Technology has changed so much in the last five years. We have begun to embrace artificial intelligence in various ways, Amazon started experimenting with drone delivery, and virtual reality experiences are available in the comfort of our own homes. With all of these technological advancements, it has me thinking of my own personal experiences these last five years as a Senior Commerce Cloud Developer for CQL. After all, the end of 2019 marks my five-year anniversary as a Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC) developer. This milestone prompted me to reflect on my experiences with the platform over the last several years and to look at how Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud platform, integrations, and client requests have changed since the end of 2014.
For those who considered the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform in the past and replatformed onto another CMS, these top seven improvements I have experienced as a certified Salesforce Commerce Cloud Developer might prompt you to reconsider SFCC for your online ecommerce needs.
1: More Accessible Salesforce Documentation
Back in the day, all Salesforce Commerce Cloud API documentation was behind a login. Developers could not gain access unless they partnered with a client who was already on the Commerce Cloud platform or who was preparing to convert their site over to the platform. As a result of Salesforce moving their documentation into the public space, there are now many more useful online resources, such as Stack Exchange for SFCC developers and those trying to learn the platform. Stack Exchange offers a question-and-answer website forum to discuss topics in diverse fields. For clients who have their own development teams, this gives them access to the same resources we have as a development partner.
2: Easier Access to Salesforce Training Materials
Much like the resources available above, numerous Salesforce Commerce Cloud-related training materials are provided free of charge and don’t require a customer-based login account. Developers, partners, customers, merchants, branding teams, and more can find relevant training materials on Salesforce Trailhead. Salesforce has committed itself to making their systems and training materials available to job seekers and college students alike. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a drastic increase in the amount of Commerce Cloud-focused modules offered on Trailhead.
Developer and Architect certifications still have strict requirements that keep these certifications valuable within the community. However, the annual maintenance exams have been ported over to Salesforce Trailhead to help make annual certification renewal easier.
At CQL, our developers utilize these training materials to secure certifications in Commerce Cloud and Platform Developer levels I and II. These certifications enable our team to better support the brands we serve.
3: Mobile First Development with Salesforce Commerce Cloud
If you were considering the Commerce Cloud platform five years ago, mobile development and design had a tendency to feel like an afterthought. It was often added on after we had created a desktop site. We would try our best to make whatever design and features used on desktop to also work well and look good on mobile, but sometimes the result was that mobile functionality had reduced functionality.
Now, Salesforce Commerce Cloud has shifted from Site Genesis to the new Storefront Reference Architecture (originally named Mobile-First Reference Architecture). This new system emphasizes the value of a great mobile experience and then adjusts content and styling for desktop customers.
If this was a challenge for your brand when first considering SFCC, keep in mind that most users are accessing sites from their mobile devices and shopping on the go.
4: Cooler Third-Party Salesforce Integrations
Third-party integrations have always existed for services such as payment providers, tax services, ratings and reviews, and other common eCommerce services. That said, there has been a surge of exciting new integrations that are being offered to Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform users.
We’ve worked with integrations that apply makeup to a photo you take of yourself, compare the fit of a shoe online with the one you wear every day, design custom colored shoes & dog leashes, and more! These integrations are going beyond the essential requirements of an ecommerce site and exploring the desires of both shoppers and merchants. We’re excited to see what new integrations emerge in the next five years!
5: Subscription Services Through Salesforce
Everyone loves convenience. We’ve seen more users shopping from their mobile devices for years, but now we’re seeing more of our clients offering the convenience of subscriptions to their customers. Customers can now get everything from their favorite facial moisturizer to Fido’s favorite kibble delivered on a regularly scheduled interval. Not only does it save them time and prevent running out of their favorite items, but it also allows customers to receive a discounted price for using this service.
6: Salesforce UX Team Collaborating with Platform Developers
Salesforce has placed a strong emphasis on the user experience of their systems over the past several years. We’ve seen improvements in the Business Manager menus, better ways to view error logs and new features that make working on the platform a better experience. Special shoutout to our friend, Scott Kincaid, and his team over at Salesforce! Thanks for listening to us and continuing to ask us for our opinions and feedback. We appreciate the work you’re doing to continually improve our experience on the platform.
Now that Pipelines are not as commonly used within the Commerce Cloud community, it has been easier to find and hire qualified developers to help your business grow! This is a surprising benefit of Salesforce’s ongoing improvements to its system.
What is Next for Salesforce Commerce Cloud and the Ecommerce Community?
In the tech industry, things can evolve very rapidly. At CQL, we’re always striving to learn the newest technology, investigate new integrations, and brainstorm the next big solution. Looking forward to 2025, we expect to see more focus on convenience and omnichannel shopping.
For those still considering Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Salesforce’s Customer 360 will aid Commerce Cloud brands in being able to have a complete picture of their customers while leveraging things like artificial intelligence to predict the best products for a customer, the best time to send marketing emails to customers, and the best marketing content (think images, categories, and advertisements) for those customers.
We’re going to continue to see our brands offer more personalized experiences for their shoppers, but not only on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform. This will extend to social media, other mobile and online shopping platforms (apps, Amazon, etc), as well as in-store and print advertisements.
CQL would like to congratulate Aubrey on her five years as a Salesforce Commerce Cloud Developer and being a huge asset to the CQL team. If you’re interested in integrating your business on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, contact us today and we’ll set you up with one of our talented Commerce Cloud Developers, like Aubrey.