Salesforce Adds E-Commerce To Its Community Cloud

Customers of Salesforce’s Community Cloud will soon be able to add their own buy buttons.

The Community Cloud allows businesses to build sites where customers can interact with the company and with each other. By introducing the ability 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.”

Stone pointed to TripAdvisor as evidence that this approach can work — a site where community discussion about hotel quality is a natural fit with actually booking those hotels.

“Our customers are seeing that there are leading companies using communities in this way,” he said, adding that not only does this allow businesses “to present their product directly in the flow, when the customer is engaging with them,” but also to “enable commerce and sales between community members.”

For example, Avid Technology, which makes audio and video production tools, has used these Community Cloud capabilities to support its Artist Community, where users can buy and sell sound effects, stock footage and other music and video clips from each other.

Other early customers include Neil Young’s PonoMusic and the Deloitte Digital Hub.

Stone said the Customer Cloud can automatically recommend the right product that’s relevant in a given discussion: “We’re really using the social graph and what we understand about how the community is evolving to go and make those recommendations.”

To be clear, Salesforce hasn’t built out these features on its own. Instead, it’s partnering with e-commerce companies starting with CloudCraze, Demandware and Bigcommerce. By using Salesforce’s Lightning Components, Customer Cloud users should be able to add the e-commerce capabilities without any programming.

Stone said this will be a big focus at the company’s Dreamforce conference next month, with plans to make the new e-commerce Lightning Components available in early 2016.