Installing B2B Commerce in your Org
Upgrading/Patching B2B Commerce
B2B Commerce licenses and permissions
"OOTB" (Functional) vs "Custom" (Technical) B2B Commerce features
There are many things that can be done in B2B Commerce without touching a line of code. These OOTB (Out Of The Box) features can be achieved through two types of configurations:
- Data configuration: aka the storefront data itself. E.g. list of categories, menu links, promotions, related products, entitlements, etc. These are set through custom salesforce objects ("CC objects") under each object's tab.
- Configuration settings: aka settings that enable/disable options in the storefronts. E.g. activating widgets, sort options, maximum number of results, etc. These are set via config settings under the CC Admin tab.
- Account Groups/Price Groups
- Product Media
- Related Products
- Address Books
- Page Labels
- Page Sections
Where to get the list of configuration settings:
"Custom" (Technical) B2B Commerce features
Some level of customization is always required (e.g. Custom Themes, custom order placement, integration with payment systems, etc.) We'll cover these later in this guide.
B2B Commerce Architecture
B2B Commerce Front End: the thing that nobody wants to talk about
B2B Commerce Back End: Typical Extension Model
The Future is unknown, but we can try to guess
It's 2019, and SF B2B Commerce still runs on top of a Visualforce community (not the "newer" Lightning Communities). B2B Commerce also uses Custom objects, and the front end is using the old school Backbone framework.
While Salesforce keeps everything under "Safe Harbor" rules, and nothing is confirmed, here are a few predictions, based on the obvious:
- Core objects will be supported for Ecommerce (instead of the custom "cc" objects)
- Lightning Communities and Lightning Web Components instead of VF communities and VF pages
- A new extension model to support Lightning and the core objects
- More integration in the Salesforce ecosystem (e.g. B2C Commerce and Mulesoft)
- A prediction engine (Einstein) to make "recommendations" (this will be mostly a gimmick, but people likes gimmicks!)
Salesforce will most likely take its time to make the full transition between the old B2B approach into a new one.
Another option could be that Salesforce ends up creating a new CC product from scratch, which either replaces or complements the current B2B offering (because e-commerce in general is evolving). It won't have the same capabilities than the current B2B commerce for sure, so it may not be for current customers.
But if you wait to see what "may" happen and don't act on your E-Commerce right now, you will miss out opportunities. The SF B2B service steam will say that to make faster transitions into whatever happens in the future, it'll be always easier for you to stick as close as possible to the OOTB features and minimize custom code. In our experience, they don't consider the front end part of the OOTB
Consult with your team and Salesforce, and take an educated decision on how you should proceed.
Irrespective of Salesforce, or not, we think the trend is to move away from monolithic systems into modular ones, where components can be swapped in and out easily, whether it is the front end, the backend or the middle ware layers.
Having a good separation of concerns should be a priority when implementing a solution compatible with this approach. OOTB SF B2B Commerce doesn't work like this, but there are a few tweaks that can be made here and there to help move towards the modular architecture.