Salesforce Commerce Cloud has been able to meet the growing eCommerce demand of the last few years by providing a powerful and user-friendly platform for businesses to build and grow their eCommerce operations. However, Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud is not built on the Salesforce platform, as most offerings are. Therefore, the architecture is not completely straightforward.
So, how does B2C commerce work? This article will answer all of your questions – starting with the history, then diving into the main ‘parts’ of the platform.
B2C Commerce Cloud: Background
As mentioned, Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud is not built on the Salesforce platform. To learn why, we need to go back in time…
In 2016, Salesforce announced its acquisition of Demandware, a leading provider of cloud-based eCommerce solutions. The acquisition was seen as a strategic move by Salesforce, allowing the company to expand its presence in the growing eCommerce market and further enhance its capabilities in the retail industry.
Demandware’s cloud-based platform was particularly attractive to Salesforce, as it allowed for rapid deployment and scalability for businesses of all sizes. The acquisition also brought a strong customer base and a talented team of eCommerce experts, further strengthening Salesforce’s position in the industry.
While some acquired products were built on the Salesforce platform, Demandware is not one of them. It has an entirely different architecture, although there are some similarities. To help explain the B2C Commerce Cloud architecture, I’ll explain the eight main ‘parts’, and how they compare to Salesforce.
Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud Architecture
1. B2C Commerce Cloud
It all starts at the platform’s base and core – SFCC (Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud). Within this stack, there are a few components that make it ‘tick’:
- A database (Oracle)
- A file system (Accessible via WebDAV)
- Web and App Servers
- Load Balancer and Firewall
- Cloudflare (eCDN)
That development can also happen in multiple flavors:
- SiteGenesis (deprecated)
- SFRA (Storefront Reference Architecture)
- Composable Storefront (Composable architecture using Headless APIs of Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud)
We can’t forget about one of the big selling points of Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud – the ‘built-in’ AI that analyzes shopper behavior and gives recommendations to increase revenue (and the average size of the basket). This AI provides features such as:
- Product Recommendations
- Personalized Sorting
- Search Autocompletion
- … and much more!
Although it wasn’t always called Einstein, the URL still contains hints of its original name: CQuotient.
3. SCAPI / OCAPI
We live in a modern digital world, and without (REST) APIs, connecting systems and creating a Composable Architecture would be challenging. Like the Salesforce platform, SFCC provides two Headless APIs to allow third-party systems to interact with it:
The list of different types of APIs is less extensive than it is for the core platform, but not much more is needed for the use cases in a B2C environment. However, having GraphQL as an option, just like the core platform, would be an excellent addition to the list – one can only dream, right?
4. Account Manager
A quick look at the diagram shows quite a few systems connected, each being a separate system in the whole picture. The Account Manager is here to tie these all together by giving us a single account, which can be compared with the Trailblazer Identity.
Connecting the Account Manager with Salesforce Identity gives you a single account across the clouds.
5. Composable Storefront
The latest edition to the Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud family is the Composable Storefront, a Headless Storefront solution paired with the infrastructure to host it. Historically, it was called the “PWA Kit and Managed Runtime”, but was quickly rebranded to the Composable Storefront at the end of 2022.
This product is also an acquisition made in 2020 to answer the increasing demand for composability and the separation of the customer experience from the business processes. The naming, however, does require some explanation.
Headless commerce focuses on creating a custom user interface and user experience, while using a robust and scalable back-end platform to manage the online store. This allows businesses to create a seamless and personalized shopping experience across different devices and channels.
Composable commerce, on the other hand, takes a modular approach to building an online store. Instead of using a single, monolithic platform for the entire store, composable commerce uses individual, standalone components that can be mixed and matched to create a custom online store. The “Composable Storefront” gives businesses a headless storefront that allows them to swap out and combine ‘modules’ of multiple vendors for their specific needs.
6. Log Center
Sifting through logs of different systems and environments can be a lot of work. The Log Center is here to make life easier by providing a centralized location for users to filter and search log data and set up alerts for specific log events. Overall, the Log Center is an essential tool for ensuring the smooth operation of an eCommerce store.
7. Reports & Dashboards
When running multiple Commerce Channels, a lot of data can be collected on both the client and server sides about behavior and sales. The Reports & Dashboards collect all this information and provide standardized reports on products, sales, Einstein, and technical data.
8. Control Center
Having multiple environments in the cloud means you need some way to manage them. The Control Center allows administrators to create, manage, and delete all environments they can access – from sandboxes to production instances.
The B2C Commerce Cloud architecture has a lot of similarities with the Salesforce platform. But, in the end, it is quite different – there are many different components in charge of a particular feature.
If you are planning to dive into this platform with years of Salesforce experience, you might be surprised at how big the difference actually is. There is public documentation available, but no possibility of getting access to a sandbox to experiment with (for now).