerce solution could help you, please reach out to us at sales@adeptgroup.co.nz and we’ll be happy to help.