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Salesforce is adding muscle to its Community Cloud — and it’s starting with e-commerce.

The software giant is today announcing the ability to add e-commerce functions through drag-and-drop Lightning Components, created by partner e-commerce platforms CloudCraze, Bigcommerce, and Demandware. In May, Salesforce launched a new generation of the Community Cloud.

Lightning Components, which the company describes as “reusable building blocks without programming,” have previously been available for this Cloud, but only those that Salesforce developed. E-commerce had been available for the Cloud, but only through coding that integrated the capabilities of those ecommerce partners.

Now, any community using the Cloud can easily drag-and-drop e-commerce functions — buy button, add to cart, checkout, order tracking  and so on — that have been created by partner companies.

The Components can even automatically show buyable products on the side of the page when conversational threads mention them. Or the buy button can automatically show up in the middle of the conversational thread where the product is mentioned.

A screen in a Salesforce demo site, with a buyable product showing up after a conversational mention

Above: A screen in a Salesforce demo site, with a buyable product showing up after a conversational mention

Image Credit: Salesforce

On-the-spot buy buttons and related e-commerce are all the rage now, showing up in such trendsetting communities as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and TripAdvisor.

The idea for Community Cloud, senior vice president of marketing for Community Cloud Mike Stone told me, is to make commerce part of a conversation. He added that this is the “first enterprise solution to put the buy button into the community,” combining engagement with transaction.

While the initial implementations of these partner-created, drag-and-drop Lightning Components are for e-commerce, they will eventually lead to the easy addition of other complex functions in communities in the Cloud.

Stone noted that online survey site GetFeedback created a Lightning Component so communities can launch a feedback survey when the conversation so warrants.

The partner-created Lightning Components are built on the Salesforce1 platform, using the company’s Lightning framework. They will be available this winter in the new release of the Cloud’s Community Builder, where they are used. The Components themselves reside in the company’s AppExchange.


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