When I look back a few years, before the rise of sites like Amazon and eBay, when all the shopping was done at a physical marketplace and we were restricted to the variety of products that the shopkeeper provided us. The first thing that comes to my mind is, ‘Thank you Internet‘. Yes, obviously internet made lives a lot easier, and it’s all thanks to this service that we were able to cover another milestone, eCommerce. Coming to that, when I move forward towards future, what I see is, most of the buying and selling will simply happen through eCommerce, and physical purchase will slowly diminish.
There is another big player in this entire game of buying and selling, Salesforce. Although Salesforce is not a platform for exchange of goods, or an eCommerce when I come to that. Yet most of the major players would find themselves in a tough spot for providing support without the help of a CRM, and that’s where Salesforce stands. Even small businesses these days are dependent on Salesforce. This brings me to the main point of this blog, is it possible to merge these two different platforms? As I don’t like taking no for an answer, so allow me to introduce you to a concept that you might have never heard about, but after reading this you won’t be able to get it out of your mind. I am here to talk about building eCommerce on Salesforce.
The Problem statement
Like I said that most of the big business are using Salesforce and among them are the once who have an eCommerce store setup for either local, national or international users. Also there are people who are willing to setup an eCommerce store in the near future. The problem statement here is, how to copy all the data of that store to the CRM on daily basis? With all the orders, and products and user data generating every day, how can we easily move it all from one place to the other?
Yes I do know about all the connectors that exist for various platforms to sync data from eCommerce to Salesforce. But that is not my solution. What I propose is, no more moving of any data, anywhere. Instead why not just fuse the two of them? eCommerce and CRM, together to provide a much better way of storing data?
Now I know what you are thinking, the basic need for an eCommerce now days is a website. Can a CRM do that?
With Salesforce, yes you can.
What about the entire functionality? We need cart, and wishlist, and wallet, and checkout, and user registration, and much more.
One time work, we can say. See now the thing is that, there will always be some pros, and cons. For cons you can read the above line again. For those who are willing to march forward towards the pros. and see what all we can do with the power of a platform as amazing as Salesforce, read ahead.
Being one of the biggest cloud computing companies, Salesforce provides you with tons of features to help you in servicing your customers. First of all we have the Domain Registration feature, which you can use to, not actually register a custom domain, but register a sub-domain with the force.com domain. Anything that you need to create an interactive website for your users, is present in Salesforce, disguised as Visualforce and Apex. And when we jump to communities, we get much more than just coding, but templates, pre-designed by Salesforce themselves.
Another benefit of using Salesforce for your eCommerce is that, like we discussed before, no need to copy data on a daily basis. Everything will be created at one place and stored at one place.
Also, less chances of data inconsistencies. Most of the inconsistencies in data occur when we move the data from one place to other. With that step eliminated we have eliminated the chances of having inconsistencies in the first place.
Now let’s look at the big picture, when you host an eCommerce site, you have to pay for the hosting of that site too. Where else would that data be stored? That becomes an unnecessary requirement as Salesforce itself provides you with lots of space for storage of this data. This results in a reduction of investment for your eCommerce.
When we use Visualforce and Apex, we get a much more simplifies version of the good old fashioned HTML and JS. CSS is still equally required. However, sending AJAX requests and working with data becomes way too easy when we are using VF and APEX as compared to HTML and JS.
No need to be an SQL expert to work with the database in Salesforce. Working with database is much easier with SOQL (Salesforce’s version of SQL), due to the replacement of joins with Parent-Child relationship queries. Don’t just believe me on this one, go try yourself.
Above all, you never have to worry about the server going offline due to any reason. Salesforce is never offline, no matter what the cause, except for 5 minutes thrice a year, when they are updating. This might come as an overstatement, as theoretically, even salesforce can go down. However as unlikely it may seem, the probability of this happening is close to 0. Practically with all the multiple instances of Salesforce servers running at a time, there is no chance of the entire network going offline at the same time.
Click here to see the current status Salesforce servers.
Like in any good post, we will be going over the down sides of this idea too, and I’ll let you decide whether it is really a good idea to use Salesforce for your eCommerce or not.
First of all, like I previously mentioned there are no classes or functionality for the eCommerce, you’ll have to write all the functionality once on the developer console.
Then there are quite a few Governor limits which you’ll have to learn to work with in order to make this idea a reality.
Another thing is that, you may have to buy some license for your portal users, as only then you will be able to work with the registered users.
Now I am not the kind of person who would leave you in a dilemma about the concept, instead i’ll be providing workarounds for the cons mentioned. First thing first, you’ll have to buy user licenses, there is no workaround for that, except if you decide that you don’t need user registration.
I want you to know that, while I was writing the entire post, I was not talking without proper proof. We at Webkul have actually implemented this idea and the end result was Wedgecommerce. An eCommerce platform built native on Salesforce. Although this post is not about Wedgecommerce, for that we have separate posts on Wedgecommerce.com. What I meant is, I believe that it is a good idea to use the power of Salesforce as much as you can, after all you paid for that. And if you are feeling too tired to write the classes for an eCommerce, then you can always take Wedgecommerce as an alternative.
That’s all about building eCommerce on Salesforce, for any further queries feel free to contact us at:
Or let us know your views about the concept, in comments section below.