Integrating e-commerce with Salesforce can improve customer experiences if you’re currently using Salesforce as your CRM. When your commerce platform is connected to your CRM and database, it’s much easier to implement relevant marketing campaigns and provide personalized shopping experiences.
There are two common ways to integrate Salesforce with e-commerce: 1) using third-party plugins to connect Salesforce CRM to a separate e-commerce platform such as Magento or Shopify, and 2) using Salesforce Commerce Cloud. There is also a third, more scalable way that we will discuss below.
Third-Party Integrations Vs Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Which Salesforce e-commerce integration is better for your business? The “right” answer depends on your needs, existing processes, and systems, as well as your roadmap and growth plans for the future.
Third-party e-commerce integrations for Salesforce
If you have an existing e-commerce platform (and you’re happy with it), consider connecting it with Salesforce using third-party integrations.
Some examples of these connectors include:
- Salesforce Sync by CRM Perks: This is a Shopify integration that automatically sends your store orders and customers into your Salesforce account.
- Salesforce Connector by Webkul Software Private Limited: This extension allows you to sync Magento Store Data (including customers, categories, products, and orders) with Salesforce.
- Zapier: The app integrator Zapier supports several workflows for both Shopify + Salesforce and Magento + Salesforce. These workflows enable you to automatically sync information such as customers, orders, and products between Salesforce and your e-commerce platform.
It’s important to note, though, that third-party integrations can be quite limited when it comes to syncing data between two platforms. Some solutions, for example, don’t offer two-way synchronization. Meanwhile, other plugins can only sync with certain Salesforce products. For example, they can connect to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, but not with Salesforce Analytics Cloud, which becomes an issue as you try to scale.
So, if you’re using multiple Salesforce products and require a deep integration with your e-commerce platform, you can either develop a custom plugin (in-house or with a system integrator), use Salesforce Commerce Cloud, or move to a more flexible and connected solution with microservices.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud
Commerce Cloud is the e-commerce platform provided by Salesforce that has B2C and B2B capabilities, as well as an order management feature that enables merchants to sell and fulfill orders on multiple channels.
Commerce Cloud easily connects with Salesforce’s CRM and other products, giving you a single, unified view of all your customer data. Using Commerce Cloud in conjunction with other Salesforce products may streamline your sales, marketing, and customer support efforts.
For instance, connecting Commerce Cloud with Sales Cloud lets you equip your sales and support teams with rich and detailed customer data, including purchasing behavior, open service issues, and more. This enables them to get to know your customers better and provide tailored services.
The downside of using Commerce Cloud is the rigidity of the platform. While Salesforce CRM is a powerful sales tool, Commerce Cloud is a “monolithic” commerce platform that Salesforce acquired from Demandware in 2016. It functions well but has severe limitations related to scalability and often leads to technical debt.
Determining the best option for your business
Integrating Salesforce CRM via an e-commerce plugin or using Commerce Cloud is not your only e-commerce integration option. There is also the ability to build or license e-commerce services such as PIM, OMS, and pricing, then integrate them with Salesforce with APIs. This requires more work upfront but allows you to quickly adapt to new shopping expectations, trends, and behaviors without glue code and questionable integrations from Salesforce AppExchange.
Using Microservices for Salesforce E-Commerce Integration
A major limitation of Salesforce Commerce Cloud and most e-commerce solutions like Magento is they function as monolithic e-commerce platforms. This means that commerce services and functionalities like your catalog, order management, and CRM live in the same code base. Monolithic architectures may offer simplicity and ease of use initially but become slow and difficult to manage as you scale.
A better alternative is to create or adopt the specific e-commerce services you need and connect them to Salesforce through the Lightning Platform REST API. By leveraging these APIs, using e-commerce APIs, and creating an API gateway, you’re able to send only the most relevant data to Salesforce CRM without reliance on questionable apps.
See how this works in the illustration below: Salesforce essentially becomes a third-party channel (on the right) that independently connects to the API gateway.
Because the different microservices can function independently, it’s easier to scale and make changes more quickly. Adding e-commerce features or making changes can be done without you worrying that it’ll affect the entire platform. For instance, if you want to switch between different services, you can simply reroute the necessary API calls.
Overall, a microservices architecture gives the speed and flexibility to build a commerce platform and shopping experience specific to your needs. You aren't tied down to a vendor or platform. Instead, you can choose to use multiple providers and services through APIs. This ultimately helps with integrating e-commerce with Salesforce in a scalable way.
- If you already have an existing e-commerce platform and would like to integrate it with Salesforce CRM, you can often use third-party plugins. Though, some of these integrations are limited and may not meet your specific needs.
- Another option is to use Salesforce Commerce Cloud and connect it with the other Salesforce products you’re using. This option provides more seamless integration and can give you a single view of your customer data. However, it is difficult to scale due to the platform’s monolithic architecture.
- A better alternative to these options is to use a microservices-based commerce platform instead of relying on Salesforce’s monolithic e-commerce architecture or using questionable integrations.
- You can leverage fabric APIs to build and integrate the necessary services to Salesforce.