Retailers are finding it necessary to incorporate multiple channels into their sales and distribution in order to stay competitive. The number of consumers purchasing products online has grown dramatically in the last 20 years to the point where people are comfortable pulling out their phone in a crowded restaurant and making an impulse purchase based on the recommendation of a friend.
There are 7.6 billion people in the world today (give or take a few). According to data shared by Sleeknote there were 1.66 billion global online shoppers in 2017.
That means 21.8% of the world’s population regularly shops online accounting for 11.9% of all retail sales worldwide.
Naturally, businesses continue to open and push themselves into gaps for a share of that revenue which makes for a highly competitive market. The platform they choose has a significant impact on their operations, scalability, agility, and especially the customer experience. Salesforce Commerce Cloud has emerged as one of the top platforms in all of these areas.
What is Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Of all things Commerce Cloud, it is not just an online shopping cart. To use the words of Salesforce:
“Commerce Cloud is the world's leading B2C and B2B commerce solution. Commerce Cloud is a multi-tenant, cloud-based commerce platform that empowers brands to create intelligent, unified buying experiences across all channels — mobile, social, web, and store.”
Allow me to translate:
Commerce Cloud offers a suite of features designed to transform how brands connect with their customers at every stage of the customer’s journey. Not only that, Commerce Cloud creates a seamless transition from one channel to another so every business is supported across every medium and point of engagement.
With all the shifts in consumer buying habits and the technology used to make purchases, this type of omnichannel oversight gives a retailer far more control from discover through engagement, transactions, analytics, customer service, community development, and relationship building.
What sets Commerce Cloud apart is Salesforce.
Marketing automation and the Marketing Cloud is just one of many services available to Commerce Cloud users.
When Salesforce acquired Demandware in July 2016 and used that acquisition to launch Commerce Cloud, it added eCommerce to an enterprise-grade platform complete with scalable technology including the world’s number one CRM, help desk software, sales, service, marketing, workflow automation, reporting and more.
It’s not just omnichannel commerce; it’s unified commerce.
Commerce Cloud B2C and B2B
Salesforce delivers everything an retailer needs to take their business online including marketing, merchandising, content management, handling and deploying promotions, customer service management, order fulfillment, inventory, endless data, and artificial intelligence that maximizes customer personalization on a 1-to-1 level. Both B2C and B2B users can take advantage of this platform.
Who Uses Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Commerce Cloud powers some of the most well known brands in the world, unifying customer experiences at every touchpoint and making retail (both on and offline) easier to manage. This includes brands like:
- Ethan Allen
- Under Armour
While the list of major brands is a long one there’s plenty for growing businesses to gain from working with Commerce Cloud. Most notably, the scalability of the system and comprehensive feature-set.
It's easier than ever to operate an eCommerce business without turning to IT support for every update and promotional launch.
The Benefits of Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Commerce Cloud comes with some especially valuable features, such as:
A wealth of information is only useful if you know how to read and interpret it in order to take action based on your findings.
The more a business scales, the more data there is to sort through. By the time you’ve managed to analyze the data you have, it’s often no longer relevant and opportunities are missed.
There are 3rd party tools that can help with data analysis, like Albert, an AI that can integrate with your business to analyze and automate digital marketing efforts.
Predictive intelligence improves the shopping experience
The downside to working with an ever-growing stack of 3rd party integrations is the systems you use to run your business become increasingly disconnected. When one stops supporting the other it can bring business to a halt.
The predictive intelligence bundled with Commerce Cloud simplifies that, eliminating the need for manual data analysis and a host of 3rd party tools.
Einstein is next-generation artificial intelligence embedded into Commerce Cloud. This system allows brands to deliver a delightful, personalized shopping experience across every channel instantly without interruption in the user experience. With Einstein, brands can:
- Recommend the best products at every touchpoint
- Generate 1:1 predictions for every single shopper in real time
- Get smart and boost conversions with data-driven commerce insights
- Save time and effort with automated merchandising tasks
The tight personalization offered by Commerce Cloud is crucial for brands who want to stay competitive. Now more than ever customers are demanding more personalization.
According to new research from Accenture and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), 63% of consumers surveyed are interested in personalized recommendations, and the majority of them are willing to share their data in exchange benefits such as automatic credits for coupons and loyalty points (64% of those surveyed), access to exclusive deals (60%), the ability to gain points and rewards (56%) or special offers for items that interest them (53%).
Einstein and Commerce Cloud can deliver all those things. By delivering a smarter predictive and personalized experience, brands can rely on Commerce Cloud to improve customer loyalty and lift conversions.
Add to that a unified buying experience and Commerce Cloud makes it easy for customers to click “buy” from anywhere – social, mobile, web, and in your store.
Enhanced marketing tools
Within the confines of Commerce Cloud, retailers can manage and share product information, content, and images across categories, catalogs, and sites. You can even unify all those things across multiple sites, with multiple currencies, and in multiple languages.
It enables you to connect customers with the right product, assortment, price, offer, and content at the right time to maximize conversion rates and increase average order value.
Ultimately, merchants, brand marketers, and content creators are empowered to drive the business, launch campaigns, refresh regularly, run promotions, and launch A/B tests to optimize conversions without technical support.
You can even optimize customer searches and improve conversions by using merchant rules that adjust based on the customer’s search intent and the profitability of your products.
Couple that with Salesforce Marketing Cloud and you have a one-stop solution for handling everything from paid advertising and email campaigns to social media management and reporting for every touchpoint and experience with your brand.
Commerce Cloud gives you the freedom to design a unified customer experience. This includes the checkout process, though that may not be necessary. Salesforce is among the first commerce solutions to fully support Apple Pay online, giving customers a streamlined single-page checkout that allows them to complete their transaction with a single touch.
A focus on mobile
In Q3 of 2018, smartphones accounted for 61% of retail site visits worldwide. Having a mobile-optimized store is crucial in creating a rewarding and friction-free customer experience. Especially since Google has made mobile-friendliness and site load speed factors in determining organic search rank.
But what about the people working behind the scenes to keep your business running?
From the point of sale in brick-and-mortar businesses to managing the online store, Commerce Cloud takes a mobile-first approach. Everything from reporting to inventory management is made easier through mobile.
A truly unified experience with Commerce Cloud Endless Aisle
One of the most compelling benefits of Commerce Cloud is how well it brings together each of the channels to create a unified customer experience. Rather than think of your online store, your social selling, or your brick-and-mortar as individual entities you can bring them all together for the benefit of the customer.
For example, giving your in-store team members mobile access to digital inventory can allow store associates to offer, sell, and ship products to customers in real time from anywhere in your store at any location.
Optimize Your Store with the Shogun Page Builder
For the most control over the appearance of your store, you'll need to use the Shogun page builder.
Shogun makes it easy to create custom pages for your store, even if you have absolutely no experience with web design. It provides you with a large library of elements (headings, text, images, menus, buttons, forms, etc.), and then you just drag and drop the elements you want onto the page. Each element is highly customizable as well, so you're able to make your store look exactly the way you want it to look.