How Salesforce Blurs Commerce and Community

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Francis Pilon

Salesforce Community Cloud customers will soon have the ability to add their own buy buttons.

The idea: embed eCommerce features directly into customer support sites, feedback forums, or other online resources that someone might use to research a product or a project.

The newly released Community Cloud allows organizations to build sites where customers can interact with the company and with each other. By developing the option to make purchases directly from those communities, Mike Stone, the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Salesforce Community Cloud, said the company is enabling “a whole new evolution of social commerce”.

Need a certain part to fix a faulty device in your car? Now, you can purchase it directly after you solve which one is right for the problem. Need an outside expert to help complete the car problem? You may be able to “order” someone’s services on the spot, after reviewing their commentary on a auto repair site.

Buy Buttons of 2015

The social media giants have all added in-context eCommerce capabilities over the past year. What Salesforce is doing extends the concept beyond retailers, enabling other industries to enable immediate transactions.

“This makes things more frictionless,” said Stone. “Most businesses have separate community and commerce sites. Normally, combining the two would require a significant engineering effort.”

Lightning Components

Salesforce Community Cloud is used by businesses to manage outreach and communications with partners, customers, and employees. The new capability is part of the forthcoming winter 2016 update. It’s made possible through “Lightning Components” that allow new features to be added to their existing communities quickly, without requiring a software developer.

To be clear, Salesforce hasn’t built out these features on its own. Instead, it’s partnering with eCommerce companies CloudCraze, Demandware, and Bigcommerce. The three organizations were chosen based on market share with existing Salesforce Community Cloud customers, Stone said. Salesforce doesn’t disclose customer counts for any of its individual “Cloud” offerings, but he put the number in the “thousands worldwide.”

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