It may look like Salesforce merely jumped on the buy button bandwagon this week, but the new feature that integrates commerce with the Salesforce Community Cloud is more than just another buy button to click. By making it easy to initiate a transaction from within a support community, Salesforce is opening up a ton of new buying opportunities that can enhance the purchase experience, transform service and support, and improve customer satisfaction overall.
Social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter have all been busy building out buy buttons this year, but the results of these efforts are still largely inconclusive – in part because it takes more than a pretty button to enable easy, integrated commerce instantly. A lot happens behind the scenes to make a simple buy button connect with all the systems involved in completing a single order. These systems might include Salesforce itself, an eCommerce platform, an ERP back office, shipping and logistics systems for delivering physical goods, and even marketing tools to help companies sell you other, related items later on.
Companies like Mophie and Skullcandy already use Jitterbit to bring together all the elements needed to sell online in the Now Economy. Perhaps Salesforce, as a business-oriented cloud platform that understands the importance of integrating elements, will be the company that helps online buy buttons realize their full potential. We’re really excited to see some creative use cases for the buy button take shape, perhaps including some of the following.
Find the right fit
A common support scenario involves simply finding the right product for your needs. By working closely with a customer support representative from the start of their buying experience, consumers gain the assurance that what they’re about to buy is exactly what they need. They can then make purchases with confidence. Whether it’s getting the right size (and color) of AYR jeans or the proper licensing configuration for software, having the chance to buy as soon as a question is answered will be key to boosting conversion rates. TripAdvisor is already making this happen in its Community Cloud, where people can discuss hotels before booking them, increasing their confidence that they’re picking the right place to stay.
Improve partner and member enablement
Businesses that work with a lot of partners can struggle to provide the right level of partner enablement, especially when it comes to purchasing. By embedding buy buttons within partner communities that already provide the appropriate level of product information and support, companies can leverage partner expertise while streamlining the buying process for end users. Right now, Avid Technologies is empowering a community of artists with the Salesforce buy button, helping them not only interact with one another but also buy and sell their work through the Community Cloud.
Capture the mobile moment
Shopping is all about the magic moment when desire for something combines with the opportunity to buy. If an ordering process is cumbersome, sales can be lost in an instant. That’s why mobile commerce, while a hot topic, has yet to take off – it’s still much too hard to complete purchases on a small device. Assuming Salesforce can master the mobile purchasing experience, it may have a huge opportunity to capture customers in the moment through Cloud Communities that are already designed to be mobile-friendly.
Connect devices to the purchase process
GE is a leader in the connectivity space and its CMO Beth Comstock has wondered, “How do we connect customers and employees to our machines? What if my jet engine could talk to me, and what would it say?” A buy button-enabled Community Cloud that integrates with not just human experts but directly to machines could eventually enable machines to order their own replacement parts with minimal human approval. While this isn’t exactly what the buy button is doing today, there’s an interesting opportunity for buy buttons to become more connected in the future.
Confirming that building a seamless purchasing process can take a lot of work, Salesforce has partnered with ecommerce providers Bigcommerce, CloudCraze and Demandware to make its buy button happen. The feature is currently in use at TripAdvisor, PonoMusic, Avid Technology, and Deloitte; other users will eventually be able to add the purchasing feature with Lightning Components. Stay tuned for more information about the buy button at Dreamforce and beyond.